Porto (or Oporto in Portuguese) has it all to make it an epic travel destination. It is warm, has loads of history, insanely good food options, and plenty of viewpoints.
I had the chance to spend 3 days in Porto during one of my visits to Portugal in 2022. You know me – I’m a sucker for views. I also research like mad to spend my time well because I no longer travel full-time.
So, expect a lot of places with a good view in my Porto itinerary – cafes with views, restaurants with a view, and epic sunset spots.
Porto is more affordable than most of the cities in Western Europe when it comes to internal transport, restaurants and bar scene. I have a thing for seafood, books, pretty streets, and viewpoints (did I mention that already?), so in that sense Porto satisfied me in terms of what I look for in a travel destination.
What I loved about Porto is that this historical city is built on different levels. As a result, there are a lot of viewpoints. There are bars with views, historical buildings with views and many spots that you can find on Google Maps.
The viewpoints of Porto are marked as “Miradouro” on Google Maps – that’s the Portuguese word for a viewpoint. No matter where you go in Porto, you will find a “Miradouro” near to you if you look for it on Google Maps.
How to Approach our Porto itinerary?
- How to Approach our Porto itinerary?
- Day 1 in Porto (+ Map)
- Day 2 in Porto (+ Map)
- 1) Breakfast from a Bakery
- 2) Igreja do Carmo
- 3) Livraria Lello (Optional)
- 4) Walk Through Porto’s Historical Centre
- 4.1) Torre dos Clerigos & Church
- 4.2) São Bento Train Station
- 4.3) Porto Cathedral
- 5) Relax at My Coffee Porto – Coffeeshop with a view
- 6) Walk on the Dom Luís I Bridge
- 7) Sunset from Jardim do Morro
- 8) Ribeira (Riverfront) – Dinner & Drinks at O Muro Antigo
- Day 3 in Porto (+ Map)
- 1) Capela das Almas (Chapel of Souls)
- 2) Rua Santa Catarina (street)
- 3) Mercado do Bolhão
- 4) Majestic Cafe for Lunch
- 4) Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso (Church of Saint Ildefonso)
- 5) Relax at Jardim Marques de Oliveira & Porto Library
- 6) Miradouro das Fontainhas (Sunset Time)
- 7) Port Wine Tour with Fado
- 8) Eat The Famous Francesinha Sandwich at Café Santiago
- Optional Adds ons for Porto itinerary
- Closing Thoughts on 3 days in Porto, Portugal
Most people who arrive in Porto, will reach here by air at Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO). Some will also arrive on a train or a bus from Lisbon or Coimbra or Algarve or other places. In that case, you may not have the full first day.
For each of the 3 days in Porto, I have created a map for you at the beginning of each day section. I made this map on Google Maps, so that you can open it on your phone and start navigating right away. That’s exactly the way I travel.
This itinerary for 3 days in Porto has been made assuming that you would want to keep your first and last days light. If you are reaching Porto at night, then you may want to swap the first day with the second.
Depending on the season in which you are visiting Porto, you may want to change the order of the sunset and dinner points. Remember, the sun sets early in winter, so the sunset time is earlier.
If you visit in winter, then you should see the sunset (because it is early) and then eat dinner after. In summer, you can have an early dinner and then watch the sunset and then head out somewhere for a drink since the days are longer.
Day 1 in Porto (+ Map)
As mentioned before, I’m keeping the first day of the Porto itinerary super light because I’m assuming that you are arriving here during the day as most people do.
If you are reaching at night, then you can sleep and then swap the second day with the first one.
The first day has a little bit of walking, a viewpoint, an attraction, an amazing place where you can relax and eat a lot of food and then a bar next to it with views.
All the places are super close to each other, so you don’t necessarily have to follow the same order that I have suggested.
I have first suggested sunset, followed by dinner and then drinks with a view assuming that you will visit in summer.
Alternatively, you can eat an early dinner first, then go to the sunset viewpoint and then after go to the bar with the views.
The restaurant opens at 5 pm or 6 pm (depending on the season) – so plan your time as per this and the sunset time for the season.
