Second only to the capital city of Lisbon, Porto is the second-largest and most populous metropolitan area in Portugal, with an urban population of nearly 240,000 residents.
Though it often gets overlooked for more well-known tourist destinations in nearby countries, Porto has experienced a surge in visitors in recent years, and many savvy travelers consider it one of Europe’s underrated gems.
Featuring fascinating history and culture, the city offers tours and attractions that are suitable for visitors of most ages and interests.
Food, wine, architecture, and historical attractions are big draws, and the areas outside city limits are known for their old-world charm and natural beauty.
1. Walking Food Tour with Tastings
Located along the country’s northern Atlantic coast, Porto features food and traditions that are different than other parts of Portugal.
On this walking and food tasting combo tour, guests will have the opportunity to meet locals, learn about the city’s history and culture, and sample a variety of traditional northern Portuguese staples, like cheese, wine, and chorizo.
Tour stops include the ever-bustling Bolhão Market, historic neighborhoods, and beautiful stretches along the Douro River.
Tours begin and end at a convenient central location, are offered in the morning and afternoon and include a sumptuous sit-down, tapas-style meal at a popular restaurant.
2. Jewish Heritage Walking Tour
Since the 12th century, the city of Porto has had a thriving Jewish community that has coexisted peacefully with the predominately Christian population.
After meeting their guide at an easily accessible central location, guests will set out to explore a number of significant Jewish attractions.
The tour covers a lot of ground in three hours. Its highlights include ethnic Jewish neighborhoods and synagogues, and other historic sites like the Esnoga Stairs and Virtudes Garden.
Tours are offered in both morning and afternoon start times, include the services of a local guide, and require significant amounts of time spent on your feet.
3. Downtown Porto Sightseeing Bike Tour
The traffic in Porto can be downright crazy at times, but the city is surprisingly bicycle-friendly.
For those who’d rather breathe fresh air and burn calories than sit on a stuffy tour bus, this three-hour downtown bike tour would be a great fit.
After meeting their guide, fit and eager guests will peddle to some of the city’s most iconic attractions and learn about the things they see along the way.
The city is full of historic buildings, museums, and amazing views of the Atlantic, and the tour speed can be adjusted to suit the ages and interests of guests.
Tours are available in English, French, and Portuguese.
4. Guided Tour of Pocas Port Wine Cellar with Tasting
As its name implies, Porto is regarded as the home of port wine. For wine lovers, there’s no better way to enjoy it than on this guided wine cellar and tasting tour.
Outings begin with a tour of an aging cellar, where many bottles have been maturing for 100 years.
Next, guests and their guide will head to the tasting room, where they’ll sample some different ports and learn the secret to detecting their subtle nuances.
Though tours last just an hour, they’re great value for those looking for an introduction to Portuguese wines, but participants must be at least 18-years-old.
5. Private Urban Tour with a Local Guide
Whereas many tours in Porto focus on historic sites, this two-hour excursion with a local guide is based on more artistic and cultural attractions that tend to strike a chord with the hip and trendy crowd.
Guests will meet their guide at the city’s Municipal Library, then embark on an exploratory outing to discover amazing street art, chic neighborhoods, and a cool venue that hosts a number of popular arts and entertainment events.
Of course, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to take in the city’s impressive architecture and immerse yourself in the culture, but the majority of time will be spent on quiet side streets that don’t get much tourist traffic.
6. Harry Potter’s Inspiration Tour
It may come as a surprise to learn that J.K. Rowling spent lots of time in Porto before she wrote her best-selling Harry Potter series.
After meeting their local guide and Harry Potter aficionado at a central location, tour guests will set out to visit several businesses that cater to the literary crowd.
For those who take things to the extreme, it’ll be possible to purchase Harry Potter character costumes, visit the Lion’s Fountain, and step inside the mystical Lello Bookstore.
This three-hour tour is a great fit for families traveling with kids, and everyone gets an authentic Portuguese éclair before the adventure comes to an end.
7. Private Small Groups Surfing Experience
Wanna learn to surf and show off that beach body you’ve been working on for the last decade?
If so, then channel your inner Keanu Reeves and sign up for this private, small group surfing experience.
Don’t worry if you have no history of riding waves, because it’s appropriate for those of at least moderate physical fitness.
You’ll definitely need to know how to swim, but as far as surfing goes, you’ll get all the training you need to make it an exhilarating and memorable experience.
