How to Spend 1 Day in Porto Itinerary

A single Pastel de Nata dusted with powdered sugar sits on a white plate, highlighted by natural sunlight.

So you’re planning a 1 day Porto Itinerary!  Porto is a crown jewel in Portugal’s Northern region. 

The second largest city in the country to Lisbon, it boasts incredible views and culture.

Its orange, terracotta roofs spilling over the turquoise, Duorro River are just waiting to be explored.  From its rich history and food scene to the colorful buildings and vibrant streets, you will not be disappointed. 

The best things you can do during one day in Porto include exploring the infamous orange rooftops, exploring the Duorro River, and admiring the historic blue and white tiles the city has become known for. 

No, one day in Porto is not enough time to scratch off every itinerary item you have in mind, but it begins to scratch the surface and leaves you craving more! 

This 1-day itinerary will guide you through the must-see spots in this charming city. 

1 Day in Porto

1. Sao Bento Station

Visiting Sao Bento Station is practically a right of passage when traveling to Porto. 

Not only is it a central hub for transportation, but it’s comprised of thousands of stunning works of art.

The station’s main hall features over 20,000 azulejo tiles, painted by Jorge Colaço, a prominent Portuguese artist.

These tiles depict significant moments in Portugal’s history, including royal scenes, wars, and the evolution of transportation.

The intricate blue and white tiles are a mesmerizing sight and are an iconic symbol of the country!

Sao Bento remains a fully operational train station, ideal for day trips to explore the northern region of Portugal.

Time: 15 minutes ⏐ 💲Price: Free to enter ⏐ 

2. Clerigos Church and Tower

Clerigos Church by Isabella Mann Machado via Unpslash

The Clerigos Church and Tower is one of the top things to do in Porto (and one of the best views).  Take your dare at heights and climb to the top of the staircase!  

The Tower stands at nearly 250 feet, and the panoramic views from the top are breathtaking! 

If you’re tight on timing (or just prefer to stay grounded!), still make a stop at this baroque church. The intricate carvings on the exterior and grand altarpiece inside are perfect to admire while strolling past.

Clerigos Church is also centrally located in a vibrant area of Porto, with many cafes, restaurants, and small shops nearby.

Time: 60 minutes to climb ⏐ 🕑 Hours: 9:00am – 11:00pm ⏐  Website  ⏐💲Price: ☀️ 8€ during the day🌙 5€ at night.  Free to admire from below ⏐ 

3. Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello by Ivo Rainha via Unsplash

Wave your wand to the next stop 5 minutes over! The stunning Livraria Lello bookstore is one of Porto’s claims to fame, having been rumored to be JK Rowling’s inspiration for the start of, drum roll please, Harry Potter. 

With its winding staircase and beautiful stained glass ceiling, it leaves visitors spellbound.   The bookstore’s neo-gothic architecture and grand interior is certainly worth a visit for non-Potter fanatics alike!

If the queue is way too long, snap a photo from outside and move on!  During summer months, the entrance line outside of the building can be as long as 4 hours. 

Visiting inside was a no-thanks from me, but if this is your cup of tea, plan accordingly.

Time: 30-45 minutes ⏐ 🕑 Hours: 9:00am – 7:00pm ⏐  Website  ⏐💲Price: 8€ to enter.  Entrance fee is refunded with a purchase ⏐ 

4. Azuelejos: Blue and White Tiles

Chapel of Souls in Porto

Blue and white tiles flooding the walls of Porto is a staple of the region.   From churches to train stations, these tiles, known as azulejos, are a constant reminder of Portugal’s rich history and culture.

The intricate patterns and designs showcase the country’s artistic heritage and are simply breathtaking.

Choose from some of the tiled buildings below:

  • Igreja de Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas: The Igreja de Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas, situated side by side, are actually two separate churches.

But here’s the interesting thing: their captivating facade often tricks people into thinking they are one building!

The architectural harmony between them is just amazing, and it never fails to leave visitors in awe of their grandeur.

