10 Best Day Trips From Porto

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Porto, located in the north of Portugal, is a vibrant and captivating city with a rich history and a unique charm. Known for its port wine production and stunning riverfront, Porto is a destination that offers a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern attractions.

The city’s most iconic landmark is the Dom Luís I Bridge, a magnificent double-deck iron bridge that spans the Douro River, connecting Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia. From the bridge, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the city’s colourful houses, ancient churches, and the picturesque riverfront.

Exploring Porto’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is like stepping back in time. The narrow, winding streets are lined with centuries-old buildings adorned with colourful tiles, known as azulejos. The São Bento Train Station is a must-visit for its stunning interior covered in intricate azulejo panels that depict scenes from Portuguese history.

Porto is also famous for its port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. Visitors can take guided tours of the cellars, learn about the port wine production process, and enjoy tastings of the region’s renowned wines.

Beyond Porto, the surrounding areas offer a wealth of attractions and natural beauty. The Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a picturesque wine region with terraced vineyards and breathtaking landscapes. Visitors can take boat tours along the Douro River or explore the charming villages dotted across the valley.

The nearby city of Guimarães, often referred to as the birthplace of Portugal, is steeped in history and boasts a well-preserved medieval center. Its impressive Guimarães Castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza are must-see landmarks.

For a coastal escape, head to the beautiful beaches of Matosinhos and Foz do Douro, where visitors can relax on golden sands and enjoy fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants.

In addition to its historical and natural attractions, Porto is known for its lively atmosphere and cultural scene. The city hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating music, art, and local traditions.

Whether you’re strolling along the Ribeira district, sipping port wine at a riverside terrace, or exploring the enchanting landscapes of the Douro Valley, Porto and its surrounding areas offer a delightful and unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return.

So lets look at the top ten day trips from Porto!

1. Douro Valley

Total Time – 8 – 10 Hours

World-renowned for its wine production.

Douro Valley
Douro River

A day trip from Porto to the Douro Valley promises an unforgettable adventure through one of Portugal’s most breathtaking landscapes. As you leave the bustling city behind, the journey takes you through picturesque countryside adorned with vineyards, olive groves, and almond trees, creating a postcard-perfect scene at every turn.

The Douro Valley is world-renowned for its wine production, and the terraced vineyards that cascade down the hillsides are a testament to centuries of winemaking traditions. Visiting one of the many renowned vineyards along the way is a must-do experience. You’ll have the opportunity to tour the cellars, learn about the winemaking process, and, of course, indulge in tastings of the region’s iconic port wines and excellent reds.

As you venture deeper into the valley, the landscape becomes even more dramatic, with rugged cliffs and verdant hills embracing the meandering Douro River. A cruise along the river offers a unique perspective of the region, allowing you to admire the stunning scenery from a different angle.

At lunchtime, savour the flavours of traditional Portuguese cuisine at a local quinta (wine estate) or in a quaint riverside restaurant. Freshly grilled fish, hearty stews, and regional delicacies like alheira (a unique sausage) await you, complemented by local wines that perfectly pair with the dishes.

For a taste of history, visit one of the charming villages that dot the Douro Valley. Places like Pinhão or Peso da Régua showcase quaint architecture, historic churches, and rustic charm. Don’t miss the chance to snap photos of the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, which connects the wine-producing region to the bustling city of Porto.

Before returning to Porto, take in the panoramic views from the hilltop viewpoints, where terraces of vineyards create a mesmerising mosaic. The setting sun paints the landscape with hues of gold and amber, adding a touch of magic to an already enchanting day.

A day trip to the Douro Valley from Porto promises a captivating journey through Portugal’s wine heritage, natural beauty, and rich cultural tapestry—a truly memorable experience that will linger in your heart long after you’ve bid farewell to this captivating region.

2. Braga

Total Time – 8 – 10 Hours

Glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Portuguese nobility.

Biscainhos Museum Braga
Biscainhos Museum, Rua dos Biscaínhos, Braga, Portugal

A day trip from Porto to Braga promises an enriching journey through history, culture, and spirituality. As the third-largest city in Portugal and one of the oldest Christian cities in the country, Braga offers a captivating blend of ancient heritage and modern life.

Starting the day early from Porto, the scenic drive to Braga takes approximately one hour. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the impressive Sé Cathedral, an iconic landmark with its ornate facade and soaring bell towers. Stepping inside, the cathedral’s grandeur and sacred ambiance create a sense of awe.

