2 Days in Porto – A Complete Itinerary

March 8, 2024

For port wine enthusiasts, spending a couple of days in beautiful Porto is a must on a trip to Portugal. This charming, medieval city looks like it's straight out of a fairy tale and boasts stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and of course, lots of port wine. Even if you don't drink port, I believe this lovely city will captivate you. In this article, I'll share some of the wonderful things you can do for 2 fun-filled days in Porto. 


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A Little Bit about Porto


Situated along the Douro River in northern Portugal, Porto, or Oporto in Portuguese, is the second-largest city in the country. Its medieval historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

As you wander through the small alleyways admiring the architecture, you'd be hard-pressed not to fall for the charm of this city. And like with many medieval cities, Porto is built on a hill leading up to the cathedral, so be prepared to climb during your stay.

Porto architecture

Vila Nova de Gaia

Despite the city being known for its port wine, the port is actually stored in cellars, known as "caves", across the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia, or simply Gaia. Given how easy it is to walk across the bridge though, it feels like they're both part of the same city.

When to Visit Porto

Porto's climate is fairly mild, but typically the best time to visit is the spring (March - May) or autumn (Sept - Oct). Summer (June - August) is the peak season and Porto will be very crowded with tourists. Though honestly, the shoulder seasons are also quite crowded given Porto's popularity. Winters are mild but wet, but that could be perfect for drinking port inside!

We visited Porto in late September and had the best weather! The days were sunny and temperatures were very pleasant - in the 70s°F (22-25°C) during the day. At night, temperatures dipped into the 60s°F (17-20°C). 

View of Porto from cathedral

Coming from Hong Kong where those are winter temperatures, I even had to wear a jacket at night because I was chilly!

How Many Days to Spend in Porto?

In my opinion, two full days is probably enough time to spend exploring historic Porto and visiting a couple of the port wine caves in Vila Nova de Gaia. 

That being said, you should also plan to visit the Douro Valley region during your trip to Portugal. Only about 1.5 hours east of Porto, it's easy to take a day trip out there to get a small taste. If you add that to your time in Porto, then you should plan to spend 3 days total. 

Because we rented a car and spent 3 days in the Douro Valley, that is not included in this article. However, I've included a few Douro Valley day trip options in the article so you can see how you could spend your third day in Porto, if you choose to go that route.

Getting to Porto

Traveling to Porto is quite convenient whether you're coming from other cities in Portugal or from places in Europe or further abroad. 

Flying to Porto

Since Porto is such a popular tourist destination, you can find a decent number of flights from around Europe and further destinations, such as Rio de Janeiro, arriving at its airport - Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO)

From the Porto Airport, it's easy to get to the city on public transportation or take a taxi.  

Train to Porto

Coming from other cities in Portugal to Porto, you'll probably find it easiest to take the train to Porto. Our high-speed train from Lisbon to Porto took ~3 hours.

High-speed train in Portugal

Staying in the main section of Porto, you'll disembark at the final stop - Porto Campanhã Station. If you're staying on the Gaia side, you'll get off one stop sooner in Vila Nova de Gaia.

To get from the Campanhã Station to our hotel in Porto's historic center, we took a taxi which cost €12. 

Driving to Porto

Although you can easily drive to Porto, I would not recommend having a car while staying in the city. Parking can be difficult to find and a car is definitely not needed to explore the city. 

Where to Stay in Porto

Since Porto is so walkable, staying in one of its central neighborhoods, such as the Ribeira, Baixa, Cedofeita, or even across the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia, gives you a great base to begin your explorations.

Porto Hotel Recommendation

During our trip, we stayed in the Casa dos Lóios Boutique Guesthouse in Porto's historic center. This boutique guesthouse is located in a 16th-century building that once belonged to a notable Portuguese family. We had a cozy, well-designed room at the top of this historic building. However, the standout was the spacious terrace overlooking the terra cotta roofs and the Clérigos Tower.

Casa dos Lóios Boutique Guesthouse room
Casa dos Lóios Boutique Guesthouse terrace

Every morning, you can enjoy a delicious breakfast in the breakfast room or alfresco in the building's interior courtyard. 

