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If you have one day in Porto, there are a few ways you can plan your time.

When deciding what to do, the biggest question to answer is would you rather spend your time visiting Porto’s historical sights, tasting port in the wine cellars in Gaia, or simply strolling through the city center and along the Douro River?

In this guide, we list several different ways to spend one day in Porto. These range from a busy, packed itinerary where you see and do a lot, to a more leisurely experience where you spend a day in Vila Nova de Gaia, tasting port wine and touring Porto’s wine cellars.


Overview of Porto

There are two parts to the city of Porto. The entire area is referred to as the Porto Metropolitan Area and the Douro River runs through the city.

To the north of the Douro River is Porto, which is where you will find most of the churches, cathedrals, and museums, as well as many of the hotels, restaurants, and the train station.

To the south of the Douro River is Vila Nova de Gaia (or simply Gaia). Gaia is home to the wine cellars where the port wine is stored and aged. If you are visiting Porto with the main reason of sampling the port wine, you’ll spend most of your time in Gaia.

Porto Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Best Things to Do with One Day in Porto

With one day in Porto, you won’t have enough time to visit all of Porto’s top attractions and still have time to visit the wine cellars. You will have to choose how much time you want to spend visiting the churches and historical sites versus how much time you want to spend wine tasting in Gaia.

If you are a wine aficionado, you could easily spend the entire day in Gaia, visiting the wine cellars.

For many people, the best experience is to split your time between Porto and Gaia, getting to enjoy a little of both of these areas.

In this guide, we share with you these two different ways to plan your time.

Below is a list of things to do if you have one day in Porto. Note: Each itinerary below will only include a few of these…you will pick the itinerary that looks the most appealing to you.

  • Stroll along the Douro River
  • Livraria Lello, the most beautiful bookstore in the world
  • Visit the wine cellars in Gaia
  • Luis I Bridge
  • Visit the Porto Cathedral
  • Enjoy the view from Torre dos Clerigos
  • Dine at the Majestic Café

For a bigger list of things to do in Porto, check out our Porto Bucket List.

One Day in Porto: Itinerary #1

Highlights of Porto & Wine Tasting in Gaia

On this itinerary, spend half of the day in Porto and half of the day in Gaia. It’s the perfect mix of historical sites, wine tasting, and unforgettable views of Porto. This itinerary is perfect for those who want to see a little bit of everything in Porto.

This itinerary starts in Porto and we list two different ways to plan your morning. There’s a lot to do in Porto so I’ll show you two ways to do it.

The afternoon is spent in Gaia, which is a fun way to spend the second half of the day.

Part 1: Morning in Porto

Morning in Porto Itinerary #1

The highlights of this morning’s itinerary are Livraria Lello, Torre dos Clérigos, and Cais da Ribeira, the promenade that runs along the Douro River in Porto. You have the option to add on Bolsa Palace or the Church of São Francisco.

9:00 am: Livraria Lello
9:45 am: Torre dos Clérigos
10:30 am: Miradouro da Vitoria
11:00 am: Bolsa Palace or the Church of São Francisco
12:00 pm: Lunch
1:00 pm: Stroll along the Douro River
1:30 pm: Luis I Bridge
2:00 pm: Wine tasting in Gaia

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (points of interest and the walking route). On this map are the places to visit and the walking route of the first itinerary and the places to visit and the walking route of the second itinerary. Click the check marks to hide or show layers for each day. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

9:00 am: Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello is called “the most beautiful bookstore in the world.” Its whimsical architecture, iconic staircase, and colorful stained-glass ceiling attracts an enormous number of visitors each day. It’s definitely a sight to see in Porto.

Livraria Lello | One day in Porto

Livraria Lello

There are three ticket types: a standard ticket (the silver voucher), the gold ticket (standard entry plus a reserved book), and the platinum ticket. The platinum ticket is by far the most expensive ticket option, but you enter through a priority line, plus you get access to the Gemma Room.

If you have a silver or gold ticket, even with a time slot entry, you could wait in line for up to 15 minutes to enter the bookstore. If you have a platinum ticket, you enter right at your allotted time, without waiting in line for the standard ticket.

The bookstore opens at 9 am. If you choose the silver or gold ticket option, it’s a good idea to get here early, because the line starts forming before 8:30 am. If you really want to be one of the first to enter the store, then the platinum ticket is the best option (but it is very pricey).

