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Porto Solo Travel Guide: 2 Days In Porto Portugal

Porto or Oporto is the second-largest city in Portugal and one of the oldest European centres. Located along the Douro River in Northern Portugal, this charming city is known for its hilly streets, picturesque viewpoints and historic centre that is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And if you are planning a solo trip to Porto, plan on staying at least 2 days in Porto so you can see the best of the hilly city. There are tons of things to do alone in Porto that can keep you happily occupied for two days.

I’ve been to Porto twice and have spent over six weeks in the city. I felt Porto is safe for solo female travellers and a welcoming place for anyone who is travelling alone.

In this post, I put together a solo Porto itinerary where you can spend two days in Porto and see all the best attractions and try all the famous Porto food while roaming around freely and safely in Porto.

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What you need to know before spending 2 days in Porto alone

Before you spend two days in Porto, take a look at my travel tips that you may find useful for Porto:

  • Even if you don’t know any Portuguese, you can easily get by with English. But it would be nice to learn a few basic phrases like hello (olá) and thank you (obrigada) in Portuguese.
  • Portugal has 3 network providers for cell phones and data. SIM cards do not require registration and topping up your card is easy. But there is free wifi (almost) everywhere.
  • Plan your solo trip to Porto with the following festivals and events:
    • Queimas das Fitas do Porto (first week of May) – a week of concerts and events for the Porto Burning of the Ribbons festival while university students celebrate the end of the school year
    • Serralves em Festa (June 2-4) – the largest contemporary arts festival with non-stop dance and performances
    • Festa de São João (June 23) – a wild night in Porto with plastic hammers and whacking people on the head while celebrating São João, the patron saint of Porto.

Is Porto safe for solo female travellers

If you are travelling to Porto for the first time, then you must be wondering if the city is safe to travel alone. And generally speaking, Porto is safe for female solo travellers. The city’s crime rate is low but pick pocketing could be a concern in busy trams and subways (this is something I read and have no experience).

As for my perspective, I’ve been to Porto three times and have spent over two months in the city. I noticed there are pockets in the city with narrow dark alleys, which I avoided at night. Overall, I felt safe but was always cautious when walking around when it is dark.

Tips for staying safe for solo female travellers in Porto

Even though Porto is considered as a safe city, I still recommend practicing your regular travel safety precautions. Here are some safety travel tips to keep in mind:

  • Be aware of your belongings (bags, mobile phone, etc) especially if you are in a crowded area.
  • Leave your passport, (large sums of) money and other valuables at your hotel.
  • Avoid poorly lit alleys at night when you are walking home at night.
  • Enjoy the port wine but don’t drink too much. Stay vigilant especially at night.

How to get to Porto Portugal

Air

Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (also known as Porto Airport), is an international airport located 11km northwest of Porto. 

To travel to city center, the easiest and cheapest way is to take Metro do Porto. The line E (purple) will take you from the airport to Trindade station where you can transfer to line A, B, D or F for other stops in the city centre.

Get an Andante Azul ticket (€.60) and a Z4 title (€2.00) ticket for a trip to the city centre. Make sure to validate your Andante ticket when you start your trip and when you change to another line. And keep the card for future trips.

Train

Porto has two train stations: São Bento Station, which is in the city centre and Campanha Station, which is at the east end of the city. Visitors can take either the Alfa Pendular or AP (fast train) or Intercidades or IC trains from many places around Portugal. Train travel is one of the best ways to get around Portugal for solo travellers.

How to get around Porto on your own

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes because the best way to see Porto is by walking. However, the city is very hilly so prepare to do some uphill walking.

For this 2-day Porto itinerary, you don’t need to take any public transportation. But if you are staying longer and want to explore other areas of Porto, learn how to take the subway, bus and/or the tram.

Summary: What to do Oporto in 2 Days

Porto is a compact and hilly city where you can see everything in the city in two days. But if you can stay longer than two days, definitely stay and explore more of the city and take day trips outside of Porto.

