I'm leaving for OPORTO in 2023
Full of contrasts; modern and traditional at the same time, Porto is a perfect city to make an eweekend scapada or spend a few days discovering the true essence of Portuguese culture and traditions.
Stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town -declared World Heritage Site by Unesco - take a ride along the Douro in the Portuguese “gondolas”, be surprised by the Don Luis I Bridge or enjoy the wines from its famous wineries, these are just some of the options that the second largest city in Portugal offers you.
And, of course, if you travel in summer, you can take a dip in the fresh waters of the beaches in the area of Foz do Douro or in those of the nearby towns of Matosinhos and Vila Nova de Gaia that enjoy, most of them, blue flag.
What are you going to find in this article?
The first thing we have to think about when we go to organize our trip to Porto is the place where we go to sleep. And it is that while it is true that the city offers numerous accommodation possibilitiesThere are areas that are better than others and we have compiled them for you in the following list.
Why do we consider them the best? Why are the most central or the best communicated are, because they offer you different leisure alternatives depending on what your tastes are ... But, even better, we tell you about them and you choose.
If you are one of those who like to sleep in the heart of the cities, because you want to feel how you really live in them, the historic center or Baixa, as the Portuguese call it, is the best way to do it.
In addition, you have on hand the great avenues, the most important monuments and, of course, access to all public transport from the city that take you where you want.
Of course it is a area with a lot life, both day and night, full of cafes, restaurants and, therefore, where you can taste some of the most typical recipes of the local cuisine.
At night, you always have the option to see some ,event new boom in musicals or simply enjoy nightlife from the city, without having to take transportation to get around and thus have a different perspective of Porto.
This area has been declared Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by Unesco and is one of the most typical postcards of the city. As the name implies, this neighborhood covers a large part of the river walk along the Duero River, where we find the majestic Don Luis I bridge.
It is a very safe area, with which to discover the authentic day-to-day life of the Portuenses, get carried away by the charm of its streets and, above all, discover the famous wineries of the town.
In addition, if you like being able to walk quietly at night, stop for a meal or taste the local cuisine, this area of Porto is perfect for this. In fact, the Plaza de la Ribeira is full of restaurants and bars and at night there is always a very good atmosphere.
In fact, at this time of day it is beautiful to see how traditional wineries light up. The picture, from the other side of the river, is a story. If you are going to stay there, do not forget to do it one of the nights.
Next to the old town and the Ribeira neighborhood is the one of Sao Nicolau. This means that getting to him by public transport is also very simple, whether you arrive by train, or if you do it by plane.
Quiet and something else sophisticated than the previous two, it has two of the most important museums in the city. The first of them, the Soares Dos Reis National Museum, which is the oldest in the country. The second is the Wine Museum; an old winery converted into a recreational space, where you can discover first-hand the relationship that this city has with wine, as well as its production mode.
While it is true that it is also a very tourist area, the good thing about her is that is not overcrowded and that you live with the portuenses, which allows you to know better the essence of this city.
It is one of the trendy neighborhoods among the portuenses, because it has a residential part and another one full of life, in which we find some of the most famous shops and stores in Porto. Among others, is the Bon Sucesso Market, where traditional Portuguese food is combined, with dishes from around the world. A place to buy, but also to eat. According to the reformed markets of cities like Madrid o Barcelona.
It became fashionable in the 60s and is perfect if you want to sleep in a Quiet area, very well connected to the heart of the city and that also offers, on the other hand, a good number of activities to do or places to visit.
One of the nerve points of this neighborhood is the Boavista Roundabout; a space that functions as a square and in which events are held on designated dates, such as Christmas or the feasts of San Juan. Stand out from it the Monument to the Peninsular War, which is seen from many points of the city.
This neighborhood is the result of a perfect combination between seafaring tradition associated to the city (in ancient times it was a neighborhood of fishermen and merchants, for its connection with the Duero River) and modernity. This makes today one of the most tourist neighborhoods.
But don't think that makes you lose your essence. And it is that contrary to what happens in other large cities, in the neighborhood of Miragaia (which, by the way, owes its name to the other side of the river is Gaia) still lives the people of Porto and hence be the area where you can see the typical prints of clothes hanging on windows and balconies, which is associated with Portugal and, specifically, with Porto.
In fact, the first thing that will get your attention in this area are its picturesque buildings. And it is very likely that you are going to stay in one of them, so do not miss the opportunity to take pictures and enjoy their structures.
You can easily access this neighborhood from any point of the city and, without leaving it, you will be able to majestic gardens of the Crystal Palace, as well as its peculiar museums, such as the World of Discoveries Museum (ideal to go with children, if you travel with them) or the Porto Customs, where exhibitions and events are held regularly.
