Porto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon and attracts its visitors with narrow old town streets, parks, impressive buildings and, of course, port wine.
Porto, or Oporto in Portuguese, is located on the Douro River in the Região do Norte in northern Portugal. It is home to one of the country’s most important economic regions, which originally benefited from its port. However, its location also made Porto a sought-after destination for various conquerors throughout history.
The city is the birthplace of Henry the Navigator, who carried out conquests, especially in North Africa. In 1703, the Methuen Treaty began the breakup of domestic wool production and the port wine boom in the region.
A citytrip to Porto is really worthwhile at any time of the year.
Stroll through the winding alleyways and discover interesting museums, small shops, restaurants and wine bars. The city is known for its impressive architecture and is a paradise for lovers of history and architecture. The UNESCO-protected old town district is perfect for a leisurely stroll.
No visit to Porto would be complete without a tasting of the famous port wine. A visit to the traditional wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, where you can learn more about the production process and taste different varieties, is a must on a city trip to Porto.
Porto is a paradise for gourmets. The local cuisine entices with specialities such as francesinha or bacalhau, the traditional Portuguese stockfish. Indulge in culinary delights in one of the many riverside restaurants and enjoy the local hospitality.
If the hustle and bustle of the streets is too much for you, you can retreat to beautiful parks or take a cruise on the Douro.
Sights in Porto – citytrip to Porto
The impressive neoclassical façade of the Palácio da Bolsa is not just tempting me to visit this building. There is a long queue at the ticket office hoping to get a ticket for the guided tour. Unfortunately, the next English tour is only 3 hours later and so we decide to just go along at…
We have discovered some beautiful street art images during our forays through Porto and have compiled them into a "Street Art Tour in Porto". On this tour, there are not only colourful walls to see, but also creative installations and some of the works are even by well-known urban artists.
Museums in Porto
Book an unforgettable experience in Porto
Book accommodation in PortoBooking.com
Travel information for a citytrip to Porto
Arrival in Porto
Porto has an international airport located about 11 kilometers northwest of the city center. The airport offers connections to Western European cities as well as long-haul flights to North America and Brazil. All major Portuguese destinations, including the Azores, are also accessible.
From the airport, it’s easy to get to the central Trinidade transfer station in the city center by Metro Line E. The metro runs about every 30 minutes, the travel time is about 35 minutes. Tickets are available at ticket machines. You need a “Z4” (4 zone ticket).
For a cab ride leaving from the arrivals level, one should plan at least 20,-€.
The airport can also be reached via the A 28 and A 41 freeways.
The journey from Germany involves many changes and takes about 26-30 hours. There is currently only a direct connection from Vigo in Spain to Porto. A high-speed line between Portugal and Spain has been in planning for many years and has been delayed again and again.
If traveling from Lisbon, one can take the Alfa Pendular high speed train to Lisbon in 2.45 hours. A little cheaper and only a good 30 minutes slower is the trip with the Intercity.
There are several highways leading to Porto, on which it is possible to travel without any problems.
Porto is located on the Douro River. The river is navigable from Vega Terrón in Spain to Porto. The nearest seaport, where cruise ships also anchor, is in Leixöes.
On the way in Porto
The old town can be easily explored on foot. However, you should keep in mind that it is mountainous and some of the streets are quite steep. Often you will also find many passages with countless steps.
In Porto, several metro lines and numerous bus lines run through the entire city area.
To travel in the city center, you need a Z1 or Z2 ticket (one zone or two zones), which you can buy from machines at the metro stations. Before the first trip, you also need to buy a rechargeable card (Andante card), which you can then add credit to. When getting on or off the tram, the card must be validated at a small, often yellow, box.
There are three streetcar lines that are operated by historical trains. The ride for these cannot be paid for with the tickets on the reloadable andante card. The fare for the ride in 2022 was €3 per person per ride.
The Funicular dos Guindas connects the riverfront with the downtown area further upstream. You need an extra ticket, which is available at the bottom and top stations.
November – March:
Sunday – Thursday: 8-20 h
Friday, Saturday: 8-22 h
April – October:
Sunday – Thursday: 8-22 h
Friday, Saturday: 8-24 h
Attention public holidays deviations possible!
one way 4,-€
Return journey: €6
The cable car in Vila Nova de Gaia runs from the riverbank to the upper edge of the river valley. An extra ticket is required.
The PortoCard is offered for 24, 48 or 72 hours and allows the use of public transport. In addition, discounts and some free entries are made possible, which makes a city trip to Porto more cost-effective.
Best time to visit Porto
Spring (March – May):
Temperatures rise gradually, from an average of 14°C in March to around 18°C in May. Spring brings fewer rainy days than winter, with a decreasing trend from March to May.
This time of year is ideal for visitors who prefer mild weather and fewer crowds.
Summer (June – August):
Summer in Porto is moderately warm with average temperatures around 25°C, rarely exceeding 30°C. It is the driest season, ideal for outdoor activities and beach visits. There are the most hours of sunshine in summer, with long, mostly clear days.
Autumn (September – November):
Temperatures start to drop, but are still a pleasant 20°C in September and reach around 15°C in November. The rain returns, especially in late autumn, it can rain for several days at a time.
Winter (December – February):
Winter temperatures are mild, typically between 10°C and 14°C. Winter is the rainiest season.
Buying tickets in Porto
Ticket machines and large maps of the metro network can be found in the entrance areas of the metro stations.
Firstly, you should check where you want to travel to. Porto is divided into zones and these are decisive for the choice of ticket. The fare is calculated according to the number of zones in which you are travelling.
If you travel a lot, the rechargeable “andante card” is worthwhile. Here you can top up a certain number of journeys and do not have to go to the ticket machine before each journey. Very important! You can only top up one type of ticket at a time. For example, only 10 journeys in Zone 1. If you need different types of ticket, you will also need several andante cards. Each driver needs their own card, which they validate when they start their journey!
It is of course also possible to buy individual journeys. The machine then prints out a paper ticket.
The andante cards can be topped up. To do this, go to the ticket machine. If you wish, you can set the language to English. The button is located below the screen.
Then select “reload” and place the card in the box with the circles.
Once the ticket has been fully used, you have the option of selecting a different ticket type (change type of title). Click on “Add titles” to add new tickets to the card for the previously used ticket type. It is possible to buy 1, 2, 5 or 10 new tickets.
Payment is made with Visa or Mastercard, the machines also take cash! We always had a receipt issued afterwards. As we don’t have a Portuguese tax number, it was the “Invoice without taxpayer number” button.
Then wait a little while until the journeys are booked onto the andante card, remove the card when prompted and the ticket purchase is complete.
Don’t forget to validate the card at one of the small boxes in front of the platform before travelling. If you forget to do this, even if you have the full andante card with you, you will be penalised. From time to time we met ticket inspectors who checked passengers getting off the train, especially in the stations.