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2 Days In Porto: Things To Do Alone In Porto Portugal

Last Updated on January 13, 2022 by queenie mak

Porto was my first stop after arriving in Lisbon. This Northern Portuguese city came highly recommended by other fellow travellers. And I can see why. I immediately fell in love with the charming town and the laid-back atmosphere. As the second-largest city in Portugal, Porto is a relaxed city with hilly streets and picturesque viewpoints. The city has a small-town charm and friendly people everywhere. And food! Wow! I can go on and on about the food…

In this post, I’ll show you exactly how you can spend 2 days in Porto as a solo traveller. See all the best attractions and try all the best Porto food while roaming around freely and safely in one of the best cities in Portugal.

Related Post – My Ultimate 2 week itinerary for Portugal

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What you need to know before spending 2 days Porto

Before you travel to Porto, take a look at my travel tips that you may find useful for Porto:

  • Porto is a safe city for solo female travellers.
  • Even though Porto is a hilly town, the best way to see the city is by walking.
  • You don’t have to know any Portuguese in order for you to visit Porto. The younger generation speaks English because it is something they learn in school. And the older generation may or may not speak it, but they are also bilingual in Portuguese and French. Either way, you can get by speaking English only. 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 in Porto.

2 Days in Porto: Things to do alone in Porto Portugal

Porto is a compact and hilly city where you can probably see everything in the city in 2 days. But if you have an extra day, definitely stay longer! 

All the attractions in my Porto two-day itinerary are numbered and pinned on the interactive Google Map. All you have to do is to follow the numbered pins and see all the best sights in Porto efficiently and effortlessly.

Day 1 in Porto

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

1. Livraria Lello

Address: R. das Carmelitas 144, Porto | Hours: 9:30 am to 7:00 pm | Admission: €5 (can be used for purchase)

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 for your purchase.

2 & 3. Igreja do Carmo & Igreja dos Carmelitas

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

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.

4. Praça de Lisboa

Address: Praça de Lisboa, Porto | Admission: free

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.

5. Torre Dos Clérgios

Address: R. de São Filipe de Nery, Porto | Hours: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm | Admission: €6 for tower and Clérigos Museum and €5 for night pass (7:00 – 9:00 pm)

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.

Get your bell tower ticket ahead of time so you can skip the line.

Also don’t miss the baroque facade and all the 18th century paintings and furniture in Igreja dos Clérigos.

6. Liberdade Square

Address: Praça da Liberdade, Porto | Admission: free

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

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!

7. São Bento Railway Station

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

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 most 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 itinerary!

8. Church Santo Ildefonso

Address: R. de Santo Ildefonso 11, Porto | Hours: 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm (Mondays), 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm (Tuesday to Sunday) | Admission: free

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

9. Rua de Santa Catarina

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

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.

10. Chapel of Souls

Address: R. de Santa Catarina 428, Porto | Hours: 7:30 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 to 7:00 pm (Monday to Tuesday); 7:30 am to 7:00 pm (Wednesday to Friday); 7:30 am to 1:00 pm and 5:30 to 7:00 pm (Saturdays and Sundays) | Admission: free

As I mentioned already, one of Portugal’s trademark is azulejo which is the blue and white glazed tiles that decorate many churches in Portugal. As soon as you approach Capela das Almas (Chapel of Souls), you will notice the blue and white tiles wrap the entire facade of the church.

Make sure to take a look inside of the church. There are blue and white tiles inside too!

11. Rua de Flores

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

There are many things to do on Rua de Flores. From restaurants, cafes, museums, retail shops and even some of the best hotels in Porto. Plus, the pedestrian street is centrally located and opens early and stays open til late.

12. Ponte de Dom Luis I

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

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.

13. Jardim do Morro

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

Day one of Porto has finally come to an end. And I included a lot of things to do in one day. Which means you could be very tired by this point.

But you don’t want to miss a gorgeous sunset in Porto.

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.

Day 2 in Porto

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 the sequence of the itinerary for day two in Porto.

1. Miradouro do Passeio das Fontainhas

Address: Passeio das Fontainhas, Porto | Admission: free

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.

There is a spot along the pedestrian sidewalk where it looks like its a small balcony that hovers over the houses on the hill. It is an excellent spot to take an Instagram photo!

2. Sé do Porto

Address: Terreiro da Sé, Porto | Hours: 9:00 to 5:30 pm | Admission: free

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.

3. Miradouro da Vitória

Address: R. de São Bento da Vitória 11, Porto | Hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm | Admission: free

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

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

4. Palácio da Bolsa

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

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.

5. Ribeira do Porto

Address: Cais da Estiva, Porto | Admission: free

Take in the energy and feel of Ribeira, the riverside quarter by Douro River. This is the oldest part of the city and one 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 your are a solo traveller.

6. Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar

Address: Largo Aviz, Vila Nova de Gaia | Hours: 10:00 am to 6:30 pm (closed Mondays)| Admission: €10

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.

7. Cais de Gaia

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

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.

8, 9 & 10. Port wine tour

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

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 around 6:00 pm. So you might want to check out the sunset first (which is the next activity) then come back for the show.

11. Marginal de Gaia

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

On your second day in Porto, 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.

Other Porto attractions if you have more time

There are many more things to do alone in Porto Portugal other than the attractions mentioned in the 2-day itinerary. If you have more time in Porto and want to spend another day in the city, here are a few more things to do (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

Interested in a tour around Porto? Try one of these tours below:

Day Trips From Porto

If you have extra time, 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 most of these cities by taking the train by yourself or join 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 staying in Porto for 2 days, stay in the central area of the city 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
  • Oak Valley Flats ($$$) – Cozy up in the two-levelled designer loft apartment.
    • Check prices & reviews: Airbnb

What to Eat in Porto

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 sandwishes. 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
  • Pernil com Queijo – Roast pork shoulder and Portuguese Serra da Estrela cheese on a rustic bun
  • Bifana – a sandwich with marinated pork in a bread roll
  • Cachorrinhos – hot dogs with spicy sauce and cheese
  • Alheira – Portuguese smoked bread sausage
  • Port – Portuguese dessert wine
  • Portuguese Sangria – a summer drink in Portugal made with Portuguese dry red wine and a carbonated juice and brandy

Are you ready to spend 2 days in Porto?

I hope you liked this post and gave you many inspirations for your visit to Porto. Doesn’t matter if you only have one day or two days in Porto, you will thoroughly enjoy the city.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ 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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