Porto itself is an amazing city to visit (and my personal favourite) but if find yourself shooting through the top things to do in Porto and are craving perhaps somewhere a little quieter, are wanting some deeper history or maybe a beach day, then these day trips from Porto will be exactly what you need to add to your Porto trip.
From top days trips that I think should be included in every Portugal itinerary to a quick spin over to Spain, these historic cities, riverside towns and wine regions include some of the best areas to visit in the country either with Porto as your base for Porto trips or as a place to settle down for the night for a bit of extra exploring.
Top Porto Day Trips
These Porto excursions will take you across Portugal on the must-do day trips from Portugal to the most incredible destinations.
Porto wine tours are common but this is even better, which makes a Douro Valley day trip from Porto a must. The Douro Valley is a region inland from Porto that has been made famous for its picturesque views and the wine that is produced in the region. Grapes for both port and table wine are grown here and it is the only region in the world that can grow grapes for port wine, much like champagne is the only region that produces champagne. The Douro River cuts through the rising rolling hills covered in vineyards and dotted with small villages. Cruise down the river, take in the views while wine tasting reds, whites and port made from one of the world’s oldest wine regions and enjoy the drool-worthy food.
READ MORE: The Best Way to See Douro Valley
Braga is north of Porto, a little more inland and draws in visitors as a charming small town with cobblestone roads that are closed to cars. Baroque churches and history line the streets while youth from the university make themselves at home in cafes and trendy boutiques. You’ll get a true taste of history, food and wine in what is actually Portugal’s third-largest city on a small group guided tour, plus a camera full of pictures from this beautiful old town is worth visiting.
South of Portugal along the coast sits the colourful city of Aveiro, a small place that’s known as the ‘Venice of Portugal’. “Moliceiro” which is a boat that was originally used to harvest seaweed is what makes this town seem Venetian as they float through the canals that pulse throughout the city. On an Aveiro day trip from Porto make sure you swing past Costa Nova where you can spot the brightly coloured striped houses along the beach and catch sight of some surfers ripping across the waves.
Guimarães holds most of the best-kept history in the country. As a medieval city where the first king of Portugal was born, Guimarães holds well onto the beauty of its past which has made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stop here will ensure that you see castles and other well-kept historic buildings from as early as the 10th century. A day trip to Guimarães is often done in combination with Braga as there are both north of Porto.
Though not a seaside city, Coimbra sits proudly along a river with the most important part of the city, the country’s top university at the top. Famed for its baroque library, Coimbra University was built on the grounds of a former palace. The city itself is another medieval spot with buildings that date back to the 12th century. This alluring city is both picturesque, historic and worth your time for at least half a day. One day in Coimbra will suffice but most tours are often done with a stop in Fátima.
Peneda-Gerês National Park
The most natural of trips from Porto is to Peneda-Gerês National Park. Nestled against the Spanish border, Peneda-Gerês National Park is Portugal’s first and only national park. It protects the people who occupy the granite villages that lay between the lush green forests, valleys and hills that jut up with boulders. A spa town, Gerês, is here along with hiking trails that can lead you to traditional villages that were once Roman roads. An excellent escape from the city, a guided tour through this park is full of wildlife and scenic sites.
Religious or not, a Porto day trip to Fátima will show you the religious side of Portugal and the power of faith. It is said that here the Virgin Mary first appeared. Today, as many as 6 million Catholic pilgrims a year make their way to this central Portuguese city. The quiet village was once a place where almost nothing grew as it’s mostly limestone but today tourists come here to understand the history and religious aspect of this site. Fátima is most popular as a day trip from Lisbon but it is also done in combination to Coimbra as day tours from Porto.
Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo has both history and beaches so a day trip from Porto to here is worth it. Narrow streets will greet you as you explore the palaces and manors. It’s also a seaport so you can find some fine seafood to dine on here. A the highlight of Costa Verde, stop by Viana do Castelo and make sure you see the city’s most popular site the Templo-Monumento de Santa Luzia (Santa Luzia Temple).
Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
Hop out of Portugal for the day to visit a Spanish highlight: Santiago de Compostela. You may have heard of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, well Santiago is the final stop of this pilgrimage that thousands complete each year. This city has a history and stories of the many pilgrims ending their trips here. The most impressive site in the city is the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela in the centre of the old town.
Where to book day trips from Porto?
While many accommodation options offer booking tours and day trips through them I highly recommend booking online with Get Your Guide, a trusted tour booking platform, where you can see reviews from guests and pick a tour that is best suited for you.
How many days do you need in Porto?
2-4 days in Porto is recommended and gives you ample time to explore all of Porto plus do a day trip or two to an area close-by. I highly recommend including a trip to Douro Valley from Porto. You can find how to spend your days in Porto in my Porto travel guide.
Is Porto a day trip from Lisbon?
Porto can be done as a day trip from Lisbon but I don’t recommend it. Porto is close enough to Lisbon to make it a day trip if you’re short on time but Porto is a spectacular city that is well worth spending at least a night in.
How to do day trips from Porto on your own?
If you prefer to explore on your own, it’s easiest to rent a car so you have ample time to see each area. Alternatively, the train network in Portugal is good and you can make your way to most destinations by train (CP) or bus (Rede).
Continue planning your trip to Portugal
- The Best Places to Stay in Porto
- The Best Places to Visit in Portugal
- Portugal Trip Planning Resources
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