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Porto and its Region

Country/Nation
Portugal is the most westerly country in continental European. Its national borders, the oldest in Europe, were established during the second half of the 13th century. Five centuries ago, the Portuguese started globalisation. The main heritage of that process of maritime expansion is the cultural link with 7 Portuguese-speaking countries, which account for over 230 million people (thus ranking Portuguese as the fourth most spoken European language and sixth as the most spoken language on the planet).

“Unsung hero of R&D - Unknown to many, Portugal is a leader in some cutting-edge technology, from heating systems to electronic banking. In an unassuming way, Portugal has become a world leader in several other areas of cutting-edge technology, from electronic banking and automatic motorway tolling to interactive digital television and mobile phone payment systems.”
Financial Times (3/06/2003)


City/Region
Porto is the second largest town of Portugal and one of the most ancient European cities. It was born and developed from the northern bank of this river during the Middle Ages. One of the most significant aspects of Porto and its historical centre is its landscape, combining harmony with the urban structure and presenting a frame of rare beauty. The city was classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1996. When discovering Porto, you will find many surprises. Besides its welcoming and conservative environment, Porto is also contemporany and artistic. This is shown not only in the streets, architecture, monuments and museums but also in the terraces, restaurants and leisure and shopping areas. The town has about 300.000 inhabitants but it is the centre of an urban agglomeration with more than 1,2 millions of persons. It is one of the most important Portuguese cities in what concerns economic activity and a gateway to explore the beautiful Northern region of Portugal. People of Porto are known as being friendly and welcoming as well as dedicated to their traditions and community. The richness of its monumental and artistic patrimony, the Port Wine cellars, the many spots dedicated to leisure and culture are only some of the reasons that invite you to visit Porto.

How to get to Porto

Located in the North of Portugal, Porto is quite easy to get to, either by plane or by land. It's not common nowadays to get to Porto by sea, though there are tourism cruises in the river Douro that take advantage of the beautiful landscape of Porto.

Land in Porto

You can get to Porto by plane from almost anywhere in the world, either directly or by means of other connections. The Porto airport is called Aeroporto Internacional Francisco Sá Carneiro - OPO (+351 22 943 24 00). It is located about 11 km north of the city centre. The Portuguese main air carrier is TAP Portugal (707 205 700), with offices in the main cities it flies to. PGA - Portugália Airlines (+351 218 938 070 or 707 789 090) also grants connections by air to many other cities. Besides, there is an increasing number of other international air carriers flying to Portugal – including low fares airlines.

You can get from the airport to the city centre by public transport or rent a car.

City Transports

The main means of transport in the city is the underground (Metro do Porto) and the bus (STCP).

A bus ticket to travel within the city costs 1.45 EUR (if bought in advance, valid for two trips) or 1.20 EUR (if bought in the bus, in this case being valid for only one trip). There is also a daily ticket (which is valid until midnight on the day it is used for the first time), which costs 4.00 EUR, and a 3-day ticket, which costs 9.00 EUR. Both tickets are valid for an unlimited number of trips in the partner companies, including STCP, Metro do Porto and CP (within the city area).

Porto also has an underground service available since 2002. This allows people to move around more easily, by means of the partnerships with bus and train services, thus improving the quality of life in the city. Metro do Porto expects to carry thousands of people everyday, in each line. The construction of the underground started in 1999, and presently three lines are operational: Line A (Estádio do Dragão – Senhor de Matosinhos), Line B (Estádio do Dragão – Pedras Rubras) and Line C (Estádio do Dragão – Fórum da Maia). As from September Line D (Câmara de Gaia – Pólo Universitário) will also be operational.

To travel in Metro do Porto an appropriate ticket is required: the “Andante”. The Andante is a ticket which costs 0,50 EUR, and can be recharged with trips, in accordance with the areas: a Z2 tickets allow people to travel in the area where the trip started, as well as in the neighbouring areas; a Z3 ticket allows people to travel in these two areas, as well as in the neighbouring areas, and so on. This system is not applied to monthly passes. In this case, when requesting the pass, the traveller has to decide on the area where they are going to travel. For example, a trip from Avenida dos Aliados, in the city centre, to Pólo Universitário, in Asprela, requires only a Z2 ticket. However, a trip from Câmara de Gaia to Pólo Universitário requires a Z3 ticket.
A Z2 ticket costs 0.80 EUR (8.00 EUR is the cost of 10+1 trips), whereas a Z3 ticket costs 1.00 EUR (10.00 EUR is the cost of 10+1 trips). The monthly pass costs 20.50 EUR (Z2) or 25.70 EUR (Z3). The monthly pass requires the purchase of the Andante Gold card, which costs 5.00 EUR.

