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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

One Day In Porto, Portugal: Itinerary to Transform and Travel with Gabby

Guest Post by Gabby Boucher with Budget Travel with Gabby

Porto is a gorgeous city in northern Portugal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get as much attention as

the capital city of Lisbon. But for those who do venture to Porto, they are sure to become

captivated by the city’s charm.

For those who want to transform and travel, Porto has lots to offer. It has all the best elements

of a big city: nightlife, architecture, historical monuments, and more. But it also has opportunities

for learning and growing.

You can take a port wine tour, practice learning Portuguese, or watch a local live music

performance. These activities will help you dive into the culture and expand your knowledge of


This One Day in Porto, Portugal Itinerary to Transform and Travel will list some of the best things

to do in Porto. Even in just one day, you can really experience the culture and make some

unforgettable memories.

Douro River in Portugal

Photo Credit: Gabby Boucher

My Experiences With Porto, Portugal

My name is Gabby Boucher, and I am super passionate about budget travel. In order to save

money while traveling, I often work in exchange for free accommodation abroad.

A few years ago, I stayed in Porto for one month doing a work exchange at Nice Way Hostel. I

worked 24 hours per week, usually in the kitchen and sometimes in housekeeping or reception.

In exchange for my work, I lived in a staff dorm room with other volunteers.

Nice Way Hostel is located right in downtown Porto, so I had lots of time for exploring the city on

my days off. All the full-time staff at the hostel were locals, so they helped show me around and introduce me to the best things to do. It was very cool to get a local’s perspective of Porto, while also doing the touristy things.

So after spending one month living and working in Porto, it has become one of my favorite

cities. To help other travelers plan their trip there, I’ve compiled some of my favorite parts of the

city into a one day itinerary.

I hope this article inspires others to visit Porto, Portugal!

Porto, Portugal Sunset

Photo Credit: Gabby Boucher

Fun Facts About Porto, Portugal

The country of Portugal is actually named after Porto! Back in Medieval times, northern Portugal

was called “Condado Portucalense”. Over time that inspired the name for the entire country of


So many people think Lisbon is the best city in Portugal. Lisbon is amazing, but I just love Porto.

It has so much history and culture, and it’s not as crowded with tourists.

Another fun fact about Porto is that Port Wine can only be made here. Port Wine, a sweet,

fortified dessert wine, is exported all over the world and it is quite famous.

But the specific grapes for Port Wine only grow in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal. Port

Wine is aged in Vila Nova de Gaia, the village right across the river from Porto.

So if you love sweet wine, Porto is the best place to go for a tour!

One Day in Porto, Portugal: Itinerary to Transform and Travel

Now, I’ll list the absolute best things to do in Porto in one day. Though one day is quite short, it

is still enough time to experience the wonders of this charming Portuguese city.

Photo Credit: Gabby Boucher

Douro River in Porto, Portugal

Photo Credit: Gabby Boucher

Sightseeing by the Douro River

The first thing you have to do in Porto is just walk around. There is so much beauty in the

architecture and monuments of the city. So the best way to see it all is by sightseeing on foot.

Start in Praça da Liberdade. This is the main square of the city, and it is framed with some

magnificent buildings. Walk towards the river and admire all the beautiful buildings.

You’ll see lots of azulejos while sightseeing in Porto. These traditional Portuguese tiles are

painted in blue and white designs, and you’ll see them plastered all over buildings and churches

in Portugal.

Once you reach the river, walk along the Ribeira. This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the

city. Gorgeous, colorful, tightly-packed buildings sit right next to the river. It’s a beautiful sight to

see, and there are often street performers here as well.

I found myself completely mesmerized by the beautiful sights and sounds of the city down here

by the river. While living and working in Porto, I also fell in love with afternoons on the Ribeira,

just laying in the sun, absorbing my surroundings, and doing absolutely nothing else.

I can easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. So I found that Porto helped me slow

down and appreciate the little things.

Walk Over the Dom Luis Bridge

The next stop in your Porto sightseeing is the Dom Luis Bridge. This is one of the most famous sights in Porto. It is a massive, double-decker bridge that connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia.

The top level of the bridge offers a stunning view of the city and the Douro River.

Go For A Jog Along the River

For those looking for a bit of exercise in Porto, running is a great way to explore the city and work up a sweat.

The spacious riverside path is the perfect place for jogging. The further you run away from the city center, the more you get to see the local side of life. It’s cool to observe the parts of Porto that most tourists don’t see, from the local fishermen catching fish along the Duoro to the local women power walking and chatting.

After running along the river, take your workout a bit further by running up the steps to the top level of the Dom Luis I Bridge. You can enjoy an incredible view while you’re jogging.

I loved running along the river at sunset after work. The colors of nature mixing with the beautiful city was breathtaking.