Most participants can actually stand and ride a wave briefly when it’s all said and done, but if not, you’ll still have a grand time soaking up the sun, sand, and surf.
8. Porto Hop-on Hop-off Tour: 1- or 2-Day Ticket
Hop-on-hop-off tours are economical options for those with limited vacation budgets who prefer to spend their time on their own terms.
Tickets are good for either one or two days from the time of purchase. Tours are conducted via open-top busses that allow unobstructed views and the ability to disembark and see the things that interest you and ignore those that don’t.
Commentary is provided by audio guides that are available in multiple languages. Guests have access to two distinct bus routes, each with their own list of key attractions.
Buses run like clockwork every 30 minutes, so getting left behind won’t be an issue.
10. 3-Hour Walking City Tour with Lello Bookstore Visit
On this private and customizable experience in Porto, guests will spend three hours visiting iconic historic attractions like São Bento Train Station, Clérigos Tower, the Cathedral, and the ever-popular Lello Bookstore.
At each stop along the way, participants will benefit from their guide’s historical and cultural insights and get an overview of the city’s layout, which will make self-guided exploration easier when the tour is over.
Tours touch on both contemporary and ancient history dating back to before the Roman era. They end at Lello Bookstore—one of the oldest book shops in the country and consistently ranked as one of the world’s top five bookstores.
11. Guided Segway Food and Wine Experience
After meeting their guide and learning how to handle their unique two-wheeled machines, eager Segway sightseers will motor off to explore a unique mix of attractions and neighborhoods, known for their historic appeal and tasty Portuguese food and wine.
Spread over three hours, tours give hungry visitors access to traditional eateries, where they’ll sample mouth-watering grub like pork sandwiches called bifanas, and multi-layered francesinha sandwiches comprised of ham, sausage, cheese, and a thick gravy made from tomatoes and beer.
Tours also include coffee, an aperitif, fresh pastry, and a glass of port at the end of the day.
12. Serra da Estrela Tour from Porto
If distancing yourself from the crowds and communing with Mother Nature sounds like a good idea, then this Serra da Estrela tour from Porto would be a great choice.
Though many visitors spend the majority of their vacation time within Porto city limits, the surrounding towns and countryside offer great day-trip options for those in need of a temporary change of scenery.
The Serra da Estrelas are the country’s most majestic mountains. Between December and January, they’re a winter wonderland more akin to Switzerland and Austria than Portugal.
Tours include round-trip transportation and tons of activity options like sledding, riding a chairlift into the clouds, and participating in a traditional food tasting.
13. 1-Hour Self-Drive Discovery Tour with GPS Guide
Guided tours are great options for travelers who’ve just arrived in a new city, but for those who already know their way around and long to strike out on their own, self-guided tours can be more memorable and adventurous.
On this one-hour self-drive tour, guests will experience the city from the comfort of a snazzy Renault Twizy—a stylish electric two-seat car equipped with Wi-Fi and GPS.
The tour provider gives each driver an orientation so they’ll be able to use their vehicle safely and efficiently before heading out, and also provides a list of possible attractions to visit, with directions and a brief description of each.
14. Porto Night Life Tour
Long after most weary tourists have eaten, showered, and tucked themselves into their comfy hotel beds, this Porto nightlife tour gets underway.
With an 11:30 start time, it’s generally the exclusive domain of young revelers looking to whoop it up in style.
After a brief meet and greet at a local watering hole, it’ll be time to set out on a fun adventure that’ll include stops at four different venues.
Nights typically involve lots of music, dancing, camaraderie, and imbibing, with little thought given to the sunrise, which is never more than a few hours away.
Plan on meeting locals and like-minded international travelers, and get a complimentary drink at each spot.
15. Gerês National Park Canyoning Tour from Porto
Gerês National Park is arguably Portugal’s most stunning natural attraction, and it’s conveniently located just a stone’s throw from Porto.
Participants will be picked-up from their accommodations in town before being whisked to the park, where they’ll be fitted with suitable gear and get an important safety briefing.
Guests will climb and rappel dozens of meters, explore waterfalls, caves, and narrow canyons, and have an all-around exhilarating, memorable, and calorie-burning experience.
Please note that everyone will need to meet certain physical and pre-training requirements before participating, so make sure to click the link below and consult the tour provider before booking.