1) Bolsa Palace & Church of São Francisco
Igreja de São Francisco and Bolsa Palace are next to each other, so you can go from one to another. Both these buildings are in Porto’s historical centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
I have included only two places from here on the first day and some on the second day to keep the itinerary manageable. Since you’re spending 3 days in Porto, you will have plenty of time for other landmarks too.
The Church of São Francisco or Igreja de São Francisco is an iconic Gothic style building of Porto and you shouldn’t miss seeing it.
Palácio da Bolsa is one of Portugal’s most important historic monuments, and offers amazing views of the Douro river. It is a neoclassical style building located in the heart of Porto. It is one of the national monuments of Portugal.
The only possible way to see the Bolsa Palace is through a guided tour and here’s the one that I recommend.Click here to book Palácio da Bolsa Guided Tour
In this Porto itinerary over the course of three days, there aren’t a lot of buildings that I suggest you check from inside too, this is one of them.
2) Miradouro da Vitória (Sunset View)
As mentioned before, Miradouro is the Portuguese word for viewpoint, and Miradouro da Vitória is a nice one in Porto.
Unlike some of the other viewpoints, it is free and offers views over Riberia of Douro river, Luis Bridge, the Se and Bishop’s Palace. So, no need to stand in a line to get an entry ticket to enter.
Arrive on Rua da Bataria da Vitória to reach Miradouro da Vitória. The best part is that you don’t need to climb anything to see the view. The area is a wide plateau without too many tourists.
I suggest you arrive here a little before sunset to enjoy the changing colours. Don’t kick yourself if you miss the sunset, you can also enjoy this place when it is dark because all the buildings around will light up.
3) Best Seafood Dinner in Porto – Adega Bebe-Se Mal
I have a thing for local food, and I make it a point to find places to eat that are popular with locals and aren’t expensive.
A few years back I would have recommended you find such places when you’re actually there but things have changed because of internet.
While I’m waiting in the airports, or traveling on trains or buses, I spend time researching about some of the best restaurants that aren’t touristy, are rated very high and are affordable.
One such restaurant that I found is Adega Bebe-Se Mal. We ate the biggest seafood dinner and everything was delicious. We ate octopus, big prawns, mussels and a lot of wine. It was all under 60 Euros for the three of us.
Our timing was right when we visited this restaurant because we managed to get a table outside. I remember people starting queueing up for a table a little while after we had ordered.
4) Pinguim Café – Bar with a View
By now you probably know I have a thing for small places that are away from crowds and offer views. Pinguim Café is one such place. It is tiny, has a nice balcony and you can sit and enjoy your beer in a nice spot.
We just happened to discover this place by chance, just because we were eating dinner right across the road in restaurant Adega Bebe-Se Mal.
It would have been nice to watch the sunset from here, but at that time we were drinking wine and eating our seafood in the restaurant next door.
5) Walk on Ribeira (Riverfront) (Optional)
This point is optional, and is here for those who have a bit more energy left at the end of the first day in Porto. I have included Ribeira on the second day too, so don’t worry if you can’t do do this on your first day.
Porto has a lot of historical buildings that you can see, but for me some of the most memorable moments were in front of Douro River as we were walking around the riverfront. The area is called Ribeira and it has a few bars that you can visit.
You don’t have to visit a bar if you don’t have to. You can just walk through this area, sit on a bench to admire the view and move on. You can also pack a few drinks or snacks from a supermarket and eat them as you sit in front of the river.
Day 2 in Porto (+ Map)
Your second day in Porto will have a lot of things that this city is famous for – old cathedrals that are covered with Azulo (the famous Portuguese way of painting tiles), famous landmarks, pretty streets.
I have also included my favorite sunset spot in Porto. (Yes, I did promise a viewpoint for each of the 3 days in Porto)
1) Breakfast from a Bakery
Start your day in Porto like a local. East breakfast with excellent coffee from one of Porto’s many historical bakeries.
Palstel de Nata is surely one of the favorite breakfast pastries and you will find them in every single bakery for around EUR 1 – EUR 1.5. A cup of coffee also costs around EUR 1.
