Porto Travel Guide: Tips To Plan A Perfect Trip

Located along the Douro River, Porto is home to the famous port wine. If you’re planning to visit Porto, check out my Porto travel guide for useful information.

 

A brief introduction to Porto, Portugal

Porto’s area is about 389 square kilometers and is home to about 2 million people.

Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, after Lisbon. This is also one of the oldest cities in Europe, recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1996.

 

How much time do you spend on vacation in Porto?

While you can cramp most of the famous places in Porto in one day, I suggest having two days for a more relaxing trip.

  • Day 1: City center and Ribeira district.
  • Day 2: The beaches and museums.

 

Best things to do in Porto

There are plenty of things to do and see in Porto. The most famous attractions are Luis I Bridge, Ribeira area, Livraria Lello, Church of São Francisco, and São Bento Station.

On your Porto trip, you definitely should try port wine tasting and ride the old trolley. A trip to a nearby beach area is also highly recommended.

To learn more, check my travel guide to the best things to do in Porto

 

Best places to stay in Porto

The accommodation in Porto ranges from 15 to 25 euros for a night in a hostel and 40 to 150 euros for a night in a hotel.

Hostels in Porto

For budget travelers, Gallery Hostel and The Passenger Hostel are great choices.

They both offer dorm beds, complimentary breakfast and have fantastic locations. In The Passenger hostel, you can also use the shared kitchen, a washing machine, and a tumble dryer.

Hotels in Porto

Eurostars Porto Douro is a lovely boutique hotel with a stunning view of the Duoro river. The room is clean and cozy, and the hotel offers a splendid breakfast. The staff here is also friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.

 

The best time to visit Porto

Porto has a semi-Mediterranean climate, so the weather here is quite cool and pleasant all year round.

Summer in Porto is a bit hot, with temperatures sometimes reaching nearly 40 degrees Celsius. Winter is pretty cold, and the temperature may drop to 0 degrees Celsius.

Therefore, the best time to visit Porto is from May to mid-June and September to October.

Throughout the day, you’re likely to get sun and rain at the same time, so pack a foldable umbrella or a raincoat with you. 

Ponte Luis bridge Porto Portugal

 

Is it safe to visit Porto?

I traveled solo to Porto, and I felt completely safe when I was there.

However, like any big city in Europe, Porto also suffers from thieves and scams. Most of them are petty thieves such as pickpockets in tourist areas.

Be aware of thieves in São Bento train station, and keep your eyes on your belongings. Also, count your change carefully when taking any cab in Porto.

 

Is Porto or Lisbon better?

It isn’t easy to choose because I love both of the cities. Porto feels younger and more energetic, while Lisbon is enriched with history and culture. 

If you only have a few days in Portugal, probably Lisbon is a better choice. 

 

Where to have the best views in Porto

You can enjoy beautiful views along the Ribeira riverfront embankment, but they’re even better from across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia (looking back toward Porto).

For the best experience, consider taking the cable car or visit Porto Cruz’s rooftop bar.

The public garden next to Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar is also an excellent place for soaking in Porto’s view. You can also enjoy the views from the top of the Clérigos Tower or the terrace next to the cathedral.

Rabelos boats.
A beautiful view along Duoro River.

 

Languages ​​in Porto

Like many other tourist destinations in the world, English is a common language used in all communication and commercial activities here.

You can use English anywhere, such as bus stations, railway stations, airports, restaurants, cafes, bars without worrying about language barriers.

However, if you know a few Portuguese words, your trip will be much more fun.

Some basic words that you should know are:

  • Hello: Olá
  • Yes/ No: Sim / Não
  • Thank you: Obrigado. If you are a woman, you should say “Obrigada,” but it’s not important at all.
  • Please: Por favor
  • Excuse me/ Sorry: Desculpe
  • Goodbye: Adeus / Ciao

 

How to get to Porto

You can easily get to Porto by plane, bus or train. 

By plane

If you’re outside of Portugal, you can get to Porto by plane. Porto Airport is well-connected and is also one of the three largest international airports in Portugal.

By bus

You can also reach Porto by bus. The main bus companies are Rede Expressos, Rodonorte, and Internorte. 

By train

If you’re getting to Porto by train, please note that Porto has two train stations.

While trains from Lisbon and Coimbra arrive at Campanhã station, regional trains, including those serving the Douro Valley, use the central São Bento station.

From Campanhã station, you can hop on any train that leaves for São Bento. The five-minute ride is included in your ticket.

Porto train.

 

How to get from Porto airport to the city center

Porto airport is only about 15km from the city center, so you will have many options to move into the city center.

  • Taxi: The taxi price in Porto is quite affordable. For about 23 Euros, you can go from the airport to the city center.
  • Bus: At Porto airport, there is an Aerobus service. With about 4 Euro you can go into the city.
  • Metro: A 25-mins metro ride will cost you 2.5 euros. This is probably the most ideal means of transportation from Porto airport to the main city center.

 

How to get around Porto

Porto is a walkable city, so you probably don’t need any public transportation other than getting from Campanhã station or the airport to town.

The city’s public transit network includes buses and the Metro. Consider taking vintage trolleys, a funicular, and the cable car in Vila Nova de Gaia for a memorable trip.