Dom Luis Bridge in Porto, Portugal

Photo Credit: Gabby Boucher

Try A Pastel De Nata

For a quick snack to fuel you up for more sightseeing, try a Pastel de Nata. This traditional Portuguese pastry is sweet and delicious. It is like a tiny flaky pie with a thick custard creme in the middle.

Just stop into any cafe, grab a coffee and a pastry and relax for a bit. A Pastel de Nata usually costs only 1 or 2 Euros!

Climb Torre Dos Clerigos

Another amazing thing to do in Porto is climb this massive tower for an aerial view of the city.

Igreja dos Clerigos is a gorgeous Catholic Church in central Porto. You can pay 4 Euros to climb the staircase to the top of the bell tower. On the way up, each floor has interesting historical facts and stories. So you can learn about the history and religion of Porto while climbing.

I loved gaining some insight into the culture of Portugal while climbing this tower. It was a good leg workout, and the informational posters and plaques in the museum really helped expand my awareness and understanding of the role of religion in Porto.

Igreja dos Clerigos in Porto, Portugal

Photo Credit: Gabby Boucher

Have Lunch at a Classic Portuguese Sandwich Shop

One of the most classic things to eat in Porto is a sandwich. The sandwiches here are served on crusty bread with spicy meat, sauces, veggies and cheese. You can customize your sandwich and add whatever toppings you like.

There are sandwich shops all over Porto. Some of the best ones include Gazela Cachorrinhos de Batalha and Lariera. Lariera serves a “prego” sandwich, which has thinly sliced grilled beef and garlic sauce.

Check out Livraria Lello

After eating lunch, walk over to Livraria Lello. This world-famous bookstore is a stunning sight to see. It costs 5 Euros to enter, and inside you’ll find a winding staircase covered in red velvet, and golden decorations that make the library look magical.

There are so many amazing books in here as well! I felt my mind embark on a journey as I browsed through all the beautiful covers. It’s a bit of sensory overload, but just scanning the pictures and reading excerpts from some of the books helped me appreciate how amazing books can be.

Also, this library supposedly helped inspire J.K Rowling while she wrote the Harry Potter series. So there really is something magical about being in this incredible library.

Do A Port Wine Tasting

After doing all the previous activities, it should be afternoon. You’ve done some great sightseeing in Porto, and now it’s time to do a wine tasting!

There are so many tour companies to choose. Most of them host wine tastings in the afternoon. I did a tour with a company called Porto Walkers.

We walked over to Vila Nova de Gaia and toured three different wine cellars. We learned all about Port Wine and tasted so many delicious drinks. The tour ended around sunset, so we all got to eat some chocolate and enjoy the view by the river.

This is a super fun activity in Porto. I highly recommend it because you can’t find real Port Wine anywhere else in the world! So it is a unique way to learn more about the culture and wine of Portugal.

Photo Credit: Gabby Boucher

Enjoy A Long Dinner and Watch Fado

After drinking a bit of Port Wine and watching the sunset by the river in Vila Nova de Gaia, continue the festivities by enjoying a local dinner and performance.

Fado is a traditional Portuguese style of music. The singer, usually an older woman, sings slow, passionate, and beautiful songs filled with emotion. It is a breathtaking performance to see. The singer is usually accompanied by one or two local musicians on the guitar as well.

Watching Fado is one of the most fascinating insights into Portuguese culture. I sat in a crowded restaurant, surrounded by my hostel coworkers and many locals, and I found it hard to focus on anything else besides the singer. I couldn’t understand her words, but I could feel her emotion. It is such a powerful art form, and I was so moved by the performance I saw.

Fado is often performed in restaurant venues. Again, there are so many dining options in Porto so there are too many to list! Just pick one that has Fado on that night and settle in. A typical Portuguese dinner is long and relaxed. You drink, eat lots of small plates, and share conversation with friends.

Be sure to try some Bacalhao, which is local salted codfish. You can eat Bacalhao in fish-cake form, or in a casserole, or in many other ways. But it is a local classic and it’s delicious.

Then your one day itinerary in Porto is over! I hope you end your day well-fed and happy!

Reasons to Stay in Porto, Portugal More than One Day

There are many reasons to stay in Porto, Portugal longer from enjoying the culture, streets, history and night life to the incredible food.

Have you been to Porto, Portugal? Are you planning to go? How are you inspiring travel now and in the future?

Share and tag @gabbyboucher and us @katrinajuliafit @fitlifecreation and

anyone you would love to travel here with!

About Gabby Boucher:

Gabby is 24 years old from the USA, currently living in Australia. She is an expert at traveling on a budget and loves doing work exchanges all over the world. From bartending in Peru, to learning permaculture in South Africa, to paddle boarding in Guatemala, her interesting cultural experiences never end!.

Where You May Find Gabby:


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