  • Capela das Almas: Located in the heart of Porto, Capela das Almas is one of the most famous churches in the city.

    Its exterior is entirely covered with blue and white tiles depicting scenes from the lives of saints and religious figures. It’s a must-visit for anyone who appreciates art and history.
  • Igreja de Santo Ildefonso–  This church, located in the heart of Porto’s old town, is famous for its vibrant and colorful facade.

    The blue and white tiles here are complemented by intricate floral patterns in shades of yellow, green, and red. It’s a true masterpiece that you can’t miss when visiting Porto.
  • Bento Train Station:  A train station may seem like an unlikely place to find beautiful tiles, but the Bento Train Station in Porto is a true gem.

    Its walls are adorned with over 20,000 blue and white azulejo tiles that depict important moments in Portuguese history. It’s definitely worth a visit, even if you’re not catching a train.

Preserving Tradition

As with any ancient tradition, there are concerns about preserving the art of azulejos. In recent years, there has been a push to protect and restore these tiles to their former glory.

Organizations like the Portuguese Association of Ceramics have been working to raise awareness and promote the preservation of this important cultural heritage.

5. Lunch Break!

A Francesinha sandwich, a famous Portuguese dish, smothered in thick sauce served on a ceramic plate, with a side of golden fries, a culinary highlight for any Porto itinerary.

You have to try Francesinha, Porto’s famous sandwich!  It’s filled with layers of meat and cheese, and smothered in a delicious beer-based sauce. 

The Francesinha is more than a sandwich; it’s an icon of Porto’s culinary scene. The story goes that it was inspired by the French croque-monsieur and adapted by a Portuguese emigrant upon return to Porto.

This indulgence consists of bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat, and covered with molten cheese and a hot, thick tomato and beer sauce, traditionally served with french fries.

🥕Vegetarian and vegans:

Psssst!  Vegetarian Francesinhas are now a thing!  And oh is it delicious. 

They replace ham and sausage with plant-based alternatives like soy or seitan, ensuring the Francesinha’s rich flavor stays strong.  I mean, come on.  Does it get any better?

6. Historic Ribeira

Ah, a stroll through Ribeira, the oldest neighborhood in Porto!  The historic, UNESCO World Heritage site provides stunning views of the Duorro River.

Ribeira buzzes with a unique blend of history and vibrancy, making a short exploration of just one hour as enriching as it is picturesque.

Ambling through the narrow cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses, each seemingly telling a story, is an experience in itself.

Soak in the atmosphere at the bustling Praça da Ribeira, the square where locals and tourists alike gather to marvel at the scenery.

Engage with street performers, sample some of the famed Porto wine at a riverside café, or simply revel in the vista of the Vila Nova de Gaia wine cellars across the river.

Even in a brief visit, Ribeira offers an essence of Porto that is both timeless and unforgettable.

Tip: If you have extra time, consider taking a leisurely boat tour along the river. 

7. Luis I Bridge

Crossing the Luis I Bridge is perhaps the most iconic activity in Porto!

Visitors are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline, sweeping over the old town, the river Duoro, and the bustling Ribeira district.

To truly grasp the scope of Porto’s beauty, you have got to see it for yourself from the vantage point the bridge provides.

Intrepid travelers looking to capture moments for a lifetime will find the vistas from the Luis I Bridge unparalleled, especially at sunset when the city is filled with golden hues.

On the other side lies Vila Nova de Gaia, home to the city’s renowned port wine cellars—a visit to which is almost obligatory for enthusiasts looking to learn more about the wine that carries the city’s name.

Tip: Be careful! The bridge hosts a regular tram service.

It’s essential to stick to the pedestrian pathways and be mindful of the tram that rolls through (frequently) with little warning and no protective walls. 

8. Porto Cathedral

Have you heard of Sé do Porto? The stunning city cathedral has been around since the 12th century.

The interior features amazing stained glass windows and intricate baroque carvings.

