Are you planning your first trip to Porto? Then this post is for you! Check here all you need to know about this amazing city and how you can have the best time while here:
Porto is Portugal’s second biggest city, located on the northwest part of the country. The city covers an area of 41,21 km2 and has 237,591 inhabitants. But together with close cities like Vila Nova de Gaia and Matosinhos (and 15 more), Porto metropolitan area is home for more than 1,7 million people! Still, you will notice that sometimes Porto can have a small-city vibe.
What to see and visit
Porto has something for everyone! Museums, galleries, architecture, churches, gardens, viewpoints, wine cellars… It’s hard to choose from so many options! If you like history, don’t miss Casa do Infante and the cloisters of Sé Cathedral. For art lovers, head to Serralves and Soares dos Reis Museum. If you’re more into architecture and design, take a guided tour at Casa da Música and explore the coolest stores in town. If the weather allows, don’t miss the Crystal Palace Gardens and Virtudes. A must-do for everyone is going to a wine cellar in Gaia riverside, to learn about this famous drink and, of course, taste it!
When to visit Porto
Summer is, of course, the high season for visiting Porto! Between June and August the city gets full of people, music festivals, street markets and beach days. May-June and September-November are usually less visited but the weather is still very nice. Remember that June 23rd is the city holiday so everything will be crowded! October to April can be rainy and cold – but not cold: temperatures won’t be less than 2o C.
Eat and drink
Porto is heaven for foodies! From home-made warm meals to fancy dishes, to cold beer to sweet Port, and all that Portuguese pastry… You will surely find something you love! Typical from Porto are the famous Francesinha and Tripes. You can also try alheira, pataniscas, caldo verde and bifanas. If you want to try all these foods and learn the history behind them, you should book a Porto Food Tour with us! But if you’re a vegetarian, don’t worry: check our favourite meal-free restaurants in Porto!
Going around the city
Public transport is inexpensive and efficient. Save time and cash buying in a 24-hour pass, which cost only 7€ and allows you to take any subway or bus available (check www.stcp.pt and www.metrodoporto.pt for more info!). Taxis can be useful especially at night and if you go to areas like Foz or Afurada – a ride can cost anywhere between 5€ to 15€. If you have the apps, take an Uber or Cabify for cheaper rides. Trams are mostly touristic but can be fun to try! Look for Line #1, that goes from Ribeira to Foz. Tickets cost 3€.
A bit of history
The territory close to the Douro river has been occupied by different groups since the pre-Roman era! The official city has its origins back to the 12th century, when Teresa de Leão – mother of Portugal’s first king – gave the land to bishop D. Hugo. The city kept evolving throughout times, witnessing important moments of Portuguese history like the marriage of D. João I and Filipa de Lancaster, the beginning of the Discoveries Era, the birth of Port wine, and a civil war. If you want to walk around the city in the company of a history expert, check our History Master Class Tour!
Nowadays, Porto is becoming more and more a hype destination. Being elected Europe’s Best Destination in 2012, 2014 and 2017, it attracts tourists looking for the authenticity of the North, which combines a great-looking city, delicious food and wine, and super friendly locals! And in comparison to other European countries, the prices are still very low.
Is there anything we miss and you want to know? Write us a message! We will be happy to help you plan your visit to Porto and, of course, show you around! Our guides are passionate about this city and are eager to show you coolest places in town.