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Our visit was in fall 2023. To get the photos you see here, we were the first to enter the bookshop. Since our visit, the platinum ticket was added as an option. In 2023, the gold ticket gave priority access. We purchased gold tickets for the first time slot (9 am) and arrived 20 minutes before opening time. We were the first ones in the priority line, which allowed us to be the first ones inside the bookstore. However, to now do this same thing, you would need a platinum ticket, which is much more expensive (about 45€ for the platinum ticket versus 16€ for the gold ticket). That’s a big price to pay to snap a photo or two, in my opinion.

On the official website, get updated hours, pricing, and purchase your tickets in advance. A visit here lasts about 30 minutes, once you are inside of the bookstore.

9:45 am: Torre dos Clérigos

From Livraria Lello, it is a 2-minute walk to Clérigos Church.

Torre dos Clérigos is a 75-meter tower that is attached to Clerigos Church. Climbing this tower for 360° views is one of the best things to do in Porto.

To get to the top of the tower, you will climb 240 steps and from here, you can see the Douro River, Gaia, and famous Porto landmarks such as the Porto Cathedral.

Clerigos Tower View | One day in Porto

Clerigos Tower View Porto

The view from Clérigos Tower

This is an extremely popular thing to do and you can save yourself a lot of time by booking a time slot in advance. On the official website, you can get hours and purchase your tickets in advance, which can save you an hour or longer during peak season. If they are sold out, you can also purchase them on GetYourGuide.

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While you are here, it’s also worth visiting the inside of Clérigos Church, which is free to do. Again, you can see another ornately decorated nave and walk the hallways on the second level of the church for stunning views of the nave.

Clerigos Church

Inside Clérigos Church

10:30 am: Miradouro da Vitoria

From Clérigos Church, it is a 6-minute walk to Miradouro da Vitoria, a viewpoint that offers a great view of Porto. 

Miradouro da Vitoria | One day in Porto

Miradouro da Vitoria

11:00 am: Bolsa Palace or the Church of São Francisco

Take your pick between Bolsa Palace and the Church of San Francisco.

Bolsa Palace, also called the Stock Exchange Palace, is a beautiful palace with a a mish mash of rooms to visit, the highlights being the Arab Room and the Hall of Nations. It can only be visited on a 30-minute tour. To avoid waiting in line, book your ticket and time slot in advance (11:00 am should work with this itinerary).

Bolsa Palace Porto

Bolsa Palace

At the Church of São Francisco, you will tour the old church and the new church, as well as the catacombs. The old church is amazing. Most of the naves are covered in gold leaf. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed in the old church, so you’ll have to wait and see it with your own eyes. It’s definitely worth it. There is a small fee to visit the Church of São Francisco.

Church of Sao Francisco Porto | One day in Porto

Church of São Francisco


New Church Sao Francisco

Inside the new church

12:00 pm: Lunch

Our #1 lunch recommendation is Taberna dos Fernandes. This small restaurant is located on Rua da Fonte Taurina. We had lunch here and it was one of our best meals in Porto. The service is impeccable, the octopus was some of the best we had in Portugal (which is saying a lot!), and the shrimp in olive oil and garlic was delicious. They don’t take reservations but it’s worth the wait, if there is one. It opens at 12:00 pm and they are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Camarao so Alho | One day in Porto

Dining at Taberna dos Fernandes

Other recommended restaurants in this area (you are now near the Douro River) include Bacalhau and Adega Sao Nicolau.

1:00 pm: Stroll along the Douro River

Cais da Ribeira is the promenade that runs along the Douro River in Porto. It’s a short, incredibly scenic walk, dotted with bars and restaurants. You’ll gaze across the Douro River to Gaia.

This is a great place to take your time, enjoy the view, and pop into a bar or café for a glass of wine, Porto tonic, or a snack.

Cais da Ribeira Porto | One day in Porto

Cais da Ribeira


Porto Riverfront

1:30 pm: Luis I Bridge

Next, cross the Luis I Bridge to Gaia. From the upper level of the bridge, the views of Porto are spectacular! But first, you have to get up here.

There are three ways to do it. Option 1 is to take the Lada Elevator (Elevador da Ribeira), which will save you part of the uphill walk to the bridge. Option 2 is to ride the Funicular dos Guindais, which starts on the river level very close to the Luis I Bridge. It will take you up to the Church of Santa Clara and from here it is a 6-minute, mostly flat walk to the bridge.

