What to visit, shop and eat during 48h in Porto
Our Porto guide comes with a twist! This time we have compiled a guide that follows what we precisely did during our 48 hours in the city of Porto: it contains all the visits, restaurants and shops by the hour. So it’s like “a picture an hour” type of post; if you are planning to visit you can directly follow our steps right away, you know you are in good hands and that I have planned it carefully. If you wish to see more pictures from all of these places (and more) check our Photo Gallery post!
Either if you have a Porto visit soon, or you don’t know if you will ever visit, keep reading and follow us around, it will only take you a few minutes to be 2 days in this beautiful city with us *wink!
We actually got to Porto from Lisbon, it’s only a 3h-ride with the fast train called Alfa Pendular. The ride is very comfortable, you will avoid the hassle of the airport security (plus it’s perfect for flying phobias like mine!) and you’ll find yourself already in the center of Porto, at the beautiful Sao Bento station.
We left from Lisboa station Santa Apolonia and got off at Porto Campanha, once at the train station you’ll need to transfer to a local train (also included with the same ticket) for Sao Bento. Train tickets can be bought beforehand in the official website, while the prices vary on the day and hour it’s usually around 30 € which is completely reasonable, right?
We left Porto to go home by plane, the airport is reachable by the metro line E, it takes 40 minutes from Trindade station.
DAY 1 · 11:00 – 12:00
Sao Bento Station
Our first sight in Porto was just when we got off from our train at the Sao Bento station, I was absolutely impressed by the blue ceramics decorating this quaint old station. The ceramics represent several Portuguese historic events, and also some rural life (colored ceramic band on top). I read it’s considered one of the most beautiful train stations in Europe, and haven’t checked the rest in the list, but this one is definitely a hard contender!
Consider that depending on the hour of the day you are getting here it will be more packed with visiting groups than real passengers. So here’s our tip: come back here on the next morning before 10:00 AM to be able to enjoy the train station more peacefully.
From the station we went to our lodgings in Porto to leave the bags, I’ll write more about this later on in the STAY section.
DAY 1 · 12:00 – 15:00
Casa GuedesPraça dos Poveiros 76/80
We knew that the pork sandwich from Casa Guedes was a complete MUST in Porto, but it can get quite busy at peek hours. Since our day started in Lisbon quite early (we took the train at 8:00) we were already hungry and ready to have lunch at 12:00, thus it was very convenient; thanks to the early bird hours we were the first people eating. There are in fact two Casa Guedes, almost one next to the other. We ate at the newer location but if you walk towards Praça dos Poveiros (a few steps away) you’ll find the classic bar, which is smaller, but on sunny days you can eat in the terrace.
The most typical sandwich is the plain sandes de pernil (sandes means sandwich in Portuguese, and pernil means pork), but if you like cheese, believe us that you’ll need to choose instead the sandes de pernil e queijo like we did, it was the most perfect combination! Both the pork and the cheese have very good quality and makes a tasty bite. They offered us to combine the sandes with french fries so we ordered them, however our big tip for Casa Guedes is to avoid this same mistake, the fries are frozen and not comparable to the good quality of the sandes. If you end up hungry after your sandes, order a second sandwich! Much better than filling up with the flavorless fries.
Combi coffeeR. do Morgado de Mateus nº29
After the Casa Guedes yummy sandes we walked towards Combi Coffee for the tea/coffee fix. This place has all those modern vibes you’d expect from a speciality coffee shop and has a VW-ish van in front, just to reassure you that you are in the right cool place, ha!
The coffee is good, but I would like to specially give a big thumbs up to their chai latte, which is directly infused in the milk. It’s the chai latte with the most flavour I’ve ever tasted as they don’t spare on the quantity of chai and it’s of the Aussie brand Prana sticky Chai (that I love), big yay from me!
After coffee we were able to finally check-in! Follow us now to the Porto Cinema Apartments.
As happens in many places, Portugal has a check-in restriction time of 15:00 in most hotels, apartments or B&B. Since we were visiting only for 48h, we made our priority to find lodgings that allowed us to leave the bags earlier and do the check-in when it was more appropriate regarding our planning. Also, one of the things that raised more our attention was how few hotels Porto has in comparison to apartments. With that in mind we found the perfect combo of apartment, location, and with the plus that it belongs to a hostel where you are able to leave the bags attended and check-in at any time.
Porto Cinema ApartmentsRua de Santa Caterina, 10
The Porto Cinema Apartments are located in one of the main streets of Porto, Rua Santa Caterina, and happen to have astonishing views to Igreja do San Ildefonso, but when I talk about views, I mean that the church is just right there, almost to the touch of your hand.
I still don’t understand why we only took some videos for the IG stories of the interior of the apartment and 0 photos (sorry about that!), the decoration was very nice, lots of white (with Eames-inspired chairs) and some subtle movie touches like framed stills.
