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8 of the Best Porto Day Trip Destination Ideas

Looking for the best day trips from Porto? Read about Porto day trips to the Douro Valley, Guimarães, Batalha, Coimbra, and more to inspire your trip.

Porto is a fantastic home base for exploring Portugal, especially if you stay in Vila Nova de Gaia to get in and out more easily by car. We've visited Porto twice. 

On our first trip, we spent 3 days in Porto and really focused on all the things to do in this historic Portuguese city. More recently, we visited Porto for nearly a week which enabled us to take a variety of Porto day trips. 

There are so many great places to visit near Porto! The best day trips from Porto can be short and sweet, but they can also be more ambitious. 

Read on for my Porto day trip recommendations focused on places that are within a 2 hour drive of the city to help you make the most of your time in Northern Portugal.

Porto day trips: Yellow building with turrets in Coimbra Portugal

Best Porto Day Trip Ideas

To give you a sense of what's to come, let me summarize my picks of the best Porto day trip destinations.
  1. A private day tour of the Douro Valley
  2. Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte near Braga
  3. Medieval Guimarães
  4. Aveiro (The "Venice of Portugal")
  5. The Roman ruins at Conimbriga
  6. Coimbra, Portugal's historic university city
  7. Batalha and UNESCO World Heritage Rated Mosteiro da Batalha
Now let's dive in to each experience in more detail.

1. A Private Day Tour of the Douro Valley

If you only have time for one Porto day trip, head to the Douro Valley. The Douro Valley is the place where port wine was born in the 18th century. 

Winemaking has an even longer history in the region and dates back over 2000 years. Did you know that the Douro Valley was the first classic wine region to be legally defined? 

As you might suspect, the Douro Valley is the quintessential Porto day trip.

A Day Trip to the Douro Valley with Tourvent

As with any wine-tasting focused trip, we knew that it would be better to hire a driver or jump on a tour rather than drive ourselves. We had a lovely guided wine tasting tour with Tourvent, a company run by a former wedding planner! 

Our private guided tour with Tourvent owner Alfredo included door to door transport in a Mercedes, 3 very generous wine tastings, a 3 course gourmet lunch and a river cruise on the Douro. 

Our Tourvent day trip from Porto was very good value at 169 EUR per person.

Casa do Romezal

The first stop on our Douro Valley day trip from Porto was to Gueda wines at Casa do Romezal, a small family producer where the winery has been in the family for 1000 years. 

With 3 wine stops and a wine-focused lunch scheduled today, I was a little concerned about being able to keep up if all the pours were as generous as they were here. 

Fortunately, Luis, the winemaker and our host for the morning served up a lovely plate of cheeses and cured meats to nibble on with our wine tasting.

In addition to sampling the family's wines, we also got to take a walk in the steep vineyard with vines clinging to the hillside. The views from the Gueda vineyards were absolutely stunning. 

I was certainly glad that we had decided to take a private wine tour to the Douro Valley. I never would have had the nerve to make it up the very narrow road and driveway to get to the vineyard if we'd driven ourselves.
Porto Day Trip to the Douro Valley: Alfredo from Tourvent driving his Mercedes Porto Day Trip: Tasting Gueda wines at Casa do Romezal
Our guide, Alfredo, was so thoughtful. He brought us quindim to celebrate our anniversary and enjoy with our port tasting at Casa do Romezal. This Portuguese dessert is flavored with eggs and coconut.

We also got to taste olive oil made on the property. Vineyards in the Douro Valley tend to mark the property line with olive trees. We warmed up the blue glass with our hand and then removed the lid to release the aromas before sipping the oil straight up.

Time flies and before we knew it, it was time to wave goodbye to Luis (and his vineyard cats!) and make our way to the next stop on our Douro Valley day trip.

Quinta da Pacheca

Next up, we stopped for a wine tasting at Quinta da Pacheca. The winery dates back to the 18th century. 

The winery was founded as Pacheco, but the name eventually changed to Pacheca to indicate that there was a woman in charge. Such lovely atmosphere! 

We tried 2 red wines and 2 ports including a 40 year old tawny and a vintage ruby port.
Porto day trips: Quinta da Pacheca vineyards

Alfredo took us down into the wine cellar at Quinta da Pacheca after our wine tasting and before lunch and we stood looking in awe at the historic wooden barrels.

Our wine tasting and tour was followed by an absolutely fantastic 3 course lunch at Quinta da Pacheca! 

We enjoyed pork cheeks with beans and chorizo, a light and refreshing beetroot salad, pork tenderloin on cornbread and goat leg with pumpkin puree.

Porto Day Trip: Barrel Room at Quinta da Pacheca

Lunch came with white, red, and port wine pairings. Dessert included a trio of chocolate dishes with a fantastic fondant and a passionfruit cake. 