Until the 31st of October, the tickets used to travel in the STCP buses and in Metro do Porto are different, except for a few STCP buses – which already allow the use of Andante. However, as from the 1st of November 2005, STCP buses will only use the same tickets as the underground (Andante). This will enhance the mobility of people, since na inhabitant will be able to travel in the train, in the bus or in the metro with the same (type of) ticket. After its first validation, the ticket is valild for one hour in areas Z2 and Z3. This means that, even if you have to catch the bus and the underground to get to the Faculty (which requires two validations), you will only pay for one ticket - as long as the whole trip takes place within one hour from the first validation.

Bus

The AEROBUS is a bus service operated by STCP (Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto) which ensures a fast connection between the airport, the main hotels and the city centre. This service is available every 30 minutes, from 07.30 to 20.00. The AEROBUS is available between the city centre and the airport every 30 minutes, from 06.45 to 19.15. The ticket can be bought in the bus for 4.00 EUR, and can be used in any STCP bus until the end of that day.

There are two other regular STCP bus services (buses 56 and 87), which can take you from the airport to the city centre. In this case the ticket costs 1.20 EUR and can only be used for that trip.

Taxi

Taxi services are available at the airport. The taximeter should be set to 1,90 EUR at the beginning of the trip (or 2,28 EUR, from Monday to Friday, from 22.00 to 06.00, as well as on Saturday, Sunday and holidays). Just for your own reference, travelling from the airport to the city centre by taxi costs an average of 15.00 EUR. Luggage over 55x36x20cm implies it has to be carried in the boot - therefore an additional 1.50 EUR can be charged. Transportation of cradles, baby carriages and wheelchairs is free of charge. Tips are up to the customer’s decision, but they are not compulsory. Prices charged per trip are the same, regardless of carrying 1, 2, 3 or 4 passengers.

Rent-a-car

There are several rent-a-car services at the airport. To rent one of these cars, you just have to go to the respective rent-a-car counter or contact your travel agency in advance.

Travel to Porto by Land

You can also get to Porto by bus, by train or by car.

Roads

New roads are constantly being built which allow an easier access to the main cities in the country. There are 3 motorways leaving from Porto: to Lisbon (A1); to Minho (A3); and to Trás-os-Montes (A4). There is also a toll-free motorway connecting Porto to Valença (IC1/A28).

A vast network of buses connects Porto to several other European cities. The main bus companies are Rede Nacional de Expressos, and InterNorte, in Praça da Galiza (+351 22 605 24 20) - this company has bus connections to most European capitals, through connections to Paris.

There are also several other bus companies connecting Porto to the North (Rua Alfredo Magalhães), to the South (Rua Alexandre Herculano) and to many other destinations (Campo 24 de Agosto, in Central Shopping).

Railway Transports

You can also get to Porto by train from about anywhere in Europe, with CP, which has connection mainly to Paris. Porto has 2 main railway stations: Estação de Campanhã (which provides international connections and connections to Lisbon, Douro and Minho); Estação de S. Bento (which provides connections to Galicia, Douro and Minho, as well as to Aveiro and Coimbra). CP has a Call Center for reservations: telephone number is 808 208 208 (or +351 223 394 040).

It's great to live in Porto...


Coming to Porto means living an extraordinary experience: the nice morning mist of a walk by the river on sunny days, which provides the city with a unique blue tone; a pleasant lunch in Praça da Ribeira, by the cube and the pigeons; a fantastic afternoon thanks to a walk by the historical area classified as world heritage and a nice time in the city parks; a drink in Foz by the sunset; a dinner in one of the many traditional city restaurants; and in the evening, hopping form bar to bar until you feel tired or ending the night in one of the city discos...
     Although it is known as the "city of work" and for the quality of its University, Porto also has leisure times, thus increasing quality of life in the city. 

     Therefore, those who come to Porto once will wish to get back later...

 

   Some useful links about Porto:

General Information

Porto (The New York Times -Travel)

Porto Map

Weather (Porto, Portugal)

Casa da Musica

Casa de Serralves

City Council

Official Tourism Office