What to do in Porto, Portugal

Wondering what to do in Porto, Portugal?

  • Jens headshot 2:6:23
  • The Travel Mum

Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, offers an ideal destination for budget-conscious travellers. If you’re considering a budget friendly trip you may be contemplating what to do in Porto that isn’t going to break the bank . Porto is the perfect destination for visitors seeking a budget weekend getaway. Its UNESCO World Heritage site status is attributed to the picturesque old town and the magnificent river with six impressive bridges.

The city’s allure lies in its delightful ambiance, where strolling around reveals a captivating blend of colourful buildings, delicious cuisine, and enchanting cobbled streets. Porto boasts a wealth of intricate architecture and historical wonders to explore, adding a touch of fascination to your journey. One of the aspects I love most about Porto is how easy it is to explore on foot meaning you can enjoy a fabulous day without having to spend a fortune.

 
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Getting to Porto

There are lots of budget flight routes into Porto offering an affordable way to get there from the UK. London Luton, Stansted and Gatwick have some fantastic prices, especially outside of the summer months. Other airports offering some bargain direct prices include Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Liverpool. Use our search tool and enter Porto as your specific location, you can search for a whole month or within a set period to find the best prices for you.

One of my favourite things about Porto is how quick and easy it is to reach the city centre from the airport. Once you land at Porto airport, simply follow signs to the Metro and get a train to “Trindade Station”. It is currently just two euros and only a 30 minute journey. You can buy a ticket at one of the many machines you will pass as you head towards the metro. 

Where to stay in Porto

Porto has tons of cheap accommodation options. As the city is so small, wherever you stay you will be walking distance to many of the main sites. Our search took only looks at accommodation in great locations, so you don’t have to worry about ending up in the middle of nowhere!

We stayed close to Trindade station, this meant easy access to and from the airport. The station there has lockers to store your things on your final day (if you have a late flight home and want to explore during the day). From there we could easily walk to all of the main sites. 


What to do in Porto


Take a river cruise

The Douro river is at the centre of this former port city. Hop on a site seeing cruise to admire the cities best views. We paid fifteen euros each for a 30 minute cruise and port wine tasting in a near by cave. 

Try a Francesinha

Try the famous local dish. A Francesinha is a ham and steak sandwich covered with cheese, an egg and a special spicy sauce. Cafe Santiago is known as having the best, it’s Francesinha was actually declared the 14th best sandwich in the world, so naturally we had to go and try one! We couldn’t get in to the original restaurant as it was full and we hadn’t reserved, but they have opened a brand new sister restaurant called Cafe Santiago Da Praca (Cafe Santiago of the square). We ate there and would highly recommend, huge portions and great prices.

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A traditional Francesinha

Porto’s Famous Francesinha

 

Enjoy the views at Dom Luis II bridge

Take a walk across this impressive double deck bridge that spans across the River Douro. The views from up there are some of the best you will get of Porto. Head to the Gaia side of the bridge and look for the hotel “Vincci Ponte De Ferro” – get the lift to the 12th floor and enjoy a cocktail at their Sky Bar. The views are amazing, especially around sunset. A glass of wine is around six euros and it is twelve euros for a cocktail. The price is worth it for the memories you will create sat chatting with your loved one whilst taking in the breathtaking views.

 
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An amazing view from Dom Luis bridge


Visit the Port Wine Cellars

Learn about the history of Porto’s famous fortified wines. You will get to try samples of the best wines in great surroundings. The wine cellars can be found in the town of Vila Nova da Gaia, which is just across the Douro River from Porto. Cross via the Dom Luis bridge and make the most of the views on the way. You can get a cable car from the top of the bridge down to the riverside. It is nine euros for the return trip, or you can walk for free! If you did the earlier river tour, you will have a ticket to go and try some port wine for free.


Visit Clérigos Church

Climb the bell tower of this magnificent church to be rewarded with insane panoramic views of the city. The tower can be seen from various points in the city and is a symbol of Porto. It is free to visit the church and currently six euros to climb the tower.


Visit Porto’s Cathedral

This roman catholic church is located in the centre of Porto. From outside the Cathedral you can enjoy fantastic views over the city. It is three euros to enter and definitely worth doing. The church itself is intricately decorated and beautiful. The courtyard area can only be described as Hogwarts meets Portugal! The enchanting blend of Azulejo tiles and Gothic design gives this place a unique allure. Climb the tower of the church for some fantastic views.

Visit the Most Famous Book Store in the World.

Livraria Lello is one of Porto’s most famous spots. It is thought to be the inspiration for a lot of Harry Potter scenery. JK Rowling lived in Porto for a while and would visit the book store often. You can see how the connection was made when you see the intricate design, majestic staircases and magical atmosphere in the store. It is five euros to enter, and you will need to reserve your ticket ahead of time.

 

Porto is one of our favourite short city breaks in Europe. The combination of cheap prices, great food, historic sights and vibrant culture make it a great choice for a short trip. Hopefully you have gone from searching “What to do in Porto?” to thinking “Where am I going to start!”

Check out our ‘Start your Journey’ feature to help you find your next budget friendly adventure!

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