I have mentioned Palstel de Nata in almost all of my Portugal posts, it is a simple custard tart that always tastes good. It comes in some other variations too. I ate it for every single breakfast for my three days in Porto and so did all of my friends.
I don’t want to mention a particular bakery because there are so many of them all over the city. We had actually picked up a bakery based on TripAdvisor reviews but on our way there, we noticed many other interesting bakeries that looked historical, busy and stunning.
So don’t get hung up about going to a particular bakery, find one closest to your room and enjoy your breakfast before you set out to explore the town.
If you eat a typical puff pastry for breakfast with coffee, most likely you won’t get hungry for lunch at mid day, but you can eat a late snack at around 4 pm, so that you can walk on the bridge, watch the sunset and then enjoy a late dinner.
2) Igreja do Carmo
Igreja do Carmo has baroque architecture and a super famous side facade that’s covered with blue Azulos. Azulo is the famous ceramic tile of Portugal which you will see on all the historical buildings.
This particular Church features a lot on Instagram because of people love clicking a picture here with the blue tiles. You can explore this from the inside if you want. The fee was around 2-3 Euros to see the interiors.
You can walk around Igreja do Carmo, the surrounding area is massive and there are some interesting sights. There is also Rua da Catarina, a famous shopping street which I have included for the third day.
3) Livraria Lello (Optional)
Livraria Lello is a bookstore that is more popular than it should be because of Instagram. It is a tiny bookstore with a few levels and some people say that it is the most beautiful bookstore in the world. For me, that’s not true because Cărturești Carusel in Bucharest won my heart.
There is a rumor that J.K. Rowling was inspired by this particular bookstore when she was writing the Harry Potter book series. Don’t believe it – it’s not true.
You know me, I’m a die-hard Pottehead and I fell for this “fake fact” but later I researched and got to know that this isn’t true at all.
In fact, I found out that JK Rowling tweeted that the place where she wrote some parts of Harry Potter was a coffee shop called Majestic Cafe, which we have included in the third-day itinerary for Porto.
Moreover, the time that I visited Livraria Lello, it was overflowing with people. On all the three days in Porto that we spent, there was always a massive queue of people but we knew we had to visit it and we did on the last day.
Even though we all had booked our tickets to enter. Most people visited this bookstore for a picture, but how can you click a half-decent picture with 100 other people around, right?
So, if you visit Livraria Lello without any expectations then you may just enjoy your time there. Also, don’t make the mistake I did. Don’t visit this place during peak season and peak hours. So, don’t visit late in the day in August, that’s the busiest travel month in the whole of Europe.
It costs EUR 5 to enter Livraria Lello. They say you have to book a time slot but you can do it right there if the slots are available.
I booked my time slot for entering Livraria Lello before and I had to still stand in line. If you see a very long line, then walk away because the visit won’t be fun when the bookstore is full.
4) Walk Through Porto’s Historical Centre
Porto’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and you will see many iconic buildings and churches here. I have mentioned a few of them here so you can walk through this area and see some of the attractions.
Walking around in Porto’s center is like being in a museum. Yes, the buildings are interesting but for me, it was all about the little things – like the tiles, the old residential apartments with balconies, pastel streets, etc. I’m sure you will feel so too when you spend 3 days in Porto as I did.
Walk around and see Praça da Liberdade, Rua das Flores, Rua Santa Catarina (shopping) , Rua heróis de frança (with cod-fish snack shops).
Personally, I like to photograph interesting buildings from the outside and I don’t go inside all of them. I pick maybe one or two maximum and see them from the inside. Instead, I spend the majority of my time in a place with a view or in a nice local restaurant. This is my way, but you are free to do as you wish (of course)
4.1) Torre dos Clerigos & Church
Torre dos Clerigos is a tower in West Baixa. You can go on top of the Torre dos Clerigos for a view of Porto. To reach on top, one has to climb 240 steps but for many people, it is worth the climb.
Torre dos Clerigos can be a good landmark for you if you get lost. But nowadays everyone knows they can use Google Maps.
