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Excursions from Porto -Barcos - Aveiro

Day-tours around Porto

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If you’re staying in Porto long enough, be sure to explore the surroundings of the city: you’ll find plenty to do around Porto!

What to do around Porto? Here are the Captain’s favourites!

💡 The Captain’s tip 💡

🧐 Want to know more about Porto’s history? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the city. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!

💤 Looking for an hotel in Porto? Be sure to check out the Captain’s article: Where to stay in Porto? Advice & recommendations

🏛 Planning your trip to Porto? Be sure to check out Captain Ulysses’ complete article on what to see and do in the city: a Guide to Porto

👶 Planning a family adventure to Porto? Discover all of the Captain’s top tips in the article: Exploring Porto with the Kids: Family-Friendly Activities

Aveiro (+ Matosinhos)

75 kilometers south of Porto, Aveiro is a picture-postcard town which the Captain definitely recommends visiting! Nestled in a lagoon by the ocean, the city is mostly known for its picturesque canals, its barcos moliceiros (rowboats), its Art Nouveau buildings and its colorful houses.

Gourmets will also seize the occasion to taste the local specialty: ovos moles, a delicious dessert made with eggs and sugar.

If you are staying a few days in the region of Porto, Captain Ulysses can only recommend taking some time to explore Aveiro.

If you’re headed to Aveiro by car or train, the Captain suggests making a pit stop in Matosinhos on the way back to enjoy the gorgeous beach and maybe even treat yourself to a surfing session!

💡 Practical information 💡

To get to Aveiro, several possibilities:
• taking the train, it is the cheapest option
• renting a car. To find the best deal on a rental car, the Captain highly recommends using Rentalcars.
• opting for an organized day trip, so as not to miss any of the treasures of Aveiro. The Captain recommends two day trips in particular: a 4-hour day trip (perfect if you’re running on a tight budget) / a 10-hour day tour (Aveiro, Paiva Walkways and Arouca 516 Footbridge) .

Sao Jacinto Natural Reserve

Nestled at the end of the peninsula formed by the Ria de Aveiro, west of Aveiro, the Sao Jacinto Natural Reserve is heaven on earth for nature lovers!

With their white sand beaches, dunes, pine forests and marshes, the landscapes are quite simply spectacular. Four trails ( 40-minute to 3-hour hikes) start from the interpretation centre. In the reserve, you’ll find observation specifically platforms designed for bird watching.

Sao Jacinto is also one of Portugal’s hotspots for surfing enthusiasts.

💡 Practical information 💡

The easiest way to get to Sao Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve is renting a car for the day: you’ll be able to explore Aveiro, Sao Jacinto and Matosinhos. Otherwise, you’ll need to take the train in Porto, hop on a ferry in Aveiro, and either walk 4km or rent a bike to get to the reserve.

👉 Find out more in the Captain’s dedicated article: Sao Jacinto nature reserve

The Douro Valley

Attention, nature lovers and wine enthusiasts! You’ve visited the Port wine cellars in Porto? To complete the visit, nothing beats a trip to the Douro Valley, where the vines are grown and the grapes are vinified before being transported to Vila Nova de Gaia to continue aging.

Get ready for a quinta (farm) tour and explore the local vineyards grown on terraced hillsides in the Douro Valley. The Captain suggests taking a scenic river cruise for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

💡 Practical information 💡

To experience the Douro Valley, there are several options:
• rent a car if you’d rather be free to stop whenever/wherever you want
• opt for an day tour, which includes a cruise on the Douro.
👉 The Captain highly recommends this tour, which includes transportation in a minivan, visits to 2 quintas, wine and port tastings, lunch, and a leisurely river cruise.”

Braga & Guimaraes

Both located 55 kilometers north of Porto (and 25 kilometers from each other), Guimarães and Braga are lovely historic towns which are definitely worth visiting if you have time enough!

