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Are you traveling to Portugal for the first time?
Get the low-down on visiting Portugal, with tips about packing, travel, money, staying safe and lots of great city itineraries for your trip.
Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport or simply Porto Airport is an international airport 11 km from the centre of the city. Porto airport is well connected to Europe and serves several routes from the eastern USA.
You have several options to get into the city centre from the airport;
- Transfer – the quickest and most convenient option, you can book in advance with Intui Travel.
- Taxi – grab a cab, which will cost you around €25 and take about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Bus – GetBus is the airport bus into the centre, terminating at Campo 24 de Agosta bus station, a 20 minute walk or taxi ride from the hotel district. Tickets cost €2.80 for the 25 minute trip.
- Metro – a 40 minute metro journey will take you to Sao Bento station, close to the heart of the city and a five or eight minute walk from our recommended hotels. Buy a Z4 ticket for €2 and connect with line D at Trinidade.
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A great alternative, also in the heart of the city, is the Torel Palace Hotel. Opulent and romantic, this 19th century town palace has been beautifully restored and offers warm and welcoming public areas and luxurious, generous, rooms featuring over-sized beds. With impeccable service, a small pool and charming terrace, this is one of our favourite Porto hotels when we want to spend one day in the city.
See & Do
Follow our 1 day in
Day Trips to Porto from Lisbon
Climb the Arrabida Bridge
Visit the Cathedral
Climb the Clerigos Tower
Buy a Book at Livraria Lello (or not!)
Admire the Tiles at the Sao Bento Station
Eat Pastéis de Nata in the Old Town
Pasteis de Nata are best eaten warm, straight from the oven with the pastry crispy and the rich custard filling bubbling and caramelised on top.
Cross the Pont Luis I Bridge & Take the Cable Car
Take a Port Wine Tour
Stroll Along the Cais de Ribeira
Take a Douro River Cruise
Listen to Fado
Fado is the expressive melancholic music of Portugal which is played in pubs and cafes across the country and has World Heritage status. Usually played on one or two string guitars or violas and accompanied by singing full of heartfelt emotion, the music is slow and invokes feelings of longing and sadness.
Fado is not truly a part of Porto’s heritage though, and you’ll have a better experience in Lisbon or Coimbra. If you can only visit Porto and really want to hear fado, head for Casa de Guitarra, a shop which specialises in stringed instruments for traditional Portuguese music, to listen to the music with a glass of local port. Book in advance here as places are limited.
You can hear fado played live (and free) by street bands, especially along the Ribeira and along the river front in Vila Nova de Gaia – you may find a ten minute stint is enough to satisfy your curiosity.
Head to Cerevejaria Gazela on your way to the Pont Luis bridge to sample cachorrinho, Portugal’s take on a hot-dog crossed with a toasted sandwich. Thin crusty bread is filled with fresh sausage, grilled, brushed with a spicy piri piri sauce then cut into bite-sized pieces. At the Gazela Brewery, they are famed for their version, which you can enjoy with a fino (tap beer) and fries.
They also serve the famous francesinha, a meat-fest of a sandwich covered in melted cheese and spicy sauce. Touted as a national dish, and with Porto restaurants all stating with conviction that they make the best francesinha in town, there is a reason this one hasn’t taken off outside of Portugal!
Taberna dos Mercadores
You’ll find Taberna dos Mercadores down a narrow alley just off the busy streets of the Ribeira district. Serving traditional Portuguese and classic regional dishes alongside wines from the Douro and Alentejo regions in a contemporary and cool space, you’ll need to book in advance as the restaurant only seats 20. Their speciality is the açorda de marisco, a stew of stale bread, garlic, vinegar, coriander, eggs and seafood, which is absolutely delicious.
Top Five Porto Tips
Do you have just a little longer to spend in Porto?
If you want to visit Porto in two days or have an extra half a day in Porto, there are lots of other attractions you can add to your itinerary.
- Visit the Igreja de São Francisco (or Monument Church of St Francis) located in the historic centre and the most prominent Gothic monument in Porto, noted for its stunning Baroque inner decoration.
- Take a day trip from Porto to Coimbra, Portugal’s original capital city and home to a well preserved medieval old town and the historic University of Coimbra.
- Hire a tuk-tuk or e-bike and head along the north bank of the river to the Foz do Douro district and Felgueiras lighthouse. Promenade along Avenida do Brasil, past the sandy beaches and rocky shoreline to the 17th century Fort of Saint Francis Xavier, built as a deterrent to French, Dutch and British corsairs who pillaged the lands and stole Portuguese boats.
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