Dreaming of solo travel in Porto, Portugal? Check out the best hostels, solo dining, and things to do alone in Porto!
Narrow houses in colorful hues. Boats gliding across the Douro River. Glass of port wine in hand. There’s a reason that Porto solo travel is on the rise!
I visited the country’s second-largest city on my recent solo trip through Portugal and fell in love with its unique charm and historic World Heritage sites. This spot is filled with winding hills that lead to stunning Porto viewpoints, azulejo-tiled churches, and charming cafes serving authentic local cuisine.
Tucked against the coast of Northern Portugal, Porto is famous for being the European city where J.K. Rowling was inspired to write Harry Potter. Perfect for singles, digital nomads, young travellers, and solo female travellers, Lisbon’s little sister is surrounded by beautiful places like Aveiro, Braga, and Guimarães, all of which make for an epic day trip from Porto.
Excited? Good! Let’s dig in to safety, travel tips, and where to stay, along with all the best things to do and eat on a solo trip to Porto!
A Brief History of Porto, Portugal
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal. The name “Porto” itself actually influenced the name of its country. Like Lisbon and much of Andalusia, Spain, Porto was once occupied by the Romans, then the Moors, and then the Spanish, until finally, Portugal gained its independence. Porto became a city recognized for its fight for civil rights after its Liberal Revolution that brought about a constitutional monarchy.
Is Porto Safe?
While it’s totally normal to wonder about Porto’s safety before planning your getaway, I promise you have nothing to worry about! Porto’s well-lit streets, stable infrastructure, and strong local community make it a safe place to visit for any solo female traveller.
When exploring Porto, it’s easy to see why Portugal has earned a reputation as one of Europe’s safest countries. Its remarkably low crime rates provide a sense of security for anyone traveling alone. In fact, Portugal consistently ranks among the top 10 most peaceful countries according to the Global Peace Index!
Porto vs Lisbon: Is Porto Worth Visiting?
When it comes to solo travel in Portugal, the choice between Porto and Lisbon is a difficult one since both cities offer such unique experiences. I was actually pretty surprised by how different each location was, even though they’re only a three-hour train ride away.
Lisbon solo travel benefits from a more energetic atmosphere, colorful Instagrammable places, great solo travel hotels, and plenty of things to do alone, like a day trip to the beautiful eco-friendly beaches of Cascais. Meanwhile, Porto’s charm lies in its picturesque streets, stunning bridges, and, of course, its famous port wine cellars.
Great for Harry Potter fans and wine enthusiasts, Porto’s compact size makes it slightly more walkable than Lisbon. (There are still plenty of hills, though, so don’t forget to pack some good walking shoes!)
Even though both cities are generally very safe, Porto’s smaller size and close-knit community provide an added layer of security, making it one of the safest cities in Europe for solo travel.
While I recommend spending more time in Lisbon, Porto is still well worth the visit! Known for its 17 impressive UNESCO World Heritage sites, Porto is undoubtedly one of the best places for solo travel in Portugal.
How much time should you spend in Porto & Lisbon?
While 4 days in Lisbon is the perfect time to see all the major attractions, Porto can easily be done in 1-2 days. However, you’ll definitely want to plan an extra day for an epic day trip to the nearby Douro Valley wineries.
18 Best Things to Do Alone in Porto
While Porto is not an overly touristy destination, there are still tons of amazing things to do on your own! There’s something about this place that makes it a special addition to any Portugal bucket list. I loved exploring its historic port wine houses, gorgeous riverside neighborhoods, and tiled baroque churches.
Let’s take a look at the best things to do and see in Porto, Portugal:
1. Walking Tour
A walking tour is a fantastic way for solo travelers to meet new people and delve into Porto’s captivating past, filled with centuries-old architecture, historic landmarks, and tales of its vibrant maritime heritage and port wine traditions.
Choose between a free tip-based walking tour or any of the highly-rated options below:
- Discover Porto on a 3-hour guided walk along the historic center’s medieval streets.
- Taste the best wines of Porto on this walking tour with wine tastings and snacks.
- Discover how the life of the author J.K. Rowling in Porto inspired parts of the Harry Potter story.
2. Port Wine Houses
Porto is famous for being the birthplace of Portugal’s iconic port wine. Head across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia’s Cais de Gaia to visit renowned port wine houses like Taylor’s, Graham’s, Calem, and Sandeman, where you can savor exquisite port wines in atmospheric cellars and rooftops overlooking the sparkling Douro River.
