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
Financial Times (3/06/2003)
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
You can get from the airport to
the city centre by public transport or rent a
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”.
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.
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
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 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
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
Travel to Porto
You can also get to Porto by bus,
by train or by car.
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
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
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).
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...