3 Days in Porto: The Best Itinerary to Enjoy the City

Looking for an itinerary for 3 days in Porto? Here are all the best things to do in Porto for a long weekend.

View from the top of the tower in Porto

Porto has a long history which has given the city a beautiful palette of influences to draw from. The fact the city is the home to one of the most prestigious architecture schools in Europe doesn’t surprise me – it’s a great place to study the mistakes, achievements and methods of the years.

At the same time you can see the modern influences seeping in – the new Museum of Modern Art perfectly ties in with the Old Clock Tower nearby. From the top floor of the tower you could see the garden on the new roof, the cool statue outside (see below) and (unfortunately) the Costa Coffee shop that’s sure to rip trade from the surrounding cute Portuguese casas. 

I’m not usually one for art and have been around enough museums to know that 10 minutes is all it takes for me, but I could’ve happily wondered around Porto admiring the art work for a week. So if you’re an arty type I can guarantee you won’t feel let down by beautiful Porto City.

But although a week would be wonderful, Porto can also be explored in shorter time, which is ideal if you’re there for a long weekend or tight on time. My 3 days in Porto itinerary is the best way to see what the city offers in just a short time.

How to spend 3 days in Porto

From things to do, where to eat and what to see, here’s the best way to enjoy and make the most of Porto when you only have three days.

3 days in Porto itinerary: Day 1

Start with breakfast at Cafe Majestic

Start your trip by satisfying your growling belly, get yourself to Cafe Majestic on Rua Santa Caterina quick fast. I wanted to go for coffee after missing out last time I visited Porto for a travel conference, and so me and my three friends entered and sat down for a quick shifty at the menu.

Porto cafe

All we wanted was a coffee and a croissant in the legendary Porto pastry haven that is Cafe Majestic. Ten minutes later and we’d ordered ourselves the epic Cafe Majestic breakfast.

  • Your choice of eggs any style, cheese and ham, smoked ham from Chaves or breakfast steak
  • A choice of coffee, tea or hot chocolate
  • Fresh orange juice (Freshly squeezed and tantalisingly refreshing for my alcohol-induced dehydrated body)
  • Basket of bread and croissant, butter, jam and honey
  • Flute of sparkling wine (zingy to refresh the taste buds after all those bready carbs – perfect.
  • Yoghurt with red fruits
Porto best breakfasts

The Cafe Majestic interior is famed in Porto. Since 1921 the cafe has hosted the European elite; known for attracting intellectuals, bohemians and ladies of high society – seeing as I count myself as all of the above I was right at home within the beautifully ornate walls.

Cafe Majestic in Porto

The look was part art nouveau, mixed with a sense of La Belle Epoque and mirrors, marble and metal combine to create a look and feel I’d never seen before. It was grand and all types of fancy, yet I still felt comfortable and able to relax in my red velvet chair.

Wow, I literally didn’t know yoghurt could be so tasty. When it came over in its cute little jam jar even the guys were cooing over it. Waiel had a huge strawberry in his compote and the blue berries were fresh as you like. Definite fuel for a fun packed 3 days in Porto!

Stroll down Avenida dos Aliados

After that fabulous breakfast take a stroll down the near by Avenida dos Aliados, one of Porto’s most iconic and prominent boulevards. It’s an architectural and historical gem and is lined with so many examples of beautifully designed and decorated buildings such as the Banco de Porto and the City Hall of Porto.

Avenida dos Aliados, 3-day itinerary in Porto
Ricardo Tulio Gandelman, WikiCommons

From old churches to what looks like squat houses to churches and towers every building was full of character. Even the potential in the derelict ones was plain to see.

The Avenida dos Aliados extends from Praça da Liberdade (Freedom Square) and is lined with numerous cafes, shops, bars and public spaces to sit, relax, eat, drink and be merry.

Stop for pastel de nata & other beautiful pastries

You can’t leave Porto without succumbing to one of the many pastry shops that line the garcias and this wonderful central location would be the perfect place. There’s no need to track one down, they’ll find you. They’ll be sat in their windows glistening with glaze and beckoning you to sink your teeth between the creamy fillings.

