Whether you are a fan of public transport or just prefer to walk and travel away from the colourful tourist buses this post may be for you. We have organized a three-day self guided public transport and walking tour to get you around Portugal’s second largest city. You can follow the whole tour or use the relevant public transport information to make your own choice of the places to visit.
Tickets and price
The complete tour requires:
- 10x Andante Z2 tickets (buying 10 will give you one free): 12€
- 1x cable-car ticket: one way adult/children 5€/2,5€
- 1x Funicular dos Guindais ticket: 2€
- 1x touristic tram ticket: 2,5€
with a total of 21,50€
If you plan to vist some of the museums indicated, a better option may be Porto Card for 3 days (21,50€) with unlimited usage of public transport plus discounts on museums, restaurants, bars and shows.
(2x Andante Z2: 2,40€ + 1x cable-car ticket:5€)
Start your day by visiting Bolhão market and enjoying the morning movement of buyers and vendors.
Continue your morning shopping going up Rua Santa Catarina shopping street until you reach Batalha. Here you can admire São João National Theater and Santo Idelfonso church. If it is too hot or too cold just stop to recover your energy in one of the many cafes that populate this area.
Descend Rua de Santo António again towards Avenida dos Aliados and visit Santo António dos Congregados church and São Bento railway station at the end of this street. If the time is right, have lunch around Avenida dos Aliados before continuing. The last stop is Porto’s cathedral just a few hundred meters up the hill.
On your way back from Porto’s cathedral and just at the end of hill there is the metro entrance. You’ll take route D (yellow), the only one passing at this station. The direction is Santo Ovídio and you will ride just until the next stop Jardim do Morro, but don’t miss the superb views as the tram crosses Dom Luís bridge. The stop at Jardim do Morro is just a few meters away from Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar which is still part of Porto’s UNESCO heritage site. Part of the monastery re-open at the end of 2012 and is now possible to visit. There are guided tours to the monastery lantern tower with remarkable views of the river and the city.
Your next stop is the riverfront. If you still have the energy you can make your way down through the narrow streets, otherwise take the cable car (separate ticket, one way adult/children 5€/2,50€). Once down visit one of the Port wine cellars and walk towards Dom Luís bridge. If it is already dinner time, choose one of the many restaurants on either side of the river. To go back to Avenida dos Aliados take the Funicular dos Guindais whose entrance is right next to ponte Dom Luís. During the summer it operates until 00:00 on the weekends and 22:00 on weekdays. It takes you to Batalha, behind São João National Theater from where you can make your way down to Avenida dos Aliados.
(3x Andante Z2: 3,60€ + 1x tourist tram ticket:2,5€)
Starting again from Avenida dos Aliados, on the west side of the square (opposite to Macdonalds) you will find a bus stop with buses 900, 901 and 906 towards Santo Ovídio, Valadares and Madalena respectively. Any of them will take you down to Ribeira. If you feel like it, you can also walk yourself down (about 20min). Exit at Palácio da Bolsa stop to visit Palácio da Bolsa. Within walking distance you also have Igreja São Francisco, Casa do Infante, Praça da Ribeira as well as the entrance for many of river sightseeing tours. Still within walking distance but slightly further west is Transport and Communication Museum. Bus 500 stops in every stop west along the river river, so once you are done, take it towards Matosinhos Mercado and exit at Museu do Vinho do Porto which is about one or two stops further depending on where you catch the bus. The museum entrance is free on Saturdays and Sundays. The following stop is Museu do Carro Eléctrico (Tram museum) where you can learn about the history of the trams and buses in Porto.
Right in front of the museum you can take historical tram 18 which will bring you all the way up to Carmo. Exit here (this is the last stop) and start by appreciating Igreja do Carmo’s azulejo side facade, just behind the tram stop. The large building at the centre of the square is University of Porto Rectorate Building. The prision-like yellow building (which was in fact a prison), just behind Cordoaria garden, houses Porto’s Photography Museum (free entrance). Lello Bookshop is also close by and you will surely not miss Porto’s iconic sight, Torre dos Clérigos and the adjacent church.
You can end your day in this area as the streets behind Lello Bookshop are part of one of Porto’s main nightlife areas that include many bars open until 4am.
Day 3 (preferably a sunny day)
(6x Andante Z2 – 7,20€)
Prepare your picnic bag and start again at Avenida dos Aliados. Down at the end of the plaza and when facing the city hall turn to your right (east) and walk about 300 meters along the left sidewalk. Once you turn the corner you will see two bus stops. At the first one catch bus 201 towards Viso, and exit at Palácio to visit Palácio de Cristal gardens. Aftwards, hop on bus 201 again and continue to Casa da Música (stop Boavista-Casa da Música) and visit the building.
From Casa da Música and at the same bus stop where you left bus 201, you should now take bus 203 towards Castelo do Queijo. The bus follows one of the most important and longest Porto’s boulevards, Avenida da Boavista, connecting Boavista area with the ocean. Bus 203, however, will turn left about halfway from it and stop next to Serralves Museum and Gardens (stop Serralves – note that two stops after this one there is a stop named Serralves (Museu) it is also fine to get out here but the first one will get you closer to the entrance.) Enjoy your time visiting Porto largest modern art museum and its gardens.
When you leave, go back to the same bus stop. You’ll take again bus 203 towards Castelo do Queijo and exit only at the last stop Castelo do Queijo.
Go back: To go back to the city centre exit through the museum door and circle the outside wall through your left until you reach the car parking door. In front of it there is a small park and on the other side of the park, slightly to your left there is a bus stop. Here you can take bus 207 which will stop in front of São Bento railway station.
Once you reach Castelo do Queijo you are at one of the entrances of Portugal’s largest city park and at the ocean front. You can visit the Castle and Sea Life and picnic at the park while enjoying the sun or sunset. From here you can take bus 500 or 502 towards Matosinhos Mercado. The bus stop is the one right in front of Sea Life. Exit at stop Lota, cross the street and keep walking along the side of Intermaché till you reach the next street. Here you can choose from the dozens restaurants whose speciality is grilled fish. Around June and July don’t miss the grilled sardines.
To help with the digestion walk back along this street and turn right towards the ocean. Walk along the shore until you reach the big roundabound with the sculpture. This is “She Changes” by Janet Echelman. If the weather allows it, have an ice cream and enjoy the sea breeze or go for a drink at one of the beach bars.
The last bus 500 towards Loios (Avenida dos Aliados) passes at around 00:15. If you miss it, you have bus 1M hourly starting at 00:30. Either of them will get you back to Avenida dos Aliados. Bus 500, however, will give you a worthy nightly tour of Porto’s ocean and river front.