Leisure activities in Porto for solo, couples, families or friends

Things to do in Porto alone, with your partner or with friends
Updated 2023-11-12 08:27

Whether you're traveling solo, with your partner or with an extended group of family/friends, there are plenty of things to do in Porto catering to all types of visitors. Just stay tuned and find out what sort of activities suit you the best!

Things to do in Porto alone

For anyone moving to Porto alone, we recommend taking a walk through the trendiest street in Porto: the artsy Rua Miguel Bombarda, the city's unofficial art district. Flanked by multiple art galleries, this is Porto's rebellious scream against modern times and a symbol of counter-culture. You can feel it through the alternative clothing shops, the retro-cool decorations and the organic fruit and vegetable markets. Plus, it's also a great place to meet different people from all walks of life! Even if you're not particularly comfortable talking to strangers out of the blue, you may join one of the quarter's many workshops and make new friends while learning a new skill.

Alternatively, don't forget to also check out Casa da Música, Teatro Carlos Alberto, or Teatro Rivoli, some of the city's most famous concert houses and performance halls. You will be granted a show pretty much every single night, providing you with the opportunity to enjoy a lovely night out and attend a concert you soon won't forget.

Things to do in Porto with your partner

Starting with more romantic endeavors, we have to mention that cruising the Douro by boat has to be one of the best and most important things to do in Porto — after all, this river is an essential feature of the city's history and landscape. You can also take a tour through one of the port wine cellars in Cais de Gaia to get an authentic taste of the local culture in Porto. In case you've already made it to the cellars and are looking for a different wine-related activity, you can take your better half to the World of Wine (WOW – Porto), a cultural/exhibition center dedicated to the city's most popular export, where visitors can engage in workshops, try sensorial experiences, visit museums or simply enjoy a meal.

However, if you and your loved one are hoping for a quiet and beautiful green area where to relax, catch up after a day of work, have a picnic or simply read a book, you may take a walk through the Palácio de Cristal Gardens – one of the city's best-kept secrets and a real master class on landscape design where one can find a gorgeous maze of flowers, fountains and statues.

Things to do in Porto with your family

Considering the country's family-oriented mindset, it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of kid-friendly activities in Porto!

The World of Discoveries is one such activity, offering loads of fun and educational activities for kids and grown-ups alike. This interactive museum and exhibition center focuses on the iconic travels of Portuguese sailors and explorers, highlighting the small (or big) ways this tiny country ended up influencing places all over the world. Across the river, in Vila Nova de Gaia, you can also take the family on a day out to the Santo Inácio Zoo and to the nearby Gaia Biological Park. For something a bit more active, you can take your kids to one of the many beaches located 20-30 minutes away from the downtown area, especially in Matosinhos, Foz do Douro or Leça da Palmeira; go for a (literal) walk in the park at Parque da Cidade or through the beautiful Crystal Palace Gardens; or test your accuracy skills at the Foz Minigolf Club.

If you want to keep your kids busy but wish to check out the city as well, catching one of Porto's old trams is a must! There are only 3 lines remaining, but they'll take you along the river banks in a short but very picturesque journey. Alternatively, you may also check the Gaia Cable Car or the Funicular dos Guindais for great views over the Douro. Furthermore, and since Portugal is a nation that is absolutely obsessed with football, catching a local game at Estádio do Dragão (or at Estádio do Bessa, for a more rugged experience) can also be a pretty cool thing to do with kids.

On the other hand, if you happen to get unlucky with the weather and need somewhere indoors to spend time with the kids, why not check what's on display at one of the local theaters or concert halls (such as Rivoli, Sá da Bandeira or Casa da Música)? If that doesn't hit the sweet spot, then you may simply grab a bag of popcorn and catch a movie at one of the city's many cinemas (mostly located inside shopping malls). As an alternative, you can also discover one of the city's many museums, such as the Tram Museum, the Pharmacy Museum or the National Press Museum.

Things to do in Porto with friends

Finally, if you are looking for fun places to visit with your friends, nothing beats a night out at Rua das Galerias de Paris, Porto's most popular nightlife hub, filled to the brim with bars and clubs. If night-owling isn't really your thing, you can hit Rua de Santa Catarina and go on a shopping spree, as this is the city's main pedestrian street, as well as one of its busiest and liveliest!

While exploring the city, it won't take you too long to realize most hang-outs take place around a coffee table. Particularly among the younger generations, it is quite common to go out for a cup of coffee and sit there for hours on end, just talking about life and reminiscing about old times. There are plenty of coffee shops in Porto, but we recommend checking out Senzu, Época, Fábrica, or C'alma. For the ultimate tourist experience, you can check Café Majestic, one of the most beautiful cafes in the world and a place where students, writers and other intellectuals gathered to discuss the country's political situation, while outside the Salazar dictatorial regime persecuted all who opposed him. Unfortunately, Majestic is nothing but a huge, touristy theme park, and no locals ever go there anymore. Plus, prices are ludicrous. Still, for a one-off thing, admiring the insane interiors is probably worth every penny of the (ridiculously) overpriced cup of coffee.

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