Here is a quick summary of all the Porto attractions you will see during your 2 days in Porto:

Day 1 in PortoDay 2 in Porto
1. Livraria Lello
2. Igreja do Carmo
3. Igreja dos Carmelitas
4. Praça de Lisboa
5. Torre Dos Clérgios 
6. Liberdade Square
7. São Bento Railway Station
8. Church Santo Ildefonso 
9. Rua de Santa Catarina
10. Capela das Almas
11. Rua de Flores
12. Ponte de Dom Luis I 
13. Jardim do Morro
1. Miradouro do Passeio das Fontainhas
2. Sé do Porto 
3. Miradouro da Vitória
4. Palácio da Bolsa 
5. Ribeira do Porto 
6. Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar
7. Cais de Gaia
8. Sandeman
9. Espaço Porto Cruz
10. Caves Cálem
11. Marginal de Gaia

2 Day Porto Itinerary Map

All the attractions in my solo Porto 2-days itinerary are numbered and pinned on the interactive Google Map. Red numbered pins are all the must-see Porto attractions on Day 1, purple numbered pins are things to see in Porto on Day 2blue pins are other things to do in Porto if you are staying longer, and green pins are day trip ideas from Porto.

Porto 2 Day Itinerary: Day 1

Day 1 is all about the best attractions in Porto. I put together the most efficient way to see all the highlights. Follow the red pins on the Google Map for the sequence of all the day one attraction in my Porto itinerary.

1. Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello is the world’s most beautiful bookstore and Porto’s oldest bookstore. The 111-year-old bookstore was the inspiration for the staircases at Hogwarts from the Harry Potter movies. Every bit of the interior is designed well and very detail-oriented.

And many people travel to Porto to get a glimpse of the famous interiors. That’s why it is best to visit the bookstore first thing in the morning during your 2 days in Porto. You have to pay €5 to see Livraria Lello but when you buy something at the bookstore, you can redeem your entrance fee for your purchase.

Address: R. das Carmelitas 144, Porto | Hours: 9:30am-7pm | Admission: €5 (can be used for purchase)

2 & 3. Igreja do Carmo & Igreja dos Carmelitas

Next on the agenda is to see two iconic churches standing almost side-by-side.

For €3.5, you can visit Igreja do Carmo (the one on the right) and see the church’s interior, hidden house, the pulpit of our Lord of Passos, the Auditorium, and old catacombs.

But the most impressive part of the church has to be the gorgeous azulejo (blue and white tiles) on the side of the building. The elaborate display of blue and white tiles is spectacular!

Igreja das Carmelitas next door is not as impressive but you should still check out the single-nave church with decorative side chapels.

Address: R. do Carmo, Porto | Hours: 12-6:00pm (Mondays), 10am-6pm (Tuesday to Sunday) | Admission: €3.5

4. Praça de Lisboa

Before seeing the next attraction, walk through Praça de Lisboa, which is a quaint little park with a green lawn and a few retail stores and cafes. I think the design of the park is modern and quite unique.

Address: Praça de Lisboa, Porto | Admission: free

5. Torre Dos Clérgios

I hope you brought comfortable shoes because you’ll hike up the 225 steps of Torre Dos Clérigos (Clérigos Tower) and take in the panoramic view of the city.

The view from the top of the tower is just as magical during golden hour. If you want to switch it around and see the orange glow during your first day in Porto, you can skip this now and come back to the tower late afternoon.

But if you go early in the day, you will skip the long queue at the entrance. And speaking of queue, get your bell tower ticket ahead of time so you can skip the line altogether.

Besides the view, don’t miss the baroque facade and all the 18th-century paintings and furniture in Igreja dos Clérigos.

Address: R. de São Filipe de Nery, Porto | Hours: 9am-7pm | Admission: €6 for tower and Clérigos Museum and €5 for night pass (7-9pm)

6. Liberdade Square

On the way to São Bento Station (the next attraction), walk across Liberdade Square, which is in the heart of Porto.

There is a 10-meter bronze statue of Almeida Garrett in the centre of the square, a Neoclassical town hall building with a clocktower, and a McDonald’s with crystal chandeliers and stained glass windows aka the most beautiful McDonald’s in the world!

Address: Praça da Liberdade, Porto | Admission: free

7. São Bento Railway Station

At first, I wasn’t sure if São Bento Railway Station is a functioning railway station, but in fact, it is. You can catch a suburban train to other parts of northern Portugal including Aveiro, Espinho, Braga and Guimarães.

But many people visit the train station to see the beautiful azulejo murals which depict everyday life in different regions of Portugal.

I have to say that the azulejo is pretty mesmerizing because each ornamental tile is different from one another and collectively, they tell a major historical and cultural story. Finding the best azulejo spots in Porto is definitely a must on your Porto itinerary!

Address: Praça de Almeida Garrett, Porto | Admission: free

8. Church Santo Ildefonso

Not to be outdone by the train station but the blue and white tiles at the Church of Saint Ildefonso are quite impressive as well. Take a look at the bright facade which has over 11,000 azulejo tiles!