There was just so much food! Our waiter joked that you never stop eating and drinking in Portugal. Perhaps that wasn't actually a joke!

Our lunch time view was absolutely stunning. Rolling hills covered in old vines could be seen from our table. 

A walk around the property was delightful and featured wine-themed Christmas decorations. We visited Quinta da Pacheca on a day trip from Porto. 

If you have more time, you can stay here in the Douro Valley at The Wine House Hotel on the property for a relaxing weekend in Portuguese wine country.

🔎 Looking for other memorable wine experiences in Portugal? Why not take a Setúbal wine tour from Lisbon in October or embark on a longer road trip to Alentejo where you can try Roman-era talha wines near Alqueva Lake.

A Rabelo Cruise on the Douro River (and more!) in Pinhão

Onward to Pinhão! The drive took us up close and personal with the Douro River. We stopped by a lock and spotted cormorants sunning themselves. Alfredo called them "river crows".

We took a cruise on the Douro on a rabelo, a historic boat used to transport port barrels. We enjoyed the relaxing ride and lovely views! 

The cruise itself was just ok. Skip it if you are short on time. For us, it was a convenient break from drinking before our final wine-tasting stop.Porto day trip to the Douro Valley: Rabelo on the Douro River in Pinhão

Take a detour on foot to check out the tiles on the Pinhão train station facade. The tiles depict various stages of preparing and transporting port wine. 

Alfredo pointed out the expression of the women in the photos as they lovingly handle the grapes. The men don't look nearly as thrilled to be hauling barrels.

Porto Day Trip: Blue-Tile scenes at the Pinhão train station

There were orange trees growing everywhere along the train tracks. When I commented on this, Alfredo encouraged us to snag a few oranges fresh from the tree in Pinhão to have as a snack later .

Quinta do Bomfim

The final stop on our Tourvent Douro Valley private tour was at Quinta do Bomfim where we tasted a dry white, dry red and two ports. 

Symington owns many of the large port brands that you see around the world like Dow's, Cockburn's, Graham's, and Warre's. 

Our stops today covered small, medium, and large producers so that we could compare and contrast both the wines and the vineyard experience.

We popped into the shop at Quinta do Bomfim on a whim. What did we discover? 

A colheita (tawny port of a single vintage) from 1996! It was the only colheita from this timeframe. What a coincidence that it's from our anniversary year! We had to buy a bottle.

Just when we thought the drinking was done, we were presented with a 20 year and 30 year tawny port to give us a sense of the bottle we were buying to commemorate our anniversary.

Our Douro day tour had come to an end. Time to head back to Porto. The road from Pinhão to the highway had a number of viewpoints. It gets dark pretty early in the winter so we had to satisfy ourselves with moonlit views.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for more ideas about where to travel in Portugal? Indulge your sweet tooth at the annual Obidos Chocolate Festival. Why not experience Lisbon for Christmas? Lisbon is full of hidden gems (e.g., Queluz National Palace and Gardens) and great cafes to grab a coffee. You could also spend a weekend in winter in the Algarve. Did you know that Madeira is also part of Portugal? Madeira is full of surprises including great food. You won't regret spending a long weekend in Madeira.

2. Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte

Another great Porto day trip is to Braga and the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia to Bom Jesus do Monte ("Good Jesus of the Mount").

We followed the signs from the road to the parking lot and then embarked on the 600 step climb from the parking lot to the top of this Christian Pilgrimage site. 

For us, the Baroque staircase and little chapels on the way up were the main attraction (we love ornate architecture). 

If you aren't up to climbing stairs, you can take the funicular for 1.50 EUR per person one way. We walked up and back and got a great workout in the process!

The fountains on the way to to Bom Jesus do Monte were peculiar. The first had water coming out of the eyes. 

Later statues had water coming out the nose or ears. We arrived just in time to hear the noon church bells playing at Bom Jesus do Monte. 

Porto day trip: Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte viewed from the bottom of the stepsPorto day trip: Fountain with water coming from the eyes at Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte

We took a few minutes to rest and sit inside the church at the top of the steps. We took a quick walk through some of the garden features at the top of hill before heading back down the steps to our car.

You can easily visit the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in half a day from Porto or combine this visit to Braga with a stop in Guimarães. Note, you'll find clean restrooms near the gift shop (cost: 50 cents).

3. Guimarães

Guimarães is another excellent Porto day trip destination. Drive to Guimarães in 45 minutes from Porto or combine your visit with Braga which is just 30 minutes away. 

We parked at the large shopping center and then walked about 15 minutes to Guimarães Old Town. This proved to be a great way to avoid driving the narrow streets of Guimarães. 

Guimaraes is a historic city that is just dripping in Medieval atmosphere! Let yourself get lost on the tiny cobbled streets.

Guimarães Town

We went for a wander in Guimarães and stopped at a shop selling doces do Convento de Santa Clara de Guimarães. 

