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The coastal and historic city of Porto is the perfect place to explore northern Portugal as well as Douro Valley, the home of Port wines.
In this guide, we recommend 10 day trips from Porto after spending several weeks in its region.
Are you looking to visit wine estates, discover the rich history of medieval towns, or soak up the sun on sandy beaches? Not to worry, there is something for everyone.
There are several cities you can enjoy that are just a day trip from Porto, and they are easily accessible by bus, train, car or even 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 as the city of Vila Real.
Further southeast is the 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 or from Lisbon.
Whether you are looking for delicious food, wine tasting, tourist attractions, or beautiful beaches, these Porto day trips will delight and satisfy.
The Perfect Base For Your Day Trips From Porto
Porto is a wonderful city to base yourself for local sightseeing and day trips. To make the most of your visit, we recommend the following accommodations.
To check reviews and see more options, read our full article on where to stay in Porto for food lovers and find the perfect base for your day trips from Porto.
Best Day Trips From Porto
1. Porto Beach: A Short Day Trip from Porto at Matosinhos
The seaside city of Matosinhos is a major seafood and fish town. Famous for its wide stretch of golden sand beach, it’s only 12 km north of the Porto city center.
Food lovers will find many restaurants to enjoy some of the best seafood in town.
You can also visit the local fish market, Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos, which is accessible by the bus station and metro.
This daily market offers fresh seafood and vegetables. The best time to visit is in the mornings when the market is at its liveliest.
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 costs €1.95 euros one way. The bus goes along the coast and offers a scenic route.
Alternatively, you can join a morning bike tour. This guided tour has you ride to Matosinhos Porto beach, cycle along the Douro River and discover the port wine cellars of Gaia.
Be sure to stop at the famous monument She Changes on your way to this popular Porto beach.
2. Visit 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 and you can even 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 Aviero 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. Or check prices and train schedules on Omio where you can purchase your tickets online.
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.
3. Tour Braga – Portugal’s Most Religious City
The medieval town of Braga has a rich history as one of the oldest cities of Portugal. 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 sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the most stunning baroque churches in Portugal, this sanctuary is a famous 18th-century Christian pilgrimage site with a stairway that climbs 116 meters.
You can easily reach Bom Jesus do Monte by taking the #2 local bus from Braga center.
The traditional cuisine from the region is also one of the main attractions with 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 bread, sausages and more.
We took this food tour in Braga and highly recommend it to explore the food and history of Braga with a local guide.
To get to Braga, best is to take 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.
4. Explore Guimarães – The Birthplace of Portugal
Guimarães is said to be the birthplace of Portugal with a historical center listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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 stroll 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 Omio platform for more information on train price and schedules.
Alternatively, one of the best ways to visit Guimarães is to take a half day tour from Porto.
On this tour, you’ll explore the historic center and UNESCO World Heritage Site with a local guide. Learn about the birthplace of Portugal’s first King and ancient Portuguese history.
As you meander through the narrow streets, you’ll see famous landmarks like the 10th century Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira church.
Along the way, you’ll stop in the town’s center where you can pick up delicious conventual desserts. A tour to Guimarães is one of the best places to learn about Portugal’s history.
5. Taste Vinho Verde Portuguese Wine 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, as these wines are released just 3-6 months after harvest.
The Minho Region offers a number of less explored areas to visit on your Porto day trip.
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 the hiking trails at Peneda Geres National Park, Portugal’s only National Park.
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 conventual desserts.
The easiest and the most convenient way 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 and lunch.
On a day trip from Porto, you’ll visit two wineries in the beautiful Minho wine region where Vinho Verde or green wine is produced.
You’ll discover the renowned Alvarinho green wine variety and pair the wines with Portuguese food.
Enjoy lunch with regional foods including Portuguese smoked sausages at a traditional restaurant.
6. Take A Douro River Valley Wine Tour
Located only 1.5 hours away from Porto, one of the best Porto day trips is a visit to the Douro River Valley. This area 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 green hills with magnificent vineyards and offers stunning scenery 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 ride.
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.
7. Explore Amarante and Vila Real on a Day Trip from Porto
Vila Real and Amarante are two captivating cities in northern Portugal that are 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.
While you’re on this Porto day trip, you may want to sample the famous Bolos de São Gonçalo.
Also known as doces fálicos (literally phallic sweets), these Portuguese pastry cakes are believed to have their roots in pagan fertility rituals.
These days, the penis-shaped cakes are given to women as a symbol of fertility and good luck.
Vila Real is a charming historic town founded in 1289. In the Middle Ages, the city of Vila Royal – which means “Royal Town” – housed more members of the royal family than anywhere else in Portugal, 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.
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 Amarante and Vila Real is easier with a rental car from Porto.
Alternatively, you can take a food and wine tour to four cities including Amarante and Vila Real on a Porto day trip. This tour also takes you to Mateus Palace in Vila Real as well as visits to Douro Valley vineyards.
You’ll stop in the wine region of Favaios for lunch where you’ll feast on the local food specialties as you relish the incredible wines from the region.
This is a magical tour and wine tasting experience in northern Portugal.
8. Pinhão and Douro Valley Day Cruise from Porto
Another one of the best day trips from Porto is a leisurely Douro Valley Day cruise from Porto Ribeira. This river cruise is the perfect way to escape Porto for the day and enjoy the peaceful river valley.
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.
Admire the spectacular views and spot the Quintas and vineyards on the river bank.
After sailing through the river, you will have free time to explore Pinhão and the famous Portuguese tiles at the train station.
At the end of the day, return to Porto by train and on time for dinner.
9. Explore 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 due to 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 Omio platform.
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 Monastery of the Holy Cross and Coimbra Aqueduct.
10. Portuguese Wine Tasting in Viseu and Dão Region
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 of the 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 take a private tour of Dão and discover the Portuguese version of Bordeaux.
A wine producing region since 1788, you’ll visit two different vineyards and learn all about the local grape varieties. Lunch paired with the local wines in the Serra da Estrela mountain range will be hearty and delicious.
Discover the Dão wine region, one of Portugal’s best kept secrets.
How To Get Around Porto
There are two main options to go to and from Porto.
Take The Train
There are two main stations in Porto: the São Bento train station and the Campanhã Train Station. Frequent trains provide easy access to some of the main cities around Porto.
Public transport also allows easy access to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city.
Best is to book your train ticket in advance or to go in person at the train station. You can check hours, pricing and book online on Omio platform.
Rent a Car in Portugal
Renting a car in Portugal is quite inexpensive and pretty straightforward.
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.
We found great deals on car rental rates in Porto and the roads are well maintained.
Bring the necessary paperwork including your passport and driver’s license and don’t forget travel insurance.
Have You Visited Porto, Portugal? Please let us know in the comments below which day trips from Porto you’ve taken or would like to take.
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Claire is a culinary explorer who travels the world in search of the best local foods. She is always looking for her next culinary adventure to bring you the best bites while exploring new places.