48 Hours in Porto, Portugal

Last updated on November 12th, 2015 at 06:01 pm

I arrived in Porto around 5 pm on a rainy Sunday and I fell in love.

Porto window

Porto needs a bit of lovin’, because overall it is crumbling.  Gorgeous tiled facades are falling into decay.

porto tiles

However, if you give it a bit of chance, it is an easy city, which is what I wanted on my first solo trip in years.

porto church

Porto is manageable and affordable. To get from Porto airport into the city, you simply catch a metro from the airport terminal into town. €2.45 and 25 minutes later, you are in the center.

market in porto

I only had 48 hours in Porto. (Well, 45 if you want to be precise).  With two days in Porto, here is what you can do, eat and drink.


1. Visit the Mercado do Bolhão.

mercado do bolhao

The iron wrought two story building seems to be held up exclusively by scaffolding.  It is a carry over from another time, that does not seem to care that a modernizing city is zipping by outside.

mercado bolha lighting

It is not just crumbling, but decaying.

mercado bolhao advertising

However, despite the sagging appearance, Porto’s old market is still the perfect place to pick up a live rooster, some cured meat, or even a souvenir hand towel.

2. Take the tram.

Porto tram

This was touristy, but a good option to escape the rain.  Rather than take Tram 1, which heads out the beach front, I took the circular 22 which stays in the center since I only had a few hours before my train.

3. Shop for a retro-inspired souvenir at A Vida Portuguese (Rua Galeria de Paris 20).


I bought a rug, because that is the practical thing to do when you are traveling with carryon only.

retro sardines portugal

I also loved Santo da Casa (which also has rugs on Rua de São João 56), and scored vintage ceramics for an amazing price at Patch Porto (Rua do Rosário 193).

4. Peak inside Livraria Lello & Irmão (Rua das Carmelitas 144) an incredible art nouveau bookstore. But the crowds are also incredible so decide if you are willing to brave the crush before paying the €3 entrance.

livrai porto

5. Wander by day.

blue tiles in Porto

porto facades

Porto portugal views

6. Wander by night.

porto by night DSCF1346 Porto by night


Pastries at Confeitaria do Bolhão (Rua Formosa 339).

pastries bolhao

So many pastries at Confeitaria do Bolhão!

pastel de nata

Then grab lunch at Casa do Evaristo (Rua de Fernandes Tomás 535).

casa do evaristo

This cute bistro offers a daily special (grilled fish and potatoes for me), water, wine and dessert for only €8.50.


What I missed eating in Porto was the famous francesinha, a monster meat sandwich.  Café Majestic on Rua Santa Caterina seems to be the most recommended, but I mainly just kept eating pastries.


Sit down for a glass of Douro wine along the Douro.

wine douro

Sunset is best.

sunset douro

Cod chips at Bacalhau (Muro dos Bacalhoeiros 154) are optional. I liked one bite.. maybe two. Then, that was enough.

fried cod chips

If beer is more your style, pop into Galeria de Paris (Rua Galeria de Paris 56) for cheap Super Bock on tap.

super bock galeria paris porto

Plus atmosphere. A lot of atmosphere.

galeria paris porto

But you cannot leave Porto without trying a bit of Port.

calem cellar tourI opted for the Cálem cellar tour.

porto portugal car

Plus, by wandering over to this side of the river, you have fantastic views of Porto.


Hotel Eurostar Das Artes (Rua do Rosário 160) was the best €57 hotel I have ever stayed in.  However, if you want to stick to public transport, the location is not ideally located near any metros.  I spent my time in Porto on foot, and could get just about anywhere in 15 minutes.


tram porto

P.S. Many many thanks to Livia for all her recommendations which made my trip that much better!




  • Reply Joanne C October 30, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Good post. Thank you for sharing. Sad that part of this city is crumbling. By the way, did you travel alone in this city ?

    • Reply Natalie October 31, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Hi Joanne! I guess I mean “crumbling” in the best way. There is a lot of work going on to save or re-do many of the buildings. But sometimes you walk by and see that a beautiful tile facade is really only a facade- there is no building behind it, only supports!

      I did travel alone to Porto. No one’s schedule was matching up with mine and I really wanted to go, so I took the plunge and did it. So glad I did!

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