These tours offer a great chance to learn more about Porto’s winemaking heritage:
Have you ever tried Port wine? Also known as “Port,” this delicious fortified wine is made exclusively in the beautiful Douro Valley outside of Porto. The journey from the vineyards to the cellars of Porto is a careful and detailed process that results in a rich and sweet wine with a higher alcohol content. The incredible flavors and aromas of Port wine have made it a beloved choice for wine lovers all over the globe.
All the famous port houses can be found right across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. Make sure to learn more about all the best port wineries in Porto, Portugal to discover which you want to visit!
3. Se do Porto (Cathedral)
The Porto Cathedral, also known as Sé do Porto, is an architectural masterpiece dating back to the 12th century. With its awe-inspiring Romanesque design, intricate carvings, stunning panoramic views of the city, and beautiful azulejos (decorative blue and white Portuguese tiles), the Porto Cathedral offers a captivating experience that takes you back in time and leaves you in awe of its grandeur.
What are azulejos? Azulejos are white and blue ceramic tiles, traditionally hand-painted with intricate patterns and used to decorate walls, facades, and interiors in Portugal.
Historical significance: Azulejos in Porto trace back to the 15th century when the Moors introduced the decorative art form to Portugal and became widely used during the 18th and 19th centuries, adorning historic buildings, churches, and public spaces.
Their Moorish roots are why you might see a resemblance to some of the gorgeous castles in Spain, many of which make up some of the best photo spots in Seville and unmissable sights for any day trip to Cordoba.
Throughout Porto, azulejos serve as a living canvas that reflects the city’s historical events, religious beliefs, and daily life, making them a testament to the enduring artistry and craftsmanship of Portugal.
4. Livario Lello
There’s mischief to manage, my fellow Harry Potter devotees. This is the bookstore said to have inspired J.K. Rowling to write you-know-what about you-know-who. Is it a bit crowded these days? Yes. Did I visit anyway? You bloody well know I did.
5. Cais da Ribeira
Cais da Ribeira, my favorite local spot, is a must-see destination for its charming riverside ambiance, offering a delightful array of cozy cafes, wine bars, and restaurants. Enjoy this coastal city’s most scenic views while soaking up the lively spirit of Porto’s historic district.
Love being near the water? Madeira solo travel was made for you! This Portuguese island is known as the Hawaii of Europe and is filled with exciting attractions like the Santana Madeira houses and the enchanting Fanal Forest. And speaking of islands, you might as well consider Azores solo travel while you’re at it!
6. São Bento Train Station
The Sao Bento Railway Station is said to be the most beautiful train station in Portugal! Its stunning azulejo-adorned interior depicts significant moments from Portugal’s history and will instantly transport you back in time. Don’t miss the nearby Liberdade Square with its 10-foot bronze statue of Almeida Garrett and super chic McDonald’s. (Y’all… there’s a chandelier… in a McDonald’s.)
7. Dom Luis I Bridge
This double-decker bridge and architectural marvel was designed by a student of Gustav Eiffel. (You know, Eiffel, like the tower.) Cars drive across the lower level while the metro runs on the second. There are pedestrian bridges on both levels, but I strongly recommend the top for some epic views of Porto. The walk across only takes about 5 minutes. You can access the upper level via the Sao Bento Train Station.
8. Gaia Cable Car
Once you’ve crossed the bridge into Vila Nova de Gaia, take the cable car up to Miradouro da Serra do Pilar for a gorgeous panorama of the city. A one-way ticket costs about $5 and a roundtrip is $10.
9. River Cruise
Glide along the Douro River and behold the iconic bridges, colorful buildings, and picturesque landscapes that make Porto a truly unforgettable destination. Check out all the Porto boat tour info you need to know before booking!
10. Porto Sightseeing
Head to Igreja dos Clérigos to marvel at the massive baroque facade before climbing the 225 stairs to the top of Torre Dos Clérigos (Clérigos Tower). Trust me, the panoramic view of the city is totally worth a little sweat!
11. Porto Museums
A museum day is the perfect thing to do alone when you’re traveling alone through Porto. Luckily, this city is home to a range of exceptional museums and monuments like Palacio da Bolsa and Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar.
- Music enthusiasts won’t want to miss Casa da Musica where you can catch diverse musical performances within a striking modernist building.