Next, make your way to Bom Jesus do Monte, a majestic hilltop sanctuary. Ascend the famous Baroque staircase with its intricate fountains and chapels, or take a funicular for a more leisurely approach. At the summit, breathtaking panoramic views of Braga and its surroundings await.

After absorbing the spiritual atmosphere, explore Braga’s charming historic center. Wander through narrow streets lined with traditional Portuguese houses, quaint cafes, and boutique shops. Visit the Praça da República, the city’s main square, where you can admire the elegant fountain and the graceful arcades of the old Town Hall.

Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Biscainhos Museum, housed in a splendid 17th-century palace. This museum offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Portuguese nobility through its fine collections of furniture, ceramics, and art.

For lunch, savour local delights such as the famed bacalhau (codfish) or traditional Portuguese francesinha sandwich at one of Braga’s cozy eateries.

In the afternoon, venture to the ancient Roman ruins of Citânia de Briteiros, a well-preserved archaeological site located just outside Braga. Marvel at the ancient stone structures, providing insights into the lives of the ancient Celts who once inhabited the area.

Before returning to Porto, take a moment to relax in the peaceful ambiance of the Santa Barbara Garden, a lush green oasis in the heart of Braga. Here, you can unwind while enjoying the scenic surroundings.

As the day comes to a close, head back to Porto, reflecting on the rich cultural experiences and the profound historical significance of Braga. Whether you’re a history buff, a spiritual seeker, or an admirer of architectural marvels, a day trip to Braga from Porto will leave you with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation for Portugal’s cultural heritage.

3. Guimarães

Total Time – 8 – 10 Hours

Taste regional specialties such as bacalhau (codfish).

Guimaraes, Portugal

A day trip from Porto to Guimarães promises an enchanting journey through Portugal’s rich history and captivating architecture. As one of the country’s most historic cities and the birthplace of Portugal’s first king, Guimarães is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a unique blend of medieval charm and modern vitality.

Starting early from Porto, the scenic drive to Guimarães takes approximately 45 minutes. Upon arrival, you’ll be transported back in time as you stroll through the cobbled streets of the city’s historic center. The iconic Guimarães Castle stands tall, serving as a symbol of the city’s significant role in Portugal’s foundation. Explore the medieval fortress and enjoy panoramic views of the city from its battlements.

Next, visit the Paço dos Duques de Bragança, a magnificent palace that once belonged to the Dukes of Braganza. The opulent interiors, adorned with rich tapestries, elegant furniture, and intricate artwork, provide a glimpse into the lives of the Portuguese nobility.

Wander through the picturesque Largo da Oliveira, a charming square surrounded by well-preserved medieval buildings. The Nossa Senhora da Oliveira Church, with its distinctive two towers, is a highlight of the square and a testament to the city’s religious heritage.

For lunch, savour traditional Portuguese cuisine at one of Guimarães’ quaint restaurants. Taste regional specialties such as bacalhau (codfish) or a hearty cozido à portuguesa (Portuguese stew).

In the afternoon, immerse yourself in the cultural ambiance of the Alberto Sampaio Museum, which houses an impressive collection of religious art, historical artifacts, and traditional handicrafts.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the Guimarães Cultural Center, a modern space that hosts exhibitions, performances, and cultural events, adding a contemporary touch to the city’s rich heritage.

Before heading back to Porto, take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of the city, pausing at lively plazas and quaint cafes. Reflect on the historical significance and cultural importance of Guimarães, a city that played a pivotal role in shaping Portugal’s identity.

As the sun sets on your day trip, return to Porto with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the unique charm and historical legacy of Guimarães.

4. Matosinhos

Total Time – 8 – 10 Hours

Haven for surfers, beach lovers, and sunseekers.

Matosinhos Beach
Matosinhos Beach, Avenida General Norton de Matos, Matosinhos, Portugal

A day trip to Matosinhos offers a delightful escape to the coastal town located just a few kilometers west of Porto. Matosinhos is renowned for its beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and vibrant beach culture. The trip takes around 30 minutes by car or a short ride on the metro, making it a convenient and enjoyable excursion from Porto.

As you arrive in Matosinhos, you’ll be greeted by the refreshing sea breeze and the sight of sandy beaches stretching along the coastline. Praia de Matosinhos, the main beach, is a haven for surfers, beach lovers, and sunseekers alike. Stroll along the promenade, where you’ll find numerous beachside cafes and restaurants serving mouthwatering seafood dishes.