And the outside? It’s this cool mix of Gothic and Romanesque styles. As a bonus, there are amazing panorama views of the city on the plaza outside of the cathedral.

Tip: Short on time?  Skip the inside.  The architecture and views from the outside are just as worth it. Walking tours only visit the exterior, and it’s a fan favorite. 

Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour ⏐ 🕑 Hours: 9:00am-5:30pm ⏐  Website  ⏐💲Price: Free ⏐ 

9.Miradouro Da Vitoria

Miradouro Da Vitoria is a slightly hidden viewpoint in Porto, making it all the more magical. 

Once you pass the nondescript gate, the city unfolds beneath you in a tapestry of rooftops, bustling streets, and the Douro River meandering in the distance.

Take in the iconic Luís I Bridge stretching across the river, the historic Clérigos Tower rising above the city, and the colorful houses of Ribeira that add vibrancy to the scene.

This somewhat secret gem is particularly alluring at sunset when the golden hues of the fading light bathe the buildings and the Douro River in a warm glow.

It offers a less crowded, serene atmosphere that invites deep appreciation for Porto’s historic beauty.

Originally part of the Jewish Quarter, this spot reflects a piece of Porto’s rich cultural tapestry.

Enjoy the vantage point of famous landmarks you visited earlier in the day (like the Porto Cathedral!) from up above.

Time: 30 minutes ⏐ 🕑 Hours: 9:00am – 9:00pm ⏐ 💲Price: Free ⏐ 

10. Dinner: Cafe Majestic

Café Majestic is one of the oldest and most beautiful cafés in Porto. Indulge in some traditional Portuguese pastries, or just enjoy a cup of coffee while admiring the stunning Belle Époque decor.

This café has been a staple of Porto’s social scene since the 1920s and has hosted celebs like J.K. Rowling. 

Café Majestic provides an elegant and charming ambiance, making it the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a special celebration!

The menu is known for offering classic dishes with a modern twist, featuring fresh and high-quality ingredients.

I have not personally tried it myself, but it comes highly recommended and I plan to check it out on a return trip! 

11. Desert: Pastel De Nata

Pastel de Nata by Samantha Gollnick via Unsplash

No visit to Portugal is complete without the incredibly tasty egg tart, pastel de nata!

The traditional treat can be found all over Porto, from street vendors to bakeries to high-end restaurants.  

Each tart is made with care and skill, resulting in a perfectly crispy and creamy combination of flavors. Trust me, one bite and you’ll be hooked!

There’s no denying that the best place to enjoy this local delicacy is in its birthplace at the famous Pastéis de Belém bakery in Lisbon, but I’ve never met a pastel de nata I didn’t like!  

Some popular spots for pastel de nata in Porto include Manteigaria, Leitaria da Baixa, and Padaria Ribeiro.


As the sun sets on an unforgettable day in Porto, it’s evident that the iconic Portuguese city has amazing experiences, flavors, and tons of things to do.

Whether you have 1 day, 2 days, or even 3 days in Porto, it’s going to be a worthwhile experience.  Its location in the Portuguese hillside makes for epic day trips if you are looking to explore more.  

From the rich taste of Francesinha at Café Santiago, majestic ambles across Dom Luís I Bridge, to sipping the renowned port wine at a riverside wine cellar, and the towering views from Clerigos Tower and Porto Cathedral.

Culminating the day with the elegant ambiance of Café Majestic and wrapping it up with an ever-so-sweet pastel de nata, it’s clear why this city captures the hearts of all who wander its cobbled streets!

Porto is more than just a spot to check out, it’s a whirlwind of cultural delights that you’ll cherish forever.  Bom viagem! (Have a good trip!)

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As a full time employee who loves her job, learn how I honor my wanderlust while working a 9:00-5:00 (because I want to!) This blog welcomes all, and specifically provides resources for those seeking travel intertwined into a busy schedule (3 days to 5 weeks).