Make sure to peek inside the church as well. There is a Baroque and Rococo-inspired altarpiece from the 18th century and gorgeous stained glass windows on both sides of the nave.

Address: R. de Santo Ildefonso 11, Porto | Hours: 3-6:30pm (Mondays), 9am-12pm and 3-6:30pm (Tuesday to Sunday) | Admission: free

9. Rua de Santa Catarina

Rua de Santa Catarina is the best pedestrian shopping street in Porto. It has all the popular retailer brands, including Zara, Massimo Dutti, United Colors of Benetton, Pull & Bear, Tezenis, and many more.

And here you can find places to eat as well. The famous Majestic Café is on this pedestrian street and same with several popular cafes like Fábrica de Nata and Nata Lisboa.

Plus, there is a shopping mall, ViaCatarina, where you can buy a prepaid SIM card and go grocery shopping.

Address: R. de Santa Catarina, Porto | Admission: free

10. Capela das Almas

As I mentioned already, one of Portugal’s trademarks is azulejo which is the blue and white glazed tiles that decorate many churches in Portugal. And one of the best examples of that is the Capela das Almas (Chapel of Souls).

When you walk up Rua de Santa Catarina, you will see this 18th century chapel where blue and white tiles wrap the entire facade. These tiles tell stories of the lives of various saints including Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine. Don’t try to count because there are over 16,000 tiles!

Even though the exterior is the most impressive part about this church, definitely take a look inside because there are other azulejo tiles too.

Address: R. de Santa Catarina 428, Porto | Hours: 7:30am-1pm and 3-7pm (Monday to Tuesday); 7:30am-7pm (Wednesday to Friday); 7:30am-1pm and 5:30-7pm (Saturdays and Sundays) | Admission: free

11. Rua de Flores

Rua de Flores is another pedestrian friendly street in Porto. The street is filled with restaurants, cafes, museums, and retail shops where they open early and stay open til late.

When you are looking for accommodations in Porto, find one that is close to this street or area. You’ll be in walking distance to everything. And when you are walking back to your hotel at night as a solo traveller, you can feel safe in this area.

Address: R. de Flores, Porto | Admission: free

12. Ponte de Dom Luis I

Next, cross over the Ponte de Dom Luis I, the most famous bridge over Douro River and end your day in Vila Nova de Gaia.

The impressive double-deck metal bridge can take pedestrians across to the river from the top and from the bottom. Plus, the subway train crosses the top while cars can drive across at the bottom.

As one of the best viewpoints in Porto, the views from the top part of the bridge certainly do not disappoint. Make sure to take in the views from both sides of the bridge – they both look drastically different.

Address: Pte. Luiz I, Porto | Admission: free

13. Jardim do Morro

Day one of Porto has finally come to an end. I included a lot of things to do in one day which means you could be very tired by this point. But there’s one more thing to do before finishing the day.

Jardim do Morro is a small picturesque park that is perfect for relaxing and watching the sunset. It gets quite busy around late evening when people gather around to listen to performers and wait for sunset. The sunset is quite spectacular so hopefully, it will be a clear night when you end your first day in Porto.

Address: Jardim do Morro, Vila Nova de Gaia | Admission: free

Porto 2 Days Itinerary: Day 2

Day 2 in Porto is to visit the rest of the highlights in the city. See some of the churches in Porto and visit attractions on the south side of the Douro River, which is called Vila Nova de Gaia. Follow the purple pins on the Google Map for all the activities on your day 2 Porto itinerary.

1. Miradouro do Passeio das Fontainhas

Day 2 in Porto starts off with a beautiful viewpoint that not a lot of people know about. The Miradouro do Passeio das Fontainhas is located on the north side of the Douro River. You can see buildings in Vila Nova de Gaia and Dom Luis I Bridge.

Find the small balcony that hovers over the houses on the hill next to the pedestrian walkway. It is an excellent spot to take an Instagram photo!

Address: Passeio das Fontainhas, Porto | Admission: free

2. Sé do Porto

Sé do Porto is only a few minutes walk from the viewpoint. The Roman Catholic cathedral has a fortress-like interior and Gothic architectural qualities and is one of the oldest churches in Porto.

See Romanesque monuments inside the church and enjoy the panoramic views as the cathedral is perched on the hilltop overlooking Douro River.

