You can spend a week in Porto and still have plenty left on your to do list! That said, if you have the benefit of time then we recommend that you explore some nearby destinations. This is why we have put together a list of amazing one-day trips from Porto that will allow you to know a bit more about Portugal and its traditions. And its food of course!
One or two hours by train is enough to get to some of the most beautiful cities in the north (and centre, actually) of the country. See below our choice of 5 best day trip from Porto!
Day Trips from Porto: Aveiro
Once upon a time, Aveiro was a little fishermen’s town by the sea and occupied by Ria, a shallow coastal lagoon, that embraces the city center. Because of its many canals and the typical boats, Moliceiros, Aveiro is known as the “Portuguese Venice”. Today, it is a modern city that still keeps it’s traditions – mainly when it comes to the typical egg sweet known as Ovos Moles. But this is not the only sweet you can try in this beautiful city by the sea. Curious?
Hop on the train! Aveiro is at a one-hour distance by train from Porto and the train station is right at the beginning of the main avenue so you can just start walking around. The big news is there are also free bikes that you can use! And don’t worry, we promise you there are no hills!
Read also our guide for a wonderful Day Trip to Aveiro, everything you need to know for a wonderful day in the Portuguese Venice.
Day Trips from Porto: Braga
Braga is Portugal’s third-largest city and is known for its devotion to tradition and religion. There are ancient buildings and churches around every corner, the majority of which have baroque influence. All of this beauty will make you understand why this northern city is frequently described as magnificent.
But don’t let the heritage fool you, even though Braga is a very traditional city, it is also full of life and young people. In 2012 it was named the European Youth Capital, it is home for one of the biggest universities in the country (Universidade do Minho), and also one of the most active innovation hubs for startups.
The great news is that by train it will only take you around one hour to get there from Porto! Plan an amazing Day Trip to Braga with our detailed guide and visit one of the oldest and most religious cities in Portugal.
Day Trips from Porto: Guimarães
To visit Guimarães is to literally go back in time to roots of Portugal. After all, Guimarães was the place where Afonso I, the first king of Portugal, was born. But this is not the only reason. The welcoming spirit of the Portuguese people is also well preserved there. The history and hospitality were recognized in 2001 when Guimarães was named a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
To fully understand this honor be sure to visit the amazing medieval buildings, the impressive Castle up on the hill; the Braganza Palace of the Dukes (surrounded by incredible gardens!), and the beautiful historical center that you definitely shouldn’t miss.
We assure you that the city is very walking-friendly and it will take you only around one hour to get arrive by train from Porto. Discover the birthplace of Portugal, one of the most beautiful fascinating cities in the country, with the help of our guide for a perfect Day Trip to Guimarães.
Day Trips from Porto: Coimbra
As with Guimarães, history is very much alive in Coimbra. This ancient city is home to the oldest university in Europe (Universidade de Coimbra). It still carries the pride of being the medieval capital of Portugal back in the 12th century. The notes of the guitar will frequently be heard joining the voices of the Fado singers by night, students by day, giving a voice to the city’s tales among beer and food.
In Coimbra, we are no longer in the north of Portugal, but one thing remains the same, the hills. The historic city cascades down the hillside to the banks of the Mondego River, which is why we recommend starting at the top with the university and working your way down.
To get to Coimbra it will take you no more than two hours by train from Porto.
Day Trips from Porto: Douro Valley
The Douro Valley region is a mandatory visit for those who travel to Porto. The Douro Valley region is probably Portugal’s most famous wine region and one of the most beautiful and oldest ones in the world, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2001.
A day trip might feel insufficient to explore the entire region, but it is enough to wet your appetite for a return visit. Beware, you will leave wanting to return! The region offers so much beauty and such a magical atmosphere that many refer to it as the enchanted valley. You can access it by train, car or even by taking a cruise up the Douro river. Either option is great and I am unable to just recommend one. In fact, some tour providers offer you the chance to cruise up the Douro River and ride the train back to the city.
Soon after leaving Porto, you will know you are in the Douro Valley when you start seeing the breathtaking steep slopes covered with vineyards and roads winding up to the peaks. You will begin to see many quintas (wineries) in the middle of the slopes. If you have time, book a wine tour, visit the vineyards, and taste some of the excellent Douro Valley wines.
A visit to Porto is never complete without a visit to the Douro region, so plan your unforgettable Day Trip to Douro, one of the most beautiful and oldest wine regions in the world, with our guide.
We hope these suggestions can help you enjoy your holidays in Portugal. Take advantage of your time here and explore! It’s worth it!
Enjoy your travels!