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The 8 Best Day Trips From Porto


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Noella Roth



Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, is known for its stunning riverfront, historic architecture, and delicious port wine. While exploring the city itself is a delightful experience, there are also plenty of incredible day trips you can take to discover the beauty of the surrounding regions. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or food lover, these day trips from Porto offer a wide range of experiences to suit everyone’s interests.


From the picturesque vineyards of the Douro Valley to the medieval charm of Guimarães, each destination has its own unique attractions and highlights. These day trips not only offer a change of scenery but also allow you to delve deeper into the cultural and historical heritage of Portugal.


In this article, we will explore the eight best day trips from Porto, each offering a different perspective of the country’s rich heritage. From ancient castles to stunning natural landscapes, these day trips promise unforgettable experiences. So pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and let’s embark on an adventure outside of Porto!


Note: Before planning your day trips, it’s advisable to check the current travel restrictions and guidelines to ensure a smooth and safe journey.


Douro Valley

The Douro Valley, located in the northern part of Portugal, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most scenic regions in the country. Famous for its terraced vineyards, the Douro Valley is the birthplace of Portugal’s renowned port wine.


Visiting the Douro Valley is like stepping into a postcard. The charming villages, picturesque landscapes, and winding Douro River create a breathtaking backdrop for exploration. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of this region is by taking a river cruise along the Douro River, where you can admire the vineyards and quinta estates that dot the landscape.


Aside from the stunning scenery, the Douro Valley is also home to many wineries that offer wine tastings and tours. You can learn about the winemaking process, stroll through the sprawling vineyards, and, of course, indulge in a glass or two of the region’s famous port wine.


For a more adventurous experience, you can hike or bike through the vineyards, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the valley. Alternatively, you can opt for a scenic train ride that winds through the vineyards, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


Aside from its wine-related attractions, the Douro Valley is also rich in cultural heritage. Visit the town of Pinhão, known for its colorful azulejo-tiled train station and historic wine estates. Explore the ancient village of Provesende, with its narrow streets and traditional houses. Or wander through the quaint town of Lamego, home to the stunning Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies.


Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, nature lover, or history buff, a day trip to the Douro Valley will leave you with lasting memories of Portugal’s enchanting countryside.



Known as the “birthplace of Portugal,” Guimarães is a historic city located in the northern part of the country. Steeped in rich history and medieval charm, it is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts.


As you stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets of Guimarães, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The city’s well-preserved medieval architecture, including the grand Guimarães Castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, offer a glimpse into Portugal’s past.


The highlight of Guimarães is the historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enveloped by ancient walls, the center is filled with charming squares, quaint shops, and traditional Portuguese houses. The Largo da Oliveira square is particularly picturesque, with its medieval buildings, stone fountain, and centuries-old olive tree.


While exploring Guimarães, be sure to visit the Guimarães Castle. This imposing fortress, dating back to the 10th century, played a crucial role in the foundation of the Portuguese nation. Climb to the top of the towers for panoramic views of the city.


Another must-visit attraction is the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. This magnificent palace, built in the 15th century, showcases the opulence and grandeur of Portugal’s noble families. Explore the lavishly decorated rooms, admire the intricate architecture, and learn about the history of the Braganza dynasty.


Guimarães is not just a city of historical significance; it also offers a vibrant cultural scene. The city is home to numerous museums, art galleries, and theaters, showcasing both traditional and contemporary Portuguese art. Don’t miss the Alberto Sampaio Museum, which houses a collection of religious art and artifacts.


After a day of exploration, take a break in one of the city’s charming cafés or restaurants. Sample traditional Portuguese cuisine, such as bacalhau (salted cod fish) or caldo verde (kale soup), and savor the flavors of the region.


Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate the charm of medieval cities, a day trip to Guimarães is a journey back in time and an opportunity to immerse yourself in Portugal’s rich heritage.



Located in the northwestern part of Portugal, Braga is a captivating city known for its rich religious heritage, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. As one of the oldest cities in the country, Braga is steeped in history and offers a fascinating glimpse into Portugal’s past.


A visit to Braga is incomplete without exploring the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary. Set atop a lush hillside, this iconic pilgrimage site showcases intricate Baroque-style architecture and offers breathtaking views of the city. Climb the grand staircase adorned with ornate chapels and fountains, or take the funicular railway for a leisurely journey to the top.


