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One Day in Porto: The Ideal 24 Hour Itinerary [2024]

Wondering how to spend an unforgettable one day in Porto? Check out this comprehensive itinerary to make the most of your time in the city!

Porto is a lovely coastal city in Portugal, known for its wine (this is where Port wine comes from!), incredible bridges, azulejos, and its picturesque old town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

If you’re worried that 24 hours in Porto won’t be enough, though, don’t be! Yes, I would suggest spending 2 or 3 days in Porto if you can, but in one day you’ll be able to visit the main attractions, catch the most wonderful views of the city and even get to sample some of its famous wines. 

Image of a woman looking at the white buildings with terracotta rooftops across the river, with Dom Luis Bridge to the right, a great activity to enjoy while spending one day in Lisbon

I’ve been multiple times to Porto, and every time I go I fall a bit more in love with it. It’s such a walkable, chill, and charming city! We even considered living here, that’s how much we like it. Anyway, enough rambling.

Read on to find out how to spend the perfect one day in Porto, Portugal.

How to Get Around Porto

Porto is a very walkable city, so if you’re up to getting lost in its charming, narrow streets and walk to every destination, it’s completely doable!

However, since you only have 1 day in Porto, you may want to save as much time as possible using public transportation. Here are the best options.

  • Metro: Porto has six metro lines running throughout the city from as early as 6 AM, so you can start exploring as soon as you get there, regardless of the time. The lines are identifiable by letters and colors, and you can get to most attractions by it. 
  • Bus: Another option is taking the bus, which also runs from 6 AM and is very reliable. There are bus stops all through the city, most of the buses have free wifi, which could be a plus, and you can also get to most attractions using it. 
  • Trams: The last alternative is taking the picturesque tram (pictured here above), although it’s a bit more expensive than the previous options, and doesn’t cover as much distance. Riding the tram here though can be a great alternative to riding it in Lisbon, where it’s often crowded and you might have to wait in line for hours (not exaggerating) in order to get on it.

How To Save Money with the Porto Card

If you’re traveling on a budget but still want to visit Porto’s main attractions, you can save money with the Porto Card

The Porto Card allows you to use the public transport system as well as visit 6 museums for free. You’ll also get discounts of up to 50% in most attractions, and it’s valid for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days, depending on the option you choose (which in this case would be 1!). 

The 1-day Card for one person costs less than $15, so you’ll be saving quite a lot of money if you visit all the attractions. ➥ BUY IT HERE 

Best Porto Tours for First Timers

Is your one day in Porto, Portugal your first time in the city? Then check out these incredible tours, all of them offering a great introduction to Porto. 

➤ This 3-Hour Guided Tour will take you through the winding streets of the historic city, visiting Porto’s main monuments, from its Cathedral to the magical Livraria Lello, and plenty of buildings with azulejos. You’ll get to learn about Porto’s history as you wander its streets. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ The Electric Bike Tour in Porto takes you around the city highlights without getting tired! You’ll have your own e-bike and helmet, and follow a guide through colorful and hilly streets, passing by gorgeous scenery and making stops at certain landmarks for pictures. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ If you’re looking to enjoy various attractions, get the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, River Cruise, & Port Cellar Tour– It enables you to use the Hop-On Hop-Off bus for 48 hours to explore the city, and also includes a cruise on the Douro river, and a Porto wine tasting experience at a local cellar. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

One Day in Porto: THE PERFECT Itinerary

Wondering what to see in Porto in a day? Here’s the ultimate itinerary!

Marvel at the Azulejos in Porto

Porto boasts an incredible amount of buildings completely covered in azulejo tiles that give the city a distinctive and very charming signature. You can start by admiring the beautiful ceramic tiles of Igreja de Santo Ildefonso and Capela das Almas, some of the best azulejos in Porto.

Then walk to Igreja do Carmo which dates back to the late 18th century, although its azulejos-covered exterior, which pays tribute to Nossa Senhora, was only completed in 1910. This church features an impressive rococo architectural style

Feel the Magic at Livraria Lello 

Livraria Lello is said to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, and it’s one of the oldest as well, dating back to the 1800s. What’s more, rumor has it that this very library inspired J.K. Rowling when she was writing the Harry Potter books, as she lived in Porto and was a frequent visitor to the bookstore! 

And you’ll absolutely believe it as soon as you step foot in it because it really exudes mystery and magic! Besides being a book lover’s paradise, it’s also a fantastic place to take Instagram-worthy pictures, so don’t leave your camera (or phone) behind. 

To access Livraria Lello, you need to get a ticket voucher. This means there is an entry fee starting at 5 euros, but if you decide to buy a book that amount goes toward your purchase.

