Introduction to the Portuguese city of Porto

As the second most important city in Portugal after Lisbon, Porto offers its coastal majesty, its historic center and its infinity of tourist sites to all those travelers interested in enriching themselves with adventures in the best classic Portuguese style.

Is one of the cities in Portugal with more cultural heritage to offer, despite the fact that it has undergone a modernization in the last decade that includes the expansion of its international airport Sá Carneiro, where 16 million adventurers can travel annually. This guide contains everything you need to know to have a unique experience.

Location of Porto

How to get to Porto?

This beautiful northern Lusitanian city offers different means of access: plane, car and train. Traveling to Porto is very easy if you know how to do it and in this guide we will tell you every detail.

By plane

If you choose the plane as a means of transport, traveling from Spain will be very simple. Airlines such as TAP, Ryanair, Air Grance, Lufthansa and British Airways make daily flights from different Spanish locations for a low cost. The flights will arrive at Sá Carneiro Airport, which is located 13 kilometers from the city center, in Maia.

The positive thing about traveling to an airport that is so close to the city is that both by bus, subway and taxi, it will be very economical.

  • Metro: If you choose this option to move to the city, then you must take line E.
  • Buses: If you want to go to the historic center, then you can take the Aerobús, which will stop at the main hotels in a 40-minute journey. The Aerobús leaves every 30 minutes to the city. Lines 601, 602, 604 and 3M of the conventional bus service (STCP) connect the airport with different parts of the city, so you must choose the line that best suits you according to your destination.
  • Taxi: this last option is very convenient and the price they charge ranges between 15 and 20 euros for the transfer to the center of Porto.

By highway

If we want to travel in our own car, then it is possible to take the Vigo highway for a 150-kilometer journey. This route can be reached in about an hour and a half. If traveling from Madrid, then it would be about 600 kilometers, so the trip would be about five or six hours.

To the north, the IP1 or A3 highways are available, which are taken from the border of Tui de Pontevedra.

You can also enter through the border with Salamanca, through the E80 motorway, which will take you to Guarda, Alentejo. Once there, you must take the A25 to Aveiro, where you take the detour onto the A1 bound for the city.

From the south, it is possible to take the A2 or the IP1, in Albufeira, Alargarve, which will lead to Lisbon, once in Lisbon you must take the A1 to Oporto.

Although at present, the best friend of the roads is the GPS to guide you to the destination, and once there, move around freely.

By bus

The companies Alsa or Eurolines sell tickets to leave every 9 hours to Porto, although it depends on where you leave you will have to make two or more stops. From Madrid it is a nine-hour trip with stops in Ávila and Salamanca. From Coruña it is five hours and two stops, while from Málaga You will have to make up to five stops to get to the city.

By train

As for the train, you can take it if you travel from Galicia. You take the regional train from Vigo to Porto Pampanha station, in a journey of just two hours and five trains depart daily.

From Madrid you should make a stopover before in Lisbon, and once there take the Alfa Pendular train or the Interciudades, which are somewhat expensive.

What are the best areas to stay?

Porto is a small city, so you will not suffer much when mobilizing. As you will see in this guide, the city mainly offers two areas that are excellent options to stay thanks to the hotels and their location: the historic center (La Baixa Trindade and Bolhao) and the modern center (Boavista).

Old historic center

In the old historic center, made up of Bolhao, Sao Bento, Trindade and Ribeira, you will enjoy the purest historical Lusitanian architecture. The inhabitants affirm that it is beautiful and romantic because of its colors, lights and its proximity to the Duero River. The area is constantly patrolled, making it totally safe at any time of the day.

Modern center

The modern center, which many agree that it has displaced the historical center a bit with respect to accommodation, begins imaginatively in the Casa da Música to the beach of Matosinhos and protects the great Avenida de Boavista, which different inhabitants, as well as one who Another guide, affirm that it has become the true historic center of Porto.

This part of the city lives up to its name thanks to its modern buildings and large number of businesses, and it also offers an advantage: the streets are flat, so people who are not used to exercising will not get tired.


If you are going to travel to Porto for its beaches, the area near Matosinhos beach will serve you well, while if you look outside you can get near the Estadio do Dragao or in Gaia.

How to get around Porto?

This coastal pearl of Portugal houses the largest metro in the entire country. It is best to buy the Andante Tour ticket. You can purchase it in two modes: Andante Tour 1, with a cost of 7 euros and valid for 24 hours or Andante Tour 3 that costs 15 euros and is valid for 72 hours.

By tram, which offers 3 lines, you can visit areas such as the coast next to the Douro River, which is crossed by tram 1, while tram 18 connects to the Massarelos area, the Codoaria garden. Finally the 22 passes circularly through the center of the city between Carmo and Batalla / Guindais.

Andante Tour cards also work on the tram and the bus system (STCP). In the different maps arranged in the stations you will find a guide to avoid getting lost, although it is very easy to get around.

If you are not willing to travel by public transport, taxis are also a good option, which is also economical, especially if you divide expenses with your companions, in case you travel accompanied.

What to see in Porto?

