Travelling Porto With Yellow Bus Tours
After travelling on Yellow Bus Madeira we were delighted to be able to travel on Yellow Bus Tours Porto Portugal. The Yellow Buses are a great way to get to understand the layout of a city and to determine what places you want to see as well as learning interesting facts along the way. It is also great fun looking down at some of the sights and at other times being at the same height, it does give you a great perspective on a city, and of course, great photo opportunities.
Porto is hilly and spread out, the hop on hop off bus saved our legs from tackling the hills.
(article updated January 2020)
You can purchase your ticket in advance for the Yellow Bus Tours here which will save you from queuing. The ticket is valid for 2 days.
The Porto Vintage Tour for 1 day includes the Historical Porto Tour and Porto Castles Tour. The combination of both tours gave us a good feel for Porto City and what Porto has to offer the traveller. Porto has a lot to offer the visitor.
We always suggest getting the most out of a destination that some prior research and reading is required. Porto is one of those cities that because it is spread out you need to plan your visit accordingly.
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Historical Porto Tour – Orange Route
#1 Stop Praca da Liberdade
We boarded the bus at Placa de Liberdade also known as Freedom Square. At the bottom of the square is the iconic Palacio das Cardosas which is now the Intercontinental Hotel Porto. The bronze equestrian statue in the middle of the square is of King Peter IV who holds the constitution of Porto.
To Travel Too Tip
Before joining the tour bus we recommend that you pay a visit to the McDonald’s Restaurant on the square. You may not be a fan of McDonald’s but this is the most beautiful McDonald’s Restaurant in the world. The restaurant itself is a national monument with stunning stained glass windows and chandeliers.
#2 Stop Cathedral of Porto
Porto has some steep hills and one of them is the hill leading up to the 12th-century Cathedral. Another good reason to use the Yellow Bus Tour Porto. There are some stunning views from the Cathedral, so it is well worth the visit. It is the oldest neighbourhood in Porto and it is where King John 1 was married in 1387.
#3 Stop Praca Batalha
Praca Batalha is the next stop along the Orange Route by the tourist bus. Batalha is Portuguese for ‘battle’, well named due to a 10th century battle between the Moors and the residents of Porto who lost the battle and which eventually led to the destruction of the city. Today it is pedestrianized and has a range of cafes, restaurants, monuments and hotels to enjoy.
Porto’s most famous shopping street Rua Santa Catarina is over a mile long and it is always busy with locals and tourists alike. Pay a visit to one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful restaurants at #112 – Cafe Majestic.
Quite close to Rua Santa Catarina is Bolhao Central Market, due to close in 2017 for renovations. A great local buzz, stop off at #shop 9 Bolhao Wine House for some wine, cheese, olive oils and sardines.
The impressive City Hall appears to our right at the top of the Avenida dos Aliados, the building dates back to early 20th century. Check out the 70m high tower and the Carillon clock as you pass by.
#4 Stop Carmo Church
It is worth stopping at the Carmo Church. When you first glance to your right you see only 1 church but if you look closely it is actually 2 churches side by side separated by the smallest narrowest house in Porto, actually probably Portugal with a width of only 1 meter. The Carmo Church is on the right and the Carmelitas Church is on the left. The churches were constructed at different times and the house was constructed so that there was no communication between the monks of the Carmo Church and the nuns from the Carmelitas. There is also a regulation that no two churches should share the same wall, even though it is of the same religion.
The Ribeira area of Porto was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is one of the best areas in Porto for restaurants and bars with views over the Douro River. This is where you can pick up one of the tourist boats for the cruises up the river.
Prince Henry the Navigator was born in the Ribeira district in 1394.
If you want to visit Palacio Bolsa – the stunning Stock Exchange of Porto this is where you will need to get off. The Stock Exchange has 20kg of gold in decorations inside the 19th-century neo-classical palace.
The St Francis Church of Porto is located beside the Stock Exchange, it is also an impressive building and worth a visit.
#6 and #7 Gaia Quay and its surrounds
The Gaia Quay is located to the south of Porto on the other side of the river. You can visit the famous port wine cellars, this is where the port wine is aged and stored as it is cooler on this side of the river. As well, there was a 1% tax levied to bring wine to the north side.
There are some cafes and bars along the waterfront.
There is a small chairlift that takes you from Dom Luis I Bridge to the Porto Wine Cellars.
#8 Porto Viewpoint
This is the stop for the 10-minute walk to the Pocas Junior Port Wine Cellar where you can taste their famous Tawny Ports and wines.
#10 El Corte Ingles
Still on the other side of the Douro River, we passed by the large department store El Corte Ingles, the largest department store group in Europe and is ranking 4th in the world.
#11 Gaia City Hall
The Art Nouveau old family residence built in 1920. It is now the House of Culture and has areas dedicated to musical performances and exhibitions.
#12 Jardim do Morro
The cable car arrives at Jardim do Morro from where you have stunning views over Porto and the Gaia area.
#13 Praca Batalha
The hop on hop off bus winds its way back past the Praca Batalha.
Close to the Clerigos Tower is the Cordoaraia Garden. The Garden is full of 100-year-old plantains set amidst modern and old sculptures.
For all of you who are fans of the Harry Potter London Wizard books and movies by J.K. Rowling Lello Bookshop is located just a few steps from the point. It is here that it is believed that J K Rowling got her inspiration for the 9 3/4 train platform. The books were delivered to the bookshop through the front door on a trolley and into a hole in the wall inside. The staircase in the series has been modelled on the staircase in the book shop and the gowns worn by the students are similar to the gowns worn by the students of Porto University.