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9.30 AM to 7 PM

➤ The Guided Walking Tour of Porto includes a visit to Livraria Lello, where you’ll skip the lines and marvel at its magical interior. You’ll also get to visit other landmarks and learn from your guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Head to Sao Bento Station

Sao Bento Train Station is another must-visit destination for chasing azulejo tiles and beautiful interiors. Inaugurated in 1916, the main hall features over 20 thousand tiles that tell the history of the country, a really massive and awe-striking work of art. 

Image of the interior of a train station covered in azulejo tiles with images that tell the story of Portugal. It's Sao Bento Station, a must-visit while spending one day in Porto

If you don’t add any museums during your one day in Porto itinerary, at least you’ll learn all about the Battle of Valdevez and other important events of Portugal’s past in this beautiful train station. 

Climb the Clerigos Tower 

Clerigos Tower, or Torre dos Clerigos in Portuguese, is Portugal’s tallest bell tower at 249 feet (76 meters) tall. It takes 200 steps to get to the top, but the view of the town and the Duoro river from up there is worth it!

The Clerigos complex was built in the first half of the 18th century, and there are 49 bells you’ll come across while making your way upstairs. There’s also a museum located in the adjoining House of the Brotherhood. Here you’ll get to explore the areas destined for the clerics, where they carried on their daily lives.  

➤ The Torre Dos Clerigos Entrance Ticket allows you to climb to the top of the tower to admire the views, and it includes access to the museum. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 7 PM
Entrance Fee: 6 euros. Free for children aged 10 or younger. 

Check out the views from Miradouro da Vitoria

Add more impressive views to your Porto one day itinerary with a visit to Miradouro da Vitoria. Possibly the most popular viewpoint in Porto, it has gained its fame for a reason!

From this viewpoint, which is completely free, you’ll enjoy views over the Ribeira, catching sight of the Dom Luis bridge, the Cathedral, the impressive glass dome of Palacio da Bolsa, and the terracotta rooftops all around. 

While the Miradouro itself is not very well maintained, the views are all you’ll be going for, and they deliver!

Eat a Francesinha for lunch

And it’s time for lunch! You’re gonna need the refuel to continue your day in Porto, so make sure you eat well. My suggestion? A Francesinha, of course!

This popular Portuguese sandwich was actually born in Porto, and it will keep your hunger at bay for hours in just a couple of bites, believe me.

While its name literally translates to Little Frenchie, there’s nothing little about this massive meal, which consists of bread, steak or other kind of meat, wet-cured ham, melted cheese, tomato and beer sauce, and is often served with a fried egg on top and plenty of fries. 

You can get a Francesinha at pretty much every restaurant, although Cafe Santiago is probably the most famous place in town. Get here early at lunchtime, and don’t get discouraged by the line. It goes pretty quickly!

Visit the Porto Cathedral

Now that you’ve eaten, you can continue your tour of the city! Next stop is the Porto Cathedral, which has to be on your plans even if you’re visiting Porto in one day. 

Porto Cathedral, also known as Sé do Porto, dates back to the 12th century, and it’s the most important religious landmark in the city, having been declared a National Monument.

While the cathedral’s exterior looks Romanesque, you’ll find upon entering it (especially if you’re into architecture) that there’s a mix of styles, including Baroque and Gothic, due to the number of renovations it suffered throughout the centuries up to this day. 

The Cathedral and its cloister are impressive, the last one featuring (of course!) beautiful azulejo designs, so you shouldn’t miss them! 

Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 6.30 PM 
Entrance Fee: Entrance to the Cathedral is free. The Cloister costs 3 euros.

Stroll through Cais da Ribeira

Cais da Ribeira is Porto’s riverside area and one of the most fun districts to explore. It features a maze of steep and narrow streets you should definitely get lost in, as well as a colorful square, Ribeira Square, where you’ll find both locals and tourists enjoying the views of the river and the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge

Make sure to stroll along the promenade to take in the scenery on both sides, as the houses are pastel-colored and offer quite a sight, and also take a couple hundred photos! Cais da Ribeira bustles with life, and you’ll find quite a few eateries and shops as well to scan for souvenirs. 

This famous arch bridge is a double-deck metal structure that really catches the eye, and which crosses the Douro River connecting the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Opened to the public in 1886, it has become an icon of Porto

Take a River Cruise in Porto

One of the most sought-after attractions in the city, even if you’re only planning a Porto 1 day itinerary, is taking a cruise on the Douro River.

