For me, Porto is not only the most beautiful city in Portugal, but also one of the most beautiful ones in Europe. A city trip to Porto is therefore an absolute travel tip! The city not only combines history and architecture, but also incredible viewpoints, culinary delights and of course – the world-famous port wine!
In this article you will find my tips for your trip to Porto: Including the best sights, insider tips and my personal recommendations for Porto!

As always, I’ve included a map in this post so you can quickly find all the mentioned sights and secret tips in Porto!

When is the best time to visit Porto?

The best time to visit Porto is in the low season, whether in spring or fall. In the summer months, Porto – like most European destinations – is very crowded. But in spring and fall, the weather is usually pleasant and sunny, there are fewer visitors than during the summer vacations and hotel prices are cheaper.

How many days should you plan for Porto?

For the city itself, two or three full days are enough to explore the most beautiful sights in Porto. However, I highly recommend that you extend your stay by two or three additional days to explore the Douro Valley.

Is it worth renting a car for Porto?

For me, Porto is the city of walking. In hardly any other city is it as difficult to get from A to B by car as it is here. A rental car is therefore only worthwhile if you want to explore the surroundings of Porto! (You will find a tip at the end of this article). As Porto is very hilly, you should also bring comfortable walking shoes with you! Or you can use public transport such as the cable car or mountain railroad!

Book your hotel in Porto for the best prices:

Porto Travel Guide: The best things to see with secret spots

The Douro River flows through the Douro Valley wine region, past Porto and into the Atlantic Ocean. Porto is therefore divided into two parts, which are connected by several bridges and offer numerous viewpoints. However, the southern part, below the Douro River, no longer belongs to the city of Porto, but officially marks the beginning of the city of Vila Nova de Gaia (Gaia for short). In this post, however, I am adding Gaia to the best places to visit in Porto, as both cities merge seamlessly into one another and both parts make up the magic of Porto!

The Luís I Bridge

The iconic iron bridge offers unique views of Porto and the Douro River with its passing boats. It is the most famous connection between Porto and Gaia. The special thing about the bridge is that it can be crossed on several levels: At the bottom on foot and by car and a few meters higher up, on foot or by tram. Both levels offer a unique perspective of the city.

The Luis I Bridge in Porto during sunset, one of the best places to see in Porto
The Luis I Bridge in Porto during sunset, one of the best places to see in Porto

The blue churches

In addition to port wine, Porto is also known for its blue-painted ceramic tiles! Here are some of the most beautiful sights where you can see these unique wall decorations:

– The church Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso is decorated on the outside with beautiful hand-painted tiles
– The most famous and probably most photographed façade in Porto is that of the Capella das Almas chapel
– The Igreja do Carmo church also has a beautifully designed exterior wall made of blue and white ceramic tiles

walking in front of a bridge in Porto with blue tiles, one of the best sights in Porto

 Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso

a church covered with blue ceramic tiles in Porto, a typical sight in Porto

Capella das Almas

a famos sight in Porto: A facade with blue tiles

 Igreja do Carmo

Livraria Lello

Just a few meters away from the beautiful Igreja do Carmo church, you will find the bookshop declared to be the “most beautiful library in the world”. It was probably the inspiration for Harry Potter and has therefore become world-famous. The Lello library is so popular that it can only be entered with a ticket for a specific time slot. You can find the link for online bookings → here! The entrance fee can be redeemed as a voucher during your visit to the store.

Admission: 8€
Opening hours: from 9 am to 6:30 pm

Tip: The library is relatively small and always packed with visitors. If you would like to take photos without the crowds, you either need to go early in the morning at the first time slot or just before closing time.

The Torre dos Clérigos church tower

Climb the 75m high church tower of the 18th century Igreja dos Clérigos church to enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramic views. The church is located in the middle of the historic center of Porto and therefore offers a unique perspective. For me, it is an absolute highlight in Porto that you should definitely not miss!

