Getting around in Porto: info, costs and tips

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Porto is one of the liveliest cities in Portugal. The best way to explore Porto is on foot (taking into account many nice ups and downs!) but there is no shortage of efficient public services and vintage vehicles that will allow you to take a leap into the past!

So here's one guide on how to get around Porto: info, costs and advice!

Index

  1. Useful Tips
  2. How to get from the airport to the center of Porto
  3. How to get around on foot
  4. Con i mezzi pubblici
  5. By car
  6. User questions and comments

Useful Tips

Walk as much as you can, the beauty of Porto also lies in walking through its alleys and admiring, with the nose up, the typical decadent facades of its houses. For settle into the labyrinth of streets and neighborhoods, opt for a guided tour in your language, to become familiar with the city and identify the main landmarks together with a local guide.

Don't miss the experience on the historic tram, a real leap in time, as well as one ride with the funicular to admire the view from above. We also recommend the tourist bus that will allow you to easily reach all the attractions of the city thanks to the stops located in strategic points, thus avoiding to face many climbs and descents on foot!

If you are staying for several days, we recommend purchasing the Andante Card, a prepaid card that allows you to use buses, urban trains and the subway without having to buy a ticket every time, wasting time. Even more convenient is the Porto Card, which it offers unlimited transport for its entire duration (from 1 to 4 days) and free access to 6 museums in Porto and discounts of up to 50% in 14 monuments of the city.





  • Recommended solutions and means: on foot, by metro and tram
  • Solutions and means not recommended: bus
  • City cards and season tickets recommended: Porto Card (from € 13,00 -) Andante Card (from € 4,15)

How to get from the airport to the center of Porto

Porto airport is the Francisco Sà Carneiro, named after the Portuguese Prime Minister of the same name, who died in 1980 due to a plane crash. It is a small but modern international airport consisting of a single terminal about 10 km north of the center of Porto, near the town of Moreira.

It is connected to the city by the metro and several bus lines, which will allow you not to worry too much about your travel (and luggage). Alternatively you can opt for taxi or private transfer, easily bookable online!

Francisco Sà Carneiro Airport

  • Distance from the center: 12 km / travel time: 20 min;
  • By metro: line E / ticket cost: € 2,00
  • By taxi: average cost € 20,00 / travel time: 20 min;
  • By bus: average cost € 2,80 / line 601, 602, 604
  • Private transfer: private transfer between the airport and central hotels

How to get around on foot

The city of Porto is not very big, so it is very easy to get around on foot. But be careful: wear very comfortable shoes because you will often and willingly encounter steep climbs (and obviously descents). It can therefore be a bit tiring but this is one of the characteristics of the city. Moreover, many streets are pedestrianized, while in those where the transit of cars is also expected there is not so much traffic as to make them unlivable.

The historic center is a real pearl, which deserves to be explored far and wide. If you have just arrived in the city and want to settle in, opt for a guided tour in your language, to familiarize yourself with the city and identify the main landmarks together with a local guide. But not only, the city has an important wine culture, especially for the many wineries and vineyards along the Douro Valley: if you have a few days available, we really recommend an excursion to the Douro Valley with wine tasting, lunch and cruise!



Con i mezzi pubblici

Public transport in Porto is frequent and efficient. The city is equipped with underground and buses that connect every part of the city. While the subway line develops longitudinally, the bus lines have different routes suitable for every need: from the more touristic ones, which will allow you to reach the various museums, up to those that arrive in the suburbs and also at the airport.

We suggest the purchase of the Porto Card, which it offers unlimited transport for its entire duration (from 1 to 4 days), free admission to 6 museums and discounts of up to 50% in 14 monuments of the city.
Alternatively, the Andante Card is a prepaid card that allows you to use buses, city trains and the subway without having to buy a ticket every time, wasting time. It is sufficient to load it with the desired amount and then "swipe" it every time you get on one of the public transport. There are two options: 24 hours (around € 7,00), 48 hours (around € 15,00).

We also recommend the tourist bus that will allow you to easily reach all the attractions of the city thanks to the stops located in strategic points, thus avoiding to face many climbs and descents on foot! Plus you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic tour of the city!

Metropolitan

The metro is undoubtedly the best way to get around Porto and reach every corner of the city. Fast, modern and efficient it is certainly the most used means.

The network extends for about 67 km, with a total of 81 stations and 6 operational lines. Only 8 km are underground; the remainder is made up of an elevated network or at ground level. The trips have a frequency that varies from a minimum of 5 min at peak times, to a maximum of 17 min after 22:00.



