15 Best Day Trips from Porto Portugal
Porto is a beautiful city located in the north of Portugal. It is known for its stunning architecture, lively atmosphere, and delicious food. Porto is also a great base for exploring the surrounding area. There are plenty of things to do here, but if you’re looking to get out of the city, here are some of the best day trips from Porto Portugal.
15 best day trips from Porto Portugal to take this year
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We will go over the day trip destinations with sightseeing tips, and distances plus tours and train options so that you are covered!
Porto Day Trips: At a glance
- Foz do Douro
- Villa Nova de Gaia
- Douro River valley
- Ponte de Lima
- Praia da Costa Nova
- Peneda Gerês National Park
Whether you’re interested in history, beaches, food, or just a change of scenery, one of these cities is sure to have something for you.
So get out there and explore all that Portugal has to offer!
Porto Transportation Guide
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal. Situated on the Douro River, Porto is the perfect starting point for exploring Portugal’s stunning north.
From hiking in the nearby mountains to visiting charming medieval villages, there are plenty of great day trips to take from Porto.
And it has a strong transportation network that will help you connect to various cities, towns, and landmarks in between. Public transport exists in the form of trains, trams, buses, and metro lines.
One of the best ways to get around Portugal is by train and Porto has excellent train connections to many destinations in the north of the country.
For stunning mountain scenery, take the train to Braga or Guimaraes. Or, for a dose of history and culture, head to Coimbra or Aveiro.
There are two main railway stations where you can catch a train,
- Sao Bento Train Station (at the centre of Porto)
- Campanha Train Station (this is where you will arrive from Lisbon. All Alfa Pendular trains will depart/arrive here)
If you’re looking to explore Portugal’s coastline, then taking the bus is a great option. Porto’s main bus station, Campanha, has regular buses to destinations all along the north coast, including Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima, and Braga.
There are tram lines that work perfectly well for sightseeing in and around Porto, including some of the nearby beach destinations.
If you’re renting a car, there are plenty of great day trips you can take from Porto. We have mentioned destinations that are within an hour to less than 3 hours by road.
You can also walk to places like the city of Vila Nova de Gaia where you can visit the port wine cellars and enjoy stunning views of the city from across the river.
Or, head north to the coastal towns and beautiful beaches (a long walk of an hour or so).
Keep in mind, without a car or public transportation, you can just join a tour. Many tours will have a pick up from your accommodation with round transportation and a meal included.
Most tour companies are located in the city centre – for pick up or meeting points.
Now, remember that for certain destinations a small group tour is worth it, as it takes out the hassle of changing trains, or navigating a new city or town for a short day trip.
Whatever mode of transportation you choose, there are plenty of options for day trips to take from Porto.
Villa Nova de Gaia: Wine cellars and views of Porto
- Travel by car: 15 minutes
- Walk: 5-10 minutes from the Ribeira
Porto and Gaia are two cities that are separated and yet connected by the Douro River. If you are standing on the iconic Ponte Dom Luis I, you will have both cities on either side.
It is said that each time you cross a river, you enter a new municipality or city in Portugal.
For many, this may not seem like a whole day trip, but there are a few things (especially experiences) that make setting aside a day for exploring Gaia worthwhile.
When you compare both cities, Porto is popular and has more historical sites and museums as such.
Here is what Gaia is known for, and a suggested sunrise to sunset itinerary for a day,
- Viewpoints: Gaia is home to a ton of viewpoints. And they are perfect for views of…..you guessed it, Porto! From the bridge to Jardim do Morro, and Miradouro da Serra do Pilar, you can soak in the sun with a cuppa coffee and then a glass of port wine in the evening.
- Soak in the views from the promenade: It is said that the best part of Gaia is its views of Porto, and it’s true. The stunning views from the river banks with the Rabelo boats and colorful buildings of Porto are hard to miss!