Address: Terreiro da Sé, Porto | Hours: 9am-5:30pm | Admission: free

3. Miradouro da Vitória

There is no shortage of scenic viewpoints in Porto and another one of my favourites is Miradouro da Victória. This viewpoint is hidden in a neighbourhood next to a few cafes. The viewpoint area has a small park that is frequented by locals.

Sit under the trees or on a bench and enjoy the view.

Address: R. de São Bento da Vitória 11, Porto | Hours: 9am-9pm | Admission: free

4. Palácio da Bolsa

Palácio da Bolsa was built in the 19th century by The Associação Comercial do Porto. Many architects and designers worked on the building over the years and have created a space that is now classified as a National Monument.

For a €10 entrance fee, you can take a 30-minute guided tour inside the Bolsa Palace. If you enjoy architecture as much as I do, you will love the neoclassical building and other architectural features inside the palace.

Address: R. de Ferreira Borges, Porto | Hours: 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm | Admission: €10

5. Ribeira do Porto

Take in the energy and feel of Ribeira, the riverside quarter by Douro River. This historic center (the oldest part of the city) has some of the best Porto photo spots. Soak in the atmosphere, the music and indulge in some people watching.

If you want to see Porto from another perspective, take a cruise down Douro River and see both sides of Porto on a leisurely boat tour. The 50-minute tour passes several bridges, and Foz do Douro before it makes its way back to the Ribeira Quay. Not a bad way to see Porto, especially if you are a solo traveller.

Address: Cais da Estiva, Porto | Admission: free

6. Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar

Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar was once a monastery sitting high above the Douro River and next to Dom Luis I Bridge.

Today, you can still see the magnificent views from the monastery and you can tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site and see the 36m-tall circular Renaissance church and round cloister.

Address: Largo Aviz, Vila Nova de Gaia | Hours: 10am-6:30pm (closed Mondays)| Admission: €10

7. Cais de Gaia

Next, make your way to Cais de Gaia. There is a street just north of Jardim do Morro that will take you all the way down to the pedestrian area of Vila Nova de Gaia.

When you arrive at the riverside, walk along the pedestrian walkway parallel to the Douro River. And make sure to walk around the small streets and see the neighbourhood. There are many Port houses where you can try port wine (that’s actually the next thing on the agenda), art installations, food markets and many cafes.

Address: Av. de Ramos Pinto, Vila Nova de Gaia | Admission: free

8, 9 & 10. Port wine tour

Hopefully, you enjoy trying new things because the next activity has to do with trying different port wines in one of the Port Houses in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Port wine is the city’s best-known export. There are many Port Houses where you can tour the wine cellar and sample their port wines.

I did a port tasting and a tour at Porto Cruz which was awesome. I also tried the port cocktails at Sandeman.

There is also a cellar tour at Cálem which includes port tasting and a Fado show. I think this is the perfect opportunity to combine port tasting while enjoying traditional Portuguese Fado music and performance. The performance starts at 6:00 pm (winter season) and 6:30 pm (summer season).

Address: Largo Miguel Bombarda, Vila Nova de Gaia | Admission: €20 – €23

11. Marginal de Gaia

And finally, finish the day again in Vila Nova de Gaia. But this time, find a spot along Marginal de Gaia in front of Douro River and watch the sunset.

I can’t decide which sunset spots I like better which is why I included both of them in my Porto 2 day itinerary.

Address: Av. de Diogo Leite, Vila Nova de Gaia | Admission: free

If you are spending more than 2 days in Porto

There are many more things to do alone in Porto Portugal other than the attractions mentioned in the above Porto itinerary. Here are a few more things to do if you are spending an extra day in the city (see blue pins on the map):

  1. Serralves – one of the best contemporary art museums in Portugal. See the Museum, the Art Deco Villa, House of Cinema, Treetop Walk, Farm, Tea House and sculptures around the park, including Richard Serra and Anish Kapoor.
  2. Casa da Musica (House of Music) – see the architectural building designed by famous Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.
  3. Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens) – another fantastic viewpoint.
  4. Jardim dos Sentimentos (Garden of Feelings) – see Douro River and Vila Nova de Gaia from above.

Solo Day Trips from Porto

If you have even more time on your solo Portugal itinerary, you might want to take a day trip from Porto and see other parts of northern Portugal as many of the towns and cities are very different from Porto.

Here are a few places you might find interesting. You can visit all of these cities by taking the train on your own or joining an organized tour.

