Last Updated: April 21, 2022

Porto In Winter: Weather, Packing & Highlights

If you’re on the search for a European destination suited to a short winter break, you have many awesome European cities that suit the winter months. Chances are you’re probably considering somewhere with snow for your winter trip and not considering this European city, Porto.

Porto in winter is a wonderful place to spend some time. Not only is it packed full of culture thanks to its rich history, but it’s also right on the Atlantic Ocean meaning you have everything from great sightseeing with lots of attractions to discover as well as beaches worth visiting too.

Most people tend to visit Porto, Portugal in the high season summer months but by being there during winter, the best hotels are very affordable, the city center isn’t crowded, and you get to explore this new city without any extra cost.

Join me as we take a dive into everything you need to know about Porto in Winter so you can get excited about visiting Porto this coming winter.


weather in porto

The first thing everyone thinks about when traveling in winter is the weather and for good reason too. Wind and rain can make or break a trip to a new city so how is the weather in Porto in winter?

Winter in Porto runs from December to March and like all the cities in Portugal, it sees a much tamer winter than the rest of Europe. That being said, it isn’t as sunny as the Algarve in South Portugal but the culture and festivities more than make up for it.

Temperatures in Porto in winter run from a minimum daytime low of 10ºC which is 50°F and a maximum daytime temperature of 16ºC which is 60°F. You can expect zero snowfall while you’re there but be prepared for very changeable weather.

It is the rainy season but since you’re on the ocean it never rains all day as the rain will usually push off and the sun will come out. On average you can expect 6 days of rain per month and about 6 hours of sun per day, which adds up to the perfect weather for exploring the beautiful city.

What to Pack

what to pack in porto

Since the average temperature in Porto in winter isn’t actually that cold, what should you wear while you’re there?

Having lived in Portugal for a few years, the cold is colder than you think, especially at night so having some layers is very much a good idea, but when the temperature goes up, a t-shirt and jeans can be all you need. Here is what to pack:

  • Windproof & waterproof jacket for when it rains or there is a cold wind
  • Down jacket or similar for walks around the city at night
  • A few wool jumpers as warm layers
  • Wooly hat and scarf for nights in the city
  • Jeans or other trousers
  • Sneakers for exploring the city
  • Swim shorts for a refreshing dip in the sea if you are brave
  • Sweater dress for the ladies at night
  • Tights for ladies at night
  • Light shirts for when it warms up
  • Sunglasses for the sunny days=
  • Warm socks
  • Smart evening wear for fancy nights out

As you can see, packing for Porto in winter is pretty easy, just be sure to have enough layers to stay warm during the night and be able to strip down to a t-shirt for when it gets nice and warm.

Best Things to Do and See

Visit A Port Wine Cellar

port wine cellar

Something you just have to do when you visit Porto in winter or summer for that matter is to visit a port wine cellar.

Port houses and port tasting experiences are rife in Porto and since it’s the nation’s national drink, it would be a crime not to try some. But, a visit to the port houses in the city offers a lot more than just trying yummy port wine.

The port industry has helped shape the city and region around it, mainly the Douro valley and you’ll find many of the port cellars on the south side of the Douro river which runs straight through the city.

Most tourists opt to go on a guided tour around a wine cellar and it is on the tour where you will learn about the production of port, see the stunning barrels aging the delicious drink, and of course, it finishes up with some wine tasting of different wines.

There are lots of wine cellars and tours to choose from and one of the top ones to discover is Graham’s Port Wine Lodge. The guides on the tour are extremely knowledgeable and you’ll learn a great deal plus the tasting room has an awesome view over the Luis I bridge.

If you want to catch a live fado show and are with kids Calém’s might be more up your street. There is an interactive museum for the kids and the tasting happens with a live fado show too.

Take A Douro River Cruise

douro river cruise

Boat tours along the Douro river operate less frequently than in the summer but there are still boats ready to take you on a cruise down the river.

This is not an activity worth doing when it’s windy, rainy, and foggy, however, but adding it to your Porto itinerary on a sunny day will make it an experience you won’t forget.

There is plenty to see on this beautiful cruise and the main event is the 6 of Porto’s bridges that cross the river. Each bridge is beautiful in itself and very different from the next.

Be sure to sit on the upper deck so you can enjoy pretty views of the city and all its buildings and bridges.

The architecture of the city you’ll be surrounded by is full of inspiration and wonder and you’ll see gorgeous churches and discover an amazing perspective of the city and some of the best views it has to offer.

You usually have to book a tour like this in advance and if that is the case, check the weather and book it for a sunny day. If you can, avoid booking altogether and simply make the decision in the morning. If it is sunny, get on the phone and book this amazing sightseeing tour.

Visit The São Bento Train Station

sao bento train station

The São Bento station is another famous and interesting spot that I highly suggest seeing while you’re in Porto, Portugal. It’s one of Porto’s most famous sights and when you see it, you will understand why.

Sao Bento train station is the main train station in Porto and chances are you will travel through there from Porto Airport if you don’t get a taxi. What makes this train station so special are the tiles you’ll find inside it.

Portugal is known for its beautiful tiles known as azulejo tiles which are tiles that are decorated with beautiful artwork. At the entrance hall to the station, you will find what is probably the best example of how incredible the tiles of this country really are.

You’ll find entire walls decorated in them depicting amazing scenes and events from history such as great battles or old markets. Visiting it is very easy as it is a walk or tram ride away from almost every hotel and it requires no planning whatsoever.

Visit The Chapel of Santa Catarina

Chapel of Santa Catarina -Chapel of Souls

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

A great stop to add to what is a free walking tour itinerary of Porto is the Chapel of Santa Catarina also known as the Chapel of Souls. You will find it located on Rua de Santa Catarina in a busy pedestrian area of Porto that is filled with locals.