Porto Funicular

The bottom station of the funicular

Or, walk uphill from the river level to the upper level of Luis I Bridge. This is a 10-minute, uphill walk. It will be faster and cheaper to walk to the bridge versus taking the funicular or elevator.

Then, enjoy the views as you stroll across the bridge.

Porto Photo | One day in Porto

The view of Porto from the Luis I Bridge

2:00 pm: Gaia

The rest of the afternoon will be spent in Gaia. You can skip ahead to that part of the itinerary or keep reading to see the second optional way to spend a morning in Porto.

Morning in Porto Itinerary #2

The highlights of this morning’s itinerary are breakfast at the Majestic Café, the Chapel of Souls, São Bento Railway Station, the Porto Cathedral, and a few hidden gems.

9:00 am: Breakfast at the Majestic Café
10:00 am: Rua da Santa Catarina and the Chapel of Souls
10:30 am: Church of Saint Ildefonso & São Bento Station
11:00 am: Church of Santa Clara
11:30 am: Porto Cathedral
12:15 pm: St. Lawrence Church (Igreja de São Lourenço)
12:45 pm: Luis I Bridge
1:15 pm: Lunch

9:00 am: Breakfast at the Majestic Café

The Majestic Café is an Art Nouveau style café that opened in 1921. It is a historic café and one of Porto’s most beautiful dining experiences.

It is open from 9 am to 11 pm Monday through Saturday (it’s closed on Sunday). Plan on arriving here right at 9 am to save yourself a wait in line for a table. It’s also possible to make a reservation in advance, but first thing in the morning it is probably not necessary.

Majestic Cafe Porto | One day in Porto

10:00 am: Rua da Santa Catarina and the Chapel of Souls

The Majestic Café is located on Rua da Santa Catarina, a pedestrian shopping street. In the morning, places will just be opening for the day.

From the café, it’s a 5-minute walk up this street to the Chapel of Souls, a small church that is covered with beautiful blue and white tiles. You can step inside for a quick visit but it’s the outside that amazed us.

Chapel of Souls Porto

Chapel of Souls

10:30 am: Church of Saint Ildefonso & São Bento Station

Walk back down Rua da Santa Catarina until you reach the Church of Saint Ildefonso (8-minute walk, 500 meters). You can admire this church and its blue and white tiles from the outside, or step inside if you have an interest in seeing the interior of this church.

Church of Saint Ildefonso | One day in Porto

Church of Saint Ildefonso

Next, walk down Rua de 31 de Janeiro, enjoying views of the Torre de Clérigos in the distance, until you get to the São Bento Railway Station. Step inside for yet another view of azulejos (blue and white tiles).

Sao Bento Railway Station

São Bento Railway Station

11:00 am: Church of Santa Clara

The Church of Santa Clara is a 6-minute walk from Sao Bento Railway Station. There is a small fee to enter.

This is one of our favorite churches in Porto (the interior is more beautiful than the Porto Cathedral, in our opinion).

The nave is covered with gold leaf, even more than we saw in some other larger, more famous churches in Porto. This church is unique in that there are a lot of large windows so the sun really brightens up this church. Make sure you climb the stairs to the second level where you can look over the nave from the choir room.

Church of Santa Clara | One day in Porto

Church of Santa Clara

11:30 am: Porto Cathedral

From the Church of Santa Clara, it’s just a 3-minute walk to the Porto Cathedral.

The Porto Cathedral, also called Sé do Porto, is the largest, grandest church in Porto. You can visit the interior of the church for free, and then pay a small fee to visit the cloister and climb the tower for panoramic views of Porto.

Porto Cathedral Interior

Porto Cathedral


Porto Cathedral | One day in Porto

View from Porto Cathedral

The view from the Porto Cathedral

12:15 pm: St. Lawrence Church (Igreja de São Lourenço)

This highly underrated church is well worth your time. It is gorgeous inside and overlooked by many visitors, so there are far fewer people here than some of the other churches in Porto. Plus, it’s just a 3-minute walk from the Porto Cathedral so it’s easy to get to.

Igreja de São Lourenço sits in front of the Porto Cathedral. Cross the parking lot in front of the cathedral, take in the view from Miradouro da Rua das Aldas, and take the steps down to the next parking lot. Igreja de São Lourenço will be on your left (you can’t miss it).

There is a small fee to enter, cash only. Climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower and from here, and the walkway that connects to the second tower, you get amazing views of Porto. You also get a sweet view of the Porto Cathedral. These rival the views from the Porto Cathedral and when we did this, there were just two other people visiting the church.