Admission: 5€
Opening hours: from 9 am to 7 pm (last admission: 6:30 pm)

a view over Port with colorful houses and a boat in the river

The Torre dos Clérigos tower at the top of the hill

the view over porto form a church tower, one of the best things to do in Porto

The view from the tower

The cathedral of Porto

Especially on a clear day, you should definitely not miss the square in front of the Sé do Porto, Porto’s 12th century cathedral. It is located at the top of the hill and therefore offers great views over the city in various directions. It’s worth strolling around to discover the most beautiful views.

the cathedral of Porto is one of the best sights and photo spots in Porto
overlooking Port form a view point

Photo spot insider tip in Porto: Passeio das Fontainhas

Above the roofs of the houses located directly on the Douro River, a small staircase leads to a tiny platform. The view, in combination with the red tiled roofs and the Luís I bridge in the background, is a special and little-known photo spot! As the location is in a residential area, you should be especially respectful and quiet when taking photos here to avoid disturbing local residents.

Overlooking Porto from a secret view point

Port wine tasting

Port wine belongs to Porto like a cherry on an ice cream sundae. Even if you are not normally a fan of sweet and strong wines, you should still not miss a port wine tasting.

In Porto

Here is my insider tip for a cozy wine tasting with the best location, at reasonable prices: Right by the iconic Luís I bridge (on the Porto river side) is the little bar Bacchus Vini. It is a must on any visit to Porto. It serves the best port wine from small producers, the owners are incredibly friendly and the location and atmosphere by the river is wonderful, especially in the evening! Make sure you save this insider tip for Porto!

In Gaia

However, all the wine cellars are not located in Porto itself, but on the other side of the river in Gaia, as this side is less sunny and therefore cooler, which is very important for the storage and ageing of port wine.

The big producers such as Sandeman and Burmester are particularly popular. We ourselves booked a tour of the Burmester cellars followed by a tasting. The tours take place several times a day in larger groups and are very interesting, but not very personal due to the large number of participants.

→ I’ve linked our Port Wine Tasting tour here!

Strolling along the river side of Gaia, you will find numerous small and medium-sized wine cellars and restaurants where you can sample both port wine and classic Portuguese cuisine. A typical Porto dish is called Francesinha. It is a toast filled with meat and sausage and topped with cheese and sauce. It is a bit of an unusual taste, but not bad either! If you try it yourself, you’ll understand what I mean!

Viewpoints in Gaia

In Gaia, you can not only drink good wine, but also enjoy unique views of Porto – this side of the river is particularly ideal at sunset!

Here are the three best viewpoints in Gaia, including a secret tip:

1. The upper station Jardim do Morro of the Teleférico de Gaia cable car offers a great perspective over the river.
2. The Miradouro da Serra do Pilar viewpoint is located directly above the Luís I bridge.
3. My secret tip: Kitties Rock
Below the famous Miradouro da Serra do Pilar viewpoint, a dirt path leads from the road along the wall of the monastery, Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. After a few meters you will discover a large round rock, which offers a unique view of Porto and the Luís I Bridge! To get to the rock, you have to climb a short distance. This is no problem with sturdy shoes. However, if this is too strenuous for you, you can enjoy the same view from below the rock! I have marked the exact location on my map at the end of this post.

One of the best sights in Porto and a secret photo spot: The Kitties Rock View Point

Kitties Rock

Overlooking the Douro River and Porto from a view point

Jardim do Morro Station

Map with all mentioned sights, tips and photo spots in Porto

Douro Valley – The home of port wine

If you follow the Douro River upstream, you will reach the dreamlike green birthplace of port wine: in the Douro Valley, the grapes grow on picturesque vineyards through which the Douro Valley meanders.
Various day tours are offered here from Porto, but I would recommend traveling here yourself and spending at least two nights in the Douro Valley. It’s a quiet area, perfect for relaxing, cycling, hiking and of course visiting a winery or two.

One of my favorite hotels in Europe is located in the Douro Valley: → The Six Senses Douro Valley is an incredibly romantic hotel located in an old residence.

scenic view of the Douro Valley with the river, vineyards and the six senses Douro valley

→ Be sure to check out my hotel review of the Six Senses Douro Valley – you’ll fall in love with it
→ Here you can book the Six Senses Douro Valley for the best prices!

If you prefer something a little more rustic and unusual, then this is definitely the right choice for you: At Quinta da Pacheca you can sleep in converted wine barrels in the middle of the vineyards! I’ve never seen anything like it before! → Book this unique stay here!

Porto is truly a city like no other with beautiful places to visit and lovely sights which should definitely be on your bucket list! It is especially a paradise for wine & architecture lovers. So make sure to pack your camera and enough time to soak in the atmosphere and get a taste of the world famous and unique Port Wine!

Do you have any other questions about Porto? Leave me a comment or send me a message via Instagram!

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