We tried pumpkin-filled sweets from the convent in Guimarães. Tortas de Guimarães with their crispy flaky pastry were my favorite.

Such fabulous atmosphere in Guimarães! You'll find many cool squares to explore. 

We stumbled upon a fun shop for foodies selling artisanal Portuguese food products on one of the squares. We picked up some jam and even a craft beer made with Portuguese wine grapes.
Port Day Trips: Door and garage door in GuimarãesPort Day Trips: Tables on a square in Guimarães

Guimarães is also great for a photo walk. Those tiles! We loved the architecture in Guimarães. 

As someone that loves photographing beautiful doors (especially Dublin doors!), I was in heaven. My favorite was a gem of a door with matching garage and lovely yellow tiles.

Port Day Trips: four colorful doors in Guimarães Portugal

Palace Duques de Bragança

We bought a combo ticket to the palace and castle in Guimarães. It cost just 6 EUR per person to see both, so why not?! 

Palace Duques de Bragança features lots of Medieval artifacts. Look up! The ceilings in many of the rooms are exquisite.

Porto day trips: painted ceiling in Palace Duques de Bragança in Guimaraes PortugalPorto Day Trips: Guimarães Castle

Guimarães Castle

Guimarães Castle is over 1000 years old and is an impressive fortress. Do a lap around the top of the menacing wall. We were quick about it since it was raining like crazy.

4. Aveiro (the "Venice of Portugal")

Aveiro is billed as the "Venice of Portugal". Located just an hour south of Porto, Aveiro is an ideal day trip. Drive yourself or take the train from Porto to get there. 

There are so many fun things to do in Aveiro! Take a ride on an moliceiro, a colorful boat historically used to harvest algae from the rivers around Aveiro. 

Today, you can take a ride on a moliceiro and experience the canals of Aveiro much like you might while riding a gondola on a weekend in Venice.

Aveiro also features stunning and well-preserved Art Nouveau architecture and amazing doors!

Make sure to take a ride to Costa Nova. You may get lucky and spot a flock of flamingos in the Aveiro Lagoon. 

Take a walk on the beach or the boardwalk through the sand dunes. We especially enjoyed the palheiros ("haystacks"), the nickname given to the colorful striped houses that once were home to local fishermen.

5. Conimbriga

Another great off-the-beaten path day trip from Porto is Conimbriga, a complex of Roman ruins, located a little over an hour by car from Porto and just a short distance from Coimbra.

Porto day Trips: Roman ruins and mosaic tile floor at Conimbriga Portugal

Spectacularly well preserved mosaics were the highlight of our visit to Conimbriga. 

The minotaur in the maze is in the museum which is included in the ticket price. It cost 9.50 EUR total for 2 tickets. 

We spent a couple of hours wandering around the Roman ruins although you could easily spend half or even a full day here. There are restrooms, a shop, and a restaurant on site.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for more ideas for where to see Roman ruins in Europe? Nip across the border to Spain where you can explore Merida's pristine Roman ruins. Why not discover things to do in Lyon France centered upon the city's ancient history. Explore Sofia Bulgaria or travel from Sofia to Plovdiv to steep in the country's Roman history. Head to the source and enjoy a weekend in Rome or check out the amazingly well-preserved Roman mosaics on a one week Cyprus road trip.

6. Coimbra

It's easy to justify spending 24 hours in Coimbra and incorporating an overnight stay in Portugal's historic college town. 

If you are short on time, Coimbra is a little over an hour away from Porto by car and is doable in one day. 

If you do visit Coimbra as a Porto day trip, I recommend focusing on Coimbra University and discovering Instagrammable Portugal with a healthy photowalk. Squeeze in a satisfying lunch to round out your Porto day trip.
Porto day trip: Coimbra viewed from across the Mondego River.

Coimbra University

Climb the steep streets of Coimbra all the way to the top where the university is located. You can tour three different buildings and the historic library at Coimbra University for 8 EUR per person. 

Biblioteca Joanina is the highlight of a visit to Coimbra University. Sign up for a timed entry time and then spend 10 minutes in the gilded library chamber with 2 levels of floor to ceiling centuries old books. 

The visits are carefully choreographed to protect the books from changes in moisture and humidity.

Porto Day Trips: Coimbra University

The chapel of São Miguel is included in the Coimbra University ticket price. Knock on the door and a docent will let you in and scan your ticket. I was super impressed by the organ and colorful ceiling. 

Coimbra University ticketed attractions close from 1-2 pm for lunch. We didn't have time to see both remaining attractions so we opted for the historic chemistry lab and science museum. 

We encountered a cool historic lecture hall, lab benches, fume hoods, and historic scientific equipment.