One of the highlights of the day trip is the opportunity to visit Matosinhos Fish Market, one of Portugal’s largest and most renowned fish markets. Marvel at the colourful displays of freshly caught fish, shellfish, and other seafood delicacies. Don’t miss the chance to savour a traditional seafood meal at one of the nearby seafood restaurants, known for their delectable grilled fish and seafood platters.

Matosinhos is also famous for its contemporary architecture, and a visit to the Leixões Cruise Terminal is a must. Designed by renowned architect Luís Pedro Silva, the terminal’s striking modern design is a sight to behold.

For a touch of history and culture, visit the Fort of Nossa Senhora das Neves, which offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastline. The fort is a reminder of Matosinhos’ maritime past and is now a cultural center hosting various events and exhibitions.

To round off your day trip, take a leisurely walk along the picturesque harbour, where fishing boats and yachts sway gently in the waters. Enjoy the stunning sunset over the horizon, casting a golden glow over the town.

Overall, a day trip from Porto to Matosinhos is a perfect blend of beachside relaxation, gastronomic delights, and cultural exploration. It offers a refreshing break from the city’s hustle and bustle, providing a chance to unwind, savour local flavours, and immerse yourself in the charm of this coastal gem.

5. Vila Nova de Gaia

Total Time – 8 – 10 Hours

The finest Port wines.

Vila Nova de Gaia Portugal
Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

A day trip from Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty. Vila Nova de Gaia, located just across the Douro River from Porto, is famous for its connection to the world-renowned Port wine.

The day begins by crossing the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, offering stunning views of the colourful houses lining the Douro River. Once in Vila Nova de Gaia, wine enthusiasts can embark on a journey through the historic wine cellars, where the finest Port wines are aged. Touring cellars like Taylor’s, Graham’s, and Sandeman provides a fascinating glimpse into the centuries-old winemaking traditions.

After a captivating wine tour, head to the picturesque Ribeira riverside district in Porto for a leisurely lunch. Indulge in traditional Portuguese dishes, such as bacalhau (salted codfish) and francesinha (a hearty sandwich with various fillings). Savour the flavours while enjoying the riverside ambiance.

In the afternoon, explore Vila Nova de Gaia’s charming neighbourhoods. Wander through the narrow streets, lined with colourful houses adorned with traditional azulejos (hand-painted tiles). Visit the Jardim do Morro, a beautiful garden offering breathtaking panoramic views of Porto’s skyline.

For a touch of history, visit the Serra do Pilar Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This ancient monastery offers architectural marvels and incredible views over the Douro River and the city of Porto.

As the day winds down, take a relaxing boat cruise on the Douro River. Admire the iconic Rabelo boats and the stunning terraced vineyards that dot the landscape along the riverbanks.

In the evening, make your way back to the riverfront in Porto and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. The bustling Ribeira district comes alive with street performers, music, and an array of cafes and restaurants. Sip on a glass of Port wine while watching the sunset over the river.

As the day trip concludes, you’ll carry memories of the enchanting Douro River, the historic Port wine cellars, and the captivating blend of old-world charm and modern allure that Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto offer. The experience will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the rich culture and history of this picturesque region.

6. Peneda-Gerês National Park

Total Time – 1 Day

Treasure trove of unique species, including the iconic Garrano horses.

Peneda-Geres National Park
Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal

A day trip from Porto to Peneda-Gerês National Park offers an unforgettable escape into the natural beauty and wilderness of northern Portugal. Located just a few hours away from Porto, this national park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. The journey begins early in the morning, as you leave the bustling city behind and venture into the picturesque countryside.

As you approach the park, the landscape transforms into a breathtaking panorama of lush green forests, rugged mountains, and sparkling rivers. Peneda-Gerês is Portugal’s only national park and is known for its diverse ecosystems and rich biodiversity. Upon arrival, you are greeted by the pristine wilderness and a sense of tranquility that envelopes the entire area.

The park offers an array of activities to suit all interests. Hiking enthusiasts can embark on scenic trails that wind through ancient oak and pine forests, leading to cascading waterfalls and panoramic viewpoints. One of the highlights is the breathtaking Miradouro da Pedra Bela, offering sweeping views of the surrounding valleys.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Peneda-Gerês is a treasure trove of unique species, including the iconic Garrano horses and the endangered Iberian wolf. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the diverse birdlife that inhabits the park, such as eagles, vultures, and falcons.