- Wine caves and cellar tours: Gaia is known for its wine caves and the famous port wine that comes here from the Douro Valley. There are a few companies that offer you premium tastings and cellar tours. Each tour is for an hour or so. We recommend picking 1-2 to fill your day (like I did!)
- Other activities: You can also hang out at pretty cafes and restaurants, go shopping, ride the funicular for views or go on river cruises from Gaia. Read: How to spend 3 days in Porto
Read: 2 weeks in Portugal itinerary | Most beautiful cities in Portugal
Foz do Douro: Of beaches and lighthouses
- Travel by car: 15 minutes
- Travel by bus: Line 500, takes 15 minutes
- Travel by tram: 20 minutes
- Walk: About an hour
The Foz do Douro is the estuary of the River Douro where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is located just west of the city centre and makes for a nice day trip from Porto.
Although it only takes 15 minutes to get there, because it is the beach, you might want to reserve the day to soak in the sun and enjoy the coastline.
So it is 15 minutes by car, and by bus, it takes about the same time. Use bus line 500, to get from Estação de São Bento to Igreja da Foz.
When taking the metro, it will be about 20 minutes or so. The line is Alfândega to Passeio Alegre. From there it is a short walk to the Foz do Douro.
- Enjoy a stroll: Once at Foz do Douro, take a stroll along the promenade and admire the views of the river meeting the ocean. This is a beautiful spot for sunset.
- Hang out: There are also some nice restaurants and cafes along the promenade where you can stop for a bite or drink.
- Popular beach spots: The lighthouses at the beach are quite popular.
- Parque da Cidade: Portugal’s largest urban park.
- Castelo da Foz: Another beautiful location to watch the sunset is the Fortress of Saint John Baptista of Foz, also known as Castelo da Foz. It’s a stunning castle, so don’t miss it.
- Castelo do Queijo: Another little castle with the finest views of the Matosinhos Beach is Castelo do Queijo.
Douro Valley Wine Tasting Tour: Famous Port Wine
- Travel by car: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Travel by bus: 2 hours
- Travel by train: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Travel by boat: 6+ hours. Cruises depart from Gaia’s Quay to Pinhão
- Tour: Book a Douro Valley tour with lunch
If you’re a fan of wine, then a trip to the Douro Valley is a must-do. The valley is located about 2 hours from Porto and is one of the most picturesque regions in Portugal.
The best way to explore the valley is on a wine tasting tour. You can visit several wineries, learn about the winemaking process, and of course, taste the delicious wines!
There are many tour operators that offer day trips to the Douro Valley from Porto.
- Wine tour: A typical wine tasting tour will include 3 different wineries, a delicious lunch with stunning views, and a tasting of port wines. I would highly recommend it!
- River cruise: A full day tour may also include a short Douro River cruise. You can also book it independently if you are driving there yourselves.
Matosinhos: Perfect beach destination for a day trip from Porto
- Travel by car: 10 minutes
- Travel by train: 30 minutes, from Trindade to Matosinhos Sul
- Travel by bus: Line 500, takes 20 minutes
If you’re looking for a day trip from Porto that involves some beach time, then head to Matosinhos. This town is located just 10 minutes away from Porto, and it is a popular spot for locals to escape the city during the summer.
The beaches here are definitely worth a visit, and there are also some good restaurants serving fresh seafood.
You can take the metro from Trindade station in Porto, and it will take you directly to Matosinhos Sul station. Once you’re there, walk towards the beach and spend some time relaxing.
- Try the famous “francesinha” sandwich: Be sure to try the famous “francesinha” sandwich – a dish that was invented in Porto but is popular all over the country!
- Matosinhos Market: If you’re looking for more things to do, then visit the Matosinhos Market. This is a large indoor market with stalls selling fresh seafood, fruit, and vegetables. There are also some good restaurants located inside, where you can try local specialties including fish.