Braga is also home to the famous Braga Cathedral, or Sé de Braga, which dates back to the 12th century. This impressive structure is a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Manueline architectural styles. Step inside to admire its beautifully adorned altars, intricately carved choir stalls, and stunning stained glass windows.


The historic center of Braga is a delightful place to explore. With narrow streets lined with colorful buildings, quaint squares, and lively cafés, it exudes an old-world charm. Don’t miss a visit to the Raio Palace, a masterpiece of 18th-century Portuguese architecture.


For nature lovers, a trip to the nearby Bom Jesus Natural Park is a must. This expansive park offers beautiful walking trails, serene picnic spots, and peaceful lakes. Take a leisurely stroll amidst the lush greenery, and admire the natural beauty of the landscape.


Braga is also known for its vibrant cultural scene. Visit the Theatro Circo, a stunning theater that hosts a variety of performances including theater productions, concerts, and dance shows. The city is also renowned for its traditional festivals, with the Holy Week celebrations and the São João Festival being particularly spectacular.


With its mix of history, religion, and vibrant culture, Braga offers a unique day trip experience from Porto. Immerse yourself in the city’s fascinating heritage, explore its architectural gems, and embrace the lively atmosphere that makes Braga a truly enchanting destination.



Nestled along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Aveiro is a charming coastal city in Portugal that is often referred to as the “Venice of Portugal.” Known for its picturesque canals, colorful moliceiro boats, and striking Art Nouveau architecture, Aveiro offers a unique and enchanting day trip experience from Porto.


The heart of Aveiro lies in its historic center, where you can wander through the winding streets and admire the beautiful buildings adorned with vibrant tiles. Don’t miss the Aveiro Cathedral, an impressive Gothic-style structure that dates back to the 15th century. Climb the tower for a panoramic view of the city and its surrounding area.


One of the main attractions in Aveiro is its canal network, which can be explored by hopping on a moliceiro boat. These traditional boats, reminiscent of gondolas, take you on a leisurely journey along the canals, giving you a unique perspective of the city. As you glide through the waterways, admire the colorful façades of the buildings and soak in the laid-back atmosphere.


Besides its charming canals, Aveiro is also famous for its production of salt and porcelain. You can visit the Salt Pans of Aveiro, where you can learn about the traditional salt harvesting methods and explore the surrounding natural reserve. For those interested in porcelain, the Vista Alegre Factory is a must-visit. Discover the history of this renowned porcelain producer and marvel at the exquisite ceramic pieces on display.


Food lovers will find delight in Aveiro’s culinary offerings. The city is famous for its ovos moles, which are sweet, wafery egg-yolk-based treats. These delicious delicacies come in various shapes and are a must-try when visiting Aveiro. Additionally, be sure to savor fresh seafood at one of the many seafood restaurants in the city, as Aveiro’s coastal location ensures a wide selection of mouthwatering dishes.


Aveiro’s stunning beaches are another highlight of this coastal city. Praia da Costa Nova, with its vibrant striped wooden houses, is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. Enjoy a relaxing day on the sandy shores or take a stroll along the boardwalk lined with cafés and shops.


With its charming canals, vibrant architecture, delicious cuisine, and beautiful beaches, Aveiro offers a delightful day trip from Porto. Immerse yourself in the city’s unique charm and experience the enchantment of the “Venice of Portugal.”



Situated on the banks of the Mondego River, Coimbra is a captivating city in central Portugal that is famous for being the home of one of the oldest universities in Europe. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, Coimbra is a must-visit day trip destination from Porto.


The highlight of Coimbra is the University of Coimbra, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world. Take a tour of the campus and explore its impressive library, known as the Biblioteca Joanina, which houses a vast collection of rare books and manuscripts. Don’t miss the stunning University Tower, which offers panoramic views of the city.


Stroll through the narrow streets of Coimbra’s historic center, filled with charming cafés, traditional shops, and historic buildings. Visit the Coimbra Cathedral, a Romanesque-style monument that dates back to the 12th century. Admire the intricate tile work and beautiful stained glass windows of the Igreja de Santa Cruz, a church that houses the tombs of Portuguese monarchs.


Coimbra is also known for its vibrant Fado music scene. Fado is a traditional Portuguese music genre that is characterized by its melancholic melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Experience the soulful tunes of Fado at one of the city’s Fado houses, where talented musicians and singers serenade you with their emotive performances.


