If you only have one day in Porto, you need a good itinerary so you can be sure to experience as much as possible while you are there. But you don’t want to be rushed and hurry through everything either. You want to enjoy your stay. After all, it is supposed to be fun when you visit a new city.
Planning your Porto itinerary depends on what you like to see and do. If you are a historian, there are quite a few historic spots and museums to see. For fun, try Sea Life, the World of Discoveries, or the Santa Inácio Zoo. Wherever you go, don’t take your bags. Leave them with a luggage storage spot in Porto. Also, be sure you don’t forget your passport renewal before you pack your bags to leave!
For History Buffs
- Ribeira (Praça da Ribeira)
Also known as Porto’s Historic Center, the oldest section of Porto along the River Douro is full of history. From the Ponte Dom Luis Bridge to the quaint cobbled streets of brightly painted little homes. They lead you to the square in the center with a 17th-century fountain and statue of John the Baptist.
- Dos Rios Museum (Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis)
Located in the 18th century Carrancas Palace, Dos Rios Museum was the first art museum in Portugal founded in 1833. Some collections include glassware from the 1600s, sculpture dating back to the 3rd century, ceramics from the 1500s, and over 2,500 paintings dating back to the 16th century.
- Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)
Dating back to 1110, this historic cathedral is one of the most important religious buildings in the country. The Romanesque building also has some Baroque and Gothic style to it with reliefs of the Apostles on King Dinis’ tomb and the loggia on the façade. Don’t miss the red marble holy water fonts.
- Sea Life Porto
Meet the penguins, walk through the ocean tunnel of sharks and stingrays, and visit the Seahorse Temple at Sea Life Porto. Some of the creatures you can see include their huge octopuses, cool jellyfish, and some gigantic turtles. You can even touch and feed some of the animals there.
- World of Discoveries
This fun museum is also a miniature theme park where the kids can enjoy hands-on fun and walk in the footsteps of ancient ancestors. See Christopher Columbus, Pedro Alvares, and many more famous sailors as you go on a mission to find new land. Be sure to get some souvenirs at the gift shop.
- Santa Inácio Zoo (Zoo Santo Inácio)
Take a walk on the wild side at the biggest zoo in Porto. Featuring more than 800 animals in 262 different species, you can see all sorts of critters at the Santa Inácio Zoo. Some of the most popular include zebras, giraffes, and rhinos. But don’t miss the Asian Lion Tunnel and live animal shows.
Enjoy the Outdoors
- The Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal)
If you enjoy gardens, you will not want to miss the Crystal Palace Garden. Thousands of vibrant colored flowers await with many that bloom all year long. The views of the surrounding city and river are also stunning, and the peacocks are fun to photograph. Be careful not to get too close when taking selfies!
- Porto City Park (Parque da Cidade do Porto)
With 200 acres of green space, Porto City Park is the largest and most popular by far. There are six miles of trails to explore, beach access, and a plethora of local flora and fauna you can see. Living at the park are fallow deer, wild goats, and even some foxes and boars. You may even see a lynx if you are lucky!
- Matosinhos Beach (Praia de Matosinhos)
Spend the day in the sun at the sandy Matosinhos Beach. There is always some kind of activity in the summer and with a lifeguard, you can feel safe taking a swim. If you like to surf or just want to watch, this is also a surfers beach. And they also have cafés and shops nearby to grab some lunch or dinner.
Take a Cruise
- The Six Bridges Cruise
Jump on one of the rabelo boats for a one-hour cruise down the River Duomo. You will see the six iconic bridges over the river and learn all about them while taking in the beauty of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. You will even get to see where the river meets the ocean at Foz do Douro.
- Private Yacht Cruise
For a more intimate trip, the private yacht cruise vacation is for you. Start in Pinhao and get an amazing view of the Eiffel iron bridge as you head up the River Duomo to Tua. You will see the vineyards, lush green hills, and stunning views of the stone walls around them as you enjoy a glass of Port wine.
- Douro Valley Wine Tasting Cruise
If you want your whole day planned for you and enjoy wine, this nine-hour wine tasting trip is for you. You will start in Porto where you have a coffee before heading off to several wineries. You will stop for lunch at a local restaurant and continue your wine tasting before your one-hour river cruise.
Taste the Local Cuisine
Salted cod (bacalhau) is a favorite in Porto as is any type of seafood. You can get cod croquettes, grilled octopus, and tasty tuna tataki at Tasco. Whatever dish you get, it will be served as a work of art so make sure to have your phone to get some pics. They also have excellent port wine to wash it all down with.
- Café Santiago
For the best Francesinha, you should go to Café Santiago. Francesinha is the most delicious sandwich in the world. With fresh ham and steak, the sandwich is layered with meat, handmade bread, melted cheese, and has an egg on top. Then a generous amount of tasty sauce goes on top of all that.
The desserts in Porto are heavenly and the most popular is the pastéis de nata, which is an egg-based puff pastry with cream. Nata is the best place to get these pastries and they have several locations in Porto. Crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, they come in many flavors and they are all heavenly!
Be sure to try some of the other delights of Porto like the caldo verde (amazing green soup), Tripas à Moda do Porto (tripe stew), Sandes de pernil com queijo da serra (pork leg sandwich), and Cachorrinhos (little hot dogs). And you cannot leave Porto without at least tasting some port wine.