The coastal and historic city of Porto is the perfect place to explore northern Portugal and in particular, Douro Valley, the home of Port wines.
You can enjoy several day trips from Porto with many cities easily accessible by bus, train, car or even by boat.
In northern Portugal, you will find the cities of Braga and Guimarães as well as the Minho region where the famous Vinho Verde wine is produced.
East of Porto, you’ll find the Douro Valley where you can explore the many wineries as well the city of Vila Real.
Further southeast is Dão, another important wine region where some of the best wines in the world are produced.
Heading south, Coimbra and Aveiro are reachable either on a day trip from Porto or on your way to Lisbon.
In this guide, we recommend 10 day trips from Porto to enjoy the wine region, taste the local foods, discover medieval towns, Porto beach and more.
Table of contents
- Quick Tips – Day Trips from Porto
- 1- Porto Beach A Short Day Trip from Porto at Matosinhos
- 2- Visit Braga Portugal’s Most Religious City
- 3- Explore Guimarães The Birthplace of Portugal
- 4- Taste Vinho Verde in the Minho Region
- 5- Day Trip from Porto for a Douro Valley Wine Tour
- 6- Explore Amarante and Vila Real on a Day Trip from Porto
- 7- Pinhão and Douro Valley Day Cruise from Porto
- 8- Aveiro The “Venice” of Portugal
- 9- Coimbra Royal Heritage and University Town
- 10- Taste Portuguese Wines in Viseu and Dão
- Renting a Car for Your Day Trips from Porto
- Best Places to Stay in Porto for Food Lovers
- Love it? Pin it!
Quick Tips – Day Trips from Porto
Looking for a quick way to find the perfect day trip from Porto?
Here are our top Porto day trips recommendations:
Day trip from Porto for wine lovers – Viseu and Dão Region
Day trip for history and food lovers – Braga
Day Trip for beach and seafood lovers – Matosinhos
Day trip for cruise lovers – Douro Valley Day Cruise from Porto
1- Porto Beach A Short Day Trip from Porto at Matosinhos
Located on the coast just north of Porto, Matosinhos is only 10km away from the city center and is the closest day trip from Porto.
A major seafood and fish town, Matosinhos is also famous for its wide stretch of sandy beaches.
Be sure to stop at the famous monument She Changes on your way to this popular Porto beach.
Food lovers will find many restaurants to enjoy some of the best seafood in town.
You can also visit the local market, Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos.This daily market offers fresh produce including seafood and vegetables.
The best time to visit the market is in the mornings when the market is busiest.
Matosinhos is easily reached by metro or bus from São Bento train station, the main station in Porto.
Take the number 500 bus which takes about 40 minutes and cost €1.95 euros one way. The bus ride along the coast offers scenic views.
Alternatively, you can join a morning bike tour. On this tour, you ride to Matosinhos Porto beach, cycle along the Douro River and discover the port wine cellars of Gaia.
2- Visit Braga Portugal’s Most Religious City
The medieval town of Braga is the third largest city in Portugal and rich in history. It is also known as the religious capital of Portugal.
The historic center can easily be explored on foot on a day trip from Porto.
Important highlights to visit are the Cathedral of Braga or Sé de Braga dating from the 12th century, the Archbishop’s Palace in the center of town and the gardens known as Jardim de Santa Bárbara.
A few kilometers outside of town, people flock every year to Bom Jesus do Monte, a stunning baroque sanctuary. You can easily reach the sanctuary by taking the #2 local bus from Braga center.
The traditional cuisine from the region is also one of the main attractions. Find hearty pork dishes like Rojões, a traditional dish originally from the Minho region.
If you get the chance, stop by the lively local farmers market on Saturday morning and sample the local breads, sausages and more.
To get to Braga, we recommend taking the train from Porto as it is very easy and convenient. The trip takes less than one hour and costs €3.20 euros one way.
For more information on things to do in Braga, read delight in a Braga food tour on your day trip from Porto
3- Explore Guimarães The Birthplace of Portugal
Guimarães is said to be the birthplace of Portugal and the historic center is listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
With many medieval sites, you don’t want to miss the Guimarães Castle, the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, the social square of Largo da Oliveira, and strolling along the first open street Rua de Santa Maria.
When it comes to food, you will not be disappointed with the conventual desserts from the many convents in Guimarães.
Guimarães is a one-hour train ride away from Porto. You can check the Portuguese train company comboios for more information on price and schedules.
Alternatively, one of the best ways to visit Guimarães is to combine a day trip from Porto to Braga and Guimarães.
On this tour you will visit the two historic cities. You will begin in Guimarães in the morning with lunch at a traditional Portuguese restaurant. And then, spend the afternoon in Braga.
You will also visit Bom Jesus do Monte, before making your way back to Porto.