Porto Cathedral | One day in Porto

The view of the Porto Cathedral from Igreja de São Lourenço


Porto View from Igreja de São Lourenço

Another view from Igreja de São Lourenço

The inside of this church is not as impressive as the Porto Cathedral, but it’s still worth it, as it’s quiet, tranquil, and a great spot to sit and relax for a few minutes, away from the crowds.

12:45 pm: Luis I Bridge

From St. Lawrence Church, walk back up to the Porto Cathedral and then walk to Avenue Vimara Peres. Turn right and this street takes you right to the upper level of the Luis I Bridge.

As you walk across the bridge, enjoy the views of Porto and Gaia.

1:15 pm: Lunch

For lunch with a view, we recommend Vinum, which is part of Graham’s Port Lodge. It’s located far from the Luis I Bridge, so consider hiring an Uber to get you here. Make your lunch reservation in advance. After lunch, you can visit another wine cellar for a tour or tasting, stroll along the riverfront, or walk over to the World of Wine.

Vinum Restaurant Porto | One day in Porto


Another option is to ride the Gaia Cable Car from Jardim do Morro to the riverfront, and then it is a very short walk to Restaurante Casa Dias.

And at this point, you will follow the afternoon in Gaia portion of this itinerary.

Portugal Travel Guide

Part 2: Afternoon in Gaia

There are several ways to plan your afternoon in Gaia. I recommend that you take a look at our Guide to the Porto Wine Cellars, which has lots of information about the best wine cellars to visit in Gaia, plus restaurant recommendations.

A popular thing to do is to simply stroll along the riverfront, visiting a few of the more popular wine cellars for a tasting or tour. From Luis I Bridge, ride the cable car from Jardim do Morro to the river. From here, it is an easy, flat walk to big port names such as Caves Ferreira, Sandeman, and Caves Calem. If you want to do a tour, it is best to make a reservation in advance.

Gaia Promenade

The Gaia promenade

We took the Sandeman 1790 tour at Sandeman and had a great experience. It’s very informative and the tour ends with a port wine tasting.

Our favorite experience in Gaia was touring Niepoort wine cellar. It’s a smaller, lesser-known wine cellar but their wine and port is extraordinary. Tours are in very small groups and seeing the inside of their cellar, with old, ancient barrels, is a memorable experience. For port wine lovers, this is a must do! 

Niepoort Wine Barrels

Niepoort wine cellar


Taylor Fladgate Port Tasting

Port tasting at Taylor Fladgate

With one afternoon in Gaia, you have enough time to do two tours, if they are short. Again, see our Guide to the Porto Wine Cellars for recommendations.

Finally, you can also visit the World of Wine, a good option for those traveling with kids. There are several informative museums about chocolate, Portuguese wine, cork, and rose wine. We list your options in our Guide to the Porto Wine Cellars.

Evening: Dinner

If you want to stay in Gaia for dinner, we recommend Enoteca 1756 (we had a great dinner here) or Vinum, if you did not have lunch here.

In Porto, you can have dinner at the Majestic Café (if you did not have breakfast here). Go to Gazela to try cachorrinhos, one of Porto’s famous street foods and a great cheap eat. Taberna dos Fernandes is one of our favorite Porto restaurants and Voltaria gets rave reviews. All of these restaurants are relatively inexpensive.

One Day in Porto: Itinerary #2

Porto for Wine Lovers: One Day in Gaia

For those who would rather tour the wine cellars, taste port wine, have lunch in Gaia, and enjoy the views across the Douro River to Porto, this itinerary is for you. You’ll give up the sights in Porto but in return you’ll have a full day in Gaia.

Tim and I are huge port fans, even before our trip to Portugal. We spent three days in Porto and more than half of this time was spent in Gaia. Visiting the wine cellars in Gaia was not only our favorite experience in Porto, it was one of our top experiences in all of Portugal.

This itinerary is also a great option if it is your second or third visit to Porto, and you’ve already seen the Porto Cathedral, Bolsa Palace, and Porto’s other popular attractions.

If there is something you really want to see in Porto, such as Livraria Lello or Clerigos Tower, you can do that right at opening time and then spend the rest of the day in Gaia.

For information about the wine cellars in Gaia, take a look at our article Best Wine Cellars in Gaia.

Here is a one day itinerary for Gaia. This is how we spent our first day in Gaia and it works very well. Basically, you can tour a wine cellar in the morning and afternoon, separated by lunch.

