How to Make the Most of One Day in Porto: Detailed Itinerary 

Wondering how to spend one day in Porto? You are in the right place because I have prepared a detailed Porto itinerary for one day with a lot of useful travel tips.

Porto is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal, and it spoils its visitors with so much to see and do. From its stunning architecture and rich history to its delicious food, Porto has something for everyone.

Now you might be wondering if one day in Porto is enough. With all honesty, it is not, however, it gives you enough time to tick off the main attractions in central Porto.

Considering the limited time, this is going to be a busy itinerary, but I am sure you are not intimidated by that as you want to make the most of your one day in Porto. Also, you can easily adjust this itinerary and skip some attractions that don’t excite you.

This Porto one-day itinerary includes a detailed plan that covers the best of Porto. Under each attraction, you will find a little background of the place, entrance fees, opening times, and everything else that you might need to know.

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Your one-day Porto itinerary 

  • Morning: Rua Santa Caterina, Church of Saint Ildefonso, Porto São Bento, Clérigos Church or Livraria Lello (optional), Igreja do Carmo and Painel de Azulejos Joana Vasconcelos
  • Lunch: Brasão Aliados
  • Afternoon Porto Cathedral and largo Pena Ventosa, Bolsa Palace (optional), Ribeira do Porto, Ponte Infante Dom Henrique, Jardim do Morro or Caves
  • Dinner: Muro do Bacalhau or A Grade 

Rua Santa Caterina 

Capela das Almas in Porto
Chapel of Souls
Cafe Majestic in Porto
Cafe Majestic

Rua Santa Caterina is the perfect place to start your one-day Porto itinerary. This is one of the most beautiful streets in Porto and some important sights deserve your attention.

Chapel of Souls is a beautiful church and one of the best examples of azulejos in Porto. Start your day with this attraction as it gets busy later in the day. This will also allow you to take a picture of the famous azulejos wall. 

Right after the chapel, find the Cafe Majestic – the most iconic cafe in Porto. On your way to the cafe, don’t miss the beautiful shop “A Perola do Bolhao”, located in the middle between the chapel and the cafe. 

This elegant cafe is a symbol of the city, with its lavish carved wooden interiors, chandeliers, and mirrors. The legend says that the Harry Potter writer JK Rowling wrote her books exactly in this cafe. She also added that this is “the most beautiful cafe she ever wrote in”. 

The Cafe Majestic is a great place for a coffee or a breakfast with some of the finest Portuguese pastries. I have to say that prices are above average and the food is pretty mediocre, so I recommend it only for drinks and some pastries.

Church of Saint Ildefonso

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso - Your one-day Porto itinerary 
Igreja de Santo Ildefonso - Your one-day Porto itinerary 

Once you finish your coffee break at the Majestic, keep following Rua Santa Caterina until you get to the Church of Saint Ildefonso.

This is one of the most iconic churches in the city and another great place in Porto to admire the azulejos. This baroque masterpiece dates back to the 18th century but it was only in 1930 that the tiles were added.

If you are into photography this is also one of the best photo spots in Porto. The Batalha square allows you enough space to enjoy the facade and take a fantastic photo of the church.

Porto São Bento

São Bento Station- one day Porto itinerary 
Interior of São Bento Station in Porto

Walking down the picturesque Rua 31 de Janeiro, you will find São Bento train station, another symbol of the city of Porto. It might look insignificant from the outside, but wait until you step inside.

The station, designed by architect José Marques da Silva, was inaugurated in 1916. The architectural design reflects a blend of French Beaux-Arts style and traditional Portuguese elements, creating a unique and elegant structure.

The most impressive feature of São Bento Station is its azulejo-covered hall, which features approximately 20,000 tiles. These tiles were created by Jorge Colaço, one of Portugal’s most popular azulejo artists.

One of the central panels illustrates the Battle of Valdevez, a significant event in the early history of Portugal. Another one depicts the Conquest of Ceuta in 1415, which was the beginning of the Portuguese overseas expansion.

Trust me, this is easily one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, so make sure you plan a quick stop during your one day in Porto. Dont miss Igreja dos Congregados near the train station as it is one of the best places to see azulejos in Porto.