4- Taste Vinho Verde in the Minho Region
The Minho Region in the northwest corner of Portugal is a gastronomical region, much like the Alentejo region in the south of Portugal.
This region is most famous for Vinho Verde wine, which is translated as “green wine.” The wine is not green in color, but a refreshing crisp and aromatic slightly spritzy wine. ‘Verde’ refers to it being a young wine. These are wines that are released 3-6 months after harvest.
The Minho Region offers a number of less explored areas to visit on your day trip from Porto.
Ponte de Lima, considered the country’s oldest village is worth exploring. One of the most beautiful cities in the country, you’ll not want to miss the medieval bridge, a landmark of the town. The city is small and the historic center has a lot to discover.
Outdoor lovers will enjoy exploring Portugal’s only National Park, Parque Nacional Peneda Geres.
The gastronomy in the Minho Region is varied and was rated as the 2016 European Region of Gastronomy.
Find incredible codfish, caldo verde soup or Naco à Conquistador for meat lovers. Wash everything down with the bright Vinho Verde wine. And, finish your meals with sweet egg yolk desserts.
The easiest and the most convenient to explore the Minho Region is to rent a car and explore at your leisure. Many of the attractions are accessible from any base you select in the region.
If you prefer, you can take a day trip from Porto and explore the Vinho Verde region with wine tastings.
On the tour, you’ll start your day at Ponte de Lima and then move to the towns of Monção and Melgaço renowned for Alvarinho a type of Vinho Verde. Enjoy Portuguese sausages and a meal at a traditional restaurant.
5- Day Trip from Porto for a Douro Valley Wine Tour
Located only 1.5 hours away from Porto, a trip to the Douro Valley is worth taking. The Douro Valley is the world’s first demarcated and regulated wine region.
The area is best known for Port Wines, but over the last few decades exceptional table wines have emerged.
The Douro River cuts through the rolling hills with magnificent vineyards and offers beautiful and magical landscapes. You can visit the historic vineyards or take in the views while cruising down the river.
If you don’t want to rent a car or take the train, consider taking a Douro Valley Wine Tour. The tour departs from Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia and takes you to two wineries.
On the tour, you will cruise along the Douro Valley for an hour on a traditional Portuguese Rabelo boat.
Also included is a stop for a traditional Portuguese lunch with specialties from northern Portugal.
Spend the day taking in the Douro Valley landscapes as you enjoy the best wines and food from the region.
Related: This is one of our favorite day trips from Porto. Read how to get to Douro Valley and wineries to visit in our article Fall in Love with Douro Valley Wines and the best wines in Portugal
6- Explore Amarante and Vila Real on a Day Trip from Porto
Amarante and Vila Real are two captivating cities in northern Portugal worth discovering.
Amarante, a charming town set along the River Tâmega banks is a popular weekend destination for Porto locals. You will appreciate the beautiful landscapes with views of the immense Marão mountain range.
A tranquil town, Amarante has several churches and interesting landmarks to visit. The city is also well known for the production of Vinho Verde.
Vila Real is a charming historic town founded in 1289. The city, Vila Royal, which means “Royal Town”, once housed more members of the royal family in the Middle Ages with the exception of Lisbon.
One highlight you will not want to miss is a visit to Mateus Palace, which is considered one of the most lavish manor houses in Europe. It is also the same palace you can find on the labels of bottles of Mateus Rosé.
The local food at traditional taverns or tabernas include northern Portugal specialities you want to sample.
Classics like roast kid goat with rice, roasted veal, codfish or bacalhau and tripes are to be experienced.
Conventual desserts and others like Toucinho do Céu, a decadent almond cake with egg yolks or Santa Luzia stuffed pastries are the perfect end to your meal.
Getting to Amarente and Vila Real is easier with a rental car from Porto.
Alternatively, you could take an Amarante and Vila Real tour, and visit the important historic sites and sample wines at wine cellars.
Enjoy free time on the tour to explore additional historical sites. Feast on the local food specialties as you relish the incredible wines from the region.
7- Pinhão and Douro Valley Day Cruise from Porto
For a leisurely day trip from Porto, choose a Douro Valley Day cruise from Porto Ribeira.
This river cruise is the perfect way to escape Porto for the day and enjoy the peaceful Douro Valley.
Admire the breathtaking views of the Douro Valley and spot the Quintas and vineyards on the river bank.
Several dams have been built on the Douro river to make it navigable. You will go through three of these high dams on your way to Pinhão, passing by the “capital of wine” at Peso da Régua.
After sailing through the Douro river, you will have free time to explore Pinhão and admire the famous Portuguese tiles at the train station.
At the end of the day, return to Porto by train and on time for dinner.
8- Aveiro The “Venice” of Portugal
Aveiro is located on the coast south of Porto on the Ria de Aveiro lagoon.
Famous for the charming canals, Aveiro is known as the “Venice of Portugal”.
The colorful local boats called moliceiros were used to navigate the network of channels and harvest algae and seaweed. Nowadays, the moliceiros are used for canal cruises.
The Art Nouveau buildings are worth visiting as well as the Cathedral of Aveiro and the Aveiro Museum housed in a former convent.
The city is walkable or you can jump on the bicycles called “BUGA” made available for free by the city.
Don’t miss the famous local sweets of the city called ovos moles or soft eggs. They are typically wrapped in a wafer with different shapes or in a wooden barrel.
You will also enjoy fresh fish and shellfish including the traditional marinated eels.
Getting to Aveiro is an easy ride by train from São Bento Station in Porto. Depending on if you choose the slow train or the fast train, the ride can take anywhere from 40 mins to 1h15.
Purchase your ticket directly at the train station with prices starting at €3.55 euros each way. Check prices and train schedules on comboios, Portugal’s train company.
Alternatively, you can also enjoy a half-day tour from Porto with a Moliceiro cruise on the canals.
Your tour also includes visiting the fish market and the main sites in the city. Taste the famous ovos moles sweet treats along the way.
9- Coimbra Royal Heritage and University Town
Coimbra is located on the riverbank of Rio Mondego, about halfway between Porto and Lisbon.
It features a preserved medieval old town and the oldest university in Portugal. Kings were born in Coimbra and entombed there, too, There is a royal heritage that permeates the city’s narrow lanes and verdant parks.
You will want to visit Cathedral Sé Velha, a 12th century Romanesque architecture old cathedral, Coimbra University, the botanical gardens, and Santa Cruz Monastery.
Enjoy the lively atmosphere and nightlife of Coimbra with its large student population.
Coimbra also offers a wonderful traditional regional cuisine with traditional pork and lamb dishes as well as delicious sweet pastries like pasteis de Santa Clara.
Easily reached by train from Porto, take the one hour ride from São Bento train station. Tickets cost about €13 euros each way and prices and train schedules can be checked on the comboios website.
Alternatively, you can also take a day tour from Porto to Coimbra with a visit to the Palácio do Buçaco, considered the last legacy of the Kings of Portugal.
Explore the university grounds and marvel at the impressive Baroque library before stopping at a downtown tavern for lunch.
In the afternoon, you will visit the cathedral, the Convent of Santa Clara and the vineyard, Quinta das Lágrimas.
10- Taste Portuguese Wines in Viseu and Dão
Unknown to most visitors, the charming city of Viseu, in central Portugal, has been elected twice as the best city to live in Portugal.
The historic center which lies inside the 15th-century ramparts is worth exploring by foot.
You will want to visit the quaint medieval old center, the Viseu Cathedral, and our Lady of Mercy Church also known as Igreja da Misericórdia.
Additionally, Viseu has a rich art and local craft scene. The Grão Vasco National Museum houses an important painting collection from the Renaissance period.
Viseu is also the perfect place for food and wine lovers to explore the Dão region where vines have been cultivated since the 12th century.
The wines from the Dão are said to be soft and elegant and are often compared to wines from the French Burgundy region.
Cheese lovers will not want to miss savoring one most famous delicacies from the Dão region; the Serra da Estrela cheese. This soft cheese made from sheep milk is the perfect accompaniment to the local Dão wines.
To complete your tasting of the local delicacies, discover the traditional sweets from Viseu with the egg chestnuts or castanhas de ovos, and viriatos the famous V-shaped pastry.
The best way to get to Viseu is by renting a car as there is no train that goes directly to Viseu.
Alternatively, you can go on a Dão, Wine and Serra da Estrela Cheese Tour. This day tour from Porto takes you to Viseu and the main sites.
On the tour, you will visit wineries in the Dão region as well as visit a producer of the famous Serra da Estrela cheese.
Renting a Car for Your Day Trips from Porto
Renting a car in Portugal is quite inexpensive and pretty straight forward.
One thing to be aware of is that, the majority of rental cars are manual transmission. If you want a car with automatic transmission, reserve one in advance.
Bridges and highways charge tolls. At the car rental station, get a transponder and pre-pay €10 euros for toll charges.
Best Places to Stay in Porto for Food Lovers
To make the most of your stay in Porto, we recommend the following accommodations for where to stay in Porto for food lovers.
To check reviews and see more options, check out our full article where to stay in Porto for food lovers to help you find the perfect base for your day trips from Porto.
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Claire is a culinary explorer and the engineer brain behind Authentic Food Quest. Together with her partner, Rosemary, they created Authentic Food Quest to inspire people to travel deeper through authentic food. Through food, they believe, people can have more meaningful connections on their travels. Take the quiz and find out your Food Traveler Profile.
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