Panoramic viewpoint Porto Jet2 City Breaks

How to spend a long weekend in Porto


Embark on a long weekend in Porto with guest blogger Lesley and discover the highlights of Portugal’s most colourful city...

Lesley Stewart Wander Somewhere Travel Blog

Lesley Stewart is a freelance travel writer specialising in destination guides and dreamy getaways with a hint of adventure. Often found wandering Europe on a full-time treasure hunt for beautiful places, you can read about her adventures on her travel blog Wander Somewhere.

Porto Views Jet2 City Breaks

Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is a destination that features on many travellers’ bucket lists. And it’s easy to see why. Renowned for its wonderful mix of rich history, charming streets and exceptional cuisine, there are plenty of reasons to visit this Portuguese gem.

A delightful maze of orange rooftops and bright blue tiles, of pastel pink palaces and red riverside facades, Porto is a colourful and vibrant city – an intriguing mix of crumbling buildings and glorious marble masterpieces.

Ancient yet modern, it’s a place to savour centuries of culture while strolling among contemporary bars and buzzy coffee shops. All of that makes Porto perfect for a long weekend.

Best pastel de nata Porto Castro Jet2 City Breaks

Small enough to be incredibly walkable yet packed with heaps of things to see and do. Days here are easily filled with visiting museums, strolling picturesque lanes, seeing historical sites like the magnificent cathedral, seeking the prettiest viewpoints and sailing down the river. Oh, and don’t forget, sampling local delicacies like pasteis de nata and port wine along the way.

In this Porto long weekend itinerary, I’ll share how you can experience the best of the city and maximise your days to visit its most beautiful places. I’ll also highlight some amazing restaurants, cafes, and of course, where to find those iconic custard tarts.

Ribeira waterfront Porto Jet2 City Breaks

How many days to spend in Porto

A long weekend is the perfect amount of time to spend in Porto and you’ll easily see all the main Porto attractions over the course of three or four days. That includes checking out the best Porto viewpoints, sampling port, exploring the historic neighbourhoods, riverside and historical centre.

If you have four days on your Porto trip, even better. Plan a boat trip down the Douro River. Or take a day trip to the nearby seaside town of Matosinhos. While wine or port fans can easily reach the Douro Valley with its terraced vineyards on a day tour.

Baxia Downtown Porto Jet2 City Breaks

How to get to Porto

Porto’s airport is located a short six miles from the city centre, making it easy to transfer to, whether by private transfer, bus, or metro. Jet2CityBreaks offers flights from Manchester twice weekly from 2024 and Birmingham twice weekly from 2025 with a very generous 22kg of hold luggage.

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PortoBay Teatro

Where to stay in Porto

PortoBay Teatro: a boutique hotel complete with stunning décor, beautiful rooms, and modern facilities, all located in the heart of the historical city centre. Just blocks away from iconic attractions such as Porto Sao Bento train station and Porto Cathedral, and tons of restaurants, its central location is ideal for sightseeing.

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Wine & Books Porto Hotel: for a sophisticated weekend getaway in Porto, choose Wine & Books Porto Hotel. Stylish décor, a luxury spa and rooftop cocktail bar unite at this stunning hotel. Centrally located, you’re within minutes of the city’s main attractions.

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NH Collection Porto Batalha: a modern and elegant hotel in the city centre, blending contemporary design with classic Porto flair. The perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing, inside the NH Collection Porto Batalha is an excellent spa and pool.

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The Editory Boulevard Aliados Hotel: upscale, quirky hotel in the heart of Porto. Totally unique, the boutique The Editory Boulevard Aliados Hotel is the perfect mix of city centre location and gorgeous rooms, with the opportunity to chill in the outdoor pool, terrace or on-site cocktail bar.

Sunset Ribeira Porto Jet2 City Breaks

The best time to visit Porto

Situated on Portugal’s west coast, long weekenders in Porto can look forward to sunshine and mild Mediterranean weather; afternoons spent on the riverfront are glorious whether in summer or winter.

How to get around Porto


Though you’ll find a good public transport system in Porto, and Uber, the best way to experience Porto is most definitely on foot.