4.2) São Bento Train Station
São Bento is the name of a historical train station in Porto, which is also called Saint Benedict station. Even if you aren’t getting on the train, I recommend you take a quick look inside the train station because the entry area is gorgeous.
We actually arrived here by chance while exploring Porto’s historic center on foot on our first day. We ended up clicking a lot of photos here and creating some video reels for Instagram.
4.3) Porto Cathedral
Porto Cathedral is a super stunning building that looks great from the distance but also offers incredible views when you’re there.
Out of all the historical buildings and churches that I saw in Porto, this one stood out because of the views. I also enjoyed looking at the residential buildings around with small balconies, where usually a grandma would stand and look down.
5) Relax at My Coffee Porto – Coffeeshop with a view
There’s also something special about my travel itineraries. I include some hard-to-find places that are amazing and offer great views.
If you are anything like me, then you love coffee with a view, and I recommend My Coffee Porto, it is a place that you would want to visit over and over again during your 3 days in Porto.
Based on the time of the season, your dinner will be after you watch the sunset, so now would be a good time to grab a sandwich or a soup or pastry with a coffee at My Coffee Porto. If you are lucky, you will get a table with a lovely view of Porto and river Douro.
There is a reason why this coffee shop is rated high and I’d love for you to experience it.
6) Walk on the Dom Luís I Bridge
Try your best to get to the Luis Bridge at least an hour before sunset. If you are doing a sunset Port Wine tour, then of course you should arrive even earlier.
Walking on the Luis bridge is an experience because you will see unmatched views. This kind of reminded me of Prague’s Charles bridge because there was so much happening here.
Keep in mind that no matter how warm it is in Porto, it will be windy on Luis Bridge and you will need a jacket. Even in peak summer, we needed our jackets here and we wished we had not worn skirts!
There is also a metro train that runs on Luis bridge which adds to the madness because the bridge is also open to pedestrians.
People often walk on the train tracks on the bridge, and then the security officers remind them that it is dangerous. The train also stops on the bridge, so if you want you can get on it and get off directly at Jardim do Morro.
7) Sunset from Jardim do Morro
Jardim do Morro sunset spot in Porto is completely worth all its hype. We spent three days in Porto and it sucks that we only visited this spot our last evening. The view from this spot was unbelievable.
Yes, this spot does get crowded to the extent that there’s no place to even stand, but that didn’t matter to me because the view was unbelievable.
The crowds won’t spoil the view because the main view is on the other side of the river and the people gather on one side.
Honestly, you don’t even need to get completely inside Jardim do Morro or completely on top. Just find a stop near the railing from where you can see the sun go down to enjoy the spectacle of colors on Porto during the golden hour.
Another viewpoint option here is Miradouro da Serra do Pilar, which is a little higher up. It is right opposite Jardim do Morro. In our experience, it was even more crowded than Jardim do Morro, but I’d like to mention this to you as an option nonetheless.
I have said this before and I am mentioning this again, in case you didn’t read it properly before. Even though August is the warmest month, keep in mind that the walk to this spot will take you over the Luis Bridge and it gets super windy. Don’t do this without a jacket or a sweatshirt. Even our denim jackets weren’t enough to keep us warm because of the cold wind on our neck/chest area.
8) Ribeira (Riverfront) – Dinner & Drinks at O Muro Antigo
After enjoying the sunset, you can surely eat dinner near Jardim do Morro but in my experience, there were only luxury restaurants around.
For us, it made more sense to go back to the other side because the walk isn’t that long. The area that I’m suggesting for you here is Ribeira Riverfront, which was already suggested as an optional place on day 1 of these 3 days in Porto itinerary.
In order to get back from Jardim do Morro to the other side, you can walk on the Luis Bridge again, or you can just take a train. You don’t have to walk all the way back if you don’t want to. The station is right there and it is called “Jardim do Morro”.
Ribeira is also a part of Porto’s historical center, which you explored during the day. But the riverfront lights up beautifully at night. Yes, it has a lot of history but is also a hotspot for bars and restaurants.