Coimbra Photowalk

Coimbra is ideal for a photowalk. Follow Aqueduto de São Sebastião to the Coimbra Botanic Gardens, an idyllic green space in the middle of town. Y

ou'll discover fantastic architecture (although some had seen better days) between Praça da República and Mercado Municipal D. Pedro V in Coimbra. 

Note that the advantage of starting your Porto day trip in Coimbra at the university is that all the walking is downhill from there! We shopped and took pictures on R. Visc. da Luz from Igreja de Santa Cruz to Largo da Portagem. 

Such a pretty stretch in Coimbra. Coimbra also has fantastic doors (making it a winner in my book!). You'll find elegant neighbors from times gone by. I loved the elegant metal gates surrounding the various doors in Coimbra.

Porto day trip: church and street in Coimbra PortugalPorto Day Trips: Pair of dilapidated doors in Coimbra Portugal

Lunch at No Tacho

We ate lunch at No Tacho which is located on a small alley near Igreja de Santa Cruz in Coimbra. 

Marinhoa beef and partridge stew with rice were amazing followed by a yolk pudding with port wine for dessert. 

A bottle of Portuguese white wine from Bairrada was the perfect accompaniment to the meal on a gorgeous winter day.

7. Batalha

Batalha is the most ambitious Porto day trip that I recommend. You'll need to drive about 2 hours to get from Porto to Batalha. 

You could also consider stopping in Batalha if you drive from Lisbon Airport to Porto like we did. Batalha is about 90 minutes by car from Lisbon Airport. 

Why is Batalha worth visiting? It's a village in Portugal dominated by the 14th century Mosteiro da Batalha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is absolutely stunning! You'll find a parking lot and some street parking around the monastery.

Porto Day Trips: View of Mosterio da Batalha across the square

Mosteiro da Batalha

Mosteiro da Batalha was built to commemorate the 1385 Battle of Aljubarrota and serves as the final resting place of the 15th-century Portuguese Aviz dynasty. 

If you visit Mosteiro da Batalha at the right time of day (we were there right before noon in December), the light from the stained glass windows dances on the walls of the church. 

Touring the church at Mosteiro da Batalha is free, but I recommend buying a ticket to see 3 paid exhibits. The ticket was 6 EUR at the time of writing. 

First up? The grave of Henry the Navigator, patron of many seafaring explorers during the dawn of the Age of Discovery. Second? The cloister courtyard. 3rd? The Unfinished Chapels. 

We were running short on time and almost missed the Unfinished Chapels. Don't make this mistake! 

They are simply stunning. The only thing missing is the roof. The late Gothic architecture makes Mosteiro da Batalha particularly photogenic both inside and out. 

Porto day trips: Colorful reflections of the stained glass windows in Mosteiro da BatalhaPorto day trips: Cloister courtyard at Mosteiro da Batalha

Porto day trips: Interior of the ornate dome inside Mosteiro da BatalhaPorto day trips: Unfinished Chapels at Mosteiro da Batalha

Batalha Bakeries

Don't miss the opportunity to walk around Batalha Village after you visit Mosteiro da Batalha. 

We were hungry and stopped at Pastelaria Oliveira & Marques Lda in Batalha for a snack. We enjoyed sausage rolls and flaky Portuguese puff pastry outside in the sun with a view of Mosteiro da Batalha. Delicious! 

We got 2 sausage roles, 2 pastries, and 2 coffees for about 10 EUR (it felt like such a steal after experiencing the food prices on our road trip in Norway!) The pastries were filled with a fruity custard that I couldn't quite identify. Perhaps it was apple?

Porto Day Trips: Pastelaria Oliveira & Marques Lda in Batalha

8. Matosinhos

Matosinhos is a seaside city of 172,000 people located at the terminus of one of Porto's train lines. Is Matosinhos worth visiting? From beachside vibes to invigorating coastal walks, Matosinhos has got you covered. 

Also, if you enjoy fresh seafood in a traditional petisqueira, Matosinhos ticks that box too. You can even walk from Matosinhos to Foz with its iconic lighthouse battered by the sea. 

If you are looking for an easily accessible Porto day trip, this is it.

Castelo do Queijo near Matosinhos on a Porto Day Trip

Map of the Best Day Trips from Porto

Click on the image of the map below to open up an interactive version in Google Maps to explore your Porto day trip options.
Map of the Best Porto Day Trips

Summing Up The Best Porto Day Trip Destinations

As you can see, Porto is an excellent home base for exploring the surrounding area as a series of day trips. 

Whether you are looking for a chill half-day adventure or a more ambitious outing from morning til night, you're got a number of options to fit into your Portugal itinerary.

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The Best Porto Days TripsThe Best Day Trips from Porto

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 8 of the Best Porto Day Trip Destination Ideas
8 of the Best Porto Day Trip Destination Ideas
Looking for the best day trips from Porto? Read about Porto day trips to the Douro Valley, Guimarães, Batalha, Coimbra, and more to inspire your trip.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog