There are so many beautiful places to visit in Portugal, and Porto is no exception. In my Porto Portugal travel guide I’m sharing where to eat, what to do, where to shop, and more!
Porto Portugal Travel Guide
HOW TO GET THERE
Porto was the second stop on our trip after Lisbon (read my Lisbon travel guide here), and we decided the easiest thing to do was to take the train from Lisbon. It was so simple, and not too expensive – we got first class tickets for 75 Euro each. Taking the train instead of flying also gives you the flexibility to book things last minute, which can be really nice when you’re on holiday. We booked our train tickets the night before and had plenty of options. The train ride itself is about 3 hours, and everything ran on time. Both the train stations in Lisbon and Porto are fairly central, so it shouldn’t take you too long to Uber to and from your accommodations. Flying is also an option, but I honestly think between the travel time to and from the airport, security, etc that taking the train will save you both time and money.
WHERE TO STAY
We decided to stay in an Airbnb in Porto, and we loved our place! You can find the exact link to our apartment here. It was clean and nicely updated, plus it had a washer and dryer which is a huge plus if you’re traveling for more than a few days! It was a great location as well – we were able to walk everywhere. While I was searching for Airbnb’s in the area I found tons of great and affordable options, and I would definitely recommend looking at Airbnb for your trip.
WHERE TO EAT
- Zenith: Zenith is an amazing little brunch spot (I’m pretty sure brunch is served all day), and we loved the food here. They have everything from pancakes to açaí bowls, to avocado toast – there’s lots of vegan friendly options as well! It definitely gets busy so come on the earlier side (9-10am) to avoid a wait.
- Do Norte Cafe: This was a really cute little breakfast / lunch spot. We stopped in for an afternoon coffee and snack, and had the tastiest toast with jam and caramel lattes. Highly recommend!
- Fábrica: This another trendy coffee spot. The coffee is delicious and the ambiance is really nice. They don’t do much food other than traditional coffee pastries (croissants, banana bread, etc.), but it’s a great place to grab an afternoon pick me up!
- Elemento: If you take any of my recommendations, let it be this one! Elemento is new to the Porto restaurant scene (less than a year old) and was founded by Chef Ricardo Dias Ferreira. The concept is one of pure cuisine, using only firewood to cook the dishes. The menu changes daily, but if it’s available when you go the lamb was melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Be sure to save room for dessert – the meringue was also unbelievable!
- Combi: This cute cafe was right around the corner from our Airbnb, and we came here one morning for a quick coffee and breakfast. Perfect for a busy morning!
- Rosa Et Al: You absolutely can’t miss grabbing brunch in the courtyard of this sweet little boutique hotel. Order the pancakes – they take about 30 minutes to cook but are well worth the wait. Be sure to make a reservation, especially if going over the weekend.
- Digby: We came here for dinner on our last night of the trip, and it made for a great sendoff! Located in the boutique hotel Torel Avantgarde, Digby boasts an impressive view of Porto. The food was tasty, and they have a vegetarian menu as well (you just have to ask for it). It would also be a great spot to grab a scenic drink before dinner!
WHAT TO DO
- Dom Luis Bridge: This bridge is probably the most famous lookout point over the city of Porto. It has two different levels, an upper and lower. Be aware that the upper path is quite high, but the views are truly spectacular – I don’t love heights or bridges and I was alright.
- Livraria Lello: This library has been made famous thanks to J.K. Rowling – she credits it for being the inspiration behind the Hogwarts library. It’s a total tourist trap and is CRAZY busy, you’ll have to wait at least 20 minutes to get in. However, if you’re a big Harry Potter fan it’s quite cool to see where she got her inspiration. The library is stunning! The library also boasts signed first editions of the entire Harry Potter series.
- Go on a boat ride: My mom and I would both agree that this was the best day of our entire trip! We took a private boat out onto the Duoro River and enjoyed snacks, champagne, and beautiful views of Porto. Paulo was an incredible host, and I can’t recommend his service enough. You can find the exact listing to book here. It was an unforgettable experience!
WHERE TO SHOP
- Almada Em Branco: Perhaps my favorite store in Porto, it boasts tons of beautiful handmade jewelry, as well as accessories for men. I bought 3 rings here, and I’ve worn them everyday since!
- Patch Porto: This is a really cute vintage clothing and furniture store. I found an amazing vintage blazer for just 10 Euro!
- Coracao Alecrim: Once you step inside past it’s gorgeous painted doorway, you’ll find tons of beautiful and handmade treasures. With a focus on sustainability, you’ll feel good about what you’re buying too!
- The Feeting Room: This boutique is home to the cutest shoes (both mens and women) made by local Portuguese brands. Everything was reasonably priced, and both my mom and I loved nearly every single thing in the store!!
PORTO PORTUGAL TRAVEL GUIDE TIPS
- While Porto wasn’t quite as hilly as Lisbon was, I would still recommend comfortable walking shoes. There are still some steep parts of town!
- Porto is smaller than Lisbon, and is quite walkable. The only time we took an Uber was to get down to the river for our boat tour.
- The best way to see the city is to wander around and let yourself get lost – that’s how we found most of the restaurants and shops we loved so much! I did very little research before the trip.
- If you’re looking for the Insta-famous blue tiled wall (the first photo in this post), it’s located on the side of the Igreja do Carmo.
- It was much more common to encounter someone who doesn’t speak much English in Porto than in Lisbon. It wouldn’t hurt to learn a few key phrases in Portuguese!
Have you been to Porto? What did you think of my Porto Portugal Travel Guide?!
PS. Planning a trip to Portugal? Don’t forget to check out my Lisbon travel guide!