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Top 10 Best Day Trips from Porto: Must-See Destinations & Hidden Gems

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 8 min read

Best Day Trips from Porto are:

  • Douro Valley

  • Guimarães

  • Matosinhos

  • Aveiro

  • Peneda-Gerês National Park

  • Braga

  • Amarante

  • Santiago de Compostela

  • Viana do Castelo

  • Ponte de Lima

From the stunning vineyards of the Douro Valley to the historic charm of Guimarães, and from coastal relaxation in Matosinhos to the Venice-like allure of Aveiro, each location offers a unique opportunity to enrich your Porto itinerary. Each day trip destination from Porto has its own story to tell.

I've personally explored these spots and they have given me cherished memories. Whether it was tasting wine in the Douro Valley or walking through the ancient streets of Guimarães, every trip was special.


Best Day Trips from Porto Key Attractions How to Reach?
Douro Valley Vineyards, wine tastings, river cruises Train (to Peso da Régua), car, or guided tour
Guimarães Guimarães Castle, Palace of the Dukes Train, bus, or car
Braga Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga Cathedral Train or bus
Aveiro Canals, colorful moliceiros boats, Art Nouveau buildings Train or car
Coimbra University of Coimbra, Joanina Library, Old Cathedral Train or car
Amarante São Gonçalo Church, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso Museum Bus or car
Matosinhos Beaches, seafood restaurants Metro or bus
Peneda-Gerês National Park Natural landscapes, hiking trails, waterfalls Car or guided tour

1. Douro Valley Day Trip from Porto



The Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed destination, is a testament to Portugal’s rich viticultural history. The terraced vineyards, elegantly etched into the sloping hills, create a landscape that takes your breath away. Imagine hopping on a train at Porto’s Sao Bento station and embarking on one of the most scenic train rides Portugal has to offer. The beautiful azulejo tiling of the station is just a prelude to the mesmerizing journey ahead.

Now, a little insider tip from my trip - sit on the right-hand side of the train when traveling east from Porto. Trust me, this gives you the best river views as you journey into the heart of the Douro Valley. The MiraDouro train, with its classic carriages and wide-opening windows, offers an immersive viewing experience that is nothing short of spectacular. After this unforgettable train journey, consider taking a boat trip to further explore the beauty of the Douro Valley.

But the Douro Valley isn’t just about the journey; it’s about the destination as well. You can explore the valley independently, with a rental car providing the flexibility to visit multiple attractions in a single day. Or opt for a river cruise, a perfect opportunity to appreciate the picturesque scenery and visit the famed port wine estates. The valley’s grandeur truly shines when you’re gliding on the Douro River, the sun painting the terraced vineyards in hues of gold.

2. Guimarães Day Trip from Porto


Just a train ride away from Porto, you’ll find Guimarães, a city that’s a living testament to Portugal’s rich history. Known as Portugal’s former capital and the birthplace of its first king, Afonso Henriques, Guimarães offers visitors a well-preserved medieval atmosphere. The city’s cobblestone streets, peppered with historical sites, transport you back in time. The Castle of Guimarães and Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, for instance, are a history enthusiast’s dream.

Getting to Guimarães is a breeze. Here are some options:

  • The Linha de Guimarães train from Porto takes you there in about 1 hour 15 minutes.

  • For those of you who prefer a guided tour, many options offer the convenience of hotel pickup and drop-off in Porto, as well as air-conditioned transport, to enhance your visit.

  • During my trip, the combined tour of Guimarães and Braga was a perfect blend of historical discovery and architectural admiration.

So, whether you’re stepping into the formidable Castle of Guimarães or strolling through its charming streets, Guimarães is a historical journey not to be missed. It’s a testament to the rich tapestry of Portuguese history that’s waiting to be unfolded.

3. Matosinhos Day Trip from Porto


Matosinhos, just a 40-minute bus ride from Porto, is the place to be. The town’s sandy beaches are a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. As I lay on the sand, soaking up the sun, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of tranquillity wash over me.

But there’s more to Matosinhos than just sunbathing. The town is a hub for surf enthusiasts, with opportunities to hit the waves or take surfing lessons. I still remember the adrenaline rush of riding my first wave, under the watchful eye of a seasoned instructor.

After a day at the beach or on the water, your taste buds are in for a treat. Matosinhos is renowned for its seafood cuisine, a highlight of any trip to this coastal town. Some must-try dishes include.

  • Fresh sardines

  • Octopus salad

  • Grilled fish

  • Seafood rice

  • Clams in garlic sauce

Every dish is a celebration of the sea, leaving you craving for more.

4. Aveiro Day Trip From Porto


Venture a little further from Porto, and you’ll find Aveiro, fondly referred to as the Venice of Portugal. Its picturesque canals, adorned with traditional gondolas, offer a unique charm that’s hard to resist. The city’s train station, beautifully adorned with traditional azulejo tiles, sets the tone for the architectural delights you’re about to explore.

As I strolled through the city, I was enamored by the vibrancy of its streets. The colorful homes, each one unique, added a playful flair to the cityscape. But Aveiro isn’t just about visual treats; it’s a gastronomic delight as well. The city is famous for its Ovos Moles, a sweet treat made from egg yolks and sugar. I must admit, one bite of this heavenly dessert, and I couldn’t stop at one.