- The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art has an impressive collection of contemporary art alongside a magnificent Art Deco Villa and a peaceful Treetop Walk.
- Check out the National Museum Soares dos Reis located inside the Carrancas Palace, full of diverse exhibits that showcase everything from ancient artifacts to decorative arts.
12. Porto Viewpoints
Portugal is full of stunning views, and Porto is no exception! The Miradouro da Vitória and Jardim do Morro offer some of the best sunset views in Porto, providing breathtaking panoramas of the city’s iconic bridges, the Douro River, and terracotta rooftops, making them the most Instagrammable spots in Porto. Don’t forget your camera!
13. Church Santo Ildefonso
If you can’t make it to Sao Bento, you’ll definitely want to check out the Church of Santo Ildefonso for its impressive display of over 11,000 stunning azulejo tiles. Swoon-worthy? You know it! Plus, you can head inside to marvel at the 18th-century Rococo altarpiece and exquisite stained glass windows.
For even more azulejos, check out Capela das Almas, or Chapel of Souls, with a mural 16,000+ tiles strong, depicting the stories of important figures like Saint Francis of Assisi.
14. Beaches Near Porto
The nearby beaches of Praia dos Ingleses and Vila Nova de Gaia’s Praia da Sereia are easily some of the best beaches near Porto. Their golden sands, azure waters, and lively beach atmospheres attract solo travelers looking for relaxation, water sports, and delicious seafood restaurants. If you want to visit one of the most Instagrammable spots in Porto, grab your camera and head to Capela do Senhor da Pedra at Vila Nova de Gaia’s Miramar Beach.
For more incredible Portuguese beaches, make sure you plan an exciting solo trip to the Algarve’s Albufeira, Faro, and Lagos! And if you’re looking for the easiest way to see the entire coast, I recommend planning a series of day trips from Faro.
15. Surfing Near Porto
With big swells and a coastline this stunning, it’s no surprise that Portugal’s surf culture attracts adventurous solo travelers from all across the world. The coastal towns of Espinho and Matosinhos offer the best surfing spots near Porto, with consistent waves and laid-back vibes.
Did you know there are tons of epic surf towns in Portugal? This European gem is known as a surfing mecca thanks to its consistent surfing in Peniche, Ericeira, Sagres, and more! Plus, there are a diverse array of wave types, and a sunny year-round climate, with destination suited for all skill levels.
16. Parks & Gardens
Porto’s quaint Praça de Lisboa and Parque da Cidade are both perfect outdoor escapes for busy digital nomads, each offering a serene oasis to relax and recharge amidst lush greenery and scenic walking trails. On a sunny day, take a walk through Parque de Serralves for a delightful blend of art and nature.
17. Vintage Tram Ride
Take the 1 tram out to Foz do Duoro and enjoy the beautiful sites. Line 1, the longest tram line in Porto, runs along the northern bank of the Douro River. It passes points of interest like World of Discoveries and gives you an excellent view of the river.
18. Igreja do Carmo
If you made it all the way to Porto, you’ve got to check Igreja do Carmo, a beautiful baroque church and recent Instagram sensation thanks to the grand azulejo mural along one side of its facade. I know there are a lot of churches on this list, but the interior of this one is totally worth the visit thanks its extremely Portuguese vibe. Afterward, check out the Igreja das Carmelitas right next door.
Best Hostels & Hotels in Porto
For solo travellers visiting Porto, the Ribeira District offers an array of affordable accommodations and is a vibrant area teeming with restaurants, boutiques, and historic attractions. If you’re after a hotel with a pool or restaurant, head just across the Douro River to Vila Nova de Gaia where you’ll have easy access to port wine cellars, and a stunning view of Porto’s historic skyline.
The Passenger Hostel
The Passenger is a chic Porto hostel located in the magnificent Sao Bento train station. Perfect for someone with an early train out of the city, you’ll also benefit from its cheap, affordable prices. But with all its cool vintage furniture and one-of-a-kind Portuguese artworks, you may never want to leave.
If you’ve read any of my other guides, you know I’m obsessed with Selina hostels. They’re amazing for digital nomads and remote workers or anyone on a tight budget! Every single one is just the cutest. After staying here and meeting tons of people, I can confidently say that this is one of the best hostels in Porto for solo travellers with an inner courtyard, colorful coworking space, and affordable accommodation options.
