Yeah you’re in Porto, Portugal!! But boooo…. it’s raining non-stop! What can you do in Porto when it rains? I list the best indoor activities in Porto that are fun and will make you forget about the rain!
When you planned your trip to Porto, you probably found all the amazing things to do in Porto. You probably checked out Instagram and saw vibrant images with bright colors and blue skies. Sailing on the Douro river, walking tours of the city, it seems Porto is a sunny weather destination.
And Porto in winter is highly promoted as a sunny European city break. But…. There is a little secret: it actually rains quite a lot in Porto!
So what are some fun things to do in Porto when it rains? We had 10 days of heavy rain in Portugal and Porto was no exception. Here are some indoor activities in Porto to entertain you on those rainy days in Porto.
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What to do in Porto in the rain?
When there is a quick shower, you might postpone your plans for an hour or bring out an umbrella and rough it. But when it rains for hours on end, soaking the streets, your jacket, and your shoes, it is a whole different story.
How can you enjoy the beauty of a city when it is grey and you can’t even see the other side of the street? You need to find some activities in Porto for rainy days, to still enjoy what the city has to offer.
Are you visiting Porto and is rain in the forecast? Don’t despair, with these 9 rainy day activities in Porto, you’ll still have a great time.
#1: Drink Port in Porto
Duh! Porto put the “Port” into Portugal so there is no better place in the world than to drink Port in Porto. Go to a bar or restaurant and just start drinking! It might not be the most family-friendly activity in Portugal but you know what they say: when in Rome…
We were quite disappointed with the weather in Porto. We couldn’t see the other end of the street and the weather was awful. It wasn’t cold per sé, just very windy, rainy and miserable.
We couldn’t put up an umbrella either because of the wind and we couldn’t enjoy the views that Porto offers. So, we decided to savor that other thing Porto is famous for Port!
#2: Have a Port wine tasting
If you want some more guidance and explanation to go with your Port, then consider a tour of the Port Cellars in Porto. For us, this was a must-do in Porto, so it was rather convenient that it was one of the best indoor activities in Porto.
There are numerous Port wine cellars in Porto you can visit. You’ll find them on the other side of the river in Gaia district. You can choose your favorite brand, like Pocas or Calem, or an unknown brand and join their tour.
You’ll learn about the brand and the wines and Ports they make. We did a Port Tasting and Tour and learned so much! It is amazing how much dedication and knowledge goes into making these wines and ports. You can just show up and book at the door or book in advance to be certain of your spot.
Can’t decide which cellar to visit? Join a Port Wine Tour and visit 2 different ones!
#3: Fado Performance in Porto
It doesn’t get more Portuguese than with Fado. The melodramatic folk music of Portugal can be best experienced in Portugal. Get a taste of Fado music while you sip your port wine.
You’ll see a performance of two Fado singers, accompanied by Portuguese guitar and viola. The star of the show is the Fado music. You’ll also get a short port wine cellar tour and can taste some Port wine during the show.
#4: FC Porto Stadium and Museum Tour
If you like soccer, a visit to the top club of Portugal, FC Porto is a must-do. You can tour the FC Porto Stadium and visit their presidential suite. Gawk at the trophies at the gallery and learn about the architecture of the stadium and its long relation with the city.
The Estádio do Dragão (Dragon’s Stadium) can almost hold 50,000 visitors and was built in 2003. The opening match of the Euro 2004 Cup was held at the stadium of FC Porto.
#5: World of Discoveries Porto
Portugal produced some famous world explorers. Transport back to the 15th century and learn about the so-called age of discoveries at the World of Discoveries in Porto. See what it was like to round Cap Good Hope or get to know Vasco da Gama through interactive theater performance.
The World of Discovery in Porto is a museum slash theme park. You can tour the grounds on your own or join a tour.
World of Discoveries offers perfect indoor activities for those rainy days in Porto, and it is super family-friendly!
#6: Eat! Taste and savor the flavors of Porto
A person got to eat, right? The best thing to do in Porto when it rains is finding a nice restaurant or lunch spot and order everything on the menu. Ask the waiter to recommend something and stuff your face with Pico de Gallo, spicy sausages or bean stews.
We had the best time just eating new things, drinking wine, watching the locals run in the rain and just fill our bellies with the most delicious foods ever.
We had the best night ever at Antiqua Leitaria Bistro. The owner was so dedicated and offered help in deciding what to order. My favorite was the pico de gallo for sure!
The other night, we had an amazing dinner at Tripeiro. A bit pricier but the ambiance was amazing and we had a delicious meal. Sadly, the place is now closed but let’s hope they will re-open again one day.
Want more help to pick the best places to eat? Join a food tour in Porto. Ok, it might involve some walking (in the rain) but when you’re in good company and your guide dishes out interesting details about Porto and their food, it won’t be that bad.