Breakfast at Casa dos Lóios

Start Searching for a Place to Stay in Porto

Trying to find the perfect hotel in Porto or to get idea of what to budget for accommodations? Use the map below to start your search. Filter by your individual preferences and input your travel dates to see what places are available and what their nightly rates are. 

Getting Around Porto

In a historic city like Porto, with its charming narrow and winding streets, walking is the best way to see the city. However, Porto does have various public transportation methods which you can use to explore, if you prefer. 

Exploring Porto on Foot

Since the Porto's city center is fairly compact, we found it easy to walk to most of sights we wanted to see. As with most cities in Portugal, Porto is hilly so wearing comfortable shoes is a good idea. 

Porto Public Transportation 

Although we did not use it while in Porto, you may find the public transportation system useful if you'd like to avoid a lot of walking. Typically, we found it easiest to call an Uber or Bolt taxi if we needed to go a longer distances. Their rates are very affordable in Portugal.

If you plan to take public transportation frequently in Porto, you might consider purchasing the Porto Card - Porto's official sightseeing pass. The card (valid for 1, 2, 3, or 4 days) gives you unlimited use of public transportation (not trams), plus discounts to some of the city's attractions, sights, museums, etc. 

Porto Metro

The Porto Metro has 6 lines; however, most lines do not go to most of the tourist destinations. The most useful line for tourists would be Line D, which runs across the Luis I Bridge, connecting Porto's historic center to Vila Nova de Gaia. 

Porto City Tram

One way to see Porto without walking is to hop on one of the vintage city trams, or carros eléctricos. These historic trams are more of a tourist attraction now than anything, but are useful for getting around too. Buses are also a good option and run in areas where the metro does not go.

Porto City Tram Tour

Porto Funicular

If you'd like to avoid a steep climb from the Ribeira neighborhood up to the Batalha area (behind the cathedral), consider a ride on Porto's funicular - Funicular Dos Guindais. Inaugurated in 1891 and renovated in 1994, it's a short ride, but will save you a lot of steps.

View of Porto Funicular

Other Ways to Get Around Porto

If you want to just relax while seeing the sights and are willing to spend a bit more, consider a sightseeing tour an electric tuk tuk with a knowledgeable local guide. You can find several highly-reviewed tours on Viator, like the ones below, which vary in duration and price range so you can choose the perfect one for you.

Complete Day-by-Day Porto Itinerary

Although this article is about two days in Porto, we also had a bit of time in the evening on the day we arrived, so it was more like 2.5 days. I've included our first day in this itinerary as well. I hope this complete itinerary and thoughts about the places we visited will help you plan your own trip to this romantic and charming city.

Restaurant Tip: If you would like to eat at specific restaurants during your trip, MAKE RESERVATIONS. Even in the "shoulder season," popular Porto restaurants will book up for the night. If you're willing to eat at non-peak hours (i.e., dinner at 9:30-10:00pm), you might be able to walk in to certain places. Others will turn diners away if they're fully booked for the night. 

Arrival in Porto

After taking the high speed train from Lisbon, we arrived in Porto in the late afternoon. We opted to take a taxi from the train station to our hotel - Casa dos Lóios by Shiadu - which cost about €12. After checking in, we set out to enjoy the rest of the day.

Snack at Nata Lisboa

First, we grabbed a quick pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tart) and a coffee at Nata Lisboa which was right outside our hotel. A curious cat lingering around the shop kept me entertained as we ate.

Pastel de nata at Nata Lisboa

Although the pastel de nata was tasty, my favorite throughout our Portugal trip remained Manteigaria in Lisbon.

São Bento Station

Next, we crossed the busy intersection, through a lot of construction, to São Bento Railway Station (Estação de São Bento). Built in the late 19th century, its interior hall is adorned with approximately 20,000 azulejos (Portuguese hand-painted tiles) and a bright yellow ceiling which give it a cheery atmosphere.

São Bento Station Porto

The beautiful blue-tile murals depict historic scenes and were composed by Jorge Colaço, an important azulejo painter, from 1905-1916. Even if you don't plan to take public transportation from the São Bento train station, it's worth stopping in to admire the architecture and azulejos.

Praça da Liberdade

After admiring São Bento Station, we made our way further north to the Avenida dos Aliados and the Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Square) - the central square in Porto.

Praça da Liberdade

The square is lined with beautiful 19th and 20th century buildings. At the far northern end, you'll find the neoclassical Porto City Hall (Câmara Municipal de Porto). 

Local Brewpub - A Fábrica da Picaria

We continued our walk up to A Fábrica da Picaria (The Picaria Factory) - Porto's first brewpub - a couple of blocks from the Praça da Liberdade. They have a nice selection of craft beer made on the premise which you can taste directly from the fermentation tank. Stop by and enjoy a pint on the terrace at this neighborhood gem.

A Fábrica da Picaria brewpub

Sunset on Luís I Bridge

As the temperatures cooled in the evening, we popped into our hotel to grab a jacket and set off to the other side of the Douro River. We happened to cross the Luís I Bridge (Ponte de Luís I)* at sunset. The bridge is one of the best places in Porto to watch the sunset.

*This bridge seems to have a lot of ways to spell it and refer to it. In addition to the ones above, I've seen Dom Luís I Bridge (Ponte de Dom Luís I) and on the bridge itself, it's spelled Ponte de Luiz I or Luiz I Bridge.

Sunset on Ponte Luís I

Jardim do Morro

Another popular spot to watch the sunset is at the Jardim do Morro - just across the Luis I Bridge on the Vila Nova de Gaia side. We noticed lots of people hanging out and enjoying the evening as we passed the park.

Jardim do Morro Porto

Walking through Gaia

After enjoying the sunset, we made our way from the bridge down through Gaia towards the river. It's a fairly steep decline with lots of steps as you wind through the alleyways.

Becky and Jeremy in Porto
Vila Nova de Gaia alley
Teleférico de Gaia

If you don't want to walk down, you might consider hopping on the Gaia cable car - Teleférico de Gaia (can you spot it behind us in the photo above?). It runs from the upper station at Jardim do Morro to the lower station at Cais de Gaia Municipal Market.

At 7€ for a one-way adult ticket, it seems a bit pricey, but the views would be nice!

Drinks at Espaço Porto Cruz

Yet another awesome sunset spot is the rooftop of Espaço Porto Cruz. Although we were aiming to watch the sunset here, we were a bit too slow. Our friends were faster and they enjoyed it! Once we finally made it, we enjoyed watching the city lights come to life with a delicious glass of port. 

Port at Espaço Porto Cruz
Night views of Porto from Vila Nova de Gaia

Dinner at Sagardi Porto

Our first dinner in Porto was at Sagardi Porto - a restaurant specializing in Basque gastronomy. We enjoyed the starters that we sampled - grilled txistorra (Basque sausage), steak tartare, and ham croquettes. 

Dinner at Sagardi Porto - tartare and croquettes
Dinner at Sagardi Porto - dry aged steak

Their specialty, however, is the Basque txuleton with matured or dry-aged meat. The dry-aging process is supposed to enhance the flavors of the steak once it's grilled. Perhaps it's an acquired taste, but I personally didn't enjoy the dryness of the meat.

Day 1 - Exploring Ribeira and Historic Porto

On our first full day, we explored the Ribeira neighborhood and visited several of Porto's historic buildings. If you'd like to learn more about the history of Porto and the story behind some of its monuments, you might consider booking a Guided Walking Tour for your first morning. 

Clérigos Church and Bell Tower

Our first stop of the morning was the Clérigos architectural complex, which includes the tower, church, and a museum. The complex has been a national monument since 1910 and is a must-visit while in Porto.

Clérigos Tower

Built in the mid-1700s, the Clérigos Tower (Torre dos Clérigos) has been a Porto landmark for centuries. Designed by Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni in the Baroque style, it towers above Porto at 75m (246 ft) tall.

