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Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, is world-famous for its Port wine. But you’ll also find many more things to do in Porto.
A top Best European Destination, the rich history and delicious food in Porto is not to be missed.
We absolutely love this city and hope that this Porto travel guide for food lovers will help you create memorable experiences on your own trip.
Things to do in Porto Portugal
Surrounding Porto are several picturesque villages with treasures worth discovering. Visiting one or two of these cities and sampling their culinary delights is one of the best things to do on your Porto trip.
Be sure to experience these wine tastings and food tours, as well as the historic buildings and museums.
1- Taste Port Wine at a Port House
No trip to Porto would be complete without tasting the world-famous Port wines. You will find the Port Lodges in the Vila Nova de Gaia district which is right across the Douro River from Porto city.
The sweet fortified wine is aged and blended in Vila Nova de Gaia, which is home to over 50 Port cellars.
Among the best things to do in Porto is to take one of the guided tours of the port houses and discover why Port wine is so important to this region.
READ MORE: For more about tasting Port wines and the Port lodges to visit in Porto, read our article How to Taste Amazing Port Wines in Porto.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: One of the most enjoyable things to do in Porto is listening to Fado, the Soul of Portuguese Music. At Calem Port cellar, you can take a tour that combines Port wine tastings with a Fado performance. Enjoy the expressive and melancholic notes as you sip on Calem Port wines on this Fado at Calem tour.
2- Soak Up the Views at Dom Luís I Bridge
For exquisite views of the city, stroll along the Dom Luis I Bridge. This world-famous bridge stretches from the Ribeira section of Porto, over the Douro River to Vila Nova de Gaia.
Opened in 1886, Porto’s iconic bridge once held the record of being the longest iron arch bridge in the world. The Dom Luis I bridge has two levels. An upper level for the tram and pedestrians and the lower level for cars.
Underneath the bridge is the ancient Cais da Ribeira district where you can explore the narrow streets and get a real flavor of local life.
End your exploration at any one of the myriad restaurants and cafes along the River Douro.
3- Explore Porto On A Food Tour and Walking Tour
When planning what to do in Porto Portugal, don’t miss exploring the narrow streets and hidden staircases on foot.
The city is fairly compact, and with a comfortable pair of walking shoes, you will get more out of your visit.
We recommend taking a tour with a local guide who can share more about the history including insider tips of what not to miss.
Walking tours and food tours are one of the best ways to taste the food in Porto and explore the local culture. On a Porto brunch food tour, you will taste many local specialties and sip on the locals wines.
On your guided Porto food tour, you will learn about the history of the city and finish off with a local Portuguese sweet treat.
4- Take A Porto Cooking Class
One of the more unique things to do in Porto is to learn how to make traditional Portuguese food. Taking a Porto cooking class is such a fun thing to do in this great city.
The food in Porto and northern Portugal is rich and varied and always based on the fresh produce of the season.
Taking a Porto cooking class is something we recommend to allow you to taste the local culture at a deeper level.
Some of the cooking classes include a market tour, giving you a glimpse into the local life and food culture.
The best part is that you can enjoy a delicious meal you prepared with newly made friends.
5- Discover Porto Museums and Historic Sites
Porto’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has many monuments and historic buildings you cannot miss.
The intricate Portuguese tiles, or azulejos, at São Bento Railway Station are exquisite and worth spending time admiring. The more than 20,000 tiles tell the story of Portugal’s history and daily life.
Equally important is visiting the most important Porto cathedral. The twin-towered cathedral, known as Sé do Porto, has amazing architectural details from multiple centuries.
The Palacio da Bolsa, another one of Porto’s most beautiful buildings, is another cultural site to put on your list of things to do in Porto.
One of our favorite museums to visit was Casa do Infante, which is famous for being the birthplace of Henry the Navigator.
6- Enter the Universe of Harry Potter at Livraria Lello
Livraria Lello bookstore is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world and one of the most important things to do in Porto.
J.K. Rowling lived in Porto in the early 1990s and is said to have been inspired by and written parts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at this bookstore.
Many people have speculated that J.K. Rowling took inspiration from many Porto landmarks, shops and cafés.
If you are a Harry Potter fan or are traveling with children, you may consider taking a Porto Harry Potter Inspiration Tour. On the tour, you will visit the cafe where the legend of Harry Potter began.
You will also see the places that inspired J.K. Rowling, including Lello’s magical bookstore.
Your tour will end with a delicious traditional Portuguese pastry and a Hogwarts surprise for kids.
Popular Day Trips from Porto
Porto is the perfect base for several day trips. Discover the neighboring Douro Valley wine region, the northern minho region or the local Porto beach.
Here are the best day trips from Porto.
7- Take a Douro Valley Wine Tour
The Douro Valley is the world’s first demarcated and regulated wine region.
The area is best known for Port Wines and more recently its exceptional table wines. This breathtaking part of Portugal is renowned for its acres of vineyards, rolling hills and charming towns.
On this Douro Valley Wine Tour, you get to visit some of the historical vineyards and of course drink Port.
Sail on a traditional rabelo boat and enjoy the beautiful views of the Douro while cruising down the river.
8- Enjoy a Douro River Cruise
A cruise is the perfect way to escape Porto for the day and enjoy the peaceful Douro River. On this day trip on the Douro River, you will admire the breathtaking views of the valley.
You’ll sail comfortably admiring the vineyards and the beautiful landscapes. You’ll cross the ‘capital of wine’ at Regua on your way to Pinhao to visit a wine estate and sample delicious Portuguese wines.
Breakfast and lunch are provided on this Douro River cruise allowing you to relax and enjoy the beauty and serenity.