Porto is a manageable city and very walkable. In fact, most of the highlights are close to one another – expect to walk around 20 minutes between attractions. However, it’s important to know that Porto is a city that cascades down one big hill, plus there are cobblestones and stairs aplenty – so be sure to pack your most comfortable shoes!

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Historic trams

If you wish to give your feet a rest, why not choose the historic trams that criss-cross the city? Line 18 is a popular choice, connecting the riverside with the old town. A single adult ticket costs €6 and children under 12 cost €3.50.

Public transport

If you do plan to make use of public transport, it’s perhaps worth buying a Porto Card. This card gives you unlimited journeys on the city’s public transport network, including the bus, metro and the funicular. Plus, the Porto Card offers discounts on many popular attractions on this list. Find out more about the card here.


Exploring Ribeira Porto Jet2 City Breaks

Day 1: Ribeira and Vila Nova De Gaia

Though Porto is a sprawling metropolis, its historical city centre neighbourhoods are where you’ll want to spend the vast majority of your time. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is where you’ll experience the city’s most captivating architecture and all-important skyline viewpoints.

The first of these districts is iconic Ribeira, located on the banks of the Douro River. And across the water, you’ll see the city of Vila Nova De Gaia with its port houses.

Palácio da Bolsa: our first stop en route to Ribeira is the magnificent conference centre, Palácio da Bolsa. Once home to the old Stock Exchange, inside this spectacular building is utterly stunning. Entry is €12 for adults with discounts and concessions available.

Ribeira: one of the most popular places to visit in Porto, the colourful Ribeira waterfront is a must-visit. Stroll along the promenade, enjoy the bustle from the waterside bars and experience the colourful buildings which make this stretch so famous.

Luís I Bridge Porto Jet2 City Breaks

Ponte Luís I Bridge: there are six bridges spanning the river, but this is the most impressive. It was designed by the same architect as the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Take a walk over the upper level for one of the very best panoramic viewpoints over the city. It takes around ten minutes to reach Vila Nova De Gaia on the other side.

Vila Nova De Gaia: at first glance, you might think Gaia is a district of Porto, however, it’s actually a separate city. Located directly across the water from Ribeira, it boasts a lovely waterfront with a scattering of restaurants, cafés, boat trips and viewpoints. The biggest emphasis in Gaia however is very much centred on port and the wine cellars.

Port tasting Gaia Porto Jet2 City Breaks

Port tasting in Gaia: Port has been sold in Gaia for centuries and you’ll find the most popular wine cellars and famous port brands on this side of the river. Be sure to book a tour and take the opportunity to sample a few types of this sweet wine. There are plenty of options to choose from and you can easily meander between cellars. I’ve heard good things about the tours at Graham’s Port Lodge, Sandemans and Taylor’s.

Riverfront Gaia: be sure to take a stroll along the promenade where the views of Porto across the river are wonderful. It’s especially beautiful at sunset and the terrace bar at Espaco Porto Cruz is the perfect spot for sundowners.

Mercado Beira-Rio: located on the Gaia waterfront, you’ll find this incredible food market with stalls selling a whole range of delicious Portuguese delicacies. Choose from local specialties such as pastel de bacalhau (salt cod fritters), empanadas, and pastel de nata among many others.

River Douro boat trips Porto Jet2 City Breaks

Gaia cable car: continue along the promenade to take the funicular to Jardim do Morro, the gardens high above Gaia. It’s also possible to walk up the steep hill, but the cable car is so much fun. Plus, the views over Porto and Luís I Bridge are pretty sensational. Tickets are 6€ single / 9€ round trip with discounts available for children and concessions.

Miradouro da Serra do Pilar: once at the top, this mirador overlooking Porto and its orange rooftops is marvellous.

6 Bridges Cruise: one of the best ways to experience the cityscapes of both Ribeira and Vila Nova De Gaia is with a short cruise along the Douro River. Choose an option on the day or book this highly rated cruise in advance. It costs €15 and lasts around an hour.

Castro Porto Cafe Jet2 City Breaks

Day 2: Baixa

Baixa is Porto’s popular downtown area, and an extension of the historical centre that starts in Ribeira. Not only is there lots to see here, including some of Porto’s most beautiful blue and white azulejos (ceramic tiles), stunning churches and the iconic train station, but also some of the best eateries and liveliest nightlife.

