How to Spend 48 Hours in Porto, Portugal

Full of traditional Portuguese food and scenery, Porto can give you plenty of different experiences in just two days
Full of traditional Portuguese food and scenery, Porto can give you plenty of different experiences in just two days | © Nick Karvounis / Unsplash
Photo of Nina Santos
2 September 2021

Much light has been shed recently over the second-largest city in Portugal. Charmingly traditional and aesthetically delightful, visitors may find themselves bombarded with the kind of unique opportunities that foster the need for travel. For some, a month may not be enough time to enjoy all Porto has to offer, although 48 hours is plenty to see the main attractions, including the best viewpoints, architecture and cuisine.

Make the most of your Porto experience by joining Culture Trip’s immersive nine-day Northern Portugal adventure, which includes a guided culinary walking tour of Porto.

Day 1

Morning

Begin with a stroll down the most popular destination in Porto: the Ribeira. It’s lined with colourful, mismatched houses on one side and the Douro River on the other.

© De Visu/Shutterstock

In Portugal, no morning is complete without a cup of coffee, so stop in a café mid-walk. A typical Portuguese breakfast consists of coffee (with or without milk) and a toast or croissant with butter, cheese, ham, and/or honey and jam. There are many cafés along the river, but walking a block or two into the historical centre will lead to the oldest and more traditional shops in the city. Majestic café, Café do Cais and Piolho Café are a few historical cafés.

© ilolab/Shutterstock

Lunch

Dining out is a must in Porto, but take some time for a picnic with a view. Why not buy traditional treats from A Perola do Bolhao, a historic grocery store dating back to 1917, and people-watch in a nearby park?

Afternoon

Walk over to the Avenida dos Aliados for an architectural treat. The banks, hotels and cafés project grandeur that’s quite unique within the city, making Aliados an excellent starting point to begin taking in the local architectural smorgasbord. Start at the northern end of the avenue and experience the 19th century Trindade Church, the granite and marble City Hall, and the nearby bell tower. Continue walking south, occasionally pausing to snap pictures, and in a short time reach São Bento Station. This iconic train station offers a mesmerizing representation of azulejo artwork.

© Peter Schickert / Alamy

Dinner

Experience traditional Portuguese cuisine for dinner. Finding a restaurant is as easy as closing your eyes and pointing, but following word of mouth from the locals is the best way to choose. Tripas à moda do Porto is the local dish – one that pairs well with a glass of local wine, Vinho Verde.

Day 2

Morning

After breakfast, switch up classical architecture with contemporary art and head to the Serralves Museum. It’s the most important institution for contemporary art in Portugal, showcasing national exhibits in addition to work from international artists. The Serralves estate, where the museum is located, is a wondrous landmark with extensive gardens.

© TasfotoNL/Shutterstock

Lunch

24 hours is more than enough time to go without biting into a francesinha, so make that the focus of your next stop. Many restaurants claim to house the best francesinhas in Porto, and Capa Negra is one of them.

© bonchan/Shutterstock

Afternoon

Continue a tour of contemporary Porto art by popping in and out of the many galleries. Wrap up the two-day experience with a stop at the Crystal Palace, where the gardens and interior museums together display a blend of modern and antique scenes. End the entire trip with a glass of wine and reflect on the memories made.

© saiko3p/Shutterstock

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