Porto, famous for its port wine and medieval center, makes an excellent base for exploring the region. On a guided tour, there’s no worry about transportation or mapping out stops. Here are some top day trips from Porto into the scenic Douro Valley, historic cities in northern Portugal, and beyond.
Guimarães and Braga — 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Porto
Discover Portugal’s architectural and religious heritage with a guided trip to Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its 10th-century castle and the palace of the Dukes of Braganza, who ruled between 1640 and 1910. The nearby Bom Jesus do Monte in Tenões, completed in 1784, is approached by a monumental interweaving stairway lined with chapels representing the Stations of the Cross. End the day in ancient Braga, founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago and dotted with ornate Baroque churches.
Aveiro — 47 miles (76 kilometers) from Porto
Aveiro, known as the Venice of Portugal, is much quieter than its Italian counterpart. A day trip to the city often includes a cruise in a traditional moliceiro along the coastal canals beneath arching bridges, as well as a walking tour of the historic town center. Ria, the neighboring shallow coastal lagoon, is rich in birdlife.
Santiago de Compostela — 144 miles (232 kilometers) from Porto
Cross the border with Spain to follow centuries of pilgrims’ footsteps in the city of Santiago de Compostela. Situated at the end of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, the UNESCO-listed old town is home to a spectacular, gargoyle-covered Gothic cathedral. Make sure to sample some local Spanish seafood over lunch before heading back to Portugal, a detail that’s taken care of on most guided tours of the area.
Douro Valley — 204 miles (328 kilometers) from Porto
Head inland through the vineyard covered hills of the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its port wine production. On a wine-themed day trip to this scenic region, stroll through the village of Pinhão, taste a variety of wines at some of the area’s best wineries, feast on a traditional Portuguese lunch, or do some sightseeing along the scenic Douro River. Train and boat tours are also available.