Guimarães: The cradle of Portugal
- Travel by car: 50 minutes+
- Travel by bus: 50 minutes +
- Travel by train: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Tour: You can book a combined Braga and Guimaraes day tour
Guimarães is a small city located just an hour away from Porto. It is known as the “cradle of Portugal” because it is the birthplace of the country’s first king, Afonso Henriques.
The city is full of historical sites and beautiful architecture.
You can drive to Guimaraes or conveniently take the train. Trains depart frequently from both São Bento and Campanhã stations, and it takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
You can also take a FlixBus from Porto Camelias to the Guimaraes bus station.
Some of the top things to do on a Guimarães day trip from Porto include
- Visit the Guimaraes Castle: The Castle of Guimarães is one of the main attractions here. It was built under the orders of Mumadona Dias in the 10th century as a military fortification. You can visit the castle, and admire the Romanesque architecture – rectangular towers, the military square, and the central keep.
- Stroll the historic center: Guimaraes historic centre is very quaint and lovely for a wander. I absolutely loved it – strolling the cute lanes, admiring the colorful houses, churches, and pretty flowers!
- Explore the Ducal Palace: The Palace of the Dukes of Braganza is a medieval estate and former residence of the first Dukes of Braganza. The palace was built by Afonso, Count of Barcelos, the illegitimate son of John I of Portugal in the 15th century. You can visit the estate for a fee. It has multiple floors with exhibits like furniture, carpets, and tapestries on display.
- Check out Largo da Oliveira: The Largo da Oliveira is a large square in the historic town centre of Guimaraes. There is a lovely spot to relax, grab a snack and drinks, and just the beautiful ambiance.
- Largo de São Tiago: Located on the northern side of the square is a medieval building that was home to the town hall. Besides this, there is another square here called the Largo de São Tiago.
- Admire Largo da República do Brasil: Largo da República do Brasil is a stunning floral display located near the centre. It is one of the prettiest spots in the city of Guimaraes. Note that this is a busy roundabout, so exercise caution to cross the road and then soak in the view!
- Jardim do Carmo: Another beautiful garden in Guimaraes that is worth checking out.
Braga: One of the oldest cities in Portugal
- Travel by car: 50 minutes
- Travel by bus: 50 minutes
- Travel by train: 1 hour
- Tour: You can book a combined guided tour of Braga and Guimaraes with a traditional Portuguese lunch
If you’re looking for a day trip from Porto, Braga is the perfect option. It is known as the “religious capital of Portugal” because of its large number of churches and religious sites.
You can reach Braga by car in about 50 minutes. Trains take about an hour, and they are available from both São Bento and Campanhã stations.
You can also catch a bus from Porto (Camelias) to Braga (Centro Coordenador de Transportes de Braga), and it takes about 50 minutes to an hour.
Some of the top things to do in Braga on a day trip include:
- Visit Bom Jesus do Monte: Bom Jesus do Monte is a sanctuary located on top of Mount Espinho. You can reach the top by taking the funicular railway or by walking up the stairs (which are decorated with sculptures). Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with stunning views of Braga.
- Admire the Cathedral of Braga: The Cathedral of Braga is one of the most important religious sites in Portugal. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in the country. The cathedral has a baroque facade and a beautiful interior. Make sure to visit the treasury, which houses a collection of gold and silver objects.
- Stroll around the historic centre: Take the time to stroll around the city centre, sit down for a traditional Portuguese meal, and buy souvenirs to take back home
- Admire Jardim de Santa Barbara: Jardim de Santa Barbara is a beautiful garden near a medieval site. Check out the flowers and the symmetrical floral layouts here in Braga.
- Visit Igreja Misericórdia: This is a baroque church located in the centre of Braga. The church was built in the 16th century during the Renaissance period and boasts beautiful interiors and a stunning altar.
Ponte de Lima: The oldest bridge town in Portugal
- Travel by car: 1 hour
- Travel by bus: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Tour: Here is a private tour to Ponte de Lima and nearby areas
Ponte de Lima is a small town located about an hour’s drive from Porto, and it is a lovely place to visit for a day. It is the oldest bridge town in Portugal and is full of beautiful architecture.