You’ll be gliding alongside the city, checking it out from a new perspective, and passing under 6 bridges in one of the most relaxing Porto activities

➤ You can go on the River Douro 6 Bridges Cruise to sail along the route of the former wine merchants, drifting under the six bridges as you learn about them and catching wonderful views of Foz do Douro. ➥ BOOK IT HERE 

➤ You can otherwise opt to join the Bridges Cruise with Optional Wine Cellar Tour to enjoy some wine tasting and a unique guided tour of a Port wine cellar. You’ll also head to the river for a 50-minute cruise, from which you’ll admire the bridges’ architecture, the beautiful riverbank, and relax after your hectic morning exploring the city. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Once you’re back on land, cross the river by walking on the Dom Luis I Bridge – your next activity is in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Viewpoint in Vila Nova de Gaia

If you’ve crossed the bridge on foot, you’ll find yourself at the top of Vila Nova de Gaia. From up here, you can enjoy some incredible views over the river, the bridge, and Cais da Ribeira right in front.

For the best viewpoint, head to the Miradouro do Teleferico. Coming from the bridge, turn right past the crowds of tourists taking a picture and follow the signs for the Teleferico de Gaia. Here you’ll find a little platform with a great view and no crowds.

Teleferico de Gaia Cable Car

For your next stop, you can either walk down to the wineries or take the Teleferico de Gaia cable car which will bring you down in 5 minutes and will gift you some incredible panoramic views during your ride – this is the way I prefer to do it!

The price for the cable car is 6 euros one-way, and 9 euros return trip at the time of writing. It runs daily from 10 AM to 6 PM in the winter, and from 10 AM to 8 PM in the summer.

The ticket also gives you a voucher for a free port wine tasting at Quevedo, so it’s totally worth it in my opinion.

Go Wine Tasting at Vila Nova de Gaia 

Vila Nova de Gaia is across the river from Porto, and the place you want to be at for the most amazing wine tasting experiences. Here is where all the port wineries are, after all, and how could you spend a day in Porto without trying its namesake wine?!

You’re probably still full from your Francesinha, but if you’re not make sure to eat at least a snack before starting your wine tasting: Port wine is strong stuff! 

If you want to explore what the city has to offer on your own, some of the best wineries to include in your 1 day in Porto itinerary are Espaco Porto Cruz, Graham’s Port Lodge, Ferreira Cellars, and Sandeman Cellars.

You can arrange your cellar tour and wine tasting in advance if you prefer! It’s recommended if you visit Porto in the high season (from Easter to the end of summer).

➤ This Cálem Cellar Tour is a very special experience, as you’ll get to tour this amazing cellar but also enjoy a show of traditional Fado music on-site, while tasting different Port wines. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤The Cellar Tour, Interactive Museum, & Wine Tasting also takes you to explore Cálem Cellar, where you’ll learn everything about Port wine, visit the museum and enjoy a spectacular wine-tasting session. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Where to Stay in Porto

You’ll need a place to spend your one night in Porto! Find the best options below. 

LUXURY: Casa da Companhia – This 5-star hotel features two swimming pools, a spa, a bar, and a restaurant. The rooms are spacious and include a luxurious, fully-equipped en-suite bathroom.

MID-RANGE: YOTEL Porto – This modern hotel has a fitness center, a restaurant & bar, and a minimarket. Accommodation includes a continental or buffet breakfast, and the distinctive touch is given by the robots roaming around the lobby. 

BOUTIQUE HOTEL: Mouco Hotel – It features cozy family rooms, a great vibe, an outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant & bar. Breakfast is included, and some rooms feature a balcony with great views.

ON A BUDGET: Avenue View Rooms – The very stylish rooms include access to a fully equipped kitchen and lounge, as well as shared bathrooms. All rooms have a flat-screen TV, coffee & tea making facilities, and heating. 

Best Time To Visit Porto

Let’s start by saying that Portugal enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine per year, so anytime is a good time to visit Porto and its neighboring cities! 

However, you’ll enjoy the best weather between May and October, as the summer temperatures are high but not impossibly unbearable, and there’s mild weather in Spring and Fall as well. 

One Day in Porto FAQ

Is one day enough in Porto?

2 or 3 days in Porto would be enough, but you can still visit the most important landmarks and enjoy Porto’s major charms and attractions in a single day.

What to do in Porto for 24 hours?

Lots of things to do in Porto in a day! From wine tasting to visiting miradouros, marveling ar the architecture and azulejos of the city, and trying traditional food, there are quite a few things you’ll get to cover while in Porto.

Can you get around Porto without a car?

Absolutely yes! Porto is a very walkable city, and you could get around using your feet or taking the trams.

What is the best month to visit Porto?

May, June, September, and October are ideal months to visit Porto, as the weather is fabulous but you won’t find the big crowds that visit in the summer.

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.