Porto for a weekend
Porto might be the second biggest city in Portugal but you can see and experience a lot in two days. With careful planning Porto can be your next weekend destination. Take an early morning flight from London and you can land between 9 and 10am in Porto.
From the airport take the metro to the city. The metro runs every 30 minutes and the journey takes approximately 30mins.
Look out for Azulejos
As many of the famous sights are relatively close to each other, the best way to discover Porto is on foot. So once you reached the centre, forget the public transport. Have a strong coffee in one of the small cafés and then walk to Igreja do Carmo. Admire the azulejos (painted ceramic tiles) on its exterior. And look out for the narrowest house in Portugal, squeezed between Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas. It was built between the two churches as by law no two churches could share a wall. Continue to Clérigos Tower and for the first great views climb its steep, narrow steps. But don`t worry if you don`t want to do that as there will be plenty of opportunity to enjoy some great city views from one of the vantage points dotted around the city.
From Clérigos Tower walk to São Bento station. The interior of this unique train station is decorated with around 20 thousand azulejos. For more azulejos head to Igreja de Santo Ildefonso and then continue to Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina. In this area you can almost certainly find a café or restaurant to have a bite for lunch. After lunch you should also treat yourself to a strong coffee and a pastel de nata.
In the afternoon stroll along the narrow streets to the Sé (Porto Cathedral). From the square in front of the church, enjoy some excellent views. And then make your way down to the riverside. Don`t be afraid to follow the narrow steep cobbled streets, most of them will lead you down to the River Douro. Spend a lazy hour with a glass of wine in one of the lively bars with views towards Vila Nova Gaia across the river.
After a rest continue to explore the narrow streets, and look out for a small rustic restaurant or taberna where you can enjoy an authentic Portuguese dinner.
Cross the iconic Ponte Luis I on the upper deck. From the bridge there are some fantastic views towards Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. It might take a while to walk across as you will almost certainly stop to take photos or just drink in the views.
Once you've crossed the bridge make your way to Mosteiro de Serra do Pilar. Perched on the hilltop, overlooking Vila Nova de Gaia, the monastery enjoys a Unesco Heritage status.
Drink in the sweeping views from the terrace outside. As part of the tour you can climb the narrow steps up to the dome for further views. Make your way down to the river. Stroll along the riverfront, lined with cafés and restaurants. You can easily grab lunch here or look out for a small market hall where you can taste some tapas-like local food.
Vila Nova de Gaia is home to countless port wine lodges and your time in the city would`t be complete without visiting one of them. From the river you can easily find one of the well established cellars. Most of them offer a 30-50mins tour in their cellars with a port tasting at the end. If you don`t want to do the full tour most of the lodges offer tasting only.
After visiting a lodge stroll back to the river and walk across the bridge, this time on the lower deck. Continue on Cais de Riberia and then make your way to Palacio de Bolsa. You can join a guided 45 minutes tour of the former stock exchange. After the tour go and see Igreja de São Francisco next door.
And then probably need to start thinking about dinner. Head to Rua das Flores and you will be guaranteed to find a cosy restaurant or snack bar to treat yourself.