House of Sandeman
Neighborhood: Vila Nova de Gaia
Make yourself at home in the realm of Sandeman Port Wines, with the brand-new House of Sandeman Hostel & Suites! This remarkable lodging is situated in one of Porto’s most iconic buildings, directly above the cellars housing Sandeman wine, and directly in front of the Douro river. Even though it’s a hostel, everything is new and updated. There are plenty of private rooms with balconies and incredible views!
Hotel Tipografia do Conto
Neighborhood: Vila Nova de Gaia
A stunningly modern and sleek design gives Hotel Tipografia do Conto its urban appeal. The exposed concrete and poems carved on the ceilings have helped the hotel gain notoriety among international design magazines. This is the perfect place to stay if you want to be near all the best wineries and port houses!
If you’re looking for upscale, I’ve got just the spot for you! This jawdropping, beautifully designed hotel has a killer breakfast and gorgeous infinity pool. But just wait until you see the tubs with full glass windows overlooking the Duoro River. Breathtaking.
Neighborhood: Vila Nova de Gaia
Looking for a 5-star resort? Look no further. Yeatman is offers a true luxury stay near Porto. Tucked into the Gaia hillside, it features expansive Douro and Porto views. Plus, there are two-Michelin–starred restaurants, a decanter-shaped pool, and sunken Roman baths. Just one question. When can we move in?
Day Trips from Porto
Solo travel to Porto is not complete without at least one day trip to some of the exciting areas in Northern Portugal! Whether you’re in the mood for gorgeous riverside vineyards or a window into Portuguese history, there’s a day trip from Porto that’s absolutely perfect for you!
My day trip to the Douro River Valley was the highlight of my time traveling alone in Portugal! A UNESCO World Heritage Site, a visit to the Douro Valley wineries makes for an enchanting day trip. An absolutely surreal landscape, this day trip from Porto is teeming with terraced vineyards, traditional quintas (wine estates), and tranquil river cruises.
Guimarães is one of northern Portugal’s best-kept secrets! This hidden gem near Porto is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site that’s often referred to as the birthplace of Portugal. Come explore the picturesque medieval city center and the iconic Guimaraes Castle.
The unique appeal of Aveiro, the ‘Venice of Portugal,’ lies in its charming architecture and coastal scenery, waiting to be captured in photographs or sketches by the solitary traveler. If you’re wondering: Is Aveiro worth visiting, this guide can help you decide.
A day trip from Porto to Coimbra offers solo travellers, history buffs, and academics insight into some rich academic history as home to one of the world’s oldest universities, Universidade de Coimbra. Walking its ancient streets, exploring the stunning university campus, and getting lost in the city’s vibrant student life is a fun day for teachers and lifelong learners.
A day trip to the ancient city of Braga offers the solo traveler a window into Portugal’s religious roots. Known as the “Rome of Portugal,” it boasts an impressive array of historic sites, including the oldest cathedral in the country and the iconic basilica, Bom Jesus do Monte, a short 577-stair climb away. The city’s charming old town, punctuated with historic churches and lively cafes, provides a delightful contrast to Porto’s urban landscape.
MORE PLACES TO VISIT IN PORTUGAL
While they may be a bit too far from Porto for a day trip, these cities near Lisbon are totally worth the visit!
- Ericeira: A laidback coastal town with epic seafood, don’t miss all the incredible things to do in Ericeira!
- Sintra: There’s no place else in the world with fairytale castles like these! A day trip to Sintra belongs on every Portugal bucket list.
- Obidos: I can’t mention castles and not bring up this stunningly beautiful medieval town! A trip to its ancient fortress is just one of the many enchanting things to do in Obidos.
Best Time to Visit Porto, Portugal
Porto is beautiful all year round, however, it’s known for very rainy winters. Because of this, it’s best to visit in the late spring or early autumn. At this time, it’s still sunny but the temperatures are cooler and there are fewer tourists.
For a special opportunity, the best month to visit Porto is in June when you can experience the Port Wine Festival. The week-long event offers the chance to sample a wide selection of wines, with enlightening workshops, and plenty more cultural festivities.
Porto is also a lovely place to celebrate the holidays. In fact, Portugal in winter sees much milder temperatures than the rest of Europe and can be a festive escape from dreary, gray skies.
Check out my guide to the best time to visit Portugal for more information on weather during every season.