Porto offers a large number of tourist spots that will enrich you with culture and that is one of the main reasons why you should travel to this city at least once in your life. In this guide we highlight:

The Sé Cathedral of Porto: It represents the most important religious building in the city. That is why it was built at the top of this Portuguese location and is an almost mandatory visit for tourists, whether they are Catholic or not.

The Church and Tower of the Clérigos: The Tower is the highest in Portugal and one of the main symbols of the city of Porto. It is from there where you can appreciate a beautiful view of the city, take fabulous photos and enjoy good wind currents, especially in summer.

Bolhao Market: It is located in the historic center of the city, and many say that it is a good way to appreciate the true essence of the town thanks to the flower merchants.

San Bento Station: They refer to it as one of the most beautiful stations in the entire world. It was inaugurated in 1916 and contains on its walls a work of 500 square meters by the artist Jorge Colaço, who took 11 years to finish her work that represents different historical moments in Portugal.

House music: It is a location that houses the main musical events in Porto and is an emblem of the modernity of the city. It was the result of the design of the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas as part of the 2001 “Porto European Capital of Culture” event.

Queijo Castle: Its name is Forte de Sao Francisco Xavier do Quijo and it is located near the mouth of the Duero River. It was built in 1661 with stone to protect the city from pirate invasions. You can still see its cannons and domes.

Lelli and Irmao Bookstore: This library even appeared in movies like Harry Potter, thanks to its spectacular and peculiar design. With large shelves and thousands of books it is the dream of every reader.

Crystal Palace Gardens: A guide could take you to these gardens that convey a great aura of peace. They also offer a beautiful view of the city, being there you will want to travel to Porto every year.

Curiosities about Port Wine

If there is a wine to taste when you visit Porto, that is the local wine, here we leave you with some curiosities.

  • In the harvests, all the grapes are matched by hand, even in the most modern wineries.
  • The Touriga Nacional caste is one of the main ones used in the production of Port Wine.
  • Shale, the predominant rock in the Douro Viñatero region, is one of the secrets for the quality of the grape.
  • There are about 33 thousand certified winegrowers in the Douro region.
  • 86% of Port Wine is exported.
  • Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira (04-07-1811 - 26-03-1896), the Ferreirinha, was the most important woman in the Duero. She held 35 fifths and was the largest wine producer of her time.
  • There are about 100 castes for the production of Douro and Port wine.
  • Port wine is produced in Alto Douro and aged in Vila Nova de Gaia - with the Yellow City Cruises tour you can visit Gaia's cellars for free.
  • The most expensive and rare Port Wine in the world is produced by Quinta do Noval, only 200 to 250 bottles annually.
  • The Douro region is one of the oldest delimited regions in the world - it was raised in the late XNUMXth century.
  • The first vineyards have come with Sr. D Henrique de Boloña, father of our first king, when he moved to Portucale.
  • Wine as we know it will have started when the English, after importation, added brandy to last the journey to England - revealing the "spiritual" flavor.
  • There is White wine (aperitif), Red (to accompany dessert), Ruby, Tawny and Vintage (three digestives). All to appreciate and toast at parties and special occasions.
  • The largest bottle of Port Wine in the world is in Quinta da Boeira - with a capacity for 150 people, and it is an exhibition space to make Wine known.

If you are interested in visiting the Gaia wineries for free, you can do it with the tour Yellow city cruises in a Douro cruise.

What can be done in Porto?

Traveling to the city of Porto there are certain things you can do:

Go through the Bridge of Luis I

It is the most admired and popular bridge typical of the Ribeira area. It was inaugurated in 1886 and was designed by Teófilo Seyring, the right hand of the architect who designed the Eiffel Tower.

Have a coffee at the Majestic Cafe

It is a historic cafeteria on Rua de Santa Catarina, one of the main avenues that you must visit when traveling to Porto. There you will not only enjoy a good coffee, but also recitals, concerts and exhibitions.

Visit the Ribeira

It is one of the most picturesque, ancient and typical places in this city. A guide could make some historical reviews and a tour of this beautiful area, which is also recommended to walk at night thanks to its many bars and great nightlife.

Ride the Dos Guindais funicular

Riding the funicular that was built in 1891 is a quick option to go to the upper part of Porto. It is also a walk that is worth it for the panoramic views it offers.

Stroll on Rua Santa Catarina

Cafes, statues, clothing stores and beautiful architecture await tourists on this avenue, listed as the main commercial center of the town.

Beaches near Porto

If you are going to travel in summer and want to get a good tan, you can visit the beaches of Foz do Douro, among which the beaches of Castelo do Quijo, that of Do Homem do Leme (perfect for people with reduced mobility), that of do Molhe and Gondarem.

The beaches of Matonsinhos and the pools of Leca de Palmeira (das Marés) are also a good option to enjoy a good swim and take some color before returning to work in Spain.

Porto is a beautiful city that if you have the opportunity is worth visiting, it offers excellent accommodation, mobility, good services, friendly people and many options to enjoy and with this guide you have all the information you need to get to know it.

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