The city of Porto is one of the most romantic locations in Portugal. With its rich history, castles, and the river that flows through it, the city has become an international attraction to honeymooners looking for a unique destination.
When to visit Porto
The best time to visit Porto is during the months of April through October. During these months, you will enjoy warm days and nights with little precipitation. In the summer months, it can reach up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit making the coastal areas the perfect honeymoon destination. In the spring and fall, you can expect highs in the 60s and 70s. After October you can expect a few showers during your stay, but I wouldn’t let that stop you from visiting. The low clouds and fog create a mystical feel that can truly enhance your honeymoon.
Where to stay in Porto
Foz do Douro is a beautiful area that allows you to overlook the ocean and enjoy the sunsets along the water’s edge. There are several high-end restaurants in the area for romantic dining experiences and high-end shopping.
On our recent trip to Porto, we stayed at the Vila Foz Hotel & Spa and can not recommend it enough. We stayed in a room with a sunset view and enjoyed the spa area which includes a luxury pool and comfortable massage therapy rooms that are almost cave-like.
Breakfast is included with your stay that including champaign, oysters, and a plethora of other great items. For dinner, we recommend a tasting menu from the Vila Foz Restaurant, which just recently earned a Michelin star.
What really makes the hotel stand out is the high-caliber service provided by the staff and the location right on the ocean. Make sure you give yourself some free time to relax during your trip.
Things to do in Porto
Sé (Cathedral) de Porto
One of the most iconic buildings in Portugal, it has an impressive façade with two towers and is located right next to the river.
Torre dos Clérigos
The 199-foot tower is a historic icon of the city with an observation deck that provides amazing views of the entire city. A ticket to climb the tower includes a tour of the church as well. With its Neo-Gothic style, it is one of the best examples of this architectural style in all of Portugal.
WOW aka World of Wine is a cultural district located in Vila Nova de Gaia built into the centuries-old Port wine cellars. The area is a foodie destination with 7 museum experiences focused on Wine, the history of Portugal, Chocolate, Cork, and more. There are 12 restaurants with unique concepts and menus.
We really enjoyed Root & Vine, a vegetarian restaurant, and The Golden Catch, a seafood restaurant. They are located next to each other and diners can choose from either menu.
Plan to spend a day or two at WOW to enjoy the museums eat some great food, and taste some wine.
Take A Tour of The Douro Valley
If you are spending time in Porto, don’t miss a trip to the Douro Valley. There are day tours that last all days or you can stay a night or two to have a more relaxed stay.
We took a day tour with LivingTours that included several stops, visiting a winery, lunch, and a boat tour. While the tour is advertised as returning to Porto, we stayed the night in Pinhao and they dropped us off there.
The views in the Douro Valley are absolutely amazing and pictures do not do it justice! We especially enjoyed Quinta da Roeda which had the best views and great service for tastings.
Cruise Down the Douro River
From the Douro River, you can see Porto from a different point of view and there are a variety of cruise options. For a short boat ride to see Porto from below you can go on a 50-minute cruise to see the 5 bridges of Porto, including the bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Additionally, there are cruises lasting several hours and up to 1 week to explore the Douro Valley.
Cais da Ribeira
Meaning “wharf of the river”, it is the perfect place to take a stroll by the water. This area of Porto has narrow streets that are full of life and beautiful scenery. This is where you will board the ships to take a tour of the river.
Palácio da Bolsa
The is a historic building that once served as the seat of the Porto stock exchange. Since its opening in 1884, it has been a symbol of Porto and a historic monument for those who want to know more about the history of Portugal.
We were surprised by how much we enjoyed the stock exchange building which was built over an existing monastery. The highlight of the Palace is the Arab Room decorated in the exotic Moorish Revival style.
Igreja de São Francisco
One of the most distinctive churches in Porto, Igreja de São Francisco is steeped in history. Its exterior has twin bell towers and an impressive courtyard decorated with tiles.
Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
The name of the church is in honor of King Alfonso VII, who was responsible for granting the city its independence back in 1128. Inside you will find a mix of styles that include Romanesque and Gothic elements.
São Bento Train Station
This Neo-Manueline train station built during the second half of the 19th century is a national monument. It has been beautifully preserved and its interior is impressive to see, with chandeliers and an extravagant ceiling and azulejos.
Walk Across Ponte Dom Luís I
The Ponte Dom Luis is one of the most popular crossing points over the Douro river. It is a double-deck bridge with the top level as a pedestrian bridge.
Casa da Música
Known as the “House of Music”, this iconic building is designed in a style that takes inspiration from Gothic architecture. It focuses on art, music, and culture with many different exhibitions throughout the year.
In the early 1900s, this café was a meeting point for many artists in Porto and it has been restored to its former glory where you can enjoy a cup of coffee.
This bookstore opened in 1906 and has been a cultural landmark ever since. It has become a huge attraction because people have attributed it to inspiring aspects of the Harry Potter books, which JK Rawling has denied. Expect long lines, but they tend to slow down in the evening.
Best Day Trips From Porto
Braga is known as the “Rome of Portugal” and has a beautiful cathedral that was built in the 18th century. It has a distinct style with its high towers and grand arches.
Another historic city near Porto, Guimarães is home to the Castle of Guimarães which was the birthplace of Portugal. The castle has an impressive history and is located in a beautiful area with stunning views.
Viana do Castelo
This coastal town is another historical stop along the north of Portugal. It is known for its old-world castles and seafood, making it a great choice for honeymooners to visit.
Porto has so many cultural landmarks that are perfect honeymoon destinations because they’re full of history, art, culture, pretty views, and amazing food. I would recommend renting a car and exploring the city as well as visiting some of the nearby towns.