Get your hands dirty with a gastronomic workshop or dive mouth first into the world of Tascas. Find the best food tours in Porto here:
- Gastronomic food tour of Porto
- Porto Half-Day Food Tour
- Food and Tastings of Porto
- 3-hour food and tasca tour in Porto
#7: Visit the Palacio da Bolsa
The old stock exchange building is an indoor activity in Porto for people who like history and pretty things. This Unesco World Heritage Site dominates the main square in Porto. But when it rains, you want to get inside as quickly as possible.
They have guided tours (€9 for adults) in a different language that will take you around the main sights. You can visit several rooms that display the wealth of Portugal in the 19th century and their extensive trading activities.
The highlight must be a tour of the Arab Room. Once a reception hall, now a true statement for the architectural Moorish revival style that celebrates all things Moorish and Oriental in architecture.
#8: Explore Porto’s Cafe Culture
Did you know that some of Europe’s oldest coffee houses are located in Porto? No! Then go find out!
Porto is dotted with amazing cafes for breakfast, lunches, and brunches. Some very old, some very posh and some very hip. Go and explore.
Some special recommendation for a warm, dry and cozy: place to shelter from the rain are these coffee houses and brunch spots in Porto:
- Majestic Cafe, Porto. Established in 1921, this long-running art-nouveau decorated café is frequently visited by Porto’s elite. And tourists. So expect to wait and bring a stuffed wallet, or your platinum credit card.
- Zenith Brunch & Cocktails is the warm and welcoming place you’re looking for to shelter from the rain. Make sure to try their oreo pancakes, as they are to die for!
- Leitaria da Quinta do Paço, another goldie but goodie! Established in 1920, this is the place to satisfy your sweet tooth with their world-famous chocolate eclairs.
Bonus #9: for Potterheads only
If you’re a true Potterhead, you know that J.K. Rowling was inspired by Porto and wrote parts of the first Harry Potter books in Porto. Good news for you Potterheads: there is a dedicated Harry Potter tour in Porto and as an added bonus: it has a visit to the famous Lello Bookshop, but without waiting in line (outside in the rain).
On this tour, you’ll visit numerous locations in Porto that inspired Rowling for the famous books. Like the San Bento Station, the Lions Fountain and the popular Lello Bookshop.
This library is very popular and a queue of more than 2 hours around the block is not uncommon. On this tour, you whizz right bye and get to visit this magical place in Porto.
Other indoor activities in Porto
When it rains, it pours. Museums are always a good option to shelter from the weather conditions. Usually with AC, bright rooms with facilities and most importantly: you’re high and dry for a couple of hours. A few of Porto’s excellent museums that are worth your time in Porto when it rains:
- MMIPO, Museum of Misericórdia do Porto, a fine piece of 16th-century architecture turned into a museum to learn about the history of the Misericórdia and its artistic expression. Get your admission ticket here.
- Porto Serralves Museum, contemporary art, and modern art installations located in a beautiful park. Get your ticket here.
- Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis is the oldest museum in Portugal. Located in the Carrancas Palace, you can roam the halls and admire the different pieces of art and the collection of sculptors from famous Portuguese sculptor António Soares dos Reis. You can find more information here.
Save money on museums, your wine cellar visit, and port tasting and get free transport with the Porto card with transportation. No hassle with buying transport tickets, free access to several museums and you get a 50% discount on certain attractions.
The Porto card comes in 1,2,3 and 4-day pass. Check out rates and options here.
Fun Things to do in Porto when it doesn’t rain
We had all kinds of things planned to do in Porto. But unfortunately, the rain messed those plans up. In case the weather does clear suddenly and you want to enjoy bright skies and enjoy sunny day things to do in Porto, here is a short list:
- A cruise around Porto, this 6 bridges tour would be perfect on a sunny day
- Explore Porto on foot with a walking tour. We did walk around but the bright blue churches are not that nice when it rains.
- As a train lover, I absolutely wanted to take the boat and Douro valley train tour. But guess what? Canceled due to strikes and bad weather. I’d love to go back to Porto one day (with better weather) for this train ride from Pinhão.
- We spent the night in Aveiro, the colorful canal filled city just south of Porto. It was not that much fun in the rain, but it looks bright and colorful on a sunny day. It makes for the perfect day trip from Porto.
- Or just sit at the Porto waterfront and enjoy food and wine. We did do that, but indoors because guess what, it rained non stop!
Porto in Winter
As you can see from the above things to do in Porto when it’s raining, there is plenty to see and do in Porto. Even in winter when the weather is bad. It doesn’t really get that cold in Porto in winter, but the weather is unpredictable.
It can rain and the next moment the sun comes out. Unfortunately for us, the sun only came out briefly when we drove out of Porto (just our luck).
Check here for a weather forecast for Porto when you’re going in winter.
But we still had a good time in Porto, regardless of the rain. Do you have a Porto weekend break planned and worry about the weather? Don’t! Enjoy the city with these 9 rainy day activities in Porto. Which one are you excited to try? Share your experiences with Porto in the rain in the comment section below! I love to hear your stories.