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Plan Your Trip to Porto: Best of Porto Tourism

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Explore Porto

Portugal’s second-largest city, and the one that gave the country (and port wine) its name, Porto is the perfect blend of classic vibes and modern energy. First off, it's a fantastic walking city. Stroll the winding cobblestone streets and take in 18th-century townhouses alongside chic shops, restaurants, and design-forward boutique hotels. And be sure to check out the port wine cellars across the Douro River at Vila Nova de Gaia. Porto's also a hotspot for contemporary art, from the Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves (a modern art mecca) to the galleries on Rua Miguel Bombarda. But to deep dive on the city’s history, head to its old town—the vibrant Ribeira district. A UNESCO World heritage site, it shows centuries-old architecture (its 14th-century São Francisco church is a main attraction) against a backdrop of some fantastic views of the Douro River. There's a lot more to see and we've got all your recs below.
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Essential Porto

How to do Porto in 3 days

Art galleries, trendy restaurants, and tile-coloured landmarks
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7 best day trips from Porto

An underrated creative city, Porto is the perfect home base for exploring northern Portugal. On my first trip, I took a Viking cruise up the Douro River, but I couldn’t resist returning to see the area’s other surprising sights. From ancient castles and regal palaces to rugged national parks and picturesque vineyards, here are my favourite detours from Porto.
  • Casa de Mateus
    The 18th-century Casa de Mateus is a baroque treasure, designed by Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni. Inside, you’ll discover carved chestnut ceilings, antiques, period paintings, and a handsome library with a rare edition of the Portuguese epic, Os Lusíadas. The estate is equally stunning, with a reflecting pool, a chapel full of religious relics from the Vatican, and immaculate gardens of boxwood hedges, rose bushes, and cypress tunnels. Tip: Have your camera ready for the scenic hour-long journey there.
  • Peneda-Geres National Park
    Drive 90 minutes northwest to Peneda-Gerês, Portugal’s only national park, which spills into Spain. Here, rivers cross oak-and-pine forests, granite mountains, and verdant valleys, where roe deer (the park’s mascot), wild Garrano ponies, and Iberian wolves roam. My favourite hike is the Geira Roman road, featuring 2,000-year-old ruins, medieval bridges, waterfalls, and crystal-clear lagoons. On other trails, you’ll find castles (once occupied by the Spanish, Moors, and Portuguese), monasteries, megalithic dolmens, and espigueiros (stone granaries on stilts).
  • Università Di Coimbra
    Follow the Atlantic Coast 90 minutes south to the University of Coimbra, a UNESCO site overlooking Mondego River. Founded in 1290, it’s one of the world’s earliest academic institutions, where classes are dismissed by the bells in a 17th-century tower. Look familiar? Students shrouded in black cloaks seem like they’ve popped straight out of Harry Potter’s pages. Don’t miss the colourful ceilings in Capela de São Miguel and the gold-leaf bookshelves in Biblioteca Joanina.
  • Bom Jesus Do Monte
    An hour's train away, Braga is a popular pilgrimage site. It’s home to the country’s oldest cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace (bordering the colourful Santa Barbara Garden), and the crown jewel: Bom Jesus do Monte. This neoclassical church sits atop a dramatic baroque stairway that zigzags 17 flights (about 580 steps) up the slopes of Mount Espinho. There’s also a funicular to make it more accessible. Tip: Stay until dusk to see it light up.