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Travel Guide Europe Portugal Porto

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Introduction

Porto, D. Luis bridge

Porto, D. Luis bridge

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Porto, also called Oporto in English, is a city along the northwestern coastline of Portugal and is the second biggest city in the country, with over 1.5 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, but just about 250,000 in the city itself.

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Sights and Activities

Avenida dos Aliados

Stretching from Praça da República to City Hall, this wonderful wide avenue is Porto's living room. Flanked by many classified buildings (nowadays housing banks), it is the result of a wise intervention a century ago, replacing small and uncharacteristic streets by the wide and well planned space, the merging point of the inhabitants in all the important events.

Ribeira

Ribeira is one of the oldest and typical places of the city of Porto, Portugal. Facing the Douro River, it is part of the Historic Center of Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is, nowadays, a very touristy area, place of concentration of bars and restaurants, integrating the Urban Wine Route.
The best attractions in Ribeira are the Praça da Ribeira, also known as square of the cube, Rua da Fonte Taurina, one of the oldest in the city, Muro dos Bacalhoeiros and the Casa do Infante, where it is believed that the Infante D. Henrique was born in 1394. It was the access to the infamous Ponte das Barcas, where in 1809 more than 4 thousand people died, running away from the French troops. Today, a bronze bas-relief attests to this moment. Tourism meant great improvements in Ribeira. The dark neglected houses were recovered and painted, and now they are a glowing image, mainly if seen from the opposite side of the river.

São Francisco

One of the most visited monuments in the historic centre of the city is São Francisco church, so rich, in its gilded interiors, that picture is forbidden (though possible to see in internet in its own site). It is a Gothic church from the 14th century, but its great attraction is the baroque decoration from the 18th. This is a two in one. A single ticket of €3 allows you to see the church and the museum.

Clérigos Tower

Built in the first half of the 18th century by Nicolau Nasoni, this Baroque Tower is one of the most emblematic monuments of the city. The entrance to the tower and museum costs 4€, and to reach the top and enjoy the panoramic views you will have to climb almost 240 steps.

D. Luis bridge

One of the landmarks of the city is a metal bridge with two levels, built by the end of the 19th century. The bridge called Don Luís, the king that ruled by the time of its construction, is commonly attributed to Eiffel, but its plan was carried out by one of his collaborators, the Belgian engineer Théophile Seyrig. Both platforms allow vehicles and keep being used, but the lower one is a special and quick passage for pedestrians who want to visit the Port caves in Gaia.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Visit Porto wine cellars and port cellars
  • Dining in restaurants on the riverside.
  • Go for dinner and to listen Fados (typical Portuguese music).
  • Douro Valley.

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Weather

Porto has a nice and warm climate with warm summers from June to September when temperatures average between 23 °C and 26 °C degrees Celsius. Nights are around 15 °C degrees. Occasionally, temperatures hit 38 °C degrees. Winters last from December to March, when daytime temperatures are between 13 °C and 17 °C degrees and nights rather chilly with around 5 °C degrees. Most of the rain falls during the wintermonths while summers are dry with only some showers now and then.

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Getting There

By Plane

TAP Portugal and Portugália Airlines both have flights to and from Porto Airport (OPO), with a growing number of other airlines having services throughout Europe as well. Destinations include Faro, Madeira, Porto Santo, Lisbon and the Azores. TAP flies to a number of European cities as well. Low-cost carrier Ryanair flies to most destinations, a few dozen throughout Europe. There are also direct flights to Montreal and Toronto.

To/from the airport
The airport is served by Line E of the Porto Metro, linking it to downtown Porto, pendolino trains and Estádio do Dragão, and by transfer to other urban centres of Greater Porto: in Verdes station to Vila do Conde and Póvoa de Varzim (using line B), Fonte do Cuco station to Maia (line C), and Senhora da Hora station to Matosinhos (line A). Taxis and STCP buses also link the airport and the city. There is also a bus service to/from Vigo (in Galicia, Spain) twice a day on weekdays, and once a day during the weekend.

By Train

Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses has an extensive network of train links throughout the country.
There are fast links with speeds well over 200 km/h from Porto to Coimbra and Lisbon.

By Bus

Contact Rede Nacional de Expressos for more information about prices and schedules to and from Porto.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Porto Metro provides an efficient lightrail/subway system in the city, while STCP provides bus connections to many areas, including many ones which aren't served by lightrail/subway.
This is a cable railway system. Use this if you don't wish to walk up the steep streets of Porto. This system connects the Ribeira to the Batalha square, in the city centre.

By Foot

Much of central Porto, including the area directly across the river where you'll find some good port cellars, is easily navigated on foot.

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Eat

  • Malcocinhado
  • Cafe Embaixador
  • Local Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts)
  • Bella Roma

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Sleep

Mid-Range

  • Hotel Peninsular - Rua Sa da Bandeira 21

Upscale

View our map of accommodation in Porto or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Wifi is common in many places in Portugal, including hotels, restaurants and coffee bars. Free wifi along the Algarve coast is available in many places. Internet cafés can still be found in most larger cities and tourist areas though.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Portugal's international telephone code is 351. The general emergency number is 112.

There are three mobile telephone operators in Portugal: TMN, NOS and Vodafone.

Each provider offers a variety of prepaid (Pré-Pagos) and contract (pós-pagos) SIM cards, both of which are available to foreigners. It generally means much lower rates for calls and especially internet. Be sure to switch off data roaming if you don't buy a local SIM card, as prices for internet are very high.

Post

CTT is the national postal service of Portugal. It has relatively fast and reliable services and it takes several days to over a week for your post to arrive within other European countries, more so if you send post to North America or Australia. Post offices (correios) have varying opening hours, but in general post offices are open on weekdays from 08:30am-6:00pm and on Saturday mornings until 12:30. More information about offices, costs and other details can be found at the CTT website. It's a relatively efficient but also relatively slow postal service. If you want to send packages overseas, you'd better use international companies like FedEx, DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are competitively priced, fast and very reliable.

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Quick Facts

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Population
240,000
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 41.149968
  • Longitude: -8.6102426

Accommodation in Porto

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Porto searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Porto and areas nearby.

Contributors

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Porto Travel Helpers

This is version 32. Last edited at 3:03 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 66 articles link to this page.

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