  1. Foz do Douro – take the scenic tram 1 and see the coastal area of Porto.
  2. Matosinhos – enjoy the beaches and waterfront promenade of Matosinhos.
  3. Douro Valley – join a guided tour in Douro Valley and try award-winning wines in picturesque villages.
  4. Espinho – see gorgeous beaches along Costa Verde.
  5. Aveiro – take a Moliceiro boat tour through the canals of “Venice of Portugal” .
  6. Braga – visit one of the oldest cities in Portugal and see the historical centre and Gothic churches.
  7. Guimarães – see the famous Guimarães Castle and other monuments on Serra da Penha mountain.

Take out the hassle of navigating on your own and join one of these tours outside of Porto:

Where to stay in Porto as a solo traveller

If you are following my Porto 2 day itinerary, stay in the central area so it is easier to get around. Choose accommodation in the Old City area or any of the touristy areas.

Here are a few suggestions to consider:

  • The Passenger Hostel ($) – Choose a dorm bed or private room at this hostel at São Bento Station.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda
  • Casa dos Loios by Shiadu ($$) – The quaint hotel has clean and eclectic guest rooms. When you are tired from walking the hills of Porto, sit and enjoy the interior courtyard space.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda
  • Casa da Companhia ($$$) – The new 5-star hotel has luxurious rooms and an amazing breakfast buffet
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda

What to eat in Porto Portugal

Porto has all the traditional Portuguese cuisine along with its own regional food. And eating in Porto will not break the bank. From local coffee shops to restaurants, everything in Porto is very affordable.

Food in Porto is all about meat, seafood, sangria and sandwiches! Yup, there are a lot of delicious sandwiches. Here are some of the best Porto food that you must try:

  • Francesinha – Porto’s most unusual dish; it is a combination of ham, sausage, steak, covered with melted cheese, bread and beer sauce.
  • Bifana – a sandwich with marinated pork in a bread roll.
  • Cachorrinhos – hot dogs with spicy sauce and cheese.
  • Port – Portuguese dessert wine.
  • Portuguese Sangria – a summer drink in Portugal made with Portuguese dry red wine and a carbonated juice and brandy.

2 Days in Porto itinerary: are you ready to take a solo trip to Porto?

I hope so! I packed so many things to do in 2 days so hopefully, you won’t get burnt out! Ha! But seriously, there is so much to see in Porto but it is possible to spend two days in Porto and see all of these attractions mentioned above.

And if I haven’t emphasized this already, Porto is safe for solo female travellers. I roamed around the city for a whole month during day and night and didn’t have any issue. Definitely worth visiting if you are travelling alone.

Did I miss anything else in my solo travel Porto guide? Is there anything else you want to know about Porto? Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you for reading my Porto solo travel guide

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Portugal:

Lisbon region posts
Northern Portugal posts
Central Portugal posts
Algarve posts

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

8 Comments

  • rhiydwi
    June 9, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Love this guide! So thorough and detailed – I’ve heard there’s a great digital nomad crowd emerging in Porto and have my eye on it for that reason. Also because I love Tarte de Amêndoa and would happily spend a good few months eating nothing but them!

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      June 10, 2018 at 5:27 am

      Thanks so much! Porto is pretty great and has reliable wifi for doing some serious work. And yes, there is so much sweets in the city – I don’t think I even tried a quarter of it!

      Reply
  • leahshoup
    June 10, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Porto is definitely one of my favorite cities, I think it has such a special charm. I hadn’t thought about it as a solo traveler destination before, but it really does make a great one 🙂

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      June 10, 2018 at 5:29 am

      Yes, it was easy to get around, lots of places to browse around and language is not an issue. I already want to go back!

      Reply
  • Chandi
    June 10, 2018 at 5:04 am

    A great write-up on a lovely city. I have not been there since the 80s, when I was on my first budget backpacking trip. Back then, before the internet I did not have access to informative blog posts like this. In fact I did not even carry a guide book. Just showing up with no prior info had its cool side, but on the flip side I did not have a good grip on what to see and where to eat and all that. 😉

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      June 10, 2018 at 5:32 am

      Oh wow! So very adventurous of you to just go and figure it out. I used to travel with a big guide book but I really like to be spontaenous these days. Either way, Porto is a great city! Maybe its time to go back? 🙂

      Reply
  • SecretMoona
    June 10, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    A lovely guide for a lovely city. I am travelling there in September so I will park this post for reference, specially for the restaurants.

    Reply
  • Kid T
    June 25, 2021 at 5:28 am

    Hi, just wondering if you might have found a Chinatown or other good authentic asian restaurants in Porto.

    Reply

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