Getting to Porto
There are plenty of different ways to reach this historic city with options that fit every solo traveler’s budget. Let’s take a look at the best ways to get to Porto:
- By Plane: Porto’s international airport, Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, is located just 8 miles (13km) away from the center of Porto, and connects directly to the city center through Metro do Porto’s Line E. By purchasing an Andante Azul ticket and a Z4 title ticket, you can conveniently transfer to other city lines. Make sure to validate your ticket at the start of each trip and upon line changes!
- Train: For solo travelers seeking the most eco-friendly way to travel, a comfortable 3-hour journey from Lisbonon the Alfa Pendular or Intercidades train is highly recommended.
- Bus: You can get from Lisbon to Porto via several daily bus services, including Flixbus and Rede Expresso, which depart from Lisbon Oriente station and various other locations, taking about 3 hours and starting at €12. This is what I did, and the ride was easy and uneventful.
- Renting a Car: Renting a car in Porto may not be necessary for most solo travellers. Public transportation is easy and the city is highly walkable. However, if you want to take plenty of day trips or enjoy the coastal drive from Porto to Lisbon, or vice-versa, a Portugal car rental may be the way to go.
How to Get Around Porto
Navigating Porto, with its enriched history and captivating landmarks is an exploration in itself. Thanks to the city’s small, compact nature and reliable public transportation, t’s easy to get around Porto without a car! Here are the best ways to get around when you’re traveling alone:
- Walking: Porto’s charm is best discovered on foot. Meander through its many side streets, where you can unveil hidden gems and undiscovered shops and restaurants.
- Public Transport: Porto has a well-connected metro system and city buses, conveniently accessed with the Andante card, offering the flexibility to choose between single trips or unlimited passes.
- Rideshare: While Uber and rideshare services are available, the city’s narrow and often congested streets make walking or public transportation more time-efficient alternatives. At one point, I spent so much time waiting on an Uber, it would’ve been quicker to walk.
What to Eat in Porto
A solo trip to Porto is simply incomplete without trying the traditional dishes and street foods that showcase Portugal’s rich gastronomic heritage. And good news for any travelers on a budget, food and drink in Porto are relatively inexpensive! Here are my favorite Portuguese foods to try in Porto:
Tripas à Moda do Porto
There’s a long story behind Porto and its connection to tripe. You may have heard of Porto residents referred to as tripeiros. The story goes that a few hundred years ago, all the meat in the land was given to shipbuilders and sailors who launched the age of discovery, and Porto had to eat what was leftover. They cooked it into the stew we know today as Tripas a Moda do Porto, the city’s national dish. If you want to know exactly what tripe is… no you don’t.
Porto’s famous sandwich is made of bread, beef and covered with melted cheese and a spicy beer sauce. Sound strange? You’ll have to try it and see for yourself. This hearty sandwich originated in Porto, and is best savored at traditional eateries like Café Santiago and Bufete Fase.
A green soup with generous portions of kale, potato, garlic, and sometimes with chouriço (a smoky, Portuguese version of chorizo). This classic Portuguese dish originated in the northern Minho Province and is sometimes eaten at celebrations and festivals.
Pastel de Nata
Pastel de nata, often referred to as Portuguese custard tart, is a famous Portuguese dessert that consists of a flaky pastry crust filled with creamy egg custard and topped with a caramelized surface. These treats originated in the monasteries of Lisbon but can be found all over the country, and occasionally in other parts of the world.
Bacalhau à Brás
Bacalhau à Brás is a charming mess of shredded cod, thinly sliced potatoes, and scrambled eggs. It’s the ultimate comfort food, marrying simple ingredients into a divine concoction that’s crispy, salty, and absolutely irresistible.
Bolinhos de Bacalhau
In Portugal, there’s more than one way to prepare codfish. The possibilities are limitless, and bolinhos de bacalhau is a particularly delicious way. These codfish fritters are like little bites of heaven: crispy on the outside, fluffy and full of flavor on the inside. They’re the perfect finger food to accompany a cold beer on a sunny Porto afternoon.
This mouthwatering pork sandwich is a street food staple across Portugal. It involves thin slices of marinated pork served in a fresh bread roll. The meat, usually marinated in a mix of white wine, garlic, and spicy piri-piri sauce, is seared on a hot grill and tucked into the bread along with mustard or spicy sauce. Simple yet satisfying, the Bifana is an absolute must-try for every food lover visiting Porto.