  • Downloadable map: metro-port map - tourist route map
  • from 6: 00 to 1: 00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: € 1,20
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: 24h Andante Card € 7,00, Andante 72h Card € 15,00

Bus

Road transport is managed by the Portuguese STCP which guarantees connections, every day, between the center and the suburbs. There are over 60 lines in service from morning to evening. The buses are modern and comfortable. White and blue, they are numbered in three digits (the first number indicates the destination).

It is the most convenient way to reach places like Vila Nova de Gaia, the wine cellar area. The most useful lines in this regard are the 900, 901 and 906, which depart from Trindade, or la 904, which runs from Batalha to Praça da Liberdade.

  • Downloadable map: map-bus-port
  • from 6: 00 to 01: 00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: € 1,85
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: 24h Andante Card € 7,00, Andante 72h Card € 15,00

Tram

More than a means of transport, the tram is a real tourist attraction. And in fact it is commonly known as Porto Tram City Tour. Only a dozen trams are active and few lines remain. We strongly advise you to take at least one ride on the tram because it is one of the experiences not to be missed!

The city has one ancient tram line dating back to 1872. Today, aboard vintage cars, you can retrace three fascinating and evocative itineraries. The vehicles were all obviously refurbished, according to the highest and strict safety criteria, without distorting their appearance. Line 1 of the Porto Tram is the most touristic and popular. Avoid peak times and late Sundays if possible. If not, you'll have to respectfully queue up, and wait your turn!

  • every day, including Sundays and holidays. Variable times based on lines
  • Ticket / single ride cost: € 3,00, can be purchased directly on board
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: 2 DIAS ticket € 10,00, Andante card 24h € 7,00, Andante card 72h € 15,00

Funicolare

Much like the tram, the ancient Funicular dos Guindais represents more than just a means of transport. Built in 1891, it connects the Ribeira, on the river bank, and the Batalha district, offering an extraordinary panorama and spectacular views of the Douro and the Luiz I bridge.

A 'truly enjoyable and unmissable experience which allows you to move between the two levels of the city in an original and elegant way. The cost of the service is € 2,50!

  • from November to April 8: 00-20: 00; in summer 8: 00-22: 00, until midnight from Thursday to Saturday. In July and August it closes at midnight
  • Ticket / single ride cost: € 2,50

Taxi

Taxis in Porto they are relatively cheap and represent a good alternative to reach various places of interest. They are beige or black with a green roof. The average price for a ride to the city is € 5,00. 20% surcharge between 21:00 and 6:00 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

If a toll is to be paid, the cost is borne by the customer. If you contact the radio taxi or the taxi agency by phone, you have to pay a supplement of € 0,80. If you carry your suitcases in the trunk there is an extra charge of € 1,60.

Remember to consult the tariff which must be displayed on the rear door window on the left side. Also remember that the issue of the receipt is required.

  • 24 hours on 24
  • Ticket / single ride cost: Approximately € 5,00 for a ride to the city. Surcharges on weekends and holidays and for the transport of luggage

By car

Driving in Porto is not really recommended: for reasons of traffic, local guide and why the center of Porto is full of unique ways which, among other things, change often, to the point that even the navigators are not always up to date.

Last but not least, if you do not arrive on site with your vehicle but you have to rent it, i prices are quite high. If you are planning a tour of Portugal or the Douro Valley, during the days of your stay in Porto, you can leave the car parked in your accommodation and get around the city on foot or by public transport.

ZTL

Much of the city of Porto is pedestrianized; this means that trying to get to the most central areas by car is practically impossible and finding parking is an equally difficult task.

As in almost all European cities, the so-called ones are also active in Porto Low Emission Areas. In these areas, from 7:00 to 21:00, every day (except Sunday), Euro 3 and Euro 2 vehicles cannot access.

Stops and parking

Public parking lots are well distributed within the entire historic center area. The blue area is divided into Zone A, with an average cost of € 0,60 / hour, e Zone B, at a cost of € 1,00 / hour. Maximum time of stay 2 hours. On weekends and public holidays the parking meter is not used.

It is possible to park in the private underground car parks, in the Explanada de La Catedral or in residential areas such as Foz do Douro, known for its beaches and restaurants, Matosinhos and Parque da Cidade.
Areas where you can park for free:

  • in the Fontainhas neighborhood (Get Directions)
  • to Carolina Michaelis (near the University of Coímbra - Get directions)
  • in Parco da Cidade (on Avenida do Parque da Cidade and neighboring streets - Get directions)
  • in Rúa Cunha Junior (Get directions)
  • in Rúa Águas Férreas (Get directions)

NB.: some streets in the Cedofeita district and others close to the Igreja da Lapa are generally occupied by "gorilas", illegal parking attendants. While it may seem tempting to park almost for free in the central area, night robberies and vandalism of foreign cars are very common.


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