Last Updated on March 12, 2022 by queenie mak
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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What you need to know before going on a day trip from Porto
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 bus, subway or train.
- Buy a train ticket, bus ticket, or subway ticket from the counter or kiosk. You have to buy a rechargeable card (Andante Card or Siga Card) plus one title (that means 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 either to take the train, bus or subway back to Porto.
- Make sure to validate your rechargeable card before getting on the train or subway.
- Check Comboios de Portugal website for cost and train timetables.
7 top day trips from Porto, Portugal
And without further adieu, here is my list for the best day trips from Porto for a solo traveller.
You can take all of these day trips from Porto by train and see the town on your own. But one of them is best experienced through a guided tour.
1. Foz do Douro, Portugal
Top things to do in 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.
Either way, these are some of the attractions in Foz you shouldn’t miss:
- 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 Porto District
How to get to Foz do Douro from Porto
The most scenic way to travel from central Porto to Foz do Douro is by taking tram #1. Take the tram 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.
- Tram #1: from Infante Tram Stop to Passeio Alegre Tram Stop (see route)
- Time: 15 minutes (about a few trams per hour)
- Cost: €3.50 one way or €6 return (pay exact cash to the driver)
2. Matosinhos, Portugal
Best things to do in Matosinhos
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 all of 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
The easiest way to travel from Porto to Matosinhos is by taking the Metro do Porto. The A line (blue) can take you directly from central Porto to Matosinhos. If you follow my 1-day itinerary, disembark at the last stop of the subway line.
- Metro do Porto: from Bolhao Station to Senhor de Matosinhos Station
- Time: 50 minutes (every 15 minutes)
- Cost: €1.60 for a Z3 title ticket (plus €0.60 for the Andante reusable card)
- Check: Metro do Porto website for route and fares
For a more scenic route to Matosinhos, take bus 500 from the city centre of Porto to the last stop in Matosinhos. The bus route is along the coast of Douro River where you can see different parts of Porto, the Douro River, and the beaches and city scenes of Foz do Douro.
- Bus 500: from Praça da Liberdade Bus Stop to Matosinhos (Mercado) Bus Stop (see route)
- Time: 45 minutes (every 15 minutes)
- Cost: €1.60 for a Z3 title ticket (plus €0.60 for the Andante reusable card)
- Check: STCP website for route and fares
3. Douro Valley, Portugal
Top things to do in 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 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
Although the train on Linha do Douro can take you to Douro Valley, the best way to see the Douro Valley is by joining a full-day Douro Valley tour.
Many Douro Valley tours include various activities, including winery tours, port tasting, river cruise on the Douro River, and lunch pairing with Douro wines at a local vineyard.
And the tour package includes a pickup from your hotel in Porto and drop-off after the tour.
There are many tour operators in Porto that sell different day trip packages to Douro Valley. Or you can book a Douro Valley tour online.
Below are some of the highly rated Douro Valley tours:
4. Espinho, Portugal
Top things to do in Espinho
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
The best way to travel from Porto to Espinho is by taking the urban train. You can start the journey from either São Bento Station or Campanha Station in Porto.
- Urban train: from Porto São Bento Station to Espinho Station
- Time: 45 minutes (about 2 to 3 trains per hour)
- Cost: €1.80 (plus €0.50 for the Siga reusable card)
5. Aveiro, Portugal
Best things to do in Aveiro
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 also known for its Art Nouveau buildings, patterned Portuguese pavement, salt flats, and ovo moles, a famous Aveiro dessert.
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
The easiest way to travel from Porto to Aveiro is by taking the urban train. You can start the journey from either São Bento Station or Campanha Station in Porto.
- Urban train: from Porto São Bento Station to Aveiro Station
- Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (about 1 or 2 trains per hour)
- Cost: €3.55 (plus €0.50 for the Siga reusable card)
6. Braga, Portugal
Top things to do in Braga
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.
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 – beautiful manicured garden in the city centre
How to get to Braga from Porto
The best way to travel from Porto to Braga is by taking the urban train. You can start the journey from either São Bento Station or Campanha Station in Porto.
- Urban train: from Porto São Bento Station to Braga Station
- Time: 1 hour 11 minutes (about 1 or 2 trains per hour)
- Cost: €3.25 (plus €0.50 for the Siga reusable card)
7. Guimarães, Portugal
Best things to do in Guimarães
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.
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
The easiest and cheapest way to travel from Porto to Guimarães is by taking the urban train. You can start the journey from either São Bento Station or Campanha Station in Porto.
- Urban train: from Porto São Bento Station to Guimarães Station
- Time: 1 hour 12 minutes (about 1 train per hour)
- Cost: €3.25 (plus €0.50 for the Siga reusable card)
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 if you have any questions.