Porto isn’t Portugal’s capital; that honor goes to Lisbon. But Porto is one of Portugal’s most touristed cities. Proclaimed a World Heritage Site, the city dates back to at least 300 BC and is ancient even by European standards. It’s also known for its beautiful landscape and of course, the production of the fortified wine known as port.
Porto may not be the country’s biggest airport, but it is a significant transit hub for both European and transatlantic flights. Approximately 13 million passengers pass through the airport every year. And if you find yourself on a layover in Porto Airport, it’s tempting to want to see something of the city while you wait for your connection. Luckily, it’s no challenge at all to get from the airport to the city itself. Metro line E runs right from the airport to the center of the city, and the journey will only take around 35 minutes. So even on a relatively short stopover, Porto is yours to explore.
To make things easier on yourself, don’t forget to drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Porto. The lights you travel through the city, the easier it will be to get around and to see everything you want to see.
6 hour layover in Porto
Although a six-hour layover doesn’t give you a ton of time to explore the city, thanks to Porto’s excellent transit network, it should be enough to do something more interesting than sitting around the airport. Get off the Metro at Trinidade Station, and it’s only a couple of minutes walk to Porto Town Hall. This impressive neoclassical building dates back to the first half of the 20th century, and is worth visiting just for its clock tower, which provides stunning views of the city. Once you’ve climbed the tower and gotten some stunning photographs of the city, you’ll probably still have time to take a roughly eight-minute walk to Livraria Lello. This exquisite bookstore is often recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world, and its stunning central staircase has seen it featured on many lists of stunning locations around the world. Even if you’re not a big fan of books, the store is worth visiting just for its incredible architecture. If you are a reader, you’ll be in heaven.
- Take Metro line E to Trinidade Station to find yourself in the heart of Porto.
- Get incredible views of the city from the clock tower of the Town Hall.
- Take a short walk to Livraria Lello and enjoy one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores.
8 hour layover in Porto
An eight-hour long layover means you can spend more time enjoying the city. After dropping off your bags at a Porto luggage storage, you’ll be free to dig a little deeper into what the city has to offer.
Heading downhill from the Town Hall, you’ll find yourself strolling along Avenida dos Aliados. This is one of the grandest avenues in the city, and is lined with shops and cafés that make it a very pleasant place to explore. Go window shopping or grab a bite to eat and watch the world go by from a sidewalk table. You can easily spend a couple of hours just enjoying the atmosphere and the abundant sunshine along Porto’s iconic boulevard. And if you’re an architecture fan, you’ll see some of the city’s most stunning buildings along this grand avenue.
- Take a stroll along Avenida dos Aliados to see some of Porto’s grandest buildings.
- Do some window shopping or enjoy refreshments in one of the many bars and restaurants.
- Spend a couple of hours soaking up the lively atmosphere of this intriguing neighborhood.
10 hour layover in Porto
If you have a couple more hours to spend in Porto, you can afford to travel a little further from the Metro station. Not far from the end of the avenue, you’ll find the magnificent stone façade of Porto Cathedral. This huge church dates back to the 12th century, and is one of the oldest buildings in Porto, having survived earthquakes and wars to remain the spiritual heart of the city. The building has been added to and modified many times through the centuries, making it a unique mix of architectural styles. Also, its beautiful cloister is a perfect place to escape the heat and bustle of the city and get some tranquility. You can easily spend an hour exploring the church, and the square outside, where Porto’s criminals used to be hanged, is now an excellent place to enjoy a drink and people watch.
- Visit Porto Cathedral to see one of the city’s oldest buildings.
- Enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the cloister.
- Spend some time in the square and enjoy the public life of the city.
12 hour layover in Porto
If you find yourself with a 12-hour long layover in Porto, you have the opportunity to try the city’s most famous export. Porto’s waterfront along the Doura River is worth visiting just for its scenic beauty, but it’s also where you’ll find the city’s many wine caves. A guided tour will take you to many of these traditional caves and let you sample their wine and port. You’ll learn more about the importance of wine to the economy and culture of the city, and probably pick up some new favorites while you’re at it. There’ll be lots of opportunities for tastings, but make sure you don’t overindulge before your next flight.
- Head down to the waterfront to visit some of Porto’s legendary wine caves.
- Take a tour that will explain the history of port making and allow you to taste multiple local wines.
24 hour layover in Porto
With an overnight layover to spend in Porto, you’ll be able to immerse yourself more deeply in the history, culture, and cuisine of the city. After finding a hotel and a bag storage in Porto, you’ll be in the ideal position to get to know Porto a little better. For instance, you could spend a delightful evening at Porto’s Casa da Musica, the state-of-the-art concert hall that is one of Portugal’s top performing arts venues. Alternatively, you could further explore your newfound knowledge of port in one of the city’s many wine bars.
The next day, before heading to the airport to make your next flight, check out World of Discoveries. This unique interactive museum celebrates Portugal’s Age of Discovery, when explorers from the country traveled around the world. The museum even features a ride, making it feel more like a theme park attraction than a regular museum. It’s a great place to visit with kids, but adults will get something out of the trip here too.
- Take in a show at the Casa da Musica.
- Visit some of the city’s wine bars for a lively night out.
- Have fun at World of Discoveries before heading back to the airport for your next flight.