Porto is a beautiful city and you could easily spend half an eternity there, but its surroundings also have a lot to offer. If you need a break from the city and are looking into day trips from Porto, take inspiration from this article and follow in our footsteps. In this article, we’ll present our top 5 picks for the best day trips from Porto, but we are sure there are many more 😉 Scroll down to see a map!
Tips for Doing Day Trips from Porto
We were fortunate because we were touring the country by car, which made reaching those places fairly easy. Please note that Portugues roads are subject to toll. If you are renting a car you can opt for a car with a vignette which records your toll electronically. Your rental car company will then charge you for the toll after you return the car. This is your best option as cash booths are not available on all roads.
You could also opt for public transport, but a rental car is most likely the better option. If you are planning on taking the train, consult the official website of the Portuguese Railway Service for timetables and prices.
Braga was one of the places we knew we wanted to visit before we even booked our flights. As the biggest city in Northern Portugal, Braga makes an excellent destination for a day trip. It is only a short 55 km drive from Porto and easily accessible by car with a few garages in the city center. However, we started out by visiting the famous sanctuary Bom Jesus de Monte and its imposing Baroque staircase. You get fantastic views of the city from here!
After visiting the church we decided to drive into town and grab some lunch which turned out to be a great decision. Braga’s city center is quite lively and inviting, albeit small. You can easily just stroll around or sit in a cafe and indulge in some people watching!
How to Get to Braga from Porto
By car: Follow the A20 in Northern direction before merging onto A3/E1. The final leg to Braga will be on A11. Exit A11 at N103 towards Braga Oeste/Barcelos and simply follow the signs into the city.
By train: Trains run from both, Porto-Campanha and Porto-Sao Bento, several times a day. Your journey on the Urbano line will take approximately one hour and costs around 3.5€ for a one-way ticket.
Also only 55 km from Porto is the small town of Guimarães which is generally regarded the birthplace of modern Portugal. It is a truly historic town and best explored on foot. The sight which you will want to have a close-up of is the 12th-century castle. The first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, called it his home and together with the historic center of the town, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entrance fee is only about 1.5€ so if you are not short on time, we suggest you pop in and take a look 🙂
How to Get to Guimaraes from Porto
By car: To exit Porto, get on A20/IC23 and then on A3/E1 in Northern direction. This highway merges into A7 towards Guimaraes. Exit the highway at N101 and follow the signs into town.
By train: Several trains run from Porto to Guimaraes every day. The journey on the Urbano line will take you approximately 1:15 hours and costs about 3.5€ for a one-way ticket.
3. Marche de Barcelos
Should you be in the Braga area on a Thursday morning, we recommend you make a stop-over at the market in Barcelos and sample some of the local produce. You can park your car only a few hundred meters away and dive right into the craziness. The market is huge and offers anything from socks to picture frames, but we were most intrigued by the produce section. It is definitely a great place to grab some breakfast!
How to Get to Barcelos from Porto
By car: Exit Porto via A28 which merges into A11 close to Barcelos. Exit A11 at exit 3. You then have to follow a series of small roads and exits into the small town of Barcelos. A GPS would be best in this case. Note that parking can be difficult on market days. There are some parking lots with “attendants” close by. After parking, you should pay them about 1-2€.
By train: Depending on which train you are going to take, your travel time may vary between 45 minutes and 1:30 hours. The quickest option in the InterRegional train which runs about 5 times per day and costs about 5.5€ one-way. Another option is to take the Urbano line to Nine and then change to a Regional train. The journey takes around an hour and tickets cost 4.5€ one-way.
4. Viana do Castelo
Approximately 75 km from Porto lies the sleepy town of Viana do Castelo. Take your car up the hill to the Basilica of Santa Luzia and marvel at its sublime facade. Then turn around and enjoy the wind in your hair as you enjoy the view over the town, its beaches and the deep blue sea. If you are here in the summer, you may even want to pack your swimsuit as the beach here is rather popular and worth checking out!
How to Get to Viana do Castelo from Porto
By car: Leave Porto via A28. From there it’s a relatively straight shot. Take exit 23 and follow the signs into the city.
By train: Your best option to get here by train is to take the InterRegional train which runs 5 times a day and costs approximately 8€ one-way. The journey is about 1:30 hours.
5. The Douro Valley
Well, no list of day trips from Porto could be complete without mentioning a day trip to the Douro Valley. As one of the most famous wine growing regions in the world it’s an absolute must-do when you are in Porto! In fact, why don’t you read our in-depth guide to visiting the Douro Valley on a day trip from Porto?
Day Trips from Porto Map
Now, what do you think? Is there anything we have missed? Do you have tips on what else to see or do around Porto? What was your favorite sight? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! Let’s stay in touch!