The check-in process was easy, we remotely talked with the crew at the hostel with the intercom, they gave us the pin to open a little safe where the physical key was stored. The check-in is open all day long.
DAY 1 · 15:00 – 16:00
Capela das almasRua de Santa Catarina, 428
After the check-in we started walking down rua de santa catarina towards this famous church, that once again, guess what? It’s covered with beautiful blue and white ceramics, on both the front and lateral walls.
The tiles, from 1929, display the blessed lives of Saint Francisco de Asís and Saint Catalina. Regardless of your interests, I’m sure this sight is something you don’t want to miss.
A Perola Do BolhaoR. Formosa 279
Next to Mercado do Bolhao (that was under renovation!) there’s this cute deli, a traditional grocery shop that has been selling Portuguese goods since 1917. The most impressive thing about the shop is probably the Art Noveau facade, with the most beautiful ceramic design. I would strongly recommend buying something to support the business to help prevent the disappearance of these type of traditional shops from city centers. I find super sad to see how these more iconic stores are transformed into non-characteristic souvenir shops.
Fábrica da nataRua de Santa Catarina 331/335
Originally from Lisbon, this bakery famous for its out-of-the-oven pasteis de nata has also a location in Rua Caterina. With the Casa Guedes sandes at the bottom of our bellies, the little cake made the perfect afternoon snack. If you haven’t tasted them before, the pasteis de nata is a typical Portuguese sweet created originally in the early XIX at the convents & monasteries, and its a custard tart and puff pastry. It’s warm and with just the perfect amount of sweetness. Fábrica da nata sells Daniel’s favorite pasteis, my favorite are from Manteigaria. So if you are similar to us, you’ll start your own “who wins” game right away! Also, pasteis cost only 1 € each!
DAY 1 · 16:00 – 19:00
Ponte Dom Luis I
Probably if you have to visit only one thing in Porto, you should stop at Ponte Dom Luis I for the iconic view alongside the Douro river. We walked from Rua Caterina to the bridge, everything in Porto is easily reachable by a 15 minute walk, but of course, be aware that this doesn’t mean that it will be an easy one, walking up and up is mostly what you should expect.
We crossed the bridge, and enjoyed the sunset at this other side of the Ribeira. There are different viewpoints for the Ponte, we had looked up thanks to google maps a more secluded place, but we were quite unlucky as they were renovating the parking lot and also constructing a hotel that was partially blocking the view. Nonetheless, we managed to take some pictures and made 5 new feline friends *wink* The official viewpoint has some benches to comfortably enjoy your time, people was having picnic at sunset, with wine and some cheese.
If you walk down from the official Ponte viewpoint you will easily get to the Ribeira, and be able to watch the river from the same height, it is quite lovely. We watched the pink, reds and oranges in the sky matching heavenly with the colored houses from the Sé neighborhood at the opposite riverside.
DAY 1 · 20:00
Mini Bar by José AvillezRua da Picaria, 12
For dinner we had a lovely date arranged: we had a reservation for Mini Bar, a fun-concept restaurant by the renowned Portuguese chef José Avillez. Don’t be scared, although this experience has the same owner of one of the best restaurants in the world (Mr. Avillez) the menu only costs 35 € for a 7-course meal (drinks are paid separately). Our menu included tuna temaki, fish and chips, shrimp ceviche, chicken toast, olive oil spherification, rissotto, and a couple of desserts. Everything was presented with imagination and was very fun to try to guess how the next dish would be.
I would recommend reserving beforehand using their website, all in English and very easy. Also, don’t miss the cocktails, you’ll order them using an ipad (feels like being in Japan, right?).
DAY 2 · 8:30
Igreja do San IldefonsoR. de Santo Ildefonso, 11
If you are staying in our apartment this will be your view form the window! The next morning we had to stop a few minutes to see the church from the ground level too. This baroque church has also a tiled facade that depicts the life of Saint Ildefonso.
DAY 2 · 9:00
Fábrica Coffee RoastersRua de José Falcão, 122
For breakfast we chose Fábrica Coffee Roasters (many things in Portugal are called Fábrica, right?). I strongly recommend this place, we had a yummy avocado toast and fresh fruit and granola yogurt menu. Since they offer specialty coffee, Dani had a V60 coffee (and a flat white afterwards, coffee addict alert) while I had an excellent chai latte, with the best frothed milk I had in a chai.
In addition, the café decor is very lovely and the staff was friendly. A total winner for me, I liked the vibes of this place more than Combi coffee.
DAY 2 · 10:30 – 13:00
Queijaria Do AlmadaRua do Almada, 348
This store is specially ideal for cheese lovers like us! The store has this lovely modern wooden entrance, and once inside you will see (and smell!) hundreds and hundreds of different cheese specialities. We were interested in Portuguese cheeses, but they also have Spanish, French and other European famous cheese designations of origin. Because we had only carry-on suitcase they recommended to buy a whole piece to avoid the security restrictions of the airport and opted for the Azeitao. Now I regret not buying like 5 pieces, ha!
