Porto: Know Before You Go

Porto, capital of Portugal's northern region, promises an unforgettable getaway to a land rich in colours and flavours. Known for impressive bridges, narrow cobblestone streets and distinctive wineries, this coastal town is a must-see destination in Europe and one of the best places to visit in Portugal. Here are a few tips to make your trip to Porto a success.  


Places to Visit in Porto


Porto is full of treasures, each revealing a unique facet of its history and culture. Here is our selection of the city's must-see sites: 

Start by exploring the famous Ribeira, the medieval district listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cobblestone streets lead you to lively squares, beautiful churches and colourful houses that line the Douro River. Be sure to cross the Dom-Luís I Bridge, a marvel of engineering with spectacular panoramic views of the city and river. 

Lello e Irmão Bookshop, said to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, is a unique place to visit. The neo-Gothic architecture and famous double-entrance wooden staircase will captivate you.  

For some peace and quiet, head to upper Porto and the Crystal Palace Gardens. As you explore, passing from the herb garden to the garden of feelings, to the rose garden, the forest, and more, be sure to take in the breathtaking view over the mouth of the Douro River and the Atlantic Ocean. 

Porto's wineries, most of which are located in Vila Nova de Gaia (on the other side of the Douro, an easy day trip from Porto), are known the world over. Explore the century-old wineries, learn the art of tasting and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Portuguese fortified wine. 

São Francisco Church. Dating from the 14th century, this is one of Porto's most important religious monuments and a dazzling example of Gothic architecture. Inside, the three gilded naves carved out of wood plunge you into the opulence of Portuguese history. 

Also worth a visit: Porto Cathedral, Church of the Clerics and the tower, the Tramway Museum, Bolhão Market, Porto-São Bento train station, Bolsa Palace, Casa da Música, and more.   How Long to Stay in Porto 

It all depends on your preferences and what kind of experience you want to have on your trip to Porto. But it’s entirely possible to visit Porto and its top attractions in just three days, for example. But if you can stay longer, that's even better. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and explore lesser-known neighbourhoods. 

 When to Visit Porto 


Porto has a mild climate, so the weather is nice all year round. It’s only damp in the winter and might rain. The right time to visit Porto depends on your preferences and what kind of experiences you want to have: 

If you want to explore the city as soon as possible, visit Porto in the spring.  

To hit the beach and attend summer events in warmer weather (up to about 25 degrees), visit Porto in the summer.  

To avoid the crowds and still enjoy nice weather, book your trip to Porto in the autumn. 


Finally, wine and port lovers should plan their trip to Porto between September and October to attend the grape harvest, and why not even participate for a day! 

 Getting Around: the Best Way to See Porto 

There are a variety of ways to get around Porto, each offering a distinct experience of this magnificent Portuguese city. We recommend walking through the picturesque alleys of the historic district. For longer distances, public transport, including the famous carros eléctricos (old streetcars with an authentic charm), can come in handy. Finally, a river cruise on the Douro will give you the chance to see Porto in a whole new light. 


Which Visa for a Trip to Porto?



As member of the Schengen Area, Portugal adheres to the short-stay visa policy of this area of free movement of people, meaning that foreign travelers from certain countries are subject to Schengen visa requirements. 


Are you a citizen of the European Union or Schengen Area (or Associated States)? No need for a visa. You can come to Porto and the rest of Portugal, as well as all Schengen Area countries, with a national identity card or passport valid for the duration of your stay. 

Are you a citizen of a country outside the EU and Schengen Area? Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to travel to Portugal and the rest of the Schengen Area, even for a short trip for tourism. See whether your country is on the Schengen visa-free list or not here.   

 How Do I Get a Schengen Visa? 


Do you need a short-stay Schengen visa? Go to the Portuguese consulate's website for your country of residence to find the information you will need and start your Schengen visa application. Please note: if you wish to visit several countries in the Schengen Area, you must specify this in your application.  


Once you have obtained your Schengen visa, be sure to keep your supporting documents with you, including your proof of insurance covering medical and hospital expenses for a minimum of €30,000. The border police may request them when you enter the Schengen Area.  

 Which Schengen Visa Insurance Should You Choose? 


Choose peace of mind for your Schengen visa application and when crossing the border with Schengen travel insurance policies from Europ Assistance.  


Starting at 3 euros, Europ Assistance's Schengen visa travel insurance covers you for medical expenses of up to €60,000 in the event of illness or accident, as well as additional coverage in all Member States of the Schengen Area and European Union (as well as the United Kingdom). 


Apply online and get your proof of insurance immediately, recognized and accepted by Schengen embassies and consulates worldwide.