1 Day in Porto – Things to do and see in Porto, Portugal

Even with 1 day in Porto, you can still enjoy many of the highlights of the city. Here's a quick read guide to the best things to to in Porto in a day.

The Sao Bento Station in Porto

Porto is a beautiful city in Portugal that you should visit if you have the chance. Perhaps most well known as the home of Port wine, you'll discover there's a lot more to this magical city when you visit Porto!

In fact the Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar is a UNESCO world heritage site.

One Day in Porto

Let me start by saying that I think Porto in Portugal is one of those towns you shouldn't rush. Half of the charm of visiting, is simply taking leisurely strolls.

Wander through the narrow, cobbled streets. Admire the blue Azulejos. Sample a glass of port. Relax! 

Not everyone has tonnes of time on their hands though, and I guess if you found this list of things to do in Porto in 1 day, you are one of them!

So, this quick guide to what to do in Porto in a day will give you a taste of what's on offer. 

Things to do in Porto in a day

This list of things to see in Porto in one day isn't in a recommended order. The chances are, you'll have to pick and choose a few from here if you want to squeeze them all into your Porto 1 day itinerary anyway.

That said, you can't leave Porto without seeing…

1. The Harry Potter Bookstore

Obviously, this should be at the top of everyone's one day in Porto itinerary! If you're a Harry Potter fan of course.

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, lived in Porto for a time, and the architecture of the Lello bookstore inspired her vision of Hogwarts.

You have to go to the Harry Potter bookstore in Porto if visiting for a day!

Whilst it is a ‘must-see', I will be the first to admit there is an element of disappointment here.

It's a huge tourist attraction, with hundreds of people visiting every hour. There's even a ticket and queuing system in place!

My suggestion – Get there early in the morning whilst everyone is still in bed!

2. Port Tasting

I think the clue is in the name here – Porto is of course more correctly well known as the home of Port.

No trip is going to be complete without visiting a port cellar or two, where you can see the production process, and sample the end product in a port wine tasting session

A procession carrying a cask of Port we witnessed whilst spending a day in Porto

When we visited, one of the port wine cellars was celebrating some sort of anniversary. They were marching a Port barrel up and down the side of the river accompanied by a marching band. As you do!

3. The Serralves Modern Art Museum

This might not make everyone's list of things to do on a one day Porto itinerary, but if you've got a thing for modern art, then head for the Serralves Modern Art Museum.

Dave Briggs visiting Porto for a day

In addition to ever changing exhibitions, they also have a garden with works of art in. In case you were wondering, the work of art in the photo above is the object on the right, not on the left!

4. Check out the famous Blue Tiles

As you stroll around Porto, you can't fail to notice the ceramic painted blue tiles. They are on a number of churches and cathedrals, most notably  Carmo and Capela das Almas churches.

Blue tiled buildings in Porto, Portugal

For me though, the most outstanding place to enjoy the blue tiles is at São Bento Train Station. I spent quite a while in here just admiring the time and dedication it must have taken to create the decoration.

Things to do in Porto

5. Walking Along The River Douro

Walking along the Douro river is a great way to pass some time, and at night, the bridge is beautifully illuminated.

River walk in Porto

I preferred the walk on the other side of the river, so that I could look on to the city, and also admire the bridge. There's also a cable car ride here, which offers some wonderful views. A river cruise is another good way to experience Porto from a new angle.

6. Check out Porto Cathedral

The Sé do Porto, or Porto Cathedral, dates from the 12th century, and is an impressive landmark that you should add on to your sightseeing walk around Porto.

Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)

There is an entrance fee for the cathedral in Porto, which when we visited was just 3 Euros each. Inside, you'll see a mix of Baroque and Gothic architecture, as well as some of the famous azulejos (tiles).

7. Street Art and Murals in Porto

Porto may be more well known for its blue tiles, but you can still find street art and murals as you wander around.

Street art and murals in Porto, Portugal

If you are a street art fan and want to make finding some a priority, taking a tour in Porto is probably the best option in order to make the most of your day in Porto.

I recommend Get Your Guide for tours and activities when visiting Porto and other cities in Europe.

More to Porto

It goes without saying that you'll discover a lot more when exploring Porto than simply the things above! Sometimes the beauty of visiting a place, is to discover them yourself.

Have you visited Porto, and if so, what did you think? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

A travel guide on how to spend 1 day in Porto, Portugal

Porto In One Day FAQ

Readers looking to explore Porto often ask questions such as:

Is one day enough for Porto?

Yes, one day is enough for Porto. However, there are many other things to see and do in the city, so if you have more time, be sure to explore more!

How do I spend a day in Porto Portugal?

Assuming you have an interest in architecture, your first stop should be the São Bento Train Station to admire the beautiful blue tiles. Then, walk along the river to see the different sides of the city. Make sure to check out the Cathedral and some of the street art around town. End your day with a port wine tasting.

How long do I need in Porto?

You'll need at least a day in Porto to see all the highlights. If you want to explore more of the city, then be sure to add on an extra day or two.

What is there to do in Porto 24 hours?

In addition to the attractions mentioned in the article, visitors can discover more of Portuguese history, take a Doura river cruise, visit a traditional market, go on a wine tour or relax in one of the city's many parks.

What is Port wine?

Port wine is a type of fortified wine made from grapes in the Douro Valley in Portugal. It is typically ruby red in color, and often has a sweet taste.

Interested in exploring more of Portugal? Take a look at cycling the Portuguese Camino Coastal route from Porto to Santiago de Compostela.

Want to find out more about European destinations for city breaks?

Check out my getaway breaks guides for travel inspiration! You might also like these other European city guides:


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