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Best Day Trips from Porto

Published by: Bounce16 October, 2022
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The city of Porto, located in northern Portugal, makes an excellent base for the exploration of the country. The fact is, Portugal is a fairly small place with a great public transportation network, so you can see a lot of the country by taking day trips from Porto. It's also possible to hop over the border into neighboring Spain, allowing you to see two different countries on a single trip.

Once you've seen the Old Town, the port cellars, and the best museums in Porto, there's plenty more to discover. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Porto, and you can enjoy the scenery of the Douro Valley or head further out to see the gorgeous coastline, vibrant cities, and beautiful parks of Portugal.

However you like to spend your time on vacation, the best day trips from Porto will keep you entertained and show you more of what the country has to offer. Here are some of the top day trips from Porto you should definitely try.

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How to get out of Porto

As one of the major cities of the country and a regional hub in northern Portugal, Porto has some excellent transit connections. The city's Campanha train station has high-speed rail connections to other Portuguese cities, including Lisbon, and to Spanish cities across the border too. Plus, there are regional trains and buses that can take you on some great day trips from Porto. The city's public transit network also makes it easy to navigate, and you can read our guide on how to get around Porto for even more tips.

If you prefer to drive, that's an option too. In fact, depending on where you want to go, a car can be a better choice. Some of the best day trips from Porto go to places where transit infrastructure is sparse, so if you want to explore the countryside or the smaller towns along the Douro River, you'll need your own wheels.

Day trips from Porto to the Douro Valley

From Porto to the Douro Valley

One of the best day trips from Porto you can take lies not far from the city at all. In fact, it's right in Porto's backyard. The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. The valley is known for its stunning scenery, its vineyards (this is where port wine comes from), and its traditional villages.

You can explore the Douro Valley on your own or book an organized tour. Either way, you'll want to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the area. There are plenty of things to do in the Douro Valley, including wine tastings, hiking, biking, and simply taking in the picturesque scenery.

If you're short on time or don't want to deal with public transit, consider booking a day trip from Porto that includes transportation to and from the Douro Valley. That way, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

How to get to the Douro Valley

You won't find much in the way of public transportation here. The small towns of the Douro Valley don't have the population density to justify that kind of infrastructure. So if you want to explore along the Douro River, an organized tour or a rental car are the best way to take this day trip.

From Porto to Guimarães

Another excellent day trip from Porto is the city of Guimarães. This is a great choice if you're interested in Portuguese history or want to see another side of Portugal away from the coast. Guimarães is considered the birthplace of Portugal, as it's where the first king of Portugal was born in the 12th century. As such, there's a lot of history here. You can explore medieval castles, palaces, and churches, or simply wander the charming streets of the Old Town.

Guimarães is located about an hour north of Porto by train, making it one of the most convenient day trips from the city.

How to get to Guimarães

Guimarães can be reached by train from Porto in just over an hour. You can also take a bus, which takes a bit longer but is usually cheaper than the train. If you're driving, it's about a 45-minute drive north of Porto.

Day trip from Porto to Ponte de Lima

From Porto to Ponte de Lima

Ponte de Lima is a small town in northwestern Portugal that's known for its picturesque setting and its lovely bridge over the Rio Lima. The town is located in the Minho region of Portugal, which is known for its green landscapes, its delicious white wines, and its vibrant cities. Ponte de Lima itself is quite small, but it's a great place to relax for a day or two. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy the local cuisine, and you can stroll through the town's medieval streets and lovely gardens.

How to get to Ponte de Lima

Ponte de Lima is located about two hours north of Porto by bus but only one hour by car. There is no train service to Ponte de Lima, so the best way to reach the town is by bus. Bus tickets can be bought at the Campanha train station in Porto, or you can book them in advance online. The journey takes around two hours.

From Porto to Peneda Gerês National Park

Peneda Gerês National Park is the only national park in Portugal, and it's one of the best day trips from Porto if you're looking to get away from the city and explore the great outdoors. The park is located in the northwestern corner of Portugal, near the border with Spain. It's known for its lush landscapes, its hiking trails, and its wildlife.

This is a fantastic day trip from Porto for those who want to get away from the hectic pace of the city and enjoy the wilder side of Portugal. It can be quite surprising to find that the entrance to this park is less than an hour and a half away from the center of Porto, making it easily one of the best day trips from Porto for nature lovers.

How to get to Peneda Gerês National Park

If you want to explore Peneda Gerês National Park, you'll need your own transportation. The park is quite large, and there is no public transportation within it. The best way to reach the park is by car. There are several parking areas near the entrances to the park, so you can leave your car there and hike or bike into the park.

Peneda Gerês National Park is located about one hour and 20 minutes hours northeast of Porto by car.

From Porto to Aveiro and Costa Nova

Aveiro is a charming city located on the coast of Portugal, about an hour south of Porto. The city is known for its canals, which are often compared to those of Venice. Aveiro is also known for its art nouveau architecture and its delicious seafood.

Near Aveiro is Costa Nova, a small town with brightly-colored houses that line the beach. This is a great place to relax for a day or two, and it's easy to reach from Porto by train. This is one of the best day trips from Porto if you want to enjoy a day on the beach or explore a charming coastal town, and it's an unsurprisingly popular place during the summer months.

How to get to Aveiro and Costa Nova

Aveiro can be reached by train from Porto in about an hour. The best way to get to Costa Nova from Aveiro is by bus, which takes around 20 minutes. You can also walk from Aveiro to Costa Nova along the beachfront promenade, which takes around an hour.

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From Porto to Braga

Braga is a historic city located in northwestern Portugal, less than an hour away from Porto by train. The city is known for its medieval architecture, its beautiful churches, and its lively university scene. Braga is also one of the oldest cities in Portugal, and it's full of historical sites and museums. This is one of the best day trips from Porto for history buffs and culture lovers.

How to get to Braga

The best way to reach Braga from Porto is by train. Trains depart regularly from Campanha train station in Porto, and the journey takes less than an hour. You can also take a bus, which takes a bit longer but it is usually slightly cheaper than the train.

From Porto to Fatima

Fatima is a small town located in central Portugal, about two and a half hours south of Porto by bus. The town is known as a religious pilgrimage site, and it's home to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. Fatima is also known for its beautiful gardens and its tranquil atmosphere. This is one of the best day trips from Porto if you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a slower pace of life.

How to get to Fatima

The best way to reach Fatima from Porto is by train. Trains depart regularly from Campanha train station in Porto, and the journey takes around two and a half hours. You can also drive if you don't relish the idea of public transport, which will be a little quicker at only two hours.

From Porto to Coimbra

Coimbra is a historic city located in central Portugal, about an hour south of Porto by train. The city is known for its beautiful university, which is one of the oldest in Europe and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Coimbra is also known for its lively student scene and its many historical sites. This is one of the best day trips from Porto for culture lovers and history buffs.

How to get to Coimbra

The best way to reach Coimbra from Porto is by train. Trains depart regularly from Porto, and the journey takes around an hour. Alternatively, if you have a rental car you could drive and reach the city in an hour and 20 minutes.

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From Porto to Santiago de Compostela

For a more ambitious day trip from Porto, consider crossing the border into Spain and the historic city of Santiago de Compostela. The city is known as a religious pilgrimage site and is home to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The journey from Porto to Santiago de Compostela takes around two and half hours by car, so this is definitely a trip for those who are looking to spend a full day or two exploring. Still, it's certainly one of the most interesting day trips you can take from Porto, and well worth the effort to visit another country in just a few hours.

How to get to Santiago de Compostela

The best way to reach Santiago de Compostela from Porto is by car. There is no direct train service, and reaching the city by public transport means a combination of different bus routes that can make the journey take over four hours.

From Porto to Lisbon

Finally, the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, can be reached in just a few hours from the Douro Valley, and if you have the time, it's definitely worth taking what's undoubtedly one of the best day trips from Porto. Lisbon is a historic city with plenty of cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, and historic sites. The city is also known for its lively nightlife and its great food scene.

How to get to Lisbon

The best way to reach Lisbon from Porto is by train. Trains depart regularly from Porto, and the journey takes around three hours. You can also take a bus, which will definitely take longer, especially if there is traffic. Additionally, if you're driving from Porto, it will take around three hours to reach Lisbon, also depending on traffic.

Conclusion

There's no shortage of things to do in Porto itself. But the day trips mentioned here can add another dimension to your trip. Whether you want to take a guided tour of the Douro Valley or head down to Lisbon for a day trip, you'll find plenty of options for new places to see. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage and prepare to enjoy the best day trips Porto has to offer.

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