The city is also a great place to try some of the local food. It is part of the district of Viana do Castelo.
The town is located about 1 hour from Porto by car or RideShare. You can take a bus, and you will arrive in Ponte de Lima in about an hour and a half.
Some of the top things to do in Ponte de Lima include:
- Wander around the old town: The historic centre of Ponte de Lima is lovely to explore! You’ll find plenty of narrow streets, charming houses, and beautiful churches. Be sure to check out the arches of the medieval bridge – they are quite unique! The earliest record of this town is from the 12th century.
- Visit the Ponte de Lima Bridge: The Ponte de Lima bridge is one of the main attractions in the city. The bridge was built in the 14th century and is one of the oldest bridges in Portugal. It spans across the River Lima and has 14 arches. The views from the bridge are quite lovely!
- Arnado Park: Visit the beautiful architectural theme park with styles from all over the world – check out the Roman gardens, the Labyrinth, Renaissance-style structures, and more.
- Check out the Toy Museum: Museu do Brinquedo is Arnado Park is definitely worth a visit!
- Explore Capela das Pereiras: The Capela das Pereiras is located in the upper part of the town, and the views from up there are stunning. The chapel dates back to the 16th century.
- Largo de Camões: Hang out at the large square, surrounded by restaurants and cute cafes. Ponte de Lima is known for its gastronomy, so be sure to try some of the local food!
Aveiro: The Venice of Portugal
- Travel by car: 50 minutes
- Travel by train: 50 minutes to an hour
- Tour: Half day tour of Aveiro and Costa Nova or combine it with Coimbra
Aveiro is known as the “Venice of Portugal” because of the canals that run through it. You can take a boat ride through the canals, which is a great way to see the city.
There are two ways to get to Aveiro from Porto – by car or by train. The drive takes around 50 minutes, while the train ride is just under an hour.
Pro tip: You have an option to connect from Lisbon to Aveiro via the high-speed Alfa Pendular train, and after sightseeing, you can return to Porto for the night.
Some of the top things to do in Aveiro include:
- Ride in a moliceiro: A moliceiro is a traditional boat used to harvest seaweed in the Ria de Aveiro. These days, they are used to provide visitors tours of the city’s canals. These tours are for 45 minutes, and it allows you to see some of the city’s landmarks from the water, including the Church of Santo António, the Aveiro Cathedral, and the Ponte da Barra. Book a tour here
- Visit the Museu de Aveiro: The Museu de Aveiro is a must-visit for anyone interested in the religious history of the city. The museum is housed inside a 15th-century chapel and showcases exhibits such as paintings, sculptures, carvings, tiles, jewelry, furniture, and vestments from the 15th to the 20th century.
- Museu de Arte Nova: This is a beautiful museum located in an iconic building – the “Casa do Major Pessoa” with views of the main canal of the Ría de Aveiro. Highly recommend visiting this museum, they are open from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm except for Mondays and lunch hours. The fee is 2 euros per person.
- Visit the Ílhavo Maritime Museum: The Ílhavo Maritime Museum is located in the town of Ílhavo, which is a short drive from Aveiro. The museum is dedicated to the history of the Portuguese fishing industry, and it houses a collection of artifacts that date back to the 18th century. You can also see a replica of a traditional Portuguese fishing boat, and you can learn about the methods used by fishermen to catch fish.
Praia da Costa Nova: Fisherman village + colorful houses
- Travel by car: 1 hour
- Travel by bus and train: 1 hour and 20 minutes (change in Aveiro)
- Travel by bus: 1 hour 30 minutes (change in Aveiro)
- Tour: Half day tour of Aveiro and Costa Nova
The Costa Nova is a beach area located just outside of Aveiro. You can get to Costa Nova by car in 15 minutes. Buses are available as well, and you will be at the beach in 15-20 minutes.
The bus station is conveniently located by the beach and the promenade of colorful striped houses!
- Walk around the promenade of Praia da Costa Nova: The beach is known for its colorful houses, which were once used by fishermen. These days, they are used as holiday homes.
- Go surfing: The Parque da Costa Nova is a great place to take a stroll, and it’s also a popular spot for surfing.
- Relax at the beach: Soak up the sun, or watch the surfers ride the waves at the beach in Costa Nova
Coimbra: Home to one of the oldest universities in Europe
- Travel by car: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Travel by bus: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Travel by train: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Tour: Fatima and Coimbra combined tour
Coimbra is a city located about an hour and a half from Porto. It is home to the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in Europe. The city also has a number of historical sites and beautiful buildings.
There are a few ways to get from Porto to Coimbra. You can drive, which takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can also take a FlixBus from Porto Camelias to Coimbra.
Or you can take the train, which is faster and more convenient. The journey takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes. There are several trains that depart from both São Bento and Campanhã stations.
Some of the top things to do in Coimbra on a day trip include:
- Visit the University of Coimbra: The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Founded in 1290, the university has a long and rich history. The university is located on a hill overlooking the city of Coimbra. You can visit the main buildings, including the Joanina Library, the Baroque library with its beautiful ceiling, and the Capelas Imperfeitas (Imperfect Chapels) on a tour.
- Take a stroll through the Old Town: Coimbra’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a beautiful area to explore, with narrow streets, medieval buildings, and plenty of cafes and restaurants.
- See the Aqueduct of Coimbra: The São Sebastião Aqueduct is a 16th-century aqueduct that provided water to the upper town. It is a beautiful structure, and you can walk to the Botanical Garden from there.
- Explore the Botanical Garden: The University of Coimbra has a beautiful botanical garden, which is open to the public. The garden is home to a variety of plants and trees, as well as a greenhouse. Access is free.
- Visit the Monastery of Santa Cruz: The Monastery of Santa Cruz is a 12th-century monastery located in the Old Town. The monastery is home to the tomb of King Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal. You can visit the monastery’s tombs for an entry fee (church access is free).
Fatima: Religious site
- Travel by car: 1 hour 50 minutes
- Travel by bus: 2 hours
- Tour: Fatima and Coimbra combined tour
Fatima is known as a religious destination, due to the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. It is one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon, and also doable as a day trip from Porto.
The best way to get to Fatima from Porto is by car or bus. The drive is just under 2 hours.
You can also take a train from Porto São Bento to Coimbra-B, and then transfer to Coimbra-B for a regional train to Fatima. This journey takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes in total, so it takes longer compared to a bus or car.
Things to see and do in and around Fatima,
- The basilica and shrine are the main attractions in Fatima. You can explore the site, and even attend mass.
- There is also a museum on-site that covers the history of the apparitions.
- Cova da Iria: This is where the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima took place
- Capelinha das Aparições: Located next to the Cova da Iria is a small chapel known as the Capelinha das Aparições, or the Chapel of the Apparitions.
- Valinhos: Valinhos is the site of another apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. It is located just a short drive from the basilica.
- Aljustrel: Aljustrel is where the three young children – Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia – who saw the apparitions were born and lived.
Amarante: Charming medieval old town
- Travel by car: 40 minutes
- Travel by bus: 40 minutes to an hour
Amarante is a charming medieval town located on the Tamega River in northern Portugal.
It is located about 40 minutes from Porto by car, or bus The town is best known for its 13th-century São Gonçalo bridge, which is decorated with Baroque sculptures.
Things to do in Amarante:
- São Gonçalo bridge: The postcard view of the bridge is not to miss during your day trip to Amarante
- Visit Igreja de São Gonçalo: This is a beautiful church located very close to the bridge. It features a 16th-century Renaissance doorway, with three tiers of columns that are Corinthian further down and Solomonic on the top level. Inside it is the tomb of the 13th-century beatified priest, Gonçalo de Amarante who is venerated on his saints’ day in June.
- Visit the Amadeo de Souza Cardoso Museum: The Amadeo de Souza Cardoso Museum is an art museum with a large collection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by the Portuguese artist Amadeo de Souza Cardoso.
- Wander the streets of Amarante: Amarante is a lovely town to explore on foot. Stroll the cobbled streets, admire the colorful houses, and stop for a bite to eat in one of the many cafes and restaurants.
Peneda-Gerês National Park
- Travel by car: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Travel by train and taxi: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Tour: Full day tour with kayaking, waterfall trek, and lunch
Peneda-Gerês National Park is one of the most popular day trips from Porto and it is located in the north of Portugal. The park was created in 1971 and it covers an area of 268+ square kilometers.
The park is known for its beautiful landscapes, mountains, rivers, and lakes. Plus animals such as wolves, and deer to name a few.
There are also a number of villages located within the park that are worth exploring. The best time to visit Peneda-Gerês National Park is from April to October.
We recommend heading this way when driving. There are a number of parking areas located throughout the park. You can also opt for a train and taxi combo
Buses will take a long time, so avoid them, when on a day trip.
Some of the Peneda-Gerês National Park attractions include
- Hiking: There are a number of hiking trails through the park that offer stunning views.
- Chase waterfalls: Soak in waterfalls after a hike. Portela do Homem waterfall (near the Spanish border) is a popular spot!
- Gerês: The spa town of Gerês is a must-stop if you are not into hikes or if you just wish to relax.
- Beautiful towns and villages: The oldest villages inside the park still follow traditional ways and together with the landscape make for an intimate nature and cultural experience. Top picks include Soajo, and Lindoso to name a few.
- Swimming: The rivers and lakes in the park are perfect for a refreshing swim on a hot day.
- Bird watching: The park is home to a number of different species of birds. There are also a number of other activities such as fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.
- Viewpoints: Being a national park, you will find a ton of elevated areas for views and more. Pedra Bela viewpoint is a good one for sunsets!
Lisbon: The capital city of Portugal
- Travel by car: 3 hours | One day in Lisbon itinerary
- Travel by high-speed train: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Tour: Here is a Porto to Lisbon transfer with a tour
Lisbon is Portugal’s capital city, and it is located just a short drive or train ride from Porto.
You won’t be able to explore all of it, but if you wish to wander the old town area, you can surely do so in a few hours, and leave by the last train.
The train station is conveniently located in the city centre – Santa Apolonia in Lisbon and high-speed trains take about 2.50 hours to get there.
Lisbon is a historic city with plenty to see and do. Some of the top things to do include
- TukTuk Tour: On a private 2 hour TukTuk tour you can check off quite a few attractions in one day in Lisbon, and all from the comfort of your seat!
- Visit São Jorge Castle: The Castle of São Jorge is one of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks. It is a Moorish castle that was built in the 11th century, and it offers stunning views over the city. You can visit the castle for an entry fee.
- Wander the streets of Alfama: The Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest district, and it is full of narrow, winding streets. It is a great place to wander and get lost! There are plenty of little cafes and shops to explore.
- Explore the Belém district: The Belém district is located west of Lisbon, and it is a great place to explore. It is home to many of Lisbon’s top attractions, including the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower. The entry fee applies to both.
- Visit the Maritime Museum: The Maritime Museum is located in the Belém district, and it is a great place to learn about Portugal’s maritime history.
Read: Best day trips from Lisbon Portugal
So, those are some of the best day trips from Porto, Portugal.
Whether you’re looking to explore Portugal’s historic towns, relax in a park, or see some of the landmark buildings this list has you covered! Read more of our Portugal travel guides below,
- Portugal: 8 days in Portugal itinerary
- Lisbon: 2 days in Lisbon itinerary | Lisbon to Sintra day trip
- Porto: Viewpoints in Porto | Visiting Livraria Lello Harry Potter Bookshop