After a morning of exploration, a delicious picnic lunch amidst nature’s embrace is the perfect way to recharge. You can enjoy local delicacies while listening to the soothing sounds of nature.

In the afternoon, you can indulge in a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear lagoons or opt for a relaxing boat ride on the peaceful rivers that flow through the park. The breathtaking landscapes provide ample opportunities for photography and capturing the beauty of nature.

As the sun begins to set, it’s time to bid farewell to this pristine wilderness and head back to Porto. The return journey allows you to reflect on the day’s adventures and the memories created amidst nature’s grandeur.

Overall, a day trip to Peneda-Gerês National Park from Porto is an enchanting experience that brings you closer to the unspoiled beauty of Portugal’s natural treasures. Whether you seek adventure or serenity, this national park offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

7. Amarante

Total Time -8 – 10 Hours

Treasure trove of architectural wonders.

Ponte de Sao Goncalo, Amarante
Ponte de São Gonçalo, Avenida General Silveira, Amarante, Portugal

A day trip from Porto to Amarante offers a delightful escape to a charming and picturesque town nestled along the banks of the Tâmega River. The journey from Porto to Amarante takes around 1 hour by car, making it an easily accessible destination for a day of exploration.

Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the town’s historic stone bridge, Ponte São Gonçalo, which spans the river and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Amarante’s well-preserved medieval center is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, with narrow cobblestone streets lined with traditional houses adorned with colourful flower boxes.

One of the highlights of Amarante is the São Gonçalo Church, a Baroque masterpiece dedicated to the town’s patron saint. Its ornate facade and elaborate interior make it a must-visit site for history and art enthusiasts.

Strolling along the riverfront, visitors will find an array of charming cafes and restaurants offering local delicacies, including the famous amêndoas de Amarante, sugared almonds that are a sweet treat loved by both locals and tourists alike.

For nature lovers, Amarante’s proximity to the countryside provides opportunities for pleasant walks and hikes. A visit to the Parque Florestal de Amarante, a peaceful forest park, offers a chance to connect with nature and enjoy the serene surroundings.

Another fascinating attraction is the Casa da Cerca, a cultural center that hosts exhibitions and events showcasing local art and culture. The center’s tranquil gardens provide a peaceful spot to relax and unwind.

History enthusiasts will also appreciate the Convento de São Gonçalo, a former convent that now houses a museum displaying religious artifacts and art pieces.

To end the day on a relaxing note, visitors can take a leisurely boat ride on the Tâmega River or simply enjoy the town’s laid-back atmosphere with a glass of local wine at one of the riverside terraces.

With its historical charm, beautiful landscapes, and warm hospitality, Amarante offers a delightful day trip from Porto, providing a memorable and enriching experience for travellers seeking to immerse themselves in the authentic culture of northern Portugal.

8. Esposende

Total Time – 6 – 8 Hours

Lively fish market where you can sample fresh seafood.

Esposende, Portugal

A day trip from Porto to Esposende offers a delightful escape to the stunning coastal beauty of Northern Portugal. As you leave the bustling streets of Porto behind, you’ll embark on a scenic journey that takes you through picturesque landscapes and charming villages.

The approximately 1-hour drive from Porto to Esposende is a pleasant experience, passing through green countryside. Esposende is a coastal town situated at the mouth of the Cávado River, where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean, creating a unique and serene environment.

Upon arrival in Esposende, you’ll be greeted by the refreshing sea breeze and the soothing sound of crashing waves. The town boasts a long stretch of golden sandy beaches, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing sunbathing session. Take a dip in the clear waters, and you’ll find yourself instantly rejuvenated.

Esposende is known for its impressive sand dunes, which form a natural barrier between the sea and the river. These dunes offer a unique ecosystem with diverse flora and fauna, making it an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Don’t forget your camera, as the panoramic views of the coastline and the river are simply breathtaking.

For history lovers, a visit to the historical center of Esposende is a must. Explore the narrow streets lined with traditional Portuguese houses, and visit the local churches, such as the Church of Bom Jesus de Fão, displaying beautiful architecture and religious art.

To delve into the local culture, head to the lively fish market where you can sample fresh seafood caught by the local fishermen. Taste the renowned grilled sardines, a true delicacy of the region, accompanied by a glass of Vinho Verde, the famous green wine of Portugal.

If you’re seeking adventure, Esposende offers a variety of water sports, including windsurfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. The river and the sea provide an ideal playground for aquatic activities.

As the day draws to a close, find a cozy seaside restaurant to indulge in a delicious seafood dinner while witnessing a stunning sunset over the Atlantic horizon.

