All information about tours, activities and excursions in the Porto area. Tips for fun day trips and things to do in Portugal can be found here:
14x Best day trips from Porto & Douro Valley
The city of Porto is the ideal starting point to discover more of Portugal. A day trip from Porto can be done by bike, boat or bus. Portugal is of course known for its beautiful landscapes and from Porto you can easily visit on a day trip highlights such as the Douro Valley. Below we have listed the 14 best day trips from Porto based on excellent reviews and own experiences:
1. Best day tour from Porto: Douro Valley
The Douro is the major river that flows through Porto. Two types of boat trips can be booked: First, a short tour of the Douro Valley passing the 6 bridges of Porto (more info and reservations). You can also book a complete day trip (more info and reservations) that visits the Douro valley where several stops will be made and where you can taste port, for example at a vineyard. Depending on the tour, you may stop at places like Amarante and Pinhão.
Recommended! If you only have time for one excursion from Porto, this excursion to the Douro valley definitely is my favourite choice. You will take a long boat trip in the valley and at a few stops you can enjoy port wine and a traditional Portuguese lunch:
2. Day trip to Braga
From Porto you can also take a day trip to Braga. During this tour you will learn all about the history and you will pass beautiful places. This tour takes about 9 hours where you will also pass through the historic center of Guimarães. This center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You will also visit Braga, which is one of the oldest Christian cities in the world. Just outside Braga is the Bom Jesus do Monte, a beautiful sanctuary with zigzagging stairs. During this day trip you will learn all about the history of the Portuguese people and have a traditional Portuguese lunch. Some day trips also pass the picturesque town of Minho.
Tip: There are a couple of organizations where you can book this excursion. I had an excellent experience with this day trip to Braga and Guimarães. On this day trip I had a very enthusiastic guide who told a lot about the history and I visited the most important sights of both cities.
3. Guimarães, birthplace of Portugal
The day trip to Braga is often combined with Guimarães (more info and bookings). Because Guimarães is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, it is definitely worth a visit. Here you will also see an important shrine and learn all about the history of Portugal and their people. Guimarães is the birthplace of Portugal. Guimarães has a medieval castle and you can take a walk through the historic city center of Guimarães. You will imagine yourself back in time because the monuments and streets have been well preserved.
4. Aveiro day trip from Porto
Aveiro is also called the Venice of Portugal because of its many beautiful canals. During a day trip (more info and bookings) you will come across colored gondolas and you will see the channels. With a van you go from Porto to Aveiro where you also have the choice to take a boat trip on the canals of Aveiro. Aveiro was once a fishing village, but is now a tourist attraction. The tour starts at the fish market square where you have a nice view over the city center of Aveiro. Before heading back to Porto, you will pass through the Costa Nova neighborhood where you can admire many traditional colored houses. To visit Aveiro you can choose from different Aveiro day trips from Porto:
5. Excursion to Coimbra
Coimbra was for a long period the only university city in Portugal. The oldest college in Europe dates back to the 13th century and is located on top of a hill in Coimbra. In Coimbra you can also visit the Sé Nova Cathedral, which is the only church in Portugal that survived the Reconquista. Stroll through the historic center of Coimbra passing through the Quebra Costas, Arco da Almedina, Porta do Barbacã and Rua Ferreira Borges. Something you should not miss during your visit to Coimbra is the Joanine library, which is decorated with baroque details. If you do not have your own transport, you can visit Coimbra with this day trip incl. the Sanctuary of Fátima. The pilgrimage site of Fátima is located south of Coimbra and has become known for the apparition of the Virgen Mary.
6. Trip to Matosinhos
Do you want to get away from the city and enjoy the beach during your stay? Then you can travel to Matosinhos. Besides the Foz district, this is the closest beach destination to Porto. You can take the metro from the center of Porto to Matosinhos. In addition to the beach, you will also find a village here. Make sure you are hungry at the end of the day as you will find more than 200 fish restaurants here where you can enjoy fresh fish dishes. Another special activity in Matosinhos is visiting Conservas Pinhais, where they recently started this unique tour and tasting in a sardine cannery.
