If you are travelling solo to Portugal for two weeks, you must visit Porto in the northern part of the country. It is the second-largest city and has many attractions that can keep you occupied for at least a few days.
But Porto is also a great home base for visiting other parts of Northern Portugal. Many towns and cities around Porto can be visited as a day trip. And best of all, you can reach any of these places by public transportation in less than an hour or so.
In this post, I’m sharing all the info on the seven best day trips from Porto. Keep reading and learn about each of the day trip destinations.
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Porto Day Trips: what you need to know
Before you consider taking any of these day trips from Porto, take a look at these travel tips below:
- Each of the day trips listed below can be reached by train, bus, or tram.
- Buy a train, bus, or subway ticket from the counter or kiosk. Buy a rechargeable card (Andante Card or Siga Card) plus one title (one ticket for the train/bus/subway journey to your specific destination).
- The Andante Card is used for taking the bus and subway in Porto. It costs €0.60.
- The Siga Card is used for taking the urban trains around Porto. It costs €0.50.
- Remember to keep the rechargeable cards so you can use them to take the train, bus or subway back to Porto.
- Always validate your rechargeable card before getting on the train or subway.
- Check the Comboios de Portugal website for cost and train timetables.
7 Top Day trips from Porto by Train, Bus or Tram
And without further ado, here is my list of the best Porto day trips for a solo traveller. You can take all of these day trips from Porto by train, bus or tram and see the town on your own.
Here is a quick summary:
1. Foz do Douro
Foz do Douro is a posh seaside suburb facing the Atlantic Ocean. It is located in the western part of Porto, only 5km away from the city centre. Many day-trippers visit this affluent neighbourhood for its gorgeous sandy beaches and excellent restaurants.
While it is easy to spend an entire day along the seaside promenade and beaches in “Foz”, it is possible to include Matosinhos (the next day trip destination) on the same day trip.
While you are in Foz, check out some of these highlights:
- Tram #1 – see riverside scenery by taking the tram from Porto to Foz
- Forte de São João Baptista – a 17th-century fortress at the mouth of the Douro River
- Lighthouse of São Miguel-o-Anjo – oldest lighthouse in Portugal
- Beaches of Foz do Douro – such as Praia Ingleses and Praia de Gondarém
- Sunset in Foz do Douro – one of the best spots to watch the sunset in the Porto District
How to get to Foz do Douro from Porto: Take tram #1 (15 minutes; €3.50 one way or €6 return) from Infante tram stop, which is in front of St Francis Church on R. Nova da Alfandega, and disembark on the last stop, Passeio Alegre tram stop.
If you want to have a beach day near Porto, then you must visit Matosinhos, a port and fishing town 8km north of the city of Porto.
Enjoy a stroll on the seaside promenade or hang out at the largest sandy beach in the Porto District. Whatever you do, make sure to try the seafood in Matosinhos.
And if you start the day trip early, you can also see all the attractions in Foz do Douro on the same day!
Here are some of the best attractions in Matosinhos you do not want to miss:
- Igreja do Bom Jesus de Matosinhos – see the pilgrimage church and the Portuguese pavement
- Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos – locals buy produce and fresh seafood at this domed indoor market
- Praia de Matosinhos – best for swimming, surfing and sunbathing
- Castelo do Queijo – visit the 17th-century “cheese castle” for €0.50
- Fresh seafood at a seafood restaurant on R. Heróis de França – try the sardines at Meia-Nau Matosinhos
How to get to Matosinhos from Porto: Take the Metro do Porto (A line) from Bolhao Station to Senhor de Matosinhos Station (50 minutes; €1.60 for a Z3 title ticket). Or take bus 500 from Praça da Liberdade Bus Stop to Matosinhos (Mercado) Bus Stop (45 minutes; €1.60 for a Z3 title ticket).
3. Douro Valley
Imagine this: serene river, terraced vineyards, and mountainous landscapes. That is exactly what you will see when you visit the Douro Valley.
For the last two thousand years, the Alto Douro region has grown grapes and produced the country’s most famous product: port wine. Moreover, the wine region is earned the UNESCO World Heritage Site title because the wine-making culture has transformed the landscape and economy and elevated it to one of the best European wine regions.
When you visit the Douro Valley, you can learn about the history of the region, visit local quintas (wine-producing houses), and try various port wines at local wine estates.
Here are some of the best things to see in Douro Valley:
- Quintas in the Alto Douro region – see how port wine is made
- Olive oil and port wine tastings – at local wine estates
- Lunch pairing with Douro wines at a local vineyard – included in a selected guided tour
- River cruise on a Rabelo boat on the Douro River – see the terraced vineyards from another perspective
- Douro wine villages – such as Pinhão
How to get to Douro Valley from Porto: Take the train on Linha do Douro to Douro Valley. Or join a full-day Douro Valley tour, which includes winery tours, port tasting, river cruise on the Douro River, and lunch pairing with Douro wines at a local vineyard.
Espinho is a quaint coastal town 20 km south of Porto, Portugal. Located in the Aveiro District, Espinho is known for its white-sand beaches, delicious seafood and the biggest open-air market in Portugal.