Now that you know what are the best areas to stay and how to get around the city, we can only tell you what the Top 5 of the places you have to visit, yes or yes, during your stay in Porto. They are the following:
One of the most common means to get to Porto (especially if your stay is going to be short or, simply, because you want to go there directly) is to do it By plane.
In addition, the good thing about doing so is that the airport (Porto Francisco Sa Carneiro) is located just 13 kilometers from Porto, in the town of Maia, being the second busiest airport in the country.
But do you know what is best? That he airport is very well connected to downtown from the city, thanks to its metro, which reaches this point in 20-30 minutes and is very economical. The line that leads from Porto airport to downtown is the E, the violet one.
In addition, you have the option of using the different bus lines that take you to Porto. It is slower, but it is also true that they have more stops. Local buses are found after crossing the exit door of the airport and those that take you to the city center are the numbers 601, 602 and 604.
Remember, in Portugal it is one hour less than in Spain, so unless you travel from the Canary Islands, you must delay the clock or take it into account when visiting places that have opening and closing times or when taking the plane.
It's true: the best way to know a city is to do it on foot, but this does not prevent us from taking public transport to rest in some moments or to access high points, as well as when we go with the right time to enjoy the city.
Before telling you about the different public transport options, I would like to talk to you about the Andante Tour Card. It is a purse of 24 and 72 hours, with which you can move so free and unlimited travel, throughout the metropolitan area of Porto. Perfect for saving money and, especially, if you plan to use public transportation to points, you are even grateful to do so. In fact, you can buy it at the airport itself and it includes the trip by subway or bus.
Addition metro and bus, Porto also has a Trolley car, which is one of the favorites to move around the city center, by tourists. On the other hand and to get from Ribeira to Batalha, a nice and different option to do so, is with the funicular. It is definitely worth it and is very comfortable.
Where the price of the Andante Tour Card is not included is in the tourist buses. It is a different way, but very fun to know the most interesting points of the city. In fact, you can take a trip in them and then opt for those places you want to visit on foot.
There are two options of tourist buses. On the one hand, the City Sightseeing Portugal, where the ticket is valid two days after its use, being able to get on and off wherever you want). On the other, the Yellow bus, Official Sightseeing Tours, which allows you to travel for 24-48 hours and get on and off wherever you want.
Finally, one of the options for get to know Porto and in a very special way, is to do it across the Douro River and, specifically, of the Ravelos. They are typical boats of the locality, that at the time allowed to transport the wine from the vineyards to Vila Nova de Noia and that today are one of the most popular tourist attractions. These rides are known as the Six Bridges Cruise.
If you have a few more days to enjoy Porto and its surroundings, we invite you to do a day trip and go to these locations:
Like Porto, Aveiro is a canals city and size that you can visit quietly in a single day. If you go in summer, in addition, I invite you to take beach clothes, because the ones you have are fantastic.
Aveiro is a popular tourist destination with fame for its channels, “Art Nouveau” architecture and colorful boats known as "moliceiros".
Aveiro is often described as the Venice From Portugal, something easy to understand for its three channels and traditional "moliceiros" that transport tourists along the waterways.
If you prefer to visit the points of interest, do not miss the Jardim do Rossio, visit its museum and cathedral, as well as the Don Pedro Children's Park. And, of course, enjoy the life of its streets and the architecture and colors of its houses.
Guimaraes is a charming historical city that constitutes the destiny of a fascinating day trip from Porto.
A fairytale city and whose historic center has been declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity. You will love her medieval castle, which is perfectly preserved and is considered one of the wonders of the country.
Nearby is the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança. Besides, the Santiago Square It is the best place to taste the gastronomy of the place.
But Guimarães is more than just a historical relic: The city has an animation and a purpose, partly due to its large student population attending the university.
As a tourist destination, Guimarães offers a lot to see and do, and this beautiful city is a highly recommended excursion for all those visitors staying in Porto.
One of the most populated and visited cities in Portugal, with a great historical weight, since it is in Braga where the oldest diocese of the country is located. In addition, about 10 minutes from downtown, is the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte.
In Braga is the oldest cathedral in Portugal, and a day of visits allows to glimpse the importance and wide history of this city. Inside the maze of narrow lanes, the gothic churches have modern shopping streets behind and the great baroque buildings surround squares where calm reigns.
But, without a doubt, what is most striking is the youthful environment that there is, since Braga is a University City, so there is always a great atmosphere in bars, cafes and numerous events are organized.
Braga is a highly recommended excursion to do from Porto and it is very easy to get there with the commuter train of Porto.