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Which was your favourite Harry Potter book?
The Clerigos Church and Tower are also in this location. The Bell Tower is one of Porto’s icons and can be seen from most parts of the city. You can climb 230 steps to the top for some of the best views.
Stops #1 – Stops #4 Praca da Liberdade, Cathedral, Praca Batalha and Carmo Church
The same information is provided for Stops #1 – #4 as the Historical Porto route.
Stops #5 Rosa Mota Pavillion
A large round Pavillion that is now used for sporting and musical events that was opened in 1954 and holds 5, 400 people.
Stops #6 Casa de Musica/Rotunda da Boavista
Casa de Musica (House of Music) houses the Fundacao Casa de Musica and 3 orchestras. It was first opened to the public on the 14th April 2005.
The Rotunda da Boavista is also known as the Praça de Mouzinho de Albuquerque. The statue is of Joaquim Augusto Mouzinho de Albuquerque and is dedicated to the heroes of the Peninsular War during 1808 – 1814.
The longest street in Porto – Boavista Avenue – runs off from this square and ends at the ocean.
Stop #7 Boavista Hotels
Boavista Avenue runs for 5km and it has some incredible homes and hotels that line each side of the Avenue. Some of the architecture dates back to XVIII and XIX century with parks and statues of contemporary art along the avenue, it reminds us of our visit to Merida in Mexico where one of the longest avenues there had stunning architecture and century-old mansions.
Stop #8 Fundacao de Serralves
The Fundacao de Serralves is a cultural institution that includes an Art Museum, a Park and a Villa just off Boavista Avenue. It is one of the most important institutions in Portugal.
Stop # 9 Castelo de Queijo/Sea Life Porto
The biggest aquarium in Porto is the Sea Life Porto. Here you have a chance to see turtles, sharks, clown fish and seahorses just to name a few.
Skip the queues and purchase your tickets to Sea Life Porto before you leave home or when you arrive at Porto.
Stop #10 Anemona
Anemona is a sculpture designed for Porto and the beach suburb of Matosinhos by Janet Echelman.
Stop 11 #Tourism Office/Cruises Terminal
As the name of the stop suggests if you get off here you can visit the Tourism Office and the Cruise Terminal.
Stop 12 # Matosinhos Beaches
Our favourite stop not only for the beach but for the famous Fish Restaurants of Matosinhos. Walk 2 streets back from the beach and enjoy some of the best fish in Porto. Our favourite restaurant here was Casa Serrao at Rua Herois de Franca #521. We had some of the best-grilled sardines and fish here whilst enjoying a chilled Vino Verde.
To Travel Too Tip
If you take the Historical Porto Tour in the morning you can then use this stop to have lunch and catch the Yellow Bus back to the center if you only have 1 day in Porto.
Accommodation available at Matosinhos Beach
Stop #13 and Stop #14 Anemona and Castelo do Queijo are the same as Stops #9 and #10.
Stop #15 Passeio Alegre
The garden built at the end of the 19th Century is located in the suburb of Foz and is a great spot to get off and enjoy the old buildings, fountains and gardens.
Stop #16 Fluvial
Fluvial is Porto’s sports and recreation center.
Stop #17 Tramcar Museum
The Tramcar Museum is an old electricity station in Porto showcasing the history of the trams in Porto.
Stop #18 Cordoaria/Clerigos
Same details as the Historical Porto Tour.
General Information on Yellow Bus Tour Porto and Yellow Bus Timetables
The Porto Vintage Tour includes the Historial Porto Tour and the Porto Castles Tour.
Historical Porto Tour Schedule – Yellow Bus Porto Timetable
October June – 09.30 to 17.30 (every 30 minutes)
July – September – 09.20 to 18.00 (every 20 minutes)
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Porto Castles Tour Schedule
October June – 09.20 to 17.20 (every 40 minutes)
July – September – 09.00 to 17.30 (every 30 minutes)
Duration: 2 hours
Don’t forget to collect your Yellow Bus Porto Discount Book with discounts available for:
- food and drink outlets
- leisure and culture establishments
- port and wine stores
- sports and adventures
Other Yellow Bus Tours in Portugal Cities:
Where To Stay in Porto
Porto has a range of accommodation to suit all budgets. We stayed at the Hotel Intercontinental in Porto.
Read our review for 5-star luxury right in the heart of Porto is the Intercontinental Hotel.
For more information on where to stay in Porto:
There is a range of accommodation in Porto through Airbnb.
If this is your first time booking an Airbnb property we have a special discount that will save you $$$ off your first booking.
There are so many restaurants, cafes and bars in Porto check out Tripadvisor’s top recommendations.
Getting Into Porto
Eurail: With a Eurail Pass it is easy to travel the length and breadth of Europe and in particular Portugal.
Flight Deals to Porto
For the latest flight deals compare prices on Skyscanner here:
Travelling from the USA – click here
Travelling from the UK – click here
Travelling from Australia – click here
Travelling from the rest of the world – click here
Car Rental: Car Rental is available from the airport and downtown.
Bus Travel Around Portugal
For the latest bus schedules and ticket prices for Portugal click here.
For your sightseeing Porto adventures, we highly recommend the Porto Hop on Hop off Yellow Bus Tours. We thank Yellow Bus Tours for our complimentary tickets for the Porto Vintage Tour.
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We had been given 2 complimentary tickets from Yellow Bus Tours in exchange for our reviews. All opinions in this review remain our own and we were in no way influenced by the company.
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Have a Question on Porto?
Before you visit Porto and Portugal you may want to do more research, here are our top picks from a range of Amazon Guide Books.
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