Enjoy Pastel de nata during your 3 days in Porto

Of course, the Pastel de Nata is one of the national pastries of Portugal and at just 80 cents a pop you can definitely afford a few in your 3 days in Porto, although if you’re counting calories you might want to stick to staring.

Watch old-Style trams

I love these old school trams, they’re like the ones in Budapest and just bring a great flash of colour as they cruise past. You can take the famous ‘Tram 22’ down the Avenida dos Aliados as an exciting, stylish and historical way to view city – definitely one of the best things to do in Porto!

Cool stuff to do and see in 3 days in Porto

If you were a bit quicker off the mark you could get some great Instagram images from these beauties, or even a beautiful painting. Next time I’m in Porto I’m definitely going to have a go on one of these – they even take you to the port caves, so I’ve heard.

Wander around Sao Bento train station

From the Avenida dos Aliados is only a short walk to the stunning Sao Bento train station with its famous azulejo tiles. This usually tops anyone’s list of things to do if you’ve got 3 days in Porto. Work started on the station in 1900 and the station has kept up with the droves of people using the station as their main interchange, both locals and tourists alike.

Arty Porto

There are more than 20,000 tiles dating from 1905–1916 depicting landscapes and ethnographic scenes. They’re the work of Jorge Colaco, the most important azulejo painter of the time.

Visit Porto Cathedral

Still within walking distance from our last stop, Porto Cathedral is a beautiful tourist attraction with origins dating back to the 12th century. In the heart of Porto’s historic centre and overlooking the Douro River it’s the perfect final bit of culture before lunch!

Walk in the Ribeira district

The Ribeira district, along with the historic centre of Porto, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its architectural and historical significance – so that’s something to tick off your bucket list if you’ve got 3 days in Porto.

Ribeira district Porto is a must-visit and one of the best things to do

It is famous for its narrow, winding streets, colourful buildings, and beautiful views of the river and a romantic place to get lost in. Or even better – have lunch! There are lots of waterside restaurants and cafes which make it a great place to rest those tourist feet and enjoy some well-earned eats!

Cross the Ponte de Dom Luís I

After lunch is wonderful time to see the bridge that has become synonymous with Porto – the iconic Ponte de Dom Luis 1. Seen on every tourist ad or postcard for Porto I’m sure we’ve all wanted to stroll across it or have a selfie beneath it and now is the perfect chance in my 3 days in Porto itinerary!

Eat at Cais da Ribeira

The perfect place to spend the evening, Cais da Ribeira. Located on the riverfront it is lively and full of restaurant and bars. A great place to try some Portuguese cuisine, wine and enjoy the atmosphere. Relaxing, eating, drinking in such beautiful surrounding is absolutely one of the best things to do in Porto!

3 days in Porto itinerary: Day 2

Visit the Museum of Modern Art

This new sculpture near Palais de Paris and the Museum of Modern Art is a great example of the new art hitting the city. On further examination I realised he’s actually wearing glasses, not sunnies, but he’s still a cool model for a sculpture keeping an eye on the city.

Cool statue found on my 3 days in Porto

The museum if located in the very western party of Porto and you will need to get a taxi or public transport. It’s great way to start your second day of my 3 days in Porto itinerary and see a new part of the city!

Check out the Jardim de Carregal

After the museum, and the perfect next stop, take in the artistic surroundings by walking around the Jardim de Carregal with graffiti that covered every wall.

Graffiti found on my 3 days in Porto

It welcomes you to a more colourful part of the city where anything goes and artists are free to express themselves.

Find treasure in Aladdin’s cave shops

Walking around I saw a quite a few of these cool shops, but as I was sadly tight on time I never did manage to get back to see them. Thankfully I was drawn into this one by the complete shambles of organisation and the cool radios lining the walls.

Art lovers in Porto

There were old dolls, tin cars, antique books, aged jewellery, collector’s lanterns, anything and everything you never knew you wanted. The owner was a really sweetie and seemed proud we were taking pictures of the carnage.

Listen to jazz at Casa da Música

Home to the Porto Symphony Orchestra, the Music Hall hosts various concerts from jazz, classical to contemporary. The building itself is yet another example of wonderful architecture and would make a glorious place to visit at the end of your second day in Porto.