Views from Clérigos Tower

The best part is that you can climb the tower (225 steps) to enjoy magnificent 360-degree views of the city. When we visited in September 2023, tickets to climb the tower cost €8.

Clérigos Museum

On the way to the tower entrance, you'll walk through the Clérigos museum that was once the private space of the Clérigos Brotherhood. The museum features collections of sculptures, paintings, and other cultural assets.

Clérigos Church

The Clérigos Church (Igreja dos Clérigos), also designed by Nicolau Nasoni in the mid-1700s, and became the first church in Portugal with an oval plan. A gallery runs around the nave, allowing you to observe the entire church as you walk around it. 

Clérigos Church interior

The main chapel has two Iberian or "Portuguese" pipe organs which are quite impressive. As we toured the church, the organist was practicing which set the mood and gave the visit a bit of gravitas.

Clérigos Church - Spiritus Night Show

If you're looking for a unique Porto experience, check out the light and music show at the Clérigos Church. Spiritus is an audiovisual experience, pairing light, music, and architecture in a religious location.

Although you can buy tickets on Viator, it appears they're mostly sold out for 2024. So, perhaps enquire at the church when you visit to see if they're still offering the show.

Church of São Francisco

The Church of the Convent of Saint Francis (Igreja São Francisco) is the most prominent Gothic structure in Porto and a sight not to be missed. Declared a National Monument since 1910, the church is located right in the heart of Porto's historic city center. 

The contrast between the stark Gothic architecture and the richness of the Baroque interior make the Church of St. Francis a fascinating monument to explore. At the time we visited, a ticket to the church and museum cost €9.

Church of Saint Francis Porto

Although built in 14th and 15th centuries, the church's interior has been enriched over the years. Today, it's one of the most spectacular repositories of gilded woodwork in Portugal. Many of its carvings, including several beautiful altarpieces, showcase the talent of Porto's carvers from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Church and Sacristy of the Third Order 

Photos were not allowed in the main Church of Saint Francis, but you could take photos in the Church and Sacristy of the Third Order (below). This church was built in 1795 in the neoclassical design by Nicolau Nasoni and is a bright contrast to all the darker woodwork in the main church.

Church of Saint Francis

Another space which you can visit is the Catacombs which were built in 1746 by stonemasons António da Silva, Pedro Pereira, and Manual Pereira to serve as a burial place for brothers of the Order. Not only are there various tombs and an altar, but also a disturbing mass grave of bones lying beneath the floor which you can see through various windows in the floor.

Lunch in the Ribeira District

After touring these historic buildings, we decided to grab lunch in the Ribeira. If you've looked up "places to eat in Porto", no doubt Taberna dos Mercadores is on your list. However, no matter at what point in the day we walked by it, there was always a line. If you haven't made a reservation several months in advance and don't want to wait in line for 2+ hours, you probably won't be able to eat there. 

Delicious Lunch at Adega Dona Antónia

All that being said, walk a few shops down the street to Adega Dona Antónia and have a fantastic meal without the hassle. We had a late lunch (~2:30 PM) that day so there was no wait when we arrived.* The staff was very friendly and the food was delicious.

Looking back, I still remember Dona Antónia as the place with the best octopus I ate in Portugal and overall, one of my favorite meals. Highly recommend it! 

Starters at Adega Dona Antónia
Octopus at Adega Dona Antónia

*If you're eating during peak hours, I'd still recommend making a reservation to avoid disappointment.) 

Livraria Lello (Harry Potter Bookstore)

As a huge Harry Potter fan, my friend was adamant that we visit Livraria Lello while in Porto. One of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, it's said to be where J.K. Rowling got her inspiration for several locations in her Harry Potter series, including the grand staircase at Hogwarts. Well, it's said by everyone but Rowling who denies ever visiting the shop while she lived in Porto during the 1990s. 

Livraria Lello

The number of tourists streaming into the store each day means you won't be sitting in a quiet nook reading a book while soaking up the magical atmosphere. Instead, you'll be quickly snapping photos, while trying not to step in other people's photos and avoid being smushed as you browse the shelves for books to take home. 