As you walk through Ribeira, you will see the sparkle of lights on the old buildings on the other side of the Douro River to Vila Nova de Gaia. Check out the Placards mounted here to know more about the history.
For dinner, I suggest a restaurant called O Muro Antigo, which is a little affordable as compared to the others and offers views. It is a family-run restaurant that’s operating since 1983. As per their website, this restaurant offers late hours, outdoor seating & hearty Portuguese meals.
Day 3 in Porto (+ Map)
Your third day in Porto is lighter as compared to the previous day. If you like traveling at a fast pace, then I have included a few more optional things for you.
1) Capela das Almas (Chapel of Souls)
Our hostel was right next to Capela das Almas and we couldn’t help admiring how beautiful this chapel is every time we walked by.
2) Rua Santa Catarina (street)
Rua Santa Catarina street is near Bolhão and is a shopping street where you will find a lot of interesting small shops on the street.
If you like to pick up interesting handmade things that are unique to your destination, then this spot is for you. Not every shop offers unique items though, some are commonly found in souvenir shops in touristy corners.
3) Mercado do Bolhão
What’s the best way to experience a city like a local one? Go visit one of the local markets that’s famous for fresh produce.
I’m not talking about the markets that are geared towards tourists but the ones where locals go and buy their daily or weekly food articles.
Mercado do Bolhão is a multy level iconic market in an interesting neo classical building. There are vendors that sell flowers, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and also freshly cooked quick bites.
If you are saving money, you can grab a quick bite here for lunch. Else, I recommend another interesting place close by for lunch, which was JK Rowling’s favorite place as per her tweet.
4) Majestic Cafe for Lunch
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Majestic Cafe caught my attention while I was researching about Livraria Lello’s reality about being JK Rowling’s place of inspiration. It was mentioned in a tweet by the author that she never visited Livraria Lello, but instead spent many hours often in Majestic Cafe.
Don’t go by the casual name, Majestic Cafe is a highly ornate cafe with high ceilings, chandeliers and carved wood. You can find a selection of soups, salads, pastas, fish, sandwiches, cakes and pastries here.
Majestic Cafe is a bit on the pricier side but is an experience that some of you would highly enjoy.
It is a historic cafe that’s super popular so gets very busy during breakfast or brunch time. This is why I have suggested it for lunch so that you miss the breakfast crowds.
If you would like to save money, then by all means grab something to eat at Mercado do Bolhão (the point before) and enjoy a coffee at Majestic Cafe.
4) Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso (Church of Saint Ildefonso)
I have mentioned a lot of Churches in this list. I am not asking you to go inside each one of them or even most of them. I suggest them as a landmark that you can view, admire and photograph from outside. Perhaps even walk around or go inside if you have time.
We liked that the Church of Saint Ildefonso wasn’t as crowded as the famous blue wall of Capela das Almas. Moreover, I found this building to be very pretty and it is easy to capture a good photograph of it.
The Church is mostly covered with blue Azulos and the result is eye catching. You can go inside for just 1.5 euros and see the view from top of one of the towers.
5) Relax at Jardim Marques de Oliveira & Porto Library
Cool down for an hour or so in Jardim Marques de Oliveira, which is Porto’s oldest municipal park. You will find many statues, a gazebo, and a fountain. Buy a drink or two from a supermarket and sit on a bench here and enjoy your afternoon.
You will see flowers, and a few groups of locals enjoying a game of cards here. If you are lucky, you might see a peacock too.
If you are a bookworm like me, you will enjoy a quick visit to the nearby Porto Library (Biblioteca Pública Municipal do Porto).
The library building was once a monastery and was built in 1833. Keep in mind to stay quiet in the library and not go overboard with photography because a lot of people visit here for research and work.
6) Miradouro das Fontainhas (Sunset Time)
This area is a little low key if you compare it to the Porto city centre. You will find smaller bars and bakeries from where you can buy Sagres beer and eat codfish cutlets (Bacalhau).
I remember we spent barely 3 euros per person for snacks and beers in this area as we sat on a table near the river to enjoy the view. Walk around this area and you will see some amazing spots for a scenic view near the river.