Clérigos Church or Livraria Lello (optional)

How to spend one day in Porto
Livraria Lello – one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world

A few meters from São Bento train station stands the church of Clérigos with its iconic tower of the same name. When you visit Porto in one day, you can’t miss this church at least from the outside. 

The Clérigos Church stands out as one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Porto and it’s famous for its 75 meters tall bell tower. Visits to the bell tower are allowed to enjoy panoramic views of Porto and Douro River.

The admission fee is 8 euros, and you can visit the church for free. If you decide to visit the towel, get your tickets here.

Just one minute away find Livraria Lello. This is one of the best places to visit in Porto and one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. Over the past few years, the library has gained incredible popularity so it is often packed and has a long line outside.

First, make sure you buy your ticket online unless you want to make another line to actually buy the ticket next to the Livraria Lello. Online you can choose between silver on golden tickets. Both tickets require a time slot, however, you will still need to queue if you get a silver ticket.

A silver ticket is 8 euros and a gold ticket is 15.90 euros. Silver tickets can be deducted from your book purchase while gold ticket includes a free book (limited choice). Click here to purchase your ticket and find more information.

Since you are visiting Porto in one day, I added this visit in a way that could make sense to follow your itinerary. However, if you want to visit the library without the crowds, booking your visit at the opening or closing time is recommended.

Both of these places are optional and can be excluded from your Porto itinerary considering the limited time. However, if you are an early bird and a busy itinerary doesn’t scare you, make sure you visit Clérigos Church and Livraria Lello.

Igreja do Carmo and Painel de Azulejos Joana Vasconcelos

How to spend one day in Porto
Igreja do Carmo

Located a few steps away from Livraria Lello, you will find the magnificent Igreja do Carmo. This is a must-add for every one-day Porto itinerary.

Igreja do Carmo is one of the most photographed places in Porto and for all the right reasons. The unique blue azulejos make it picture-perfect and a beautiful sight that you shouldn’t miss.

If you see the building from the front, you will notice that there are actually two churches and both are divided by a tiny house to separate the monks from nuns.

Farther away from the Carmo, you will find The Painel de Azulejos which features contemporary tilework by Joana Vasconcelos, one of the most important Portuguese artists. Her mosaic in Porto is an explosion of colors and an unmissable Porto sight.

Lunch: Brasão Aliados

How to spend one day in Porto

For lunch, I want to recommend one of my favorite restaurants in Porto – Brasão Aliados. when I first came to Portugal, there was only one Brasão location. Now, there are six, which speaks to the quality of their food.

Trying local cuisine is one of the best things to do in Porto, and Francesinha is arguably the most iconic dish. The name translates to “little French woman” and it’s a Portuguese take on the Croque Madame.

I must admit, Francesinha is a hearty sandwich packed with various meats, topped with cheese, and baked in a beer sauce. The description might not sound appealing at first, and I was skeptical myself. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it.

If you’re certain you won’t enjoy the meat-heavy Francesinha, Brasão also offers a vegetarian version and other delectable Portuguese dishes. Regardless, please dont miss this amazing restaurant in Porto.

Porto Cathedral

How to Make the Most of One Day in Porto: Detailed Itinerary 
Cloister of Porto Cathedral

Porto Cathedral also known as Se is an important attraction in Porto and it is one of the oldest monuments in the city. The cathedral features a significant example of Romanesque architecture, which can be found all over Porto.

Even if you have only 24 hours in Porto you have to see it at least from the outside. If you want to visit the cloister of the cathedral, which is the most beautiful part, you will need to pay 3 euros and you can purchase your ticket here.

The Terreiro da Sé, the square where the cathedral stands, also offers fantastic panoramic views of the city of Porto. It is the perfect place to snap an iconic Porto postcard.

And a few steps away from the cathedral, find Largo da Pena Ventosa. This is a little square in the heart of Porto surrounded by typical and colorful houses. Walking from Porto Cathedral, you will find a lot of cute streets with plants.

Bolsa Palace (optional)

Bolsa Palace - one of the most beautiful places in Porto, Portugal
Bolsa Palace - one of the most beautiful places in Porto, Portugal

The Bolsa Palace is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal, but you can visit it only with a guided tour that will take at least 45 minutes. Considering that it takes a lot of your time, I made Bolsa Palace an optional stop.