9- Savor Fresh Seafood in Matosinhos
A major seafood and fish town, Matosinhos is also famous for its wide stretch of sandy beaches.
Food lovers will find many restaurants to enjoy some of the best seafood in town.
You can also visit the daily market, Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos, to find freshly caught seafood, and local fresh fruit and vegetables.
READ MORE: If you are looking for additional ideas for day trips from Porto, read our full article 10 Of The Best Day Trips From Porto For Food and Wine Lovers.
Where to Stay in Porto for Food Lovers
You’ll find many accommodation options in Porto. From affordable options all the way to luxury Porto hotels there is no shortage of places to stay.
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, read our full article on where to stay in Porto for food lovers and find the perfect base for your Porto visit.
What to Eat in Porto
The food in Porto has its distinct character marked by the surrounding region. As a coastal city, you find delicious seafood from the Atlantic. The Trás-os-Montes region brings hearty meats and cheeses. While the Douro Valley will seduce you with rich Port wines and fine red wines.
10- Snack on Pasteis de Chaves
These delicious half-moon shaped puff pastries are ideal for a snack or a light lunch.
They are traditionally stuffed with minced veal but you can also find them with cheese, ham and or mushroom feelings.
Originally from the city of “Chaves” in the north of Portugal, you can find these pastries served in local pasteleria and cafes in Porto.
11- Fill up on a Francesinha Sandwich
The unmissable Francesinha sandwich is one of the most popular dishes in Porto. Made with bread, ham, sausages and steak, it is typically covered with melted cheese and an egg on top.
What makes the Francesinha unique is the secret sauce that each restaurant prepares with its own touch. It is a hot thick tomato and beer sauce to dip or “flood” your sandwich in.
To round up this “calorie bomb” sandwich, make sure you get an accompanying side of french fries.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Francesinha Recipe: Scrumptious Porto Sandwich To Make and Love
12- Savor the Tarte de Amêndoa
Many Portuguese desserts are made with almonds, as they are the most widely cultivated fruits in the Douro region.
This almond tart or Tarte de Amêndoa is the perfect finish to a Porto meal or a great afternoon treat.
It is a simple pie made with almonds, sugar, butter, eggs, flour and milk. Light and crunchy while packed with almond flavors, it is a treat for any sweet lover.
Best Restaurants in Porto
Porto offers a wide range of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
From Michelin-star restaurants to simple mom and pop restaurants and local cafes, there are options for food travelers at every budget in Porto.
One of our favorite things to do in Porto is to dive into the local Porto flavors at a traditional Portuguese restaurant.
Here are our recommendations for some of the best traditional places to eat local Porto specialties.
Café Santiago opened in 1959, this is a popular restaurant with locals in the heart of Porto. If you are looking to taste the best Francesinha in town, look no further.
Cafe Santiago has mastered the art of the Francesinha sandwich and prepares it in many ways with the delightful secret sauce.
In addition to the Francesinha, you will also find traditional Porto dishes such as rojoes, tripes, and sardines.
The restaurant is casual and the atmosphere makes it easy to mingle with locals. Don’t miss sipping on the local vinho verde wine or the Portuguese beer Super Bock with your meal.
Confeitaria do Bolhão
The Confeitaria do Bolhão which opened in 1896 is one of the oldest and most popular pastry shops in Porto.
Located across the Bolhão Market, it is a popular breakfast or lunch stop for locals on their way to the market.
The Confeitaria is best known for its fresh breads and traditional Portuguese pastries.
They also offer a daily menu with traditional Portuguese dishes such as fried cod fish cakes, soups and regional meats. Likewise, you’ll also find sandwiches, omelettes, salads and burgers.
Our recommendation is to stick to their bakery and pastry items. Don’t miss the local specialty called “tigelinha do Bolhão” , a delicious almond cake to enjoy in this Art Deco pastry shop.
Churrascaria do Infante
Located across the Palacio da Bolsa, this local restaurant is conveniently located in the center of Porto.
Churrascaria do Infante is a local Porto restaurant where locals gather to discuss the local news over a traditional Portuguese meal.
The atmosphere is casual and many visitors are seduced by the reasonable prices and simple cuisine.
You will find mostly grilled fish and meats prepared to order as well as traditional Portuguese soups.
This is the perfect stop for a meal on your sightseeing journey in Porto.
Porto Travel Tips
How To Get Around Porto
A compact city, Porto is very easy to get around. You can discover the charms of the city either by walking or taking public transportation.
One of the best ways to get around is to use a Porto Card. This card offers free transportation around the city as well as free entrance or discounts to several cultural attractions including Port wine cellars so you’ll never have to wonder what to do in Porto!
You can choose a Porto card with transport, based on the number of days you are staying in the city.
Discover Porto at your own pace and enjoy free entrance to museums and discounts to restaurants and port wine cellars.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: The Porto Card, an official city pass offers benefits and discount for over 170 attractions and cultural sites. From special pricing within Porto city and in the region, you save at wineries, gourmet stores and restaurants and more. We used it while in Porto and enjoyed the savings and discounts. We recommend getting the Porto Card on your visit.
Porto Safety for Women Travelers
While Porto has become a popular destination for European tourists, it remains a safe city.
We never felt unsafe in the city even at late hours or when visiting neighborhoods outside of the city center.
We took the buses late at night when the metro was closed and never felt uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, it advised to use typical caution at night particularly when alone. Watch your belongings in non lit or less trafficked areas.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Make your culinary travels worry-free! With the right travel insurance, you’ll enjoy a delicious experience. From medical emergencies, flight cancelations, car rental protection, or tour cancelations, a good travel insurance has got you covered. Check out our travel insurance review for food lovers to get started.
More Local Food Experiences and Recipes
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Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest