Porto On a Rainy Day: 11 Things To Do
Porto in Portugal is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. From May through September the temperatures are pretty much perfect, but what if you want to visit in any of the other months? Visiting Porto any time of the year is never a bad idea, but from October to April you can actually expect a fair amount of rain.
You will probably be surprised to find out that Porto is one of the wettest cities in Southern Europe. In fact, the heaviest rainfall happens in November, but you can expect rain one out every three days for five months of the year. But don't let the chance of a rainy day in Porto stop you from visiting the city.
Porto is one of the most tourist-friendly cities in Europe, especially if you speak English as almost everyone speaks it, as it is Portugal's official second language. Porto is very budget-friendly too. Where most touristy cities have inflated prices, Porto keeps the prices low which is a large part of its destination appeal. And the area is loaded with history, architecture, beaches and the famous port wine.
Porto was voted the top tourist destination in Europe 3 times, in 2012, 2014, and 2017. So if you are planning to visit Portugal but weren't sure which city to stay in, Porto should be at the top of the list.
But if you are only planning to visit on a day tour you are going to need to store your luggage when you get there. Bounce luggage storage in Porto is safe, secure, and convenient.
Visit the Stock Exchange Palace
The Stock Exchange Palace (Palacio da Bolsa) is the most visited tourist attraction in Northern Portugal, and for good reason. This national monument is one of the most beautiful buildings you will ever visit. Built by the Porto Commercial Association over the remains of the St. Francis Conven, it has been classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Located in the heart of the city, the Palacio da Bolsa has seen visits from all reaches of life. Royalty, heads of state, celebrities, and everyday common folk have come here for a visit. From the stunning architecture to the famous Arab Hall, the palace will keep you amazed and dry while the rain falls outside.
Be Awed by the Porto Cathedral
In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto) was constructed, but much of the Gothic style was removed and converted to Baroque in the 17th and 18th centuries. One of the main highlights is the large silver altar, which was once painted to hide it from Napoleon's invading army. Wander through the grandiose arches, admire the stained glass, and climb the towers for some of the best views of the city and the Douro River.
You can spend hours exploring the cathedral while escaping the rainy day outside. And if you want to avoid standing in line outside, make sure you book a ticket or tour online. Some are the same price as the walk-up ticket prices. You will appreciate a "skip the line ticket" when the rain is coming down.
Tour the FC Porto Stadium and Museum
If you love sports and are especially a football fan (soccer), a tour of the Estadio do Drago and FC Porto Museum is an absolute must. The football club is one of the most decorated sports organizations in the world. You will learn about some of the most famous players in Portugal and the history of the club.
On the tour of the stadium, you will get to visit the player's dressing rooms, view the pitch from the tunnel, and see the press room. But one of the coolest parts is to be able to sit in the president's chair and enjoy the view of the 52,000-seat stadium from up high. Even if you are not a big sports fan, on a rainy day, this is a great escape.
Drink Some Port Wine
When you are in the home city of the famous port wine you absolutely must sample as much as you can, and what better time than on a rainy day. There are a couple of ways to go about your port drinking day, and one of the best ways is with a tour of the Port Cellars in Porto. There are numerous wine cellars to choose from or visit as many as you can.
When you take a port wine tasting tour you not only get to sample the port wine, but you will also learn the history and how it is made. Of course, you can always do it on your own, just head across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia where you will find most of the local port wine cellars of Porto.
For those that find port wine a little sweet, fear not as the Douro Valley just outside of Porto is one of the best wine-producing areas of the world. While taking a wine tour to the valley in rainy weather might not be an option, there are still plenty of places within Porto to sample non-port wine. While this is not the best family activity, it is one of the best adult ones!
Hang Out in a Porto Museum
Like most cities in Europe, Porto has a number of impressive museums that you can literally spend hours in to get out of the rain. In Porto you will find the oldest museum in Portugal, the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis. Housed in the Carrancas Palace, you get two wonderful places to explore for the price of one.
The Museu da Misericordia do Porto is home to some stunning 16th-19th century art and when you are finished browsing there is a bar at the top where you can watch the rain fall over Porto. Contemporary art lovers will enjoy the Serralves Foundation, a National Monument with great art, a cinema, and (if the rain stops) a Treetop Walk over the 18-hectare park. There are plenty of other choices, in fact, there are 16 museums to choose from.
Get Wowed by the World of Discoveries Porto
This just might be one of the coolest places in Porto when it rains, actually, it is cool anytime. A super interactive history lesson, you can go for a boat ride down a canal while looking at life-size animals and plants from Africa and Brazil. You will get a fantastic look at how famous explorers traveled the globe at a time when it was considered the most dangerous adventure.
You will visit the Far East, India, Africa and many other destinations through re-enactments and other interactive displays. If you have kids with you, they will have a blast. For families, the World of Discoveries is one of the most fun things to do and perfect on a rainy day in Porto.
Do the Harry Potter Tour
You may or may not know that J.K. Rowling wrote part of the Harry Potter books in Porto. In fact, there is one place in particular that not only inspired her but became the basis for a setting in the movies, the Lello Library. This is possibly the most beautiful bookshop in the world and definitely one of the most popular. If you go here on your own you may have to wait in line outside, but taking a guided tour will let you skip the line and get out of the rain faster.
Other cool and fun places on the tour include the inspiration for the 'Gryffindor' fountain and the Azkaban Prison, plus the cafe where wrote her books. You will not only hear stories about the locations but about J.K. Rowling herself as well. Whether you are a die-hard Harry Potter fan or not, you should still visit these amazing places while in Porto... rain or shine.
Enjoy Some Live Music
Music is a big part of Portuguese culture, and you can find live music throughout the entire city, in restaurants, cafes, and on the streets. But if you want to experience traditional Portuguese music get yourself to a Fado show. This folk music is filled with drama and emotion and can be found in so many places but a few of the best are Taberna Real do Fado, Casa da Mariquinhas, and Casa da Guitarra Fado Show.
Another great spot for music is Casa da Música near the city center. Casa da Música features a variety of musical performances like classical, jazz, children's, indie, and others. There is even a full restaurant and cafe to pass time between performances, or just to keep out of the rain a little longer.
Cozy up to a Hot Drink
If you have ever spent any amount of time in Europe you will know Europeans love their cafe time, and the people of Porto are no different. When the rain comes down, find a nice teahouse or coffee shop, sit down and just relax. Do a little people watching, read a book, or, as most cafes have wi-fi, peruse the internet.
For something a little different, find a Chocolataria and enjoy a nice thick and rich cup of hot chocolate. There is nothing quite like a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy day to warm you up on the inside. A few of the best places in Porto to enjoy one are Chocolataria das Flores, Casa Grande chocolatier and NUT'Porto.
Savor Local Food
Is there anything better than sitting down to a nice warm meal that fills the soul while it is raining cats and dogs outside? And what better opportunity to try some traditional and local delights? In Portugal, you can experience wonderful traditional soul-warming foods like Arroz de Marico (seafood & rice stew) and Leitao Assado (suckling pig).
Why not go for brunch in Porto? To get a taste of traditional Porto food you must try the different Portuguese sausages, pork stew, or fish casserole. But the ultimate rainy day food in Porto is the Francesinha, a sandwich with cured ham, a smoky garlic sausage, and roast beef. It is then covered in melted cheese and finished with a spicy tomato and beer sauce. The more adventurous types might go for some octopus, tripe, snails, or Mão de vaca com grão which means cows hand (hoof) and chickpeas.
Go Under Water at SEA LIFE Porto
Museums and attractions are always perfect on rainy days. While waiting for the rain to pass why not go under the water without getting wet? SEA LIFE Porto is one of those fun things for the entire family, with animal feedings, informative talks, and over 3,000 creatures to seek out. Kids and adults will have a great time exploring the Seahorse Temple, Ray Bay, and Ocean Cave.
One of the most amazing sections is Neptune's Kingdom, where you wander through the Ocean Tunnel watching the turtles and sharks swimming past. And a big splash with the kids is the Rockpool, as they get to touch sea urchins, starfish, and anemones. Getting out of the rain but still being surrounded by water, how cool is that?
Fun Rainy Days in Porto
Porto is such a beautiful city, even on rainy days, and there are so many fantastic things to do without getting your hair wet. One of the things to remember is that Porto is not a big city and it is very easy to get around. Most attractions in the city center are within walking distance of each other, so just make sure you have an umbrella.
But if you really want to stay out of the rain when getting moving around the city you can easily rent a car. Renting a vehicle will give you the flexibility to visit a few other places in Portugal too. Bad weather doesn't have to ruin your vacation, just follow our list and you will have a great time in Porto.
Looking for even more things to do in Porto on a rainy day? Check out these other guides: