Porto in summer: best things to do and see

Cruise down the River Douro, try surfing at Póvoa de Varzim, or go quad–biking through the mountains of Serras do Porto; there’s plenty to do in Porto in summer. Here are the 10 best summer activities.

Are you looking for summer activities in Porto? Good news, as this northern Portuguese city is at its absolute best when the sun is shining. Those famous landmarks look great in good weather, there are plenty of choices for family fun in the sun, and even the food seems to taste better.

This summer guide helps you discover the best activities for your vacation in Porto. Sit back and relax on a comfortable boat trip down the river Douro or get your heart rate up with a kayak adventure at the Peneda-Gerês Park or a quad bike tour around the Serros do Porto mountains. Discover the beauty of the natural areas around the city with surfing, river tours, and all kinds of watersports and embrace the magic of Porto in summer - here are the 10 best summer activities to do.

Best outdoor activities

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1. Explore the beautiful countryside of the Peneda-Gerês Park

Embrace the spirit of adventure with a thrilling day trip that will take you out of the city and into the lush surroundings of Peneda-Gerês Park. You'll hike, swim and explore a traditional Portuguese village, where a spectacular lunch is waiting for you.

Highlights:

Keep an eye out for wildlife during your Peneda-Gerês Park Tour with lunch. You might even catch a glimpse of the park's wild horses.

Meeting point:

Meeting point varies. Tours start at 8:30 AM.

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2. Go on a quad bike adventure through the Serras do Porto

Discover the Serras do Porto mountain range, one of the most beautiful natural areas near Porto. These rugged mountains are packed with fascinating secrets, from mysterious Neolithic sites to Roman ruins.

Highlights:

See the mountains in style with a Serras do Porto Natural Park Quad Bike Tour. Watch out for the animals that live here, including several species of bats.

Meeting point:

Meeting point and start times vary.

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3. Nibble your way around the city on a foodie walking tour

Porto's amazing local cuisine is delicious at any time of year, but there's nothing like the summer sun to make things taste even better. Join a Delicious Food and Wine Walking Tour and spend a leisurely morning enjoying Portuguese food and drinks.

Highlights:

You'll have three types of Port wine to try on this tour; when you've finished, you might well be in need of an afternoon siesta.

Meeting point:

Rua de Passos Manuel, 4000.427 Porto. Tours start at 10:00 AM.

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4. Cycle along the river as the sun sets

It's too hot to do much by day, so wait for the evening and join a sunset cycle tour of the city. You'll get the best views in town as the early evening rays reflect off the River Douro, transforming Porto into a magical landscape of lights.

Highlights:

Your guide will provide you with fruit and bottled water to keep you going on this Sunset Porto Bike Tour. You'll go all the way to the beautiful City Park, which has wonderful cycle paths to explore.

Meeting point:

Rua Nova da Alfândega 108, 4050-385 Porto. Tours start at 5:00 PM.

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5. Explore the rolling vineyards of the Douro Valley

Get out of the city and spend a day in one of the most beautiful parts of Portugal. The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its gorgeous landscapes and incredible gourmet heritage. It's the perfect place to go for a summer day trip.

Highlights:

If you're a foodie at heart, then you'll love this wine tasting with lunch. You'll enjoy heavenly wines as well as all kinds of delightful local produce.

Meeting point:

Rua das Carmelitas 50-118, 4050-161 Porto. Tours start at 8:15 AM.

Best water activities

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6. Take a river cruise down the Douro

After a long day of sightseeing, there's no better way to cool off than with a nice sea breeze. A cruise down the River Douro, Porto's main artery, is a great way to end the day. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins as you get near the estuary.

Highlights:

Your private charming sailboat tour on the Douro River includes a complementary glass of local wine. Make sure to drink a toast to this beautiful city.

Address and opening hours:

Rua da Praia, 4400-554 Vila Nova de Gaia. Start times vary.

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7. Enjoy a kayaking workout at the Peneda-Gerês Park

There's nothing better than a refreshing swim in the summer months. The best place in Porto to enjoy the water is the Peneda-Gerês National Park, which boasts a wonderful blue lake. Try swimming, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding here.

Highlights:

Get out of the city with this Peneda-Gerês Park excursion. As well as having fun with your kayak, you'll be able to hike to a stunning nearby waterfall.

Address and opening hours:

Peneda-Gerês National Park, 4845-999 Portugal. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM. Closed Sunday-Monday.

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8. Go stand-up paddleboarding down the Paiva River

Paddleboarding has become one of the hippest watersports around. You'll need a great sense of balance to stay upright as you cruise down the Paiva River, but don't worry if you fall. The water is clear, clean, and great for swimming.

Highlights:

You'll paddle down the river on this SUP Paiva River Tour until you reach a lovely waterfall. Enjoy the picturesque scenery as you glide along the water.

Meeting point:

Meeting point and start times vary.

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9. Master the art of surfing at Póvoa de Varzim

The beaches in the suburb of Póvoa de Varzim are perfect for surfers of all levels. You'll find an enormous stretch of white sand that runs for over 7 miles, with great waves breaking on the shore. This is Porto's top spot for surfing and watersports.

Highlights:

Test your skills with a half-day surf lesson. A certified instructor will help you learn the art of balancing on the board as you enjoy the Atlantic waves.

Address and opening hours:

4490-407 Póvoa de Varzim. Open 24 hours.

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10. Cruise down the Lima River with a kayak tour

Get your adrenaline pumping as you discover one of the most beautiful places in Northern Portugal. Even in this land of rivers, the Lima stands out for its sheer beauty and unspoiled nature. It's the perfect place to enjoy some watersports.

Highlights:

A kayak tour of the Lima River is a great way to see this clean, unpolluted waterway for yourself. As well as the great scenery, there are some fast-flowing dams to keep things interesting.

Meeting point:

Parque da Fonte Santa, 4980-123 Portugal. Start times vary.

FAQs

Where can I go swimming or relax by the water in Porto?

You have several options. If you're looking for beaches, try Matosinhos or Póvoa de Varzim. There are also a number of rivers in the area. The Douro is the most famous, but there are lots of small tributaries you can explore, too.

Are there any great summer festivals in Porto?

In the summer months, there are several music festivals in and around Porto. If you're looking for something more traditional, then visit on the night of the 23rd of June. The festival of São João involves celebrations, fireworks, and barbecues on the beach. It's a wonderful time when the whole city joins in the fun.

What are the must-visit outdoor attractions in Porto?

Many of the best outdoor attractions in Porto are water-based. Try visiting the beaches in the city's suburbs, or discover the River Douro. This mighty waterway runs right through the heart of the city.

What are some great day trips to take from Porto in the summer?

The Douro Valley is an excellent choice if you'd like to indulge in a bit of culture, as there are lots of options for wine tasting and exploring vineyards. For adventure, nothing beats Peneda-Gerês Park, with its lakes, rivers, and hiking trails.

What are some fun activities with kids in Porto in summer?

Try taking the kids to try watersports like surfing or stand-up paddleboarding. Kayaking in a two-person boat is always a fun option for parents with children.