We just booked the RS Best of Portugal tour for September. We'd like to stay an extra day or two in Porto after the tour is over and were wondering what we should plan to see and do in the area - things that aren't part of the tour. Thanks!
I took that tour two years ago and really enjoyed it. We got the RS Portugal Guide Book (for sale elsewhere on this web site) and found it full of very useful information that we used both before the tour and after the tour. You should also be receiving a package of tour information not long before your tour date and that should contain a list of things/places that the tour does not cover in suggesting that you may want to consider them on your own. Enjoy.
I am planning a road trip thru Portugal and have/ still doing research on all of Portugal. I'm not sure about your tour, but I would think that an extra day in the Douro Valley would be lovely. I see there is a train that leaves Porto and heads out, then returns form a stop in a town after an hour. I have heard that seeing the valley by train is lovely. I would look into that.
We are not staying in Porto, but heading north to Guimaraes for the evening and staying in a Pousada. That could be on the extra day or two.
If this is your first RS tour, I wouldn't be late to the first night dinner as we were and it was not a great way to start off the trip.
We took the RS Best of Portugal Tour Sept. 2016. Porto is like a "mini Lisbon"
and a walkable city. During our free time we walked to Livraria Lello, the ornate bookstore that was frequented by JK Rowling when she taught English in Porto.
It's been reported to be an inspiration for her writing of Harry Potter. Glad we had the opportunity to visit this unique bookstore.
I took this wonderful tour in May 2017 and spent an additional 4 nights in Porto after the tour. I took two day tours by bus, one outstanding one called “Tras-Os-Montes and Alto Douro Valley.” Tras-Os-Montes is a far northern rural area (“across the mountains”) not usually visited. Beyond the rural scenery, we stopped for wine and snacks at two different farms/wineries, lunch at a nice rural hotel, and tours of two different estates. A full day with a great guide, we’ll worth the time and expense. I also went to Guimaraes on my own, and spent some time on the far side of the Douro River, including a stop at a Port tasting room. Great area, enjoy it all!
Did the Portugal Tour several years ago. It was an excellent tour. Y'all need to try the boiled barnacles. I took a train to Braga on a day trip. There is a famous pilgrimage site located there called "Bom Jesus". Worth checking out.
We loved visiting the Douro Valley and some of the quintas there. My favorite was taking a historic rabelo boat cruise up the scenic river. You can rent a car and drive out there or go by train. Here is an article about how to do it without renting a car. Highly recommended if you like pretty scenery and wine/port.
Other day trips include Guimares, Braga and Aveiro as others have mentioned.
There are several other towns nearby to visit and lots to see in Porto. Here are some tips for places to eat and things to do in Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia and Foz do Douro. Hope that helps give you some inspiration. :)
You will LOVE it.
We took a day trip by boat up the Douro and returned by train. We also spent several days in historic Guimaręs, Portugal's original capital. I highly recommend both of these.