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Porto Day Trips and Excursions

Porto is a fascinating destination and, as the second largest city after Lisbon, has a lot to offer visitors. Porto itself can be explored within a few days, but when combined with a variety of day trips can be extended into a memorable holiday. The day trip options from Porto are diverse and suitable for all tastes and ages. The destinations are also reachable by public transport from the city, making it a great base from which to explore northern Portugal. This guide will give an introduction to the top day trip options from Porto.

Jardim de Sanata Barbara

The Jardim de Santa Barbara in Braga

Day trip to Guimarães

Guimarães is a charming and historic city that is regarded by the Portuguese as the birth place of their country. This ancient city was the first capital of Portugal and the birth place of the first true king of Portugal; Afonso Henriques. The exceptional historic city has a significant amount to see and do. Top attractions not to be missed include; Guimarães Castle, Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, Olive square and Misericórdia convent. Visitors should also take time to roam the charming cobbled streets and squares to soak up traditional Portuguese life.

Tourists should also take a cable car ride to the top of the Penha Hill, which provides stunning panoramic views of the city and enjoyable hiking trails. Guimarães is connected to Porto by a direct train that takes 1 hour 15 minutes and costs €6.20 (return).For an in-depth day trip guide to Guimarães, please click here.

Guimarães Castle

Guimarães Castle

Day trip from Porto to Braga

Braga is a historic yet cosmopolitan city that offers visitors numerous interesting attractions. Braga boasts the oldest cathedral of Portugal, but this is equally balanced against the students of the Universidade do Minho, who bring energy to this city. Braga is centred on the beautiful Praça da República with its famed fountains, while the Raio Palace is a fine example of baroque architecture.

Bom Jesús church in Braga

The Bom Jesús church in Braga

Braga contains one of the most iconic monuments of northern Portugal; the Bom Jesús do Monte Church. The church is located at the top of a steep hill with a decorative baroque staircase that leads up to it, while for the less energetic, the world’s oldest water powered funicular transports visitors up the hill. Porto is connected to Braga by train, and the journey takes around an hour. For a guide to a day trip to Braga please click here.

Bom Jesús church in Braga

The pretty historic center of Braga

Day trip to Espinho Beach

It comes as a surprise to many visitors to Porto that there are many great beaches close to the city. One of the best beach towns is Espinho, which is situated 20km south of Porto and is connected by a regular and inexpensive train service. The beach is vast, extending for a total of 17km, and, as it faces a westerly direction, provides waves that are suitable for surfing.

Espinho fishing boats

The colourful fishing boats at Espinho

For those who wish to do more than just relax on a beach, there is also a popular hiking/cycle path along the coastline, while in the town centre has the largest casino of northern Portugal. On Monday mornings Espinho hosts a large traditional market. Espinho is a pleasant destination for an alternative day trip from Porto. For more information on Espinho Beach please click here.

Espinho Casino

Espinho Casino

An alternative beach option, which is closer to Porto is Matosinhos Beach. This large sandy beach is not as scenic as Espinho as is close to a large port but can be reached via the metro and is perfect for half a day of sunbathing.

 

 

Day trip along the Douro River

The Douro River valley offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in northern Portugal. The slow meandering river cuts through the deep valleys, which are lined with terraced vineyards that go to produce the famous wines of the region. There is no better method to experience the area than to join one of the leisurely ferry rides up the river. These ferry cruises tend to travel in one direction with the return journey via train or bus and are an enjoyable relaxing full day activity. Prices of tours vary dependent on food options and comfort level; ranging from € 35-75. For a guide to exploring the Douro valley by train please click here.

Douro River vineyards

The vineyards of the Douro River

Day trip to Aveiro

Aveiro is pleasant town that is located on the edge of a wide lagoon and is crossed by a series of canals. Along these canals Moliceiros fishing boats, which resemble gondolas, glide with their passengers. These gondolas and the art Nouveau buildings have given rise to Aveiro being referred to as the Venice of Portugal. Aveiro has a pretty city centre that offers a relaxed ambience and makes for an alternative day trip from Porto. Just to the west of Aveiro is Costa Nova with its magnificent beaches of soft golden sands and massive surfing waves. For a guide to a day trip to Aveiro please click here.

canals of Aveiro

A gondola passing along the canals of Aveiro

Day trip From Porto to Coimbra

Coimbra is the ancient university home of Portugal and is a city that is steeped in history and traditions. The university students, dressed in their customary black gowns, can be seen throughout the city. On a map, Coimbra may appear too distant for a day trip from Porto but it is connected to the express rail service, the Alfa Pendular, which makes the journey in less than an hour. These train tickets must be pre-booked. It is also viable to include Coimbra as a day trip option when travelling between Porto and Lisbon.

Coimbra portugal

Pretty and historic Coimbra

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1 Week in Porto

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2 Days in Porto

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1 Week in Porto

1 Week in Porto

Porto is a great alternative holiday destination, see why!

2 Days in Porto

2 Days in Porto

2 days is the ideal length
to discover Porto

1 Week in Porto

1 Week in Porto

Porto is a great alternative holiday destination, see why!

2 Days in Porto

2 Days in Porto

2 days is the ideal length
to discover Porto