Best Restaurants for Solo Dining in Porto
This charming city offers an array of restaurants that cater to solo diners. From quaint cafés to Michelin-starred establishments, these eateries will welcome you warmly and let you try some of the best food in Porto.
- Mercado do Bolhão: If you want to eat where Porto locals eat, head to this bustling market with its wide variety of fresh produce, traditional dishes, and local delicacies. European markets are typically full of solo diners meaning you won’t have to worry about feeling awkward eating alone!
- Cafe Majestic: With its nostalgic and Insta-famous exterior, Café Majestic is a historic establishment located in the heart of Porto. Its opulent art nouveau décor, complemented by an exquisite menu of pastries and beverages, makes it a popular spot amongst both locals and tourists.
- Tempero d’Maria: If you’re seeking a true taste of Portugal, Tempero d’Maria offers a menu with traditional dishes that reflect the diverse flavors of Porto’s gastronomic culture. The menu is a testament to Porto’s rich maritime heritage, like the ‘Cataplana de Marisco’, a traditional clam stew cooked with a medley of other seafood like shrimp and mussels.
- A Tasquinha: This hidden gem in Vila Nova de Gaia offers traditional Portuguese petiscos. Similar to a Spanish tapas bar, this small, family-run eatery has a warm and intimate environment that makes it easy to connect with others.
- Tapabento: Just a stone’s throw away from São Bento Train Station, Tapabento is renowned for its fresh seafood and tapas, a true testament to Portuguese cuisine. Its cozy, rustic ambiance and intimate interior was a super comfortable spot where I enjoyed eating dinner on my own.
- Lupin Snack Bar: This spot is perfect for vegans and vegetarians who want to try some typical Portuguese cuisine. The vegan couple who runs this great place created their own vegan versions of classics like the francesinha and pastel de nata, Porto’s traditional pastry. Gluten-free and raw options are also available.
What time is dinner in Porto? Like its neighbor Spain, dinner in Portugal starts a bit alter than the rest of the world. While restaurants typically open around 7:30-8, most locals eat dinner around 9-9:30.
Porto Bars & Nightlife
Are you a young and single traveller ready to experience Porto’s nightlife and bar scene? No matter your age or interests, Porto has plenty of spots that are perfect for a night out.
In this city, evenings kick off later than usual and extend into the early morning hours. From sports bars to budget-friendly nightlife experiences with bars that serve beers for as little as €2, there really is something for everyone!
- Baixa Bar: An iconic part of Porto’s nightlife. For first-time visitors to the city’s night scene, a visit to this bar is practically a prerequisite.
- Pride Bar has established itself as a beacon in Porto’s LGBT+ nightlife, renowned for its riveting drag performances and lively events.
- Maus Hábitos: Perched on the fourth floor of an industrial building, Maus Hábitos is a unique space that fuses art, eclectic music, and a commitment to fostering diverse cultural experiences.
- Adegas Sports Bar: This sports bar is cherished by locals along with its selection of nearly 60 different beers from across the world.
- 17º Rooftop Bar: For the ultimate sunset experience, head to the seventeenth floor of the Hotel Dom Henrique in Baixa, where you’ll find a rooftop bar offering breathtaking city views. Try their signature cocktail, the 17º Downtown with cognac, orange, and champagne.
Best Neighborhoods in Porto, Portugal
One of the best things about Porto is its variety of enticing neighborhoods, each with its own unique allure. From the picturesque lanes of Ribeira to the bohemian vibes of Cedofeita, let’s explore the best neighborhoods Porto has to offer so you can decide the best part of the city to stay in.
Beautiful, beautiful Ribeira. I’ll admit it, I am endlessly enthralled with Ribeira. The charm is simply unparalleled. This neighborhood is one you’ll definitely want to explore while visiting Porto. Not only is it the prettiest place in the city, Ribeira is also one of the safest neighborhoods in Porto! The narrow, cobblestone lanes, the tall, pastel houses, the Dom Luís I bridge arching over the river. Rebeira has tons of artisan shops, restaurants and wine bars to visit.
Welcome to the heart of the city. Baixa, meaning ‘low’ as in ‘downtown’ in Portuguese, is a buzzing district home to delicious restaurants, fun nightlife and historical sites. Head to Galerias de Paris if you’re ready to party, and don’t miss São Bento, one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.