In Braga, don’t miss out on the stunning Monastery of Bom Jesus and Cathedral. In Guimarães, check out the impressive Castle and Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. Take time to wander the charming and lively historic centers of both cities.

💡 Practical information 💡

There are several options for exploring Braga and Guimarães from Porto,
including renting a car for the day,
or taking the cheap and frequent trains from the center of Porto.
Note that the Monastery of Bom Jesus and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro are located outside the city and will require a bus to reach.
You can also book a guided tour. The Captain Ulysse recommends this particular tour, which includes hotel pickup, transportation in a minibus, a guide, entrance fees, and lunch with a drink.

👉 Find out more in Captain Ulysses’ detailed articles: Guimarães & Braga


While the Captain recommends spending more than just a day in Coimbra, you can always opt for a day tour from Porto if you don’t have time enough to spend the night. One of the Coimbra’s top tourist attractions is undoubtedly its university, one of the oldest in Europe! The city also counts beautiful churches and monasteries, as well as a very fine museum, the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro.

The charming city center, with its winding and hilly streets, is a true favorite of Captain Ulysses in Portugal.

💡 Practical information 💡

To get to Coimbra from Porto, there are several options:
• rent a car
• take the train

• book a day tour: the Captain recommends this day tour, which also stops at Fatima, a mythical sanctuary where the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared to three young shepherds in 1917. The day tour from Porto includes pick-up at your hotel, transport by minibus, the services of an English-speaking guide and lunch.

👉 Looking for tips to plan your vacation in Porto? You might find these articles of interest:

👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!

👉 Looking for the perfect place to stay in Porto?


👉 Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all the Captain’s suggestions in Porto!

🛏️ Accommodation: When it comes to reserving your stay in Porto, Captain Ulysses wholeheartedly recommends using Booking.com. or Expedia. You’ll find a wide range of options, from cozy youth hostels to luxurious boutique hotels. Here are the Captain’s personal suggestions:
– Youth hostels: Gallery Hostel / The Passenger Hostel / Rivoli Cinema Hostel
– Budget-friendly hotels: Moov Hotel Porto Centro / Rex Hotel / Decanting Porto House
– 3 and 4-star hotels: Village Aparthotel By BOA / Mo House / Fontinha Porto
– Upscale hotels: Pestana Vintage Porto / Yeatman Hotel / InterContinental Porto

🎟️ Activities: museums, monuments, guided tours, boat tours, excursions… there’s plenty to do in Porto! To avoid wasting time in endless queues, especially during high season, the Captain strongly recommends that you opt for skip-the-line tickets and book your activities in advance. You can book all your tickets and tourist activities on GetYourGuide and Civitatis.

⛵ Cruises: Porto is undoubtedly synymous with Douro! It’d be a shame to leave the “Capital of the North” without embarking on a Douro river cruise. If you’re only staying in Porto for a long weekend, the Captain recommends the six bridges cruise. If you have more time, then he highly recommends the Douro Valley cruise with wine tasting & lunch.

🎫 Citypass: valid from 1 to 4 days, the Porto Card includes unlimited access to city transport (including to get to/from the airport), free entry to 6 museums and a selection of discounts in museums, attractions, Port wine cellars and shops.

🚐 Transfers: you can take the metro at the airport to get to the city center (1/2 hour). But if you prefer to avoid public transport, you can also book a transfer at very reasonable prices.

🚌 Local transport: you’ll propably quickly tire of Porto’s steeply sloping streets and might be tempted to take local transport instead of walking. The public transport network is convenient and easy to navigate. You can buy your tickets directly at metro stations and bus stops (be careful, you will need to take 1 Andante card per person).
You should also know that access to public transport is included in the Porto Card. Otherwise, the hop-on hop-off bus tours are great options to explore the city. You can also opt for a pass including access to hop-on hop-off buses, the funicular as well as tramways.
Among other means of transport, you can also try the bicycle, the electric bicycle, the segway, the tuk-tuk, the small train

✈️ Flights: to book your flights to Porto, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.

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