Porto Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Porto. How to get there and more…
Mark Ford, Founder of Plus1 Travel
Welcome, it’s great to have you here searching for Porto travel tips. In this article we will go through the in’s and out’s of this city so that you can get the most out of your Porto travel experience, hang on!
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, it’s the second largest city in Portugal and one of the Iberian Peninsula’s major urban areas with a population of over 230.000 people and a metropolitan area with over 2 million people. Located along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres. The historic area is also a National Monument of Portugal, with the western part of the urban area extending to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire.
In Porto the culture is flourishing and there are plenty of historical buildings. With narrow streets and narrow alleys, Porto is a romantic and relatively quiet city compared to Lisbon. Visit the district of Ribeira to discover the city’s history with the medieval cathedral Sé do Porto and the church of São Francisco from the 1300s. Do not miss the 19th century Palácio da Bolsa. Porto is known for its port wine, which you should not miss when you are visiting the city.
Porto Travel Tips – How To Get From The Airport To Porto
Porto is served by Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport that is located around 11km from the city. When looking for Porto travel tips there are three solid methods of transport to get you into the city as comfortably as possible. Below you’ll get all the information needed on the fastest, cheapest and best way to get from the airport to Porto.
A taxi from the airport is the simplest, most efficient and most comfortable way of getting into the city. Porto Airport
Flights to Porto
Taxis are beige or black with a green roof. Modern and comfortable and are readily available from the stand at the airport arrivals. A green light on the roof indicates that the cab is free, and many drivers are competent English speakers.
The Porto airport taxi ride will take around 20 minutes and cost about 23€ to get into Porto city.
The best way to get into Porto from the airport if you’re looking for a cheaper, yet convenient option is by going on the Metro. It provides a quick transit into the city from the airport and is the most popular method of public transport available. It leaves every 20 – 30 minutes all days of the week and stops at many convenient locations along the way. The cost is €2.45 and the ride into Porto takes around 25-30 minutes.
Porto airport offers many different local bus lines that are connected to the city center. Most buses will run at 30 minute intervals, starting at around 06:00am, ending at midnight. The local buses that go into the city to aim for are 601, 602. There are other lines that also go to the city, but these two are the quickest.
The bus ride costs 2€ to get you into the centre and takes around 40 minutes.
Porto Travel Tips – How To Get Around Porto
When looking for Porto travel tips and how to best get around the city, this is a pretty compact city which makes it very walkable. Porto has a great efficient public transport system that connects all the parts of the city. Let’s look at the options on how to best get around Porto.
Porto Public Transport
Many of the roads in Porto are beautifully narrow and winding with cobblestones and the best way to explore the streets of Porto is by walking.
Porto’s metro features six lines that run from around 6am – 1am daily and there are more than 80 metro stations located around the city and marked by signs with a wavy blue “M.” A single ticket cost €1.20 and there are various options to buy a daily, 3-day or 7-day travel card if you plan to travel more by public transport.
The bus system is extensive with more than bus routes that are available throughout Porto and its surrounding regions, including Vila Nova de Gaia and Vila do Conde. Buses run regularly from about 6am – 9pm with limited service operation from 9pm to 1am.
Taxis are reasonably priced compared to other European cities. Rates start at €3.25 and increase €0.50 with every kilometer. Most taxi drivers speak english and you can hail a taxi on the street or use apps like MyTaxi or Uber.
Best Places To Stay In Porto
When searching for Porto travel tips there are plenty of nice areas in Porto to live, the city has many historic monuments and main tourist attractions are in a relatively compact area, and this area is where the majority of visitors will want to be based for their holiday. There’s architecture, history and culture with incredible views over the water. Porto is a fascinating city, a popular and respected holiday destination. Here’s a guide to the top 3 best places to stay in Porto.
Ribeira is a picturesque compact neighborhood in Porto by the riverside, with tiny houses painted in colourful tones, souvenir shops, restaurants and many bars with a view towards the Douro river. Ribeira is close to visit the Stock
Exchange Palace and St Francis Church and also the famous iron bridge of Porto, the D. Luís bridge. Also at Ribeira, you will be able to walk to the many famous Port wine cellars. Can’t go wrong staying here, it’s truly lovely.
Baixa/Sé located just above Ribeira is where you’ll find plenty of monuments, such as Mercado do Bolhão (traditional market), São Bento train station and Lello bookshop. Baixa/Sé is the best neighborhood in Porto for young couples, solo travelers and groups. There’s only a 5 minute walk from the nightlife district and the main attractions of Porto. It has two subway stations just across the street, as well as São Bento train station.