Codefeita is the trendiest neighborhood in Porto. Go here to get a feel for Porto’s authentic daily life. On Rua Miguel de Bombarda and nearby streets, you’ll find Porto’s arts district, packed with local galleries and hidden street art. For the best local shopping, head to Rua do Rosário.
The city’s former Jewish Quarter, Miragaia, like Codofeita, is home to maze-like lanes and staircase alleys. Check out some local tascas and enjoy sunset from one of its many overlooks. Just be ready to walk because both of these districts have steep hills.
Foz do Douro
Porto’s westernmost district is best known for its rugged beaches, breezy promenades and oceanfront restaurants facing the crashing waves. Take the 1 vintage No. 1 tram 20 minutes out to the beaches for some sunny relaxation.
Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia is a must for wine lovers. On the southern side of the Duoro River, Gaia offers epic views of Porto. Head over for an evening of wine and port tasting.
Porto Solo Travel Tips
Traveling alone can be such a rewarding experience, but navigating a new city on your own can be a little overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:
- Choose a hostel or hotel close to your top activities: If you’re short on time, try to stay within walking distance to the attractions you most want to visit.
- Use solo travel Facebook Groups to meet others: Solo female travelers who want to meet others should check out the local Gone Girl International Facebook groups.
- Make new friends with MeetUp: I’ve found that Meetup is used a lot more frequently in European cities than it is in the U.S. If you want to connect with others, you can browse their list of activities for something to join. Language exchanges have worked well for me, and many Europeans are eager to practice their English with native speakers.
- Hostel Tours: Even if you stay elsewhere, you can still join free walking tours or a pub crawl from hostels where you’ll have a good chance of encountering others traveling alone.
- Pack comfortable walking shoes: Portugal is full of hills. The longer your trip to Porto, the more important it is to protect your feet so the steep inclines don’t slow you down.
- Bring euros and change for public transportation: If you plan on taking public transportation from the airport or train station, make sure to arrive with a good mix of bills and change. Some ticket machines and buses require exact change.
Do they speak English in Porto?
Many people in Porto speak English, especially in the tourism industry. However, it’s always helpful to learn a bit of basic Portuguese to show respect and courtesy to the local culture.
Here are a couple of basic Portuguese phrases to learn before visiting:
- Olá: Hello
- Adeus: Goodbye
- Por favor: Please
- Obrigado (males) / Obrigada (female): Thank you
- Sim: Yes
- Não: No
- Desculpe: Sorry
- Fala inglês? – Do you speak English?
- Eu não falo português: I don’t speak Portuguese
- Quanto custa: How much does it cost?
- Onde fica: Where is…?
- Banheiro: Bathroom
How to Budget for a Trip to Porto
When traveling around Europe, you can get away with spending as little or as much as you want. There are tons of options available from budget, mid-range, and luxury travelers.
The same goes for meals. You could stay at a hostel and cook your own food, find cheap restaurants, or splurge on Michelin-star dinners. Personally, I prefer a mix of these options. Save a little here, splurge a little there!
If you’re really looking to save, off-season travel is the way to go. I was once able to get a roundtrip ticket from the US to Portugal, or a nearby country, for just under $500. However, during the summer I’d expect to pay closer to $1500.
|Wine, Beer, Cocktails||$5-$15|
|Train (from Europe)||$30-50|
|Flight (from Europe)||$50-$150|
|Flight (from outside Europe)||$500-$1500|
Can you drink the water in Porto?
The water in Porto is safe for consumption and adheres to all the standards set by the European Union. Heavy in mineral content and treated with chlorine at the source, the water might have a somewhat pronounced flavor.
Is it safe to walk Porto at night?
Porto is considered to be safe to walk around at night, but if you’re traveling alone, taking an affordable taxi or rideshare ride can alleviate any worries.
Should you tip in Porto?
Most nice restaurants will automatically add a service charge. With cafes, bars, and taxis, it’s common to round up to the nearest euro. For tour guides and hotel staff, a few euros will do if they offered helpful service.
Where to Go After Porto?
Ahh, where to go next? One of my favorite questions! When traveling to Europe, you’re close to so many exciting destinations. You could plan an exciting solo trip to Spain and discover the best things to do alone in Madrid. You could even venture to Morocco and experience the excitement of solo travel in Marrakech.
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