Becky at Livraria Lello

The shop stocks a wide variety of books in different languages, including valuable first editions, cookbooks, and the complete Harry Potter series with unique illustrated editions. 

Livraria Lello Tickets

Due to its large number of visitors each day, the bookstore charges an entrance fee. Plus, you need to sign up for a timeslot when you purchase your ticket. In order to avoid the long queues, we purchased the VIP Gold Ticket Voucher (€15). This priority ticket includes a book purchase (specific titles only) and allows you to skip waiting in the line completely. 

A cheaper option, the Silver Ticket Voucher (€8), gives you an €8 discount on a book purchase. However, you still must queue in the line for your specific time outside the shop when you arrive as opposed to walking straight into the store.

Carmo Church

While you're visiting Livraria Lello, pop over to the Carmo Church (Igreja do Carmo) to admire its beautiful exterior wall of azulejos, designed by Silvestro Silvestri. 

Carmo Church
Carmo Church azulejo tile mural

Drinks at Quinta do Noval

Making sure to get our daily dose of port wine while in Porto, we headed over to Gaia again. There, we enjoyed a tasting flight at the Quinta do Noval Wine Shop as we watched the sunset over the Douro River.  

Becky and Jeremy at Quinta do Noval
Sunset over Douro River Porto

Sunset along the Douro River with the traditional rabelo boats

Dinner at Mito

For dinner, we called an Uber and headed up to Mito (or Myth) in the Rua da Picaria neighborhood. Chef Pedro Braga's dishes are creative, beautifully-presented, and delicious. The cocktails are also quite tasty!

Mito Porto dinner

Pro Tip: Double-check to make sure your reservation is confirmed by calling ahead. I'd reserved by email but somehow it was lost or not fully confirmed even though I'd messaged with someone a couple of weeks in advance.

Day 2 - Boat Cruise and Port Caves

Our second full day was another gorgeous one weather-wise during which we continued to explore and discover more of Porto's delights. After another delicious breakfast at our boutique hotel, we were ready for our adventures.

Private Douro River Cruise

One of the highlights of our trip to Porto was the private boat tour we took on the Douro River. Sailing down the river, you can really sit back and appreciate how beautiful the city is as it rises up on the hillside. 

We booked this private boat trip (1-4 people) on Viator and I highly recommend it!

Departing at Marina Do Freixo

To get to the starting point - Marina do Freixo - we caught an Uber (~15-min drive). There, we met up with our friends and António, our boat driver and local expert. The boat was a small craft large enough to fit our group with large bean bags set up on which for us to sit. 

Becky and Jeremy on Douro boat cruise
Douro River Boat Cruise 

The boat ride lasted around 2 hours as we sailed west along the Douro River, passing Porto's center and the wine shops in Gaia. At the mouth of the Douro, just before reaching the Atlantic Ocean, we turned around and headed back to Marina do Freixo.

Douro River boat cruise

Setting off on our Douro Boat Cruise

Porto view from Douro River boat cruise

Lovely Oporto

Mouth of Douro River

Our turning point - looking out towards the Atlantic Ocean

During the ride, drinks were included and we sipped on a refreshing Vinho Verde for most of the ride. At the end, we also sampled a port wine from António's family estate.  

António was an excellent guide with a comprehensive knowledge of Porto's history, telling us about various landmarks as we passed them. It was also fun to chat with him about daily life and hear a local's perspective on Portugal's development since joining the EU and its current popularity with tourists.  

Tips for the Boat Ride

We booked the 10:00 am cruise, which seemed a bit early but I'm so glad we did. It's a small boat so there's no shade and we had a very sunny day. I'd definitely recommend wearing sunscreen and a bringing a hat and sunglasses if you have a sunny day! 

Becky and Jeremy in Porto, Portugal

Lunch at Café Santiago

After a boozy morning, we headed directly to lunch at Café Santiago to try one of Porto's specialties - the Francesinha sandwich. This heart-attack sandwich originated in Porto and is comprised of bread, layers of meat (ham, steak, roast, etc.), and melted cheese. The whole thing is topped with a hot tomato-and-beer sauce, known as molho de francesinha plus an egg. In case this isn't enough to clog your arteries, it also comes with fries. 