Another must-visit attraction in Coimbra is the Quinta das Lágrimas, a beautiful garden surrounded by lush greenery and historic buildings. This enchanting spot is steeped in legend and history, with the famous love story of Prince Pedro and Inês de Castro taking place here. Explore the park, walk along its serene trails, and visit the Fountain of Tears that is said to have been the site of Inês de Castro’s murder.


For a glimpse into Coimbra’s artistic side, visit the Machado de Castro National Museum, which houses a collection of Portuguese art and archaeological artifacts. The museum is built on the site of the former Roman cryptoporticus, adding to its historical significance.


With its prestigious university, historic architecture, vibrant music scene, and natural beauty, a day trip to Coimbra offers a diverse range of experiences. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural heritage and explore its captivating attractions for an unforgettable adventure.


Viana do Castelo

Situated in the Minho region of Portugal, Viana do Castelo is a picturesque coastal city that offers a perfect blend of historical charm and natural beauty. With its vibrant traditions, stunning architecture, and beautiful beaches, Viana do Castelo is a delightful day trip destination from Porto.


The heart of Viana do Castelo is its historic center, which is characterized by narrow streets, colorful buildings, and charming squares. Explore the Praça da República, the main square, which is lined with cafés and surrounded by elegant buildings adorned with traditional azulejo tiles. Don’t miss the iconic Chafariz, a 16th-century fountain that is a symbol of the city.


Viana do Castelo is renowned for its traditional costumes and festivals. The city hosts several festivals throughout the year, where locals dress in traditional attire and celebrate with parades, music, and dancing. The most famous event is the Festas de Nossa Senhora da Agonia, a colorful celebration that takes place in August and attracts visitors from all over the country.


Another must-visit attraction in Viana do Castelo is the Basílica de Santa Luzia. Situated atop Mount Santa Luzia, this impressive basilica offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Climb to the top of the tower for a breathtaking vista and admire the ornate interior with its intricate stained glass windows and beautiful mosaics.


Viana do Castelo is also blessed with beautiful beaches. Praia do Cabedelo is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts, offering ideal conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Praia Norte, on the other hand, is known for its wild and rugged beauty, perfect for those seeking tranquility and natural scenery.


For those interested in maritime history, a visit to the Gil Eannes Ship Museum is a must. This former hospital ship has been transformed into a museum that showcases the history of Portuguese maritime activities. Explore the ship’s facilities, including the engine room and medical areas, and learn about the role it played in supporting the fishing industry.


With its historical charm, vibrant festivals, stunning viewpoints, and beautiful beaches, Viana do Castelo offers a delightful day trip experience. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture, explore its architectural gems, and enjoy the coastal beauty that makes Viana do Castelo an enchanting destination.



Nestled on the coast just north of Porto, Matosinhos is a charming seaside town that offers a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Renowned for its beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and vibrant atmosphere, Matosinhos is a fantastic day trip destination for those seeking relaxation and coastal charm.


The main attraction in Matosinhos is its stunning coastline, which boasts several pristine sandy beaches. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, take a refreshing swim, or indulge in water sports, Matosinhos has a beach for every preference. Praia de Matosinhos is the most popular beach in the area, known for its long stretch of golden sand and excellent surfing conditions. Praia do Castelo and Praia do Molhe are also worth exploring for their tranquil atmosphere and beautiful landscapes.


Matosinhos is renowned for its seafood, and fresh fish is a specialty here. Take a stroll along the Avenida Serpa Pinto, known as the “Fisherman’s Road,” and you’ll find numerous seafood restaurants offering a wide range of mouthwatering dishes. From grilled sardines to succulent seafood platters, you can indulge in the freshest and most delicious seafood culinary experiences.


For a cultural experience, visit the Matosinhos Municipal Market. Explore the market’s vibrant stalls, filled with fresh produce, seafood, and local handicrafts. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and get a glimpse of everyday life in Matosinhos.


If you’re interested in contemporary art, a visit to the Serralves Museum is a must. Located just a short drive away from Matosinhos, this modern art museum houses a diverse collection of contemporary artwork and hosts temporary exhibitions by renowned artists. The museum is set within stunning parkland, allowing visitors to enjoy both art and nature in one place.