The church dates back to the 18th century and it got its name as it was the Brotherhood of Souls who moved from the monastery of Santa Clara to the chapel of Santa Catarina in Porto.

The most impressive thing about the building is the tile work on the outside as it is decorated with some 16,000 “azulejos” on its outer facade. The blue and white tiling makes this building stand out on the street and the tile work is nothing short of gorgeous.

Once you have marveled at the outside, you can step inside for a quick look too as it is open during the day every day except Sunday.

Visit Clerigos Church

Clerigos Church

Porto is famous for its amazing churches and if there is one church you should see while in Porto it is Clérigos Church. Nestled in the heart of the city, the church was built in the mid-1700s in a baroque style and is nothing short of stunning.

Inside you will find the building is made from pink marble with golden leafs adorning archways and lots more. It is incredibly popular with tourists and for good reason and the best time to be there is around 12 pm as there is a free pipe organ concert every day.

Not only is the church architecturally amazing but you can also access the 72-meter bell tower and the Museum of Brotherhood for a small 5 euro fee. The museum is very enlightening as to the history of the church and the bell tower might be the best place to find reaching views across Porto and see it in all its glory.

The church is located on R. de São Filipe de Nery and you can either walk there, get a tram, or hop in a taxi. It’s in the middle of Porto so you will never be very far away from it.

Go On A Day Trip Near Porto

While you’re in Porto, Portugal, why not spend a day outside of Porto and see what else the region of Portugal has to offer? There are numerous day trips available from Porto and you will be spoiled for choice. The hard part is choosing just one.

If you like wine then perhaps a tour around the nearby and famous wine-growing region of the Douro Valley might be right up your street. It is often cooler than Porto but has a lot less rainfall and therefore is also a good option when the heavens open in Porto.

The valley is absolutely beautiful and when you add the opportunity of tasting some of the best late bottled vintage wine in the region, how could you say no? Booking a vineyard tour is incredibly easy and you have the option of having a private tour or a more affordable group tour.

Another excellent day trip option if the sun is shining is going to the beach. If you’re brave enough, having a dip in the ocean will be incredibly refreshing or you can even book some surf lessons and enjoy splashing around and hopefully riding some waves for a few hours.

Visit Porto’s Most Famous Bookshop

Livraria Lello Bookshop

A place in Porto that simply has to be visited is Livraria Lello, the most famous bookshop in Porto.

Livraria Lello has been a bookstore since 1869 and is filled with hundreds of years of history. If you can see beauty in books and the building they are housed in, this book shop will blow you away.

The library is warmly lit across two floors with a huge open plan and amazing wooden banisters and staircases that bring the whole place together.

Livraria Lello was made famous as being a site of inspiration for J.K. Rowling as she lived in Porto for 2 years in the 1990s. This has made the bookshop very busy with visitors and nowadays you have to pay a 3 euro entrance fee to get inside.

Once inside though, you will see as to how and why some of the scenes of Harry Potter may have been inspired by the magical looks of the library.

Watch A Concert in Casa da Musica

Casa da Musica

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

If you love music and want to see a concert while you’re in Porto then you should add watching a concert at Casa da Musica to your trip. The building itself is architecturally astounding and you can even book a guided tour to see it during the day if you like.

But, what makes Casa da Musica so special are the acoustics, and seeing a concert here is something everyone who has visited Porto should have done.

Casa da Musica was designed by Rem Koolhaas, a Dutch architect, and is one of the most original buildings in Porto. If you walked past it, you’d ask, what building is that and take an interest.

Sitting between the Foz area and Proto’s old town, the Casa da Música (“House of Music”) was built in 2001 when Porto was named the cultural capital of Europe. It’s acoustically designed to host multiple styles of music from fado to classical concerts and even electronic music and jazz.

Everything from a string quartet to a full orchestra sounds amazing in this building and you should be sure to book a ticket to one of their many concerts with a delicious dinner beforehand.

Visit The Stock Exchange Palace

Stock Exchange Palace

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Stock Exchange Palace, normally referred to as the Palácio da Bolsa is another place you simply have to see while visiting Porto, Portugal. It’s particularly great to see in winter as its greatness is not affected by the weather anyway whatsoever.

The Palácio da Bolsa is renowned as one of the most beautiful buildings in Porto and it doesn’t have this reputation for no reason. You will find it located in the historic center of Porto on Infante D. Henrique Square and it is so special that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Construction started on the building in 1840 and it was structurally complete by 1850 but the interior and other architectural marvels were not all fully installed until 1910. Over 60 years, the incredible additions such as the stairway and the Arab Room), the metallic dome of the courtyard, and the Tribunal Room really made this one of the most special buildings in Portugal and Europe.

Your visit will include a guided tour which is very informative and doesn’t drag on too long. I’d also recommend booking online so that you are guaranteed a spot and don’t get turned away at the door.

Go On A Food Tour Around Porto

If there is one thing we all love in winter, it’s food and there is no better way of getting to know Porto and its delicious delicacies than going on a food tour around it.

Now, you can take to the streets without a guide and have a load of fun hopping from restaurants to bars and cafes to eat lunch and dinner while having a taste of what each restaurant has to offer.

But you can also book a food tour and while this might not be cheaper, you will have a chance to meet some new people, taste the best of what Porto’s food has to offer, go to the best restaurants in town, and chances are your guide will tell you a story of the city as you go, so you’ll learn a lot too.

If I was you, I’d do both as they both will be a ton of fun!

About the Author Anna Timbrook

Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.

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