READ MORE: Why Visit Lisbon?

3 days in Porto itinerary: Day 3

Head to Matosinhos Beach

To start your final day of my 3 days in Porto itinerary I recommend… the beach! Woo!

Why Porto is great for art lovers

Even a trip to the beach was wrapped up in art. These statues on the Matosinhos Beach mark a memorial for the 152 sailors who lost their lives in the shipwreck of 1947 – it’s called the “Tragedy of the Sea” or the locally, the “Tragédia do Mar”.

It’s to the west of the city centre so you will need to get a taxi or use public transport. I believe even one of the famous trams heads this way which woul dbe a cool way to travel there!

Visit the Freixo Palace

After soaking up the rays and seafood lunch at the beach, I couldn’t let you leave Porto without suggesting you go to the palace to the east of the city centre. Of course I’d have to add a palace to my 3 days in Porto itinerary!!

I visited the Freixo Palace while I was in Porto. Enjoying a Champagne reception while the sun set was magical. The dying sun rays bounced off the swimming pool at the front and the bushes and flowers had been manicured to perfection.

Stroll down Rua Santa Catarina

Head on back into the city and stroll down Rua Santa Catarina which is a great place for shopping in Porto! The main shopping area of Rua Santa Catarina is not only home to the famous Majestic Café, but also a beautifully crafted street complete with cobbles and planted trees.

Cafe Majestic on my 3 days in porto

I love old European women. I love their passion for Roberto Cavelli clothes, their drawn on eyebrows and their jet black hair. I love the disgusted look they give me as I scuzz around in flip flops while they totter on heels to the local café to enjoy coffee with their friends. I love their vibrant fashion and as a mono-language kinda girl I love their fluid chat and the obvious passion in whatever they’re talking about in their OTT gesticulations.

Take a picture at Torre dos Clérigos

Not far from our last stop is the Torre dos Clérigos, a beautiful old baroque bell-tower in the centre of the city is a must on my 3 days in Porto itinerary.

Finally, for your last evening in Porto I’d definitely suggest you have another slice of Portuguese cuisine and wine in one many restaurants by riverside. With the iconic bridge over your shoulder, the vibrant atmosphere it would be a wonderful end to your trip to Porto!

Porto for arty types

And if you needed any more persuading on why you should go to Porto, just look at this cow popping his head out from a shop window, or the beautiful river and its banks brimming with port caves, or even the unique and delicate street signs marking every ‘rue’.

Map of the best things to do in 3 days in Porto

Below shows how you can really make the most of Porto in 3 days. There’s lots to see and do around, most within walking distance. But having a map to plan it out makes sure you don’t miss anything spectacular just around the corner.

View Larger Map

Is 3 days too long in Porto?

No, three days in Porto is a good amount of time to get a feel for the city and explore its main attractions. You can visit the historic Ribeira District, sample some port wine and pastel de nata, and explore the city’s various cultural sites.

How many days do you need in Porto?

Ideally, 3 days in Porto would allow you to see the main highlights of Porto and enjoy its rich cultural and gastronomic experiences. However, there’s plenty of things to see so you could easily fill a week in Porto with things to do.

What should I pack for 3 days in Porto?

For a 3-day trip to Porto, pack light clothing suitable for the season, but always include a lightweight jacket or sweater for cooler evenings. Comfortable walking shoes are a must given the city’s cobbled streets. An umbrella is advisable, especially during the rainier months.

Which is better Porto or Lisbon?

It really depends on what you’re looking for. Porto has historic charm, picturesque rivers and narrow cobbled streets, and is generally more laid-back. Lisbon is the capital, so it’s more bustling and vibrant. Both are worth visiting though.


  1. Pingback: VickyFlipFlopTravels » UK Travel Blogger Who Loves Festivals and TravelHoliday Houses vs Hotels: Which are Best? - VickyFlipFlopTravels
    1. I honestly loved it there so much. If I was going to buy a holiday home anywhere – there’s no doubt it would be Porto!

  2. I bloody loved Porto. Can’t wait to go back again. There’s also a flea market once a month that I’d add to the list. It’s the mecca for Porto art-lovers.

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