Even though there are many beaches along Costa Verde that are ideal for a day trip from Porto, Espinho is one of the biggest towns along the west coast and has the nicest beaches.
Here are some of the best things to see in Espinho:
- Feira Semanal de Espinho – the biggest weekly market in Portugal
- Praia da Baia – popular beach in Espinho
- Piscina Solário Atlântico – public pool and thalassotherapy center
- Passadiço Espinho – elevated pedestrian boardwalk between Espinho Station and Granja Station
- Espinho seafood – try Espinho shrimp or Sopa de piexe (fish soup)
How to get to Espinho from Porto: Take the urban train from Porto São Bento Station to Espinho Station (45 minutes; €1.80)
Known as the Venice of Portugal, Aveiro is a picturesque fishing town where you can take a scenic canal ride on the gondola-type boats called moliceiros. The charming town is known for its Art Nouveau buildings, patterned Portuguese pavement, salt flats, and ovo moles, a famous Aveiro dessert.
Highlights during a day trip to Aveiro
Here are a few Aveiro attractions you shouldn’t miss:
- Antigo Estação Caminho de Ferro de Aveiro – see the azulejos (blue and white tiles) at the Old Aveiro Railway Station
- Ponte dos Nomorados bridge – Aveiro’s version of a “lover’s bridge” where ribbons are used instead of padlocks
- Salinas de Aveiro – see the Salt Flats of Aveiro
- Museu de Arte Nova – learn about Art Nouveau at the small museum
- 45-minute Moliceiros boat tour – take a leisurely boat ride through the Aveiro Canals
How to get to Aveiro from Porto: Take the urban train from Porto São Bento Station to Aveiro Station (1 hour 20 minutes; €3.55).
Braga is one of the oldest cities in Portugal. As the fourth-largest city in the country, Braga has the highest concentration of churches and cathedrals in a Portuguese city.
Besides all the religious buildings, the highlight of Braga has to be Bom Jesus do Monte, a neoclassical church on the top of a hill. Either take the water-powered funicular to the top or climb the 17-flight Baroque stairway. The church and stairway are located east of the city centre and can be reached via bus #2 from the train station.
Things to see during a day trip to Braga
Braga is one of the best day trips from Porto by train. Make sure you see these attractions:
- Bom Jesus do Monte – the icon of the city
- Escadório do Santuário do Sameiro – see panoramic views of Braga
- The Sé de Braga Cathedral – the oldest cathedral in Portugal
- Palácio do Raio – a Baroque residence with a stunning blue-tiled facade
- Jardim de Santa Bárbara – beautifully manicured garden in the city centre
How to get to Braga from Porto: Take the urban train from Porto São Bento Station to Braga Station (1 hour 11 minutes; €3.25).
Guimarães is one of Portugal’s most important historical cities. It is known as the “birthplace of Portugal” because Portugal’s first King was born in the city and the Battle of São Mamede, a battle that ensured Portugal’s Independence, was fought in the vicinity.
Besides the rich history, the historical centre of Guimarães is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The town is exceptionally well-preserved and has many things to do, which makes Guimarães one of the best day trips from Porto by train.
Highlights during a day trip to Guimarães
Here are some of the best Guimarães attractions that you must see:
- Castelo de Guimarães – a 10th-century hilltop medieval castle and the birthplace of King Afonso Henrique
- Palace Duques de Bragança – tour the former residence of the Dukes of Bragança
- Serra de Penha – take a cable car to the top and see panoramic views of Guimarães at 613m
- Gruta Nossa Senhora de Lourdes – visit Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto on Serra de Penha
- Padrão do Salado and Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira in Largo da Oliveira – historical monument and church in the historic city centre
How to get to Guimarães from Porto: Take the urban train from Porto São Bento Station to Guimarães Station (1 hour 12 minutes; €3.25).
How many of these Porto day trips will you take?
While there are many attractions in Porto, one of the things to do is to visit cities and towns in Northern Portugal.
And these are the seven most popular day trips from Porto. There are other day trip ideas, but these are the ones I have discovered so far. When I return to Portugal (hopefully next year), I’ll research a bit more on other day trips from Porto. So bookmark this blog post and check back later.
It is completely safe for solo female travellers to explore Northern Portugal. Hopefully, my post will give you some ideas on places you would like to see outside Porto.
Let me know in the comments if you like this post or have any questions.
Thank you for reading my Porto day trips post
You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Portugal:
Lisbon region posts
- Lisbon solo travel guide for first-timers
- Is the Lisboa Card worth it?
- Best day trips from Lisbon Portugal
Northern Portugal posts
- 2 days in Porto: things to do alone in Porto
- 17 best Porto food: what and where to eat in Porto
- Day trip to Guimarães from Porto: 1-day itinerary
- Day trip from Porto to Espinho: 1-day itinerary
Central Portugal posts
- Algarve solo travel guide: 7 best places
- 20 best things to do in Albufeira for solo travellers
- Loule itinerary: best things to do in one day
- Vilamoura and Quarteira: 1-day itinerary