Francesinha sandwich at Cafe Santiago

As hungry as I was and as delicious as the sandwich was, I could not make it through the entire sandwich, let alone the fries. It certainly worked to soak up the alcohol from the morning's boat ride and would probably be a great hangover cure!

Bolhão Neighborhood

After lunch, we walked around a bit, admiring the various architectural sights in the southern part of the Bolhão neighborhood. The area has an interesting mix of architectural styles to admire. 

Church of Saint Ildefonso (Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso)

Completed in 1739, the  Church of Saint Ildefonso (Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso) was built a proto-Baroque style. In 1932, the beautiful azulejo tilework was added to the church.

Church of Saint Ildefonso
Ageas Porto Coliseum (Coliseu Porto Ageas)

The Ageas Porto Coliseum (Coliseu Porto Ageas) is a leading venue for music and cultural events in Porto. The building itself is a wonderful example of Portuguese Streamline Moderne or Art Deco style.

Ageas Porto Coliseum art deco

Porto Cathedral

Our primary destination for the afternoon was the Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto), which we missed on our first day of sightseeing in Porto. Located in the Batalha District, the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady is the most important religious building in Porto and is a National Monument.

Porto Cathedral

Situated on a square close to where the city walls used to be, the cathedral overlooks the city and offers magnificent views.

Cathedral Architecture

Building on the cathedral began in the 12th century, but it has been rebuilt and modified throughout the centuries. Thus, you can find a mix of several architectural styles throughout the cathedral. The façade and the nave are primarily Romanesque.

During the 14th century, a funerary chapel and cloisters done in the Gothic style were added to the complex. Finally, in the 17th and 18th centuries modifications in the Baroque-style were made to both the interior and exterior of the cathedral. 

Sé do Porto interior

When visiting the Cathedral, don't miss the beautiful Gothic-style cloister which was added in the 14th century. Decorated with beautiful blue hand-painted tile murals (azulejos) depicting Bible scenes, it's one of the most beautiful areas of the cathedral. 

Cloister at Sé do Porto
Azulejos in Porto Cathedral cloister

Episcopal Palace

Next to the Porto Cathedral is the Episcopal Palace (Paço Episcopal), also known as the Bishop's Palace, is the former residence of the bishops of Porto. It's a great example of the Baroque and Rococo styles of architecture. We purchased a combined entrance ticket to the Porto Cathedral and the Bishop's Palace.

Bishop's Palace grand staircase

The grand staircase in the highlight of the Bishop's Palace, but walking through the various lavishly-decorated rooms was also entertaining. 

Dining table in Bishop's Palace Porto

Can you guess what all these utensils are for? We had fun trying. 

The view overlooking Dom Luis I Bridge out the windows is probably the best we saw in Porto. 

View of Douro River from Bishop's Palace

Port Caves in Vila Nova de Gaia

After soaking in some history, we decided it was time to tour a port cave. Although we'd had drinks at the wine shops in Gaia each evening, we hadn't yet toured any of the actual cellars.

Pro Tip: It's necessary to book tours in advance for most of the port wine caves in Vila Nova de Gaia to avoid disappointment. 

Because we planned to spend a couple of days in the Douro Valley, we did not prioritize winery tours in Porto. However, we were able to book a tour for the same day at Real Companhia Velha. Some of the other places we called were fully booked. 

Real Companhia Velha

Founded in 1756, Real Companhia Velha, also known as the Royal Oporto Wine Company or Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro, is the oldest Portuguese company with uninterrupted service since it began.

With five estates in the Douro Valley, plus the port wine caves in Vila Nova de Gaia, it's quite a large operation. During our group tour (~15 people), we learned more about their production as we wandered through giant wood casks, barrels, and vats where wine rests for years. 

Barrels at Real Companhia Velha

Probably one of the most unique rooms we toured was the cellar housing the oldest bottles of port that the company has. Some of them date back to the 1700s! The room is cool and creepy - like real-life Halloween decor. Personally, I would not want to be the one pulling any of these bottles out to drink them.