The palace was built in a Neoclassical style and served as a stock exchange. Inside you will find multiple unique rooms, an impressive staircase, and a huge hall with marble and gold details.

The entrance fee is 12 euros and after the tour, you will have some free time to wander around and take pictures. It is open from 9 am to 6.30 pm.

—> Get your Bolsa Palace tickets here

Ribeira do Porto

How to Make the Most of One Day in Porto: Detailed Itinerary 
Colorful Ribeira in Porto
How to Make the Most of One Day in Porto: Detailed Itinerary 
Secret alleys in Ribeira

Next, your Porto 1-day itinerary takes you to Ribeira, just a short walk from Balsa Palace or Largo da Pena Ventosa. The Ribeira is not only one of the most beautiful, liveliest, and picturesque areas but also one the best places to stay in Porto.

The Praça da Ribeira is probably the heart of this area, but the whole riverside offers something for everyone. 

If you are into photography you will love taking photos of the bright colors of the houses. If you are romantic you can relax sitting on the water and admiring the panoramic views of the city. If you are just tired and want to sit down there are countless cafes and restaurants in Ribeira.

Also, if you are wondering what to do in Porto at night, this is a perfect place to enjoy Porto nightlife, but we will be back to this later.

Luís I Bridge and Funicular dos Guindais

When you visit Porto in one day, you simply can’t skip walking the Luís I Bridge. This is another iconic symbol of Porto, with its iconic design and architecture. It dates back to 1886 and when it was constructed, its 172-meter span made it the longest of its type in the world.

From Ribeira, take the funicular of Guindais to climb up and enjoy the panoramic view of the ride, or if you prefer you can climb back or take the lower part of the bridge. The ride costs 4 euros, but it’s fast and easy. You can also get an Uber or taxi, but you might get stuck in traffic.

Once you are up walk for 5 minutes until the bridge and enjoy the beauty of Porto from the top. Walking this beautiful arched bridge is a real must-do when visiting Porto. The bridge will take you to Vila Nova de Gaia, where you can find one of the best views of the city of Porto.

Jardim do Morro or Caves

How to Make the Most of One Day in Porto: Detailed Itinerary 
Jardim do Morro

Depending on your interests you can choose where to admire the sunset in Porto. Jardim do Morro is one of the best sunset spots and in my opinion, you can’t leave Porto without seeing the sunset from Jardim do Morro.

It is located in Vila Nova de Gaia, but you have a fantastic view over Porto with the curves of the Douro and the golden sun setting over. Pure magic if you ask me.

If you want to enjoy a glass of Port Wine you can take the cable car to the promenade on the lower side of Vila Nova de Gaia. While it might be late for a guided tour of the caves (most of them close before 7), you can still enjoy a drink in one of the panoramic terraces.

My personal favorite is Espaço Porto Cruz. The perfect place to try the finest Port Wine with a phenomenal view of Porto at night. It’s perfect for couples, families, or dreamers! If you don’t feel like moving forward after this you can even have dinner here.

Do you want to see the best of Porto with a fun guide?

Book Peter’s Beetle for your Porto trip! We have done numerous tours with him over the years and he always plans an amazing itinerary for us, so I truly can’t recommend him enough. You can see other available tours here or just inquire about the attractions you want to see as he is very flexible. Hop on his Beetle and enjoy Porto!

Dinner: Muro do Bacalhau or A Grade

If you want to take advantage of the nightlife in Porto, the Ribeira is probably the best place to be. Despite being the most touristic area, Ribeira offers some amazing restaurants and bars for a fair price.

A Grade is a Portuguese “tasca” where you can have a simple yet delicious meal for an affordable price. If you are looking for something a little more sophisticated, Muro do Bacalhau has a delicious menu with an aesthetic vibe and tables with a river view.

In conclusion…

How to Make the Most of One Day in Porto: Detailed Itinerary 

This is the end of your one day Porto itinerary and I am sure you are ready to hit the road. Get prepared, because it will be a busy trip, but I am sure you want to make the most of your one day in Porto.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

Pin it for later and save this one day Porto itinerary!

How to Make the Most of One Day in Porto: Detailed Itinerary 
How to Make the Most of One Day in Porto: Detailed Itinerary 

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