Aveiro’s blend of historic charm and vibrant culture makes it a must-visit on your day trips from Porto. Whether you’re enjoying a gondola ride or relishing Ovos Moles, Aveiro promises an experience like no other.

5. Peneda-Gerês National Park Trip from Porto


From coastal escapes to mountainous adventures, Portugal offers it all. Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal’s only national park, is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. A 90-minute drive from Porto takes you into the heart of this stunning landscape.

The park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of natural wonders, including:

  • Dramatic mountain views

  • River vistas

  • Dense forests

  • Historical sites, such as granite boulders and Roman ruins

  • Traditional villages like Lindoso and Soajo

But the park isn’t just about its landscapes; it’s a haven for wildlife. Wolves, foxes, wild boars, and even the region’s native Garrano ponies call this park home.

For adventure seekers, the park offers an array of trails, each offering a unique perspective of the park’s beauty. Whether you’re trekking along the Miradouro Velho da Pedra Bela or exploring the Trilho da Preguiça Route, every trail promises an unforgettable adventure.

6. Braga Day Trip from Porto


Braga, often referred to as the Portuguese Rome, is a city steeped in religious history. Its key attractions, such as the Braga Cathedral and the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary, are a testament to its rich architectural heritage.

Reaching Braga is a breeze, with trains from Porto’s So Bento or Campanh stations taking just about an hour to an hour and a half. If you prefer a guided experience, many tours offer trips to Braga, often combined with visits to Guimarães. These tours not only cover key attractions but also offer the convenience of hotel pickup and drop-off in Porto.

As I navigated through Braga’s streets, each corner revealed an architectural gem. Whether it’s the imposing Braga Cathedral or the majestic Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary, Braga is a city that wears its history with pride.

7. Amarante Day Trip from Porto



Amarante is a town that harmoniously blends culture and culinary delights. Its history, dating back to the 4th century BC, is reflected in key attractions like the São Gonçalo Church and Monastery, which date back to the 16th century.

Amarante’s rich culinary heritage is another highlight of this charming town. From Vinho Verde wine to a variety of conventual sweets, every dish is a gastronomic delight. The São Gonçalo festival, with its processions and exchange of distinctive phallic-shaped cakes, is a testament to the town’s cultural quirks.

The town’s dedication to preserving art and culture is evident in its network of museums, including the Amadeo de Souza Cardoso Museum, the Portuguese Toy Museum, and the Vinho Verde Museum. These cultural hubs offer a deeper understanding of Amarante’s heritage and are a must-visit during your trip.

8. Santiago de Compostela Day Trip from Porto

An adventurous spirit knows no borders, and that’s precisely why the next destination on our list is Santiago de Compostela, Spain. A day trip from Porto will transport you to this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, known for its cultural heritage and magnificent cathedral. Discover the best Porto day trips and embark on an unforgettable journey.

As I strolled through the old streets of the historic city, Santiago de Compostela, I felt a sense of reverence wash over me. The city’s rich history is evident in every corner, from its historic buildings to the iconic cathedral. Although ongoing renovations may limit access to certain areas of the cathedral, the site is still a must-visit.

While independent travel to Santiago de Compostela is possible, the 4.5-hour journey by public transport can be challenging for a day trip. A more suitable option for those wishing to visit on their own would be to hire a car, consider a day tour, or join a small group tour.

No matter how you choose to get there, Santiago de Compostela promises an enriching adventure across the Spanish border.

9. Viana do Castelo Day Trip From Porto, Portugal


Viana do Castelo is nestled between the Rio Lima and Santa Luzia hills, with the Atlantic coast to its west, Viana do Castelo offers a picturesque landscape that’s truly captivating.

The city’s maritime tradition is evident in its fishing fleet and shipbuilding facilities, which add a unique charm to the cityscape. The Praça da República, the city’s main square, showcases a mix of various architectural styles, while the Museu do Traje exhibits traditional clothing made from straw.

The city is not just about maritime traditions or architectural marvels; the Igreja da Misericordia captivates visitors with its Azulejo tiles, ceiling frescos, and an ornate altar. But the crown jewel of the city is undoubtedly the Santuario de Luzia, which offers panoramic views of the estuary merging with the lush Vale do Lima valley.

10. Ponte de Lima Day Trip From Porto

Ponte de Lima is one of the oldest towns in Portugal. The town’s narrow streets, alleys, and an ancient bridge are a testament to its historical depth.

Ponte de Lima’s cultural heritage is beautifully preserved in the ‘Casa do Calvário’, which houses an archive considered one of the richest in Portugal. The town’s rich culinary tradition is another highlight, with regional delicacies like green wine, cheese, and smoked sausage leaving a lasting impression on every food lover.

A visit to Ponte de Lima is not just about history or gastronomy; it’s about embracing the town’s vibrant culture in its city center. The town offers several interpretation centers, including the Centre for the Interpretation of Territory and the Centre for the Interpretation of the Table of the 4 Abbots Villages, enhancing visitor exploration and learning about the local area.