Old bottles of port wine at Real Companhia Velha

After the tour, we got to sample some of the port wines. We chose the Founders Tour, which meant we sampled a dry white port, plus 3 tawny ports of 10, 20, 40 years. In general, the tawny ports are my favorite so those are the tastings I generally picked.

Admittedly, the ports we tasted at Real Companhia Velha were not my favorite. They were fine, but just didn't "wow" me the way other did.

Flight at Real Companhia Velha
Getting to Real Companhia Velha

Real Companhia Velha is across the Douro River and about a mile south of the Cathedral, so we decided to catch an Uber. It was a quick and easy ride for the four of us. Funnily enough, we had the same driver as we'd had earlier in the day going from the marina to Café Santiago!

Buses also run out that direction, but would take much longer and require figuring out the bus system. When we left, we took an Uber back to the riverside area of Gaia.

Burmester Cellars

Located right next to the Luiz I Bridge on the Gaia side, Burmester Cellars was the next spot we visited. Although too late in the day to join a tour, they allowed us to do a tasting. We ended up loving their tawny ports and even bought a bottle to take home. 

Barrel at Burmester
Sandeman Terrace

To wrap up our time in Gaia and grab a quick bite to hold us over until our dinner reservation, we headed to Sandeman Terrace. It's a great spot to grab a cocktail or glass of wine (and some snacks) while enjoying the view.

Drinks at Sandeman Terrace in Vila Nova de Gaia

Climbing the Codeçal Stairs

Afterwards, we made our way to dinner, walking across the lower part of the double-decker Luis I Bridge, then climbing the Codeçal stairs (Escadas do Codeçal). It's a bit of a climb up to cathedral-level but a good way to work up your appetite.

Street art in Porto on Escadas do Codeçal

Dinner at Encaixados

Located in the heart of Porto, next to the Clérigos Tower, Encaixados is a modern Portuguese restaurant in a cozy building with over 100 years of history. I loved the exposed stonework and wooden staircase which gave it a rustic vibe.

Both the craft cocktails and the beautifully-prepared dishes were delicious. The highlights for me were the beef cheeks and the octopus. (Although the octopus still came in second to the one at Adega Dona Antónia.) 

Encaixados Porto dinner

Pro Tip: Definitely make a reservation at Encaixados if you want to eat here as they were fully booked and turning people away on a Thursday night. 

Renting a Car in Porto

On our final morning in Porto, we rented a car (through Expedia) to begin our Portugal road trip, starting with three days in the Douro Valley.

As I mentioned above, if you don't plan to rent a car, I'd highly recommend spending three days in Porto, with one day set aside for a day trip to the Douro Valley.

Lessons from our Hertz Rental Car Pickup

Our experience picking up our Hertz rental car was a bit of a nightmare, so I thought I'd share it in case it helps you. It took over 2 hours from the time we arrived at the pick-up location in town (899 Rua Santa Catarina) to collect our car. 

Part of our wait time (~1.5 hrs) was due to customers in front of us being difficult and acting like they'd never rented a car. However, once we'd had our turn, it took another 45 minutes for them to bring out our car. We turned down the (not complimentary) upgrade they offered since they thought we had too much luggage. (We didn't. It fit perfectly.) 

But then, our smaller car wasn't ready. Our friends, who'd rented the larger option yet arrived after us in line, got their car right away. They were finished over a half hour before us. It seemed like all of the higher-end vehicles were ready, just not the smaller mid-range we'd rented. 

As a result, I recommend picking the car up from the Porto Airport to see if you have better luck. At least they might have a wider variety of cars on hand and ready to be picked up? If we do another trip, this is what I would try anyway.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Porto is a charming city with which you are sure to fall in love, even if you're not a port wine fan. With its beautiful architecture, river views, and delicious cuisine, you can easily spend a couple of days relaxing here. I hope this 2-day itinerary has given you some ideas for your next trip to Porto!

Happy travels!

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2-Day Porto Itinerary
2 Days in Porto A Complete Itinerar
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