Get to a local beer and snack shop, find a table by the river and enjoy a few peaceful moments with Bacalhau and beer. You will see a lot of locals here unlike the Luis bridge area.
7) Port Wine Tour with Fado
Porto’s Port wine is famous and so is Fado. Port wine is a darker wine which is not usually dry and as a result is sweeter on the tongue.
Fado is a Portuguese Blues music style which will be an experience that you will remember if you like music. You can combine the two and do a tour to experience them both.Click Here to Book the Port Wine + Fado tour
I recommend a tour at Caves Cálem, which is near Jardim do Morro. This tour is one of the most popular ones in Porto because most of the others are full-day tours.
This tour starts at 6:30 pm in summer and 6 pm in winter. The duration is 75 minutes and costs EUR 23, which includes wine tasting. This tour sells out very fast, so if you want to do this then book as soon as you can.
8) Eat The Famous Francesinha Sandwich at Café Santiago
Imagine if you skip a few meals and then the only food option to eat is a sandwich, what would it look like? Most likely it would have a lot of layers of meats, cheeses, and sauces. This is exactly what the famous Francesinha sandwich looks like.
Francesinha is Porto’s famous sandwich that has layers of meats, melted cheese, an egg on top, and a special Francesinha sauce on top of it. Because it is so famous, I decided I needed to experience this once during my 3 days in Porto.
As a person who isn’t into meat, I did not enjoy this sandwich that much and was full after just 4 bites. But I did see people around me who were completely digging it.
Why am I recommending this sandwich to you if I didn’t enjoy it? It is a famous food of Porto I’d still like to recommend this sandwich to you because it most of the people around me seemed to enjoy it.
If you are like me and meat isn’t your best friend, then try a vegan version of this sandwich. We were just too lazy to walk to the vegan restaurant for this but if you plan well, then you can.
Optional Adds ons for Porto itinerary
Douro Valley Tour + Pinhão Viewpoint
If you’re spending 3 days in Porto, maybe you want to relax and sit back on one of the days and let the tour guides take you around on a boat. If yes, I have a very good suggestion for you.
A popular thing to do in Porto is to do a tour of the lovely Douro Valley. Most of the tours take a full day and include lunch and wine.
If you are lucky, you will get a chance to admire the view from Pinhão, which is a famous spot for admiring the landscape. Below are a bunch of Douro Valley Tours that are worth checking out:
- Douro Valley Tour with Wine Tasting, Cruise, and Lunch: This is a typical day tour of Douro Valley that includes a visit to two wine estates, a river cruise, lunch, and a view from Pinhão. This tour starts at 8:15 am and lasts for 9.5 hours.
- Douro Valley with a boat tour, wine tasting, and lunch: This highly rated tour is for 9.5 hours. This tour also includes pick up from the hotel at request, or you can meet the tour guide at Vila Nova de Gaia. This tour includes 1-hour cruise of the Douro river, lunch, wine tasting at two places, and also Pinhão. The tour starts at 8:15 am.
- Douro Valley Wine Tour with Lunch, Tastings & River Cruise: This is a 10-hour tour that includes a visit to two wine estates. It also includes a lunch and a cruise on the Douro river. You can request a pick-up from your hotel. This tour also includes a stop at Pinhão for the view. This tour isn’t much different from the one above, and also starts at 8:30 am.
As you can see, there isn’t any difference in what is offered in each tour, it is just that the tour operators are different so you can book just any, depending on the availability.
The first one is a GetYourGuide original tour, so it is guaranteed to have better tour guides.
Other Port Wine Tours
Port and Douro Wine Walking Tour with Tastings: This is a 3-hour tour that includes a visit to three wine houses at Vila Nova de Gaia. In total, one would get to taste 10 different port wines.
Closing Thoughts on 3 days in Porto, Portugal
My Porto itinerary has been created based on my visit in the summer of 2022 when I spent 3 days here. It wasn’t a solo visit, but we were in a group of three.
We instantly fell in love with Porto because of everything that I have mentioned above over and over again – food, viewpoints, bar scene, historical buildings, and affordability. I hope you enjoy Porto too, the way we did.
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