From Matosinhos you can also take a walk of a few kilometers to Foz, located further south. Along the way you will encounter a number of sights such as the artwork of She Changes, or the 'anemone' on the roundabout. Near the Queijo fortress is the Sea Life Aquarium of Porto or you can relax in the urban park 'Parque da Cidade'. Another way to visit Foz and Matosinhos is with the Castles Route of this yellow hop on hop off bus.
7. Capela de Senhor da Pedra
If you prefer a bike ride from Porto you can cycle to Capela do Senhor da Pedra (more info bike rental in Porto). At 13 kilometers from Porto you will find a chapel at the beach with a rich history. The chapel was built in 1686 on the rock by the sea. This has been a place of pilgrimage for a long time. Every year, hundreds of people still come to the chapel for Lord of the Stone. Another name for the chapel is: The house of magic or the house of miracles. History says that Christ came out of the sea on that spot and that is why the chapel was built on that rock.
8. National Park Peneda-Gerês
From Porto you can drive to the Peneda-Gerês National Park. This drive of about 90 minutes will take you to the heart of Gerês. You will find beautiful lagoons, mountains, streams and nature here. You can swim, hike or canoe between the waterfalls and the rainbows. With a bit of luck you can spot wild horses in the valley. When you get hungry later in the day, you can visit local villages to enjoy a delicious lunch or to get in touch with the locals. Gerês has a nice viewpoint where you can end the day. The different excursions from Porto:
9. Viana do Castelo
Do you have your own transport? 78 kilometers north of Porto, visit Viana do Castelo, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Viana do Castelo from the Santuário Santa Luzia. This basilica is dedicated to Saint Lucia and from the charming historic center you can visit the sanctuary on top of the mountain by cable car. Here you will have magnificent views of the estuary and the green landscapes of the valley Vale do Lima. Viana do Castelo is also easy to combine by car with Ponte de Lima, one of the oldest cities in Portugal.
10. Ponte de Lima
A trip to Ponte de Lima is a tour through the green area of Portugal. Ponte de Lima is one of the oldest towns in Portugal and during your visit you will pass narrow old streets and alleys and you will finally visit the old bridge of Ponte de Lima. For example, as a stopover you can visit a local restaurant where you can taste green wine in combination with regional cheese and smoked sausage. After you have visited Ponte de Lima you can continue to Viana do Castelo where you can take a nice walk in this old historic town.
11. Vila do Conde
Would you like to relax at the beach? Then you can go to Vila do Conde, which is located about 30 kilometers north of Porto. Here you can visit several beaches and other places of interest. The beach of Vila do Conde is over 6 kilometers long and ends in the river Rio Ave. The beach is close to the center and is not only used by tourists and locals, but also by surfers and fishermen. From Porto, take a 50-minute metro ride to Vila do Conde for a relaxing day at the beach.
12. Buggy Tours in Serras de Porto Natural Park
Near Porto is the Serras de Porto Natural Park. With a buggy or quad you can make very nice off-road trips through this mountain area, with charming villages and ruins along the way. Discover an original activity in the Porto area (more info Buggy tours from Porto).
13. Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
For the adventurous there is a pilgrimage from Porto to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This tour takes 14 days and is about 250 kilometers which is covered in 14 stages. Not much time? You can also take a day trip by bus from Porto (more info and bookings) to the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela and visit the cathedral and the rest of the city center which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This day trip is often combined with Valença do Minho, a historic village on the border of Spain and Portugal.
14. Lisbon & Sintra
From Porto to the capital Lisbon is a journey of 300 kilometers. You can cover this distance by car, bus or train in about 3 hours. Since there is so much to see in Lisbon and the beautiful Sintra, it is not advisable to visit Lisbon for just a day trip. The city has so many attractions that you can easily enjoy yourself for a few days. You can combine Porto and Lisbon perfectly as an extensive city trip, for example by booking your return flight from the other airport.