Castro: start the day at Castro, one of the best places in Porto to sample those delicious pastel de natas. Watch the bakers pour the yellow custardy goodness into rows of pastry cases, then take away (or devour), as many as possible.

Porto Cathedral Jet2 City Breaks

Porto Cathedral: one of the city’s oldest monuments, this Cathedral was built in the 12th century and is free to enter. Close to the walls that once protected the city, the cathedral is suitably grand and worth a stop.

Miradouro da Rua das Aldas: one of the best viewpoints of the Porto cityscape, you’ll find this mirador just a few meters from the cathedral. After, retrace your steps and follow the rabbit warren of narrow lanes along Rua da Bainharia, back into the downtown area.

Torre dos Clérigos: a narrow staircase leads upwards to the top of this gangly tower and offers picture-perfect views over the orange rooftops of downtown Porto. Entry costs €8 and is free for children under 8.

São Bento Train Station Blue Tiles Porto Jet2 City Breaks

Livraria Lello: built in 1906, this is one of the world's most beautiful bookshops, with ornate interiors, stained glass windows and a grand scarlet staircase. Though today Lello is perhaps best known for as JK Rowling’s inspiration (allegedly) for Hogwarts and a must for Harry Potter fans. You need to book a ticket to enter, and prices start at €8.

Igreja do Carmo & Igreja Carmelitas: these two churches are some of the best examples of azulejos, the white and blue tiles, Porto is so famous for. While the front is impressive, the side view is the most beautiful.

São Bento Railway Station: one of the most famous spots in Porto, the interior of this 20th century railway station is a real treat. Wander inside and marvel at the 20,000+ blue and white azulejos depicting Porto’s history and countryside scenes.

Food Mercado Beira Rio Gaia Porto Jet2 City Breaks

Day 3: Bolhão

Depending on how many days you have available on your Porto trip, or your appetite for big days of sightseeing, it’s possible to explore the neighbourhood of Bolhão on day two – after you’ve explored the historic centre. However, for those seeking a slower pace, spend a chilled day exploring charming Bolhão.

Old Mercado do Bolhão: this now-restored century-old market is something of a marvel. Huge in size, stretching the length of an entire block and built over two levels, its inside stalls feature local produce, gift shops and restaurants.

Confiteria do Bolhao: a strong contender for the best pastel de nata in Porto, this charming café has been a Porto institution since 1896. Still going strong to this day, it’s popular with tourists and locals alike.

Chapel of Souls: located on Rua de Santa Catarina, this small, 18th-century chapel is an absolute gem. Its bright blue and white tiles, some of the best examples of azulejos in the city, are a work of art. Make a point of visiting – this is a stunning spot for a classic Porto tile photograph.

Church of Saint Ildefonso: a small yet impressive church with a beautiful blue and white tiled façade. Visit as you wander around Bolhão.

Combi Coffee Roasters: one of the best coffee shops in Porto, stylish Combi Coffee Roasters serves up great flat whites, cold brews and unique roasts. Inside is refreshingly modern and the baristas really know their coffee.

Gaia Mirador Porto orange rooftops Jet2 City Breaks

Day 4: Day trip or boat ride

If the hustle and bustle of central Porto gets too much (it can be busy) then spend a day exploring further afield.

Douro River: An easy option, especially for those who prefer to stay in the city centre, is a boat ride down the Douro River. Depending on how much time you have, boat rides range from one-hour jaunts to full-day cruises with lunch and wine tasting.

Douro Valley port day trip from Porto Jet2 City Breaks

Douro Valley: A must-visit for lovers of port and wine, take a tour from Porto to the heart of the Douro Valley. A lush and verdant slice of heaven in the nearby countryside, terraced vineyards line the mountainside, with plenty of opportunities to taste the locally grown produce.

Matosinhos: Just along the coast, you’ll find Porto’s seaside neighbour – Matosinhos. A chilled port town with two vast sandy beaches, coastal walks, quaint cafes and seafood restaurants aplenty. On a summer’s day, there’s no better place to visit on a day trip from Porto.

Posted: 17th Apr 2024. Jet2 Holidays Jet2 City Breaks Jet2 Villas