How to Plan Day Trips from Porto?

Planning your day trips from Porto can transform your visit into an unforgettable adventure. Here's a straightforward guide to ensure you make the most of your journeys. 

1. Identify Your Interests

Start by deciding what interests you most. Do you prefer historical sites, natural landscapes, wine tasting, or perhaps coastal towns? Porto's surroundings offer a variety of experiences, so knowing your preferences will help narrow down your options.

2. Research Destinations

Once you've pinpointed your interests, research destinations that align with them. For history buffs, Guimarães and Braga are must-visits. Nature lovers should consider the Peneda-Gerês National Park, while wine enthusiasts can't miss the Douro Valley.

3. Consider Travel Times

Check the travel times to each destination. You'll want to choose locations that are close enough to fully enjoy in a day. Ideally, aim for places that are less than a two-hour drive from Porto to maximize your exploration time.

4. Plan Your Itinerary

Create a rough itinerary for each trip. Include key attractions, recommended restaurants, and any specific experiences you don't want to miss. Remember to factor in some free time to explore spontaneously.

5. Arrange Transportation

Decide how you'll get to each destination. Renting a car offers the most flexibility for remote areas. However, for cities like Guimarães or Braga, trains and buses are convenient and affordable options.

6. Pack Smartly

Prepare for your day trips by packing essentials such as water, snacks, comfortable walking shoes, and appropriate clothing for the weather. Don't forget your camera and any necessary chargers or batteries.

7. Start Early

Aim to start your trips early in the day. This gives you more time to explore and helps you avoid the largest crowds, especially at popular tourist spots.

8. Be Flexible

While having a plan is important, be open to changes. Sometimes the most memorable experiences come from unexpected detours or spontaneous decisions.

Tips for Enjoying Your Day Trips from Porto

Enjoying your day trips from Porto to the fullest requires a mix of good planning and an open-minded approach. Here are some tips to enhance your experience.

  • Start Early: To maximize your day, begin early. This allows you more time to explore and helps you avoid the biggest crowds, especially at popular destinations.

  • Travel Light: For comfort during your explorations, carry only the essentials. A lightweight backpack with water, snacks, sunscreen, and a camera is usually sufficient.

  • Try Local Cuisine: Don't miss out on the local cuisine. Each region around Porto offers unique dishes and flavors. Whether it's fresh seafood in Matosinhos or sweet treats in Aveiro, local delicacies are a highlight.

  • Use Public Transport: For destinations well-connected by train or bus, consider using public transportation. It's not only cost-effective but also a way to experience your travels as locals do.

  • Stay Hydrated: Keep a water bottle handy. Staying hydrated is crucial, especially during the warmer months or if you're out hiking in nature.

  • Be Open to Changes: Sometimes, the best experiences come from unexpected changes in plans. Be flexible and open to discovering new places or activities that you might come across.

  • Respect Local Customs: Show respect for local traditions and customs. This includes being mindful of dress codes in religious sites and understanding local etiquette.

  • Keep Safety in Mind: Stay aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure. Also, familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers.

  • Capture Memories: Take photos or keep a journal to capture your experiences. These memories will be priceless souvenirs of your trips.

  • Relax and Enjoy: While it's great to see as much as possible, remember to take moments to simply relax and soak in your surroundings. Sometimes, a leisurely walk through a historic town or a quiet moment by the river can be the most memorable part of your trip.


From the scenic beauty of the Douro Valley to the historic charm of Guimarães, the coastal retreat of Matosinhos to the picturesque canals of Aveiro, the natural wonders of Peneda-Gerês National Park to the architectural marvels of Braga, the cultural richness of Amarante to the cross-border adventure to Santiago de Compostela, the maritime tradition of Viana do Castelo to the historic depth of Ponte de Lima, each destination offers a unique experience that is sure to make your Portuguese journey unforgettable. So, pack your bags, step out of central Porto, and embark on these amazing day trips that promise a taste of Portugal’s rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes.

Frequently Asked Questions On Best Day Trips from Porto

1. How do I get to the Douro Valley from Porto?

You can reach the Douro Valley from Porto by taking a scenic train ride from Sao Bento station or by car, or joining a guided tour. Enjoy your trip!

2. Can I visit Guimarães and Braga in one day?

Yes, you can visit both Guimarães and Braga in one day, especially if you take a combined tour from Porto.

3. What are some must-visit attractions in Aveiro?

Make sure you visit the picturesque canals, colorful streets, and traditional gondolas in Aveiro. And don't miss trying the local sweet treat, Ovos Moles. Enjoy your trip!

4. How can I explore Peneda-Gerês National Park?

You can explore Peneda-Gerês National Park by hiring a car for independent exploration or joining a guided tour to see attractions like mountain views, river vistas, and wildlife. Enjoy your visit!

5. What are some key attractions in Amarante?

Some key attractions in Amarante are the São Gonçalo Church and Monastery, São Gonçalo festival, and a network of museums. Additionally, you can't miss out on the traditional Portuguese gastronomy, including Vinho Verde wine and conventual sweets. Enjoy your visit!

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.