  • 10:00 am: We took the Niepoort and Friends tour and tasting. This ended at 11:30 am, but tours can run late, so keep that in mind if you are making a reservation for your next activity. Alternatively, you can tour a different port lodge, or visit WOW in the morning, saving a wine cellar tour for the afternoon.
  • 1:00 pm: Lunch at Vinum, Graham’s Port Lodge
  • 3:00 pm: 1790 Tour at Sandeman. Alternatively, you could visit a museum at WOW followed by a tasting at Taylor’s (we liked the port and the experience more at Taylor’s than nearby Fonseca).
  • 5:00 pm: Spend some time along the riverfront in Gaia with the option to do tastings at the wine houses here. Kopke and Burmester would be our top picks (we are big fans of these ports).
  • 7:00 pm: Dinner or watch the sunset from the Luis I bridge. We had dinner at Enoteca 1756. Of course, you can pick a different restaurant in Gaia or return to Porto, if you are staying in Porto. Walking across the Luis I bridge at sunset is a great thing to do in Porto. You can walk up to the bridge from the riverfront or ride the cable car.

Porto Portugal Photo

The view of Porto from Vila Nova de Gaia

 Sandeman Tour | One day in Porto

Sandeman wine cellar


Niepoort Port Wine Tasting Porto

Wine tasting at Niepoort

Where to Stay in Porto

In Porto, you can stay in Porto or Gaia. If you choose the second itinerary, where you spend the day in Gaia, choosing a hotel in Gaia is the most convenient location for that itinerary. If you are traveling through Portugal by train, consider choosing a hotel near the São Bento Railway Station.

We have a list of recommended hotels in Porto in our Porto Travel Guide.

Tours of Porto

Joining a tour can help save you time waiting in line, get tickets to a site that may have sold out in advance, or allow you to experience Porto in a unique way, such as a cooking class. Here are some of the best tours in Porto that can be worked into these one day itineraries.

Take a guided tour of Cockburn’s wine cellar, Graham’s Port Lodge, or Caves Calem (this tour includes a fado show).

Cruise the Douro River at sunset on a party boat.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is one day enough in Porto?

One day gives you just enough time to see some of Porto’s highlights and go wine tasting in Gaia. You won’t be able to see and do everything, but you will get a nice taste of what this city has to offer.

What is the best way to spend 24 hours in Porto?

The best way to spend 24 hours in Porto is to visit a few must-see attractions in Porto, such as Livraria Lello, the Porto Cathedral, and Luis I Bridge, followed by an afternoon in Gaia, learning about port wine, doing a wine tasting or two, and enjoying the stunning views across the Douro River to Porto.

What can’t you miss in Porto?

Must-see sights in Porto include Cais da Ribeira (the promenade that runs along the Douro River in Porto), the wine houses in Gaia (port tasting is an essential experience to have in Porto), the Porto Cathedral, Luis I Bridge, Livraria Lello, and Bolsa Palace. For foodies, Porto also has several savory street foods to try.

If you have any questions about how to spend one day in Porto, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Portugal

PORTO: Get started with our Porto Travel Guide, which lists where to eat, where to stay, and has lots of helpful tips for visiting Porto. We cover the best things to do in Porto in our Porto Bucket List. In our Guide to the Wine Cellars in Gaia, get recommendations on which wine cellars to visit and how to plan your time. See the best of Porto in our 2 Days in Porto Itinerary.

DOURO VALLEY: Get started with our Douro Valley Travel Guide, which covers the essential things to know when planning a trip to this wine region. We also have a guide to the Best Way to Day Trip to the Douro Valley from Porto and 8 Wineries to Visit in the Douro Valley.

PORTUGAL ITINERARIES: If you are just beginning to plan your Portugal itinerary, take a look at our 10 Day Portugal Itinerary for five different ways to spend 10 days in Portugal. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.

CENTRAL PORTUGAL: Visit the coastal town of Nazaré (and see its gigantic waves), walk the castle walls at Óbidos, and explore Monsanto, a town famous for its colossal boulders.

PORTUGAL FOR FOODIES: In our article 20 Foods to Eat in Portugal, we list 20 Portuguese foods to try and exactly where to get them, plus some of the most unique restaurants in Portugal.

We have TONS more information about Portugal in our Portugal Travel Guide, including Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, the Algarve, and the Douro Valley.


One Day in Porto Portugal Itinerary


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