Matosinhos is also a paradise for seafood lovers. The town is home to the largest fish market in Portugal, where fishermen bring in their catch of the day. Take a tour of the Matosinhos Fish Market to see the impressive variety of species and experience the vibrant atmosphere of a bustling fish market.


With its beautiful beaches, delectable seafood, and vibrant culture, Matosinhos offers a refreshing day trip experience from Porto. Relax by the sea, indulge in mouthwatering seafood, and immerse yourself in the authentic coastal charm of this delightful seaside town.


Peneda-Gerês National Park

Peneda-Gerês National Park is a natural wonderland located in the northwest of Portugal, making it an ideal day trip destination from Porto for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning over 700 square kilometers, this expansive park is Portugal’s only national park and offers breathtaking landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and a myriad of outdoor activities.


The park is home to rugged mountains, deep valleys, pristine rivers, and lush forests, creating a stunning backdrop for exploration. Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Peneda-Gerês National Park, with an extensive network of trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints, cascading waterfalls, and ancient Roman bridges. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual nature lover, there are trails suitable for every level of experience.


One of the most iconic sights in the park is the Mata da Albergaria forest, a dense woodland of ancient oaks. Wander through the forest, listen to the sounds of nature, and spot wildlife such as deer, boars, and eagles. Keep an eye out for the iconic breed of wild Garrano horses, which roam freely in the park.


Peneda-Gerês is also dotted with charming traditional villages where time seems to stand still. Explore the quaint stone houses, narrow streets, and rural charm of villages like Castro Laboreiro and Soajo. Marvel at the unique granaries (espigueiros) that are built of stone and wood and used to store corn. Experience the local way of life, taste traditional cuisine, and immerse yourself in the authentic rural culture.


If you’re seeking a refreshing swim, the park offers natural pools and crystal-clear rivers where you can take a dip. The Rio Homem and Rio Cávado are popular spots for swimming and picnicking, surrounded by lush green landscapes.


Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the biodiversity of Peneda-Gerês National Park. It is home to various species of birds, mammals, and plants, some of which are considered rare and endangered. Keep your camera ready to capture the beauty of the park’s natural inhabitants.


For those seeking a bit of history and culture, visit the Peneda Sanctuary, a place of religious significance dating back to the 12th century. Explore the beautiful church, dedicated to Our Lady of Peneda, and enjoy the tranquility amidst the stunning mountainous scenery.


Whether you’re hiking through its beautiful landscapes, exploring traditional villages, or simply immersing yourself in the serenity of nature, Peneda-Gerês National Park offers an idyllic day trip from Porto. Experience the awe-inspiring beauty and tranquility of this natural paradise and create memories to last a lifetime.



Porto, with its captivating riverfront and historic charm, is a fantastic city to explore. However, venturing beyond Porto on day trips allows you to discover even more of Portugal’s diverse beauty and rich heritage. From the scenic Douro Valley to the medieval streets of Guimarães, each day trip offers a unique experience that will leave you enchanted.


The Douro Valley’s terraced vineyards and port wine heritage provide a feast for the senses, while the historic city of Guimarães immerses you in Portugal’s past. Braga, with its religious heritage and impressive architecture, offers a glimpse into the country’s spiritual side. Aveiro, often called the “Venice of Portugal,” captivates with its canals and vibrant culture.


Coimbra, home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, combines history with a vibrant atmosphere, while Viana do Castelo offers picturesque coastal charm and cultural traditions. Matosinhos enchants with its beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and seaside ambiance, while Peneda-Gerês National Park provides a serene escape into nature’s embrace.


Exploring these day trip destinations from Porto allows you to witness the diversity and beauty of Portugal, from its vineyards and historic landmarks to its coastal landscapes and natural wonders. Whether you’re seeking history, culture, nature, or simply a change of scenery, these day trips offer it all.


As you plan your adventures, be sure to check travel restrictions and guidelines to ensure a smooth and safe journey. Whether you’re embarking on a river cruise in the Douro Valley, wandering the medieval streets of Guimarães, or hiking in Peneda-Gerês National Park, these day trips from Porto promise unforgettable experiences that will create lasting memories of your time in Portugal.


So, step out of Porto and embark on these day trips to discover the hidden gems of Portugal’s enchanting landscapes and heritage. Each destination offers a unique perspective of the country’s rich history and natural beauty. Get ready for a journey filled with exploration, adventure, and an immersion into the wonders of Portugal.