With its beautiful beaches, natural wonders, rich history, and vibrant culture, a day trip from Porto to Esposende promises to be a memorable experience filled with relaxation and exploration.

9. Barcelos

Total Time – 6 – 8 Hours

The town is famous for its vibrant weekly market.

Feira de Barcelos
Feira de Artesanato, Avenida Doutor Sidónio Pais, Barcelos, Portugal

A day trip to Barcelos is a delightful journey that takes you to one of the most charming towns in northern Portugal. Located about 45 kilometers northeast of Porto, Barcelos is steeped in history and boasts a rich cultural heritage. The town is famous for its vibrant weekly market, known as the “Feira de Barcelos,” which is one of the largest and oldest markets in Portugal.

Starting from Porto, you’ll embark on a scenic drive through the picturesque countryside of the Minho region. As you approach Barcelos, you’ll be greeted by the iconic 14th-century Barcelos Bridge, an architectural gem that spans the Cávado River.

Upon arrival, you’ll feel the authentic Portuguese ambiance that permeates the cobblestone streets and historic buildings. One of the must-visit attractions is the Barcelos Castle, a medieval fortress with a commanding view over the town. Inside, you can explore the ancient walls and climb the towers for breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding landscape.

Next, head to the bustling town center, where you’ll find the famous market square. The market is a kaleidoscope of colours and aromas, offering a wide range of products, from fresh produce and traditional crafts to local delicacies. Don’t forget to pick up a traditional rooster figurine, the “Galo de Barcelos,” a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

For history enthusiasts, the Archeological Museum of Barcelos is a must-visit. It houses an impressive collection of artifacts dating back to prehistoric times, showcasing the region’s ancient past.

After exploring the cultural treasures, take a leisurely stroll along the riverbank and soak in the serene atmosphere. If you’re a nature lover, consider visiting the nearby Barcelinhos, a charming village surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful landscapes.

When it’s time for lunch, indulge in authentic Portuguese cuisine at one of the town’s traditional restaurants. Savour regional specialties like “Arroz de Cabidela” (chicken rice stew) or “Bacalhau” (salted codfish) paired with local wines.

As the day winds down, take a moment to relax in one of the charming cafes and enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals. Reflect on the beauty and history you’ve encountered throughout the day, and cherish the memories you’ve made on this enriching day trip from Porto to Barcelos. When the sun sets, make your way back to Porto, carrying with you the essence of this captivating town and its surrounding landscapes.

10. Aveiro

Total Time – 6 – 8 Hours

Scenic canals lined with colourful houses.

Aveiro Portugal
Aveiro, Portugal

A day trip from Porto to Aveiro offers an enchanting escape to the “Venice of Portugal,” known for its picturesque canals, colourful Moliceiro boats, and rich maritime heritage. The journey from Porto to Aveiro takes approximately one hour by train, making it a convenient and enjoyable excursion.

As you arrive in Aveiro, you’ll immediately be captivated by the charming atmosphere and the unique architecture that blends Art Nouveau and traditional Portuguese styles. Stroll along the scenic canals lined with colourful houses adorned with azulejos, the iconic ceramic tiles. Embrace the maritime ambiance and discover the historic Mercado do Peixe, where fresh seafood and local delicacies await.

One of the highlights of the day trip is a relaxing boat tour on a Moliceiro boat, gliding through the peaceful canals, reminiscent of the Venetian gondolas. Learn about the city’s fascinating history as a fishing and salt production center, and admire the stunning architecture along the waterways.

Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the famous Ovos Moles, sweet egg yolk pastries that are an Aveiro specialty. These delectable treats are beautifully shaped into various forms, representing local symbols like fish, shells, and boats.

For those seeking a beach experience, head to the nearby Costa Nova, just a short bus or train ride away. This charming seaside village is renowned for its striped fishermen’s houses and golden sandy beaches, providing a perfect spot to unwind and take in the coastal beauty.

Aveiro also boasts a rich cultural scene, with museums and galleries to explore. The Aveiro Museum and the Art Nouveau Museum are must-visit places for art and history enthusiasts.

As the day draws to a close, take a moment to relax in one of the city’s many waterfront cafes, sipping a refreshing coffee or savoring a glass of Port wine. Reflect on the day’s adventures and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this unique destination before returning to Porto with cherished memories of your day trip to Aveiro.

Continent: Europe

Europe, Porto, Portugal