Cedofeita is full of art galleries and concept stores, making it the trendiest neighborhood in Porto and it has an art district at Rua Miguel Bombarda. At Cedofeita in Porto you can go for a romantic walk at the Crystal Palace Gardens, located in front of Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis. Cedofeita is the best neighborhood in Porto for: families with kids, travellers who want to be close to the main city attractions yet stay in a bit quieter location and couples on a romantic getaway in Porto.
Portugese food culture is delicious! Portuguese recipes burst with character and aroma and when looking for Porto travel tips there’s really no shortage of great food in the city. While travelling to Porto, expect a hybrid of meats, seafood and vegetables to fill the menus. Let’s have a closer look at some of the best foods in Porto that you just can’t miss while visiting.
Caldo verde, (kale soup in English) is a very simple yet delicious recipe that is normally flavored with Portuguese chouriço. Thickened with pureed potatoes and flavored with garlic (like most other Portuguese recipes), one or two bowls of soup will satisfy your tastebuds, belly and figure.
Tripas à Moda do Porto
This dish consists of beans, sausage, vegetables, and herbs has become so popular that it led to the term Tripeiros, a nickname for locals from Porto. The legend goes that as Portugal’s Henry the Navigator was preparing for one of his expeditions, he asked for help gathering supplies from the people of Porto. The result was an outward show of generosity – so much so that the locals were left only with animal entrails and organs and out of necessity and with a bit of creativity: Tripas à Moda do Porto was born!
This popular Portugese dish Francesinha was introduced in the 1960s. The Francesinha is a sandwich filled with four or five different meats, covered in cheese and drowned in sauce. Beer is normally the base for the sauce. Not for the faint of heart, but a must to try when in Porto.
Cozido à Portuguesa
Cozido is a stew with many different cuts and types of meat, served alongside cabbage, carrots, onions and potatoes. This is about as Portoguese as it gets, and each city leaves its own mark on this popular recipe, and a visit to northern Porto wouldn’t be complete without having one of these.
Top 7 Experiences You MUST Have In Porto
The Clérigos Tower is a 75 meter bell tower that watches over the city of Porto where you can get a magnificent 360 view of the city if you climb the 225 steps to the top. Built in 1763 and is blessed with beautiful Baroque motifs thanks to its Italian designer Nicolau Nasoni. This is where you want to experience sunset for an incredible view and experience.
Crystal Palace gardens
This beautiful garden offers a verdant paradise, has a maze of walkways, tree lined waterways, sculptured topiary and a
huge domed pavilion (all thanks to German landscape architect Emile David), but it overlooks the Douro River too. Well worth the hike up there.
Serra do Pilar
If you want another spectacular view, The Serra do Pilar is the place to go. Located above the Douro river on the Gaia side, here you’ll get an incredible view especially at sunset. There’s a 13th century monastery where you can find out more about the four World Heritage sites in Portugal’s northern region: the historic centres of Porto and Guimarães, the Douro wine region and the Côa Archaeological Park.
Porto Wine Cellars
Porto is well known for its Port wine, and in Porto’s sister city Gaia there’s beaches and those famous Port wine cellars. On the guided tours you will learn the history and the distinguishing features of each variety. The tours end with a nice Port tasting. The Sandeman Cellars is highly recommended.
Lello is a bookstore with an art nouveau pearl with gothic details, stained glass and a fabulous red staircase. One that is said to have inspired the one in Hogwarts (JK Rowling once lived in Porto). Harry Potter fans: make a beeline here immediately. There are so many visitors these days that you are now charged to enter, but this is discounted from any purchase. Plenty of tours go to the Lello Bookstore.
Porto’s Cathedral was built in the 12th century and it’s a national monument. There’s a gothic cloister, chapel frescoes, the Teixeira Lopes sculpture in the baptistery and the medieval portrait of Our Lady of Vandoma, the city’s patron saint to look out for. When locals in Porto talk about the ‘Sé’, they don’t just mean the cathedral, the name also applies to the historic district at Porto’s heart.
São Bento Train Station
São Bento Train Station
São Bento was voted tenth most beautiful in Travel+Leisure magazine’s list of the World’s Most Beautiful Train Stations. The concourse is stunningly wonderful, with 20,000 decorative tiles covering the walls, which took painter Jorge Colaço no less than 11 years to complete. Appreciate the scenes of intricately painted Portuguese history, daily life and transportation. And when you’re done and want to travel, catch a train to nearby towns such as Miramar (with its beautiful beaches and mansions), Braga or Guimarães.