O’GalleriaRua de Miguel Bombarda, 61
I wish this store was in Barcelona! O’Galleria features the artworks (originals & prints) of lots of artists from all over the world. I was looking for such a precise piece in terms of colors and artist origin (only Portuguese), for the wall art I’m still building for our living room, that I sadly wasn’t able to find it, however I was able to browse so many interesting prints!
Mon Père VintageRua da Conceição 80
If you are looking for a vintage find as a Porto souvenir, this is your store. I loved their sweater and blouse selection, but I wasn’t very lucky with the sizes. The clothes are very well curated but then the prices are reasonable, which doesn’t happen often. Don’t come here for the big brands, but instead they are focused in daily nice clothes that need to find a second life.
ManteigariaRua dos Clérigos, 37
My favorite pasteis de nata in the world. Lovely Portuguese IG friend Ohh.eva recommended us this place while we were in Lisbon, and after that, any other pasteis failed short in comparison. During our time in Lisbon and Porto I have eaten so many Manteigaria pasteis! I love about Manteigaria, compared to other places, that the custard is very cinnamon flavored so you don’t need to add the ground on top, the puff pastry is also very lovely (similar to Fábrica in that aspect).
In this Porto Manteigaria location there’s a live showroom where we were able to see all the elaboration process, it is specially interesting to see how they fold the puff pastry multiple times.
DAY 2 · 13:00
Igreja do CarmoR. do Carmo, 4050-164
The most famous ceramic wall in Porto, yes exactly that one you have seen in IG like hundreds of times, is from Igraja do Carmo. It is very lovely indeed and so is the rococo church, specially for the location with the Carmo tram stop in front of it.
DAY 2 · 13:30
Livraria LelloR. das Carmelitas, 144
Need to put first a disclaimer, we didn’t really visit Livraria Lello, but let me explain!
Livraria Lello is a neo-gothic book store that it’s one of the oldest in Portugal and one of the top three most beautiful book stores in the word. The interior is specially striking with its forked staircase, wood balusters and stained glass window in the ceiling. So beautiful that J.K Rowling used it as an inspiration for Diagon Alley “Flourish and Blotts”, the bookstore where Harry, Ron and Hermione buy their school text books. Since 2015, and after the big popularity that being part of the HP world brings, there’s a fee to enter to the Livraria of 5 € and you’ll get a refund if you buy a book, which is completely reasonable. The problem is that although there’s an entrance ticket, you’ll be flooded with other people, almost 0 photo opportunities and the same ones to be able to breath normally, ha! We decided against and only peeked our heads out in the entrance door to be able to see the incredible interior.
DAY 2 · 14:30
Mercearia das floresR. das Flores, 110
For lunch we had a cheese plate at Mercearia das flores, that despite its name it has nothing to do with flowers but instead they sell those typical Portuguese colorful fish/seafood cans and some tasting options, like cheese or charcuterie plates. I like that Portugal has fresh lemonade everywhere, not the sweet type, but the sour one I love! We also bought here sardine cans for the family. It’s a cute stop before walking deeper into Sé neighborhood.
DAY 2 · 15:30 – 17:30
Sé neighborhood (Barrio da Sé)
We couldn’t leave Porto without wandering around the streets of Sé neighborhood and be able to walk the intricate group of houses and medieval alleys of the oldest part of the city. The colors are amazing, and it’s very interesting to see how narrow some of the houses are. I think this neighborhood makes the best Porto experience! Secret tip, look on Google Maps for Rua da Pena Ventosa, but hush hush, we don’t want to spoil this gorgeous corner.
Sé do Porto
Sé means Cathedral in Portuguese, we recommend climbing here (and I say climbing because you’ll need to walk up) not only for the romanic building itself but mainly for the views from the Sé balcony. Lots of groups will be here, and with tourists also come pickpockets, so please keep an eye on your belongings. I only had this insecurity feeling next to the Sé and then “Porto” letters in front of the City Hall building, which is almost nothing compared to Barcelona.
DAY 2 · 18:00
BOP CaféR. da Firmeza 575
Before leaving Porto we had an early dinner at BOP, which offers a non-stop open kitchen. What I loved more about BOP was its atmosphere, it was like a very trendy New York café with the special characteristic of having music played directly on vinyl record players plus this wall with hundreds of discs. The food is also American-inspired but not very remarkable, I’m afraid. I had the meatball sub while Dani had the Mac&Cheese. We jumped into the metro line E for the airport, and after watching the restaurants available in the airport (Burger King and not many more) I don’t regret choosing the much more special BOP.