Portugal has a rich seafaring past, superb beach resorts, wistful towns and a landscape wreathed in olive groves, vineyards and wheat fields. Littered with UNESCO World Heritage sites and graced by one of Europe's most relaxed and attractive capitals, it also remains refreshingly affordable. Savoring life slowly is a Portuguese passion, and much of the best is humble - traditional folk festivals; simple, honest food drowning in olive oil; music that pulls at the heart strings, recalling past love and glories; and markets overflowing with fish, fruit and flowers. Four decades of dictatorship sidelined the country from modern progress and Europe's power centers, but like its neighbor, Spain, it has spent much of the last 20 years trying to move in from the periphery, forging new ties with the rest of Europe, restructuring its economy, and struggling to maintain what is best in its national culture despite the sudden onslaught of international influences.
Porto is the regional capital of northern Portugal and is known mainly for its trade in Port wine, which travels along the east-west trending Douro River that starts in Spain. Porto has for its long history, been known as a cosmopolitan trading center. It still has a blue collar working class feel, but it's a sort of Vasco de Gama working class with a timeless style. You'll see an array of architectural gems from Roman, Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassic and Renaissance eras in this scenic city built into the granite cliffs at the mouth of the river Douro. Porto's wealth of over 2000 years of history was recognized in 1996 by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage.
Porto Airport is located 11km from Porto, and provides direct links to over 30 international destinations. From the airport to the city center and hotels, you can use the Aerobus or take a taxi. Travel time to the city center is approximately 40 minutes.
Aerobus: Bus route providing a fast connection between the airport, the city’s leading hotels and Porto city center:
Every 30 minutes:
07:30 -19:00 (Airport - Downtown)
06:45 -18:15 (Downtown - Airport)
Fare: € 4 Daily Ticket. Valid on all STCP lines.
Taxi: Taxis are available 24 hours a day. The average fare between the Airport and the town center is € 13.50. Any tolls (round trip) are paid by the client. On Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays, and Monday to Friday between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., a 20% rate applies above normal fares. Luggage exceeding 55x36x20cm which needs to be carried in the boot or on the roof can be charged € 1.50. Tipping is at the customer's discretion. The price includes 4 passengers.
Car: Three motorways connect Porto to Lisbon (A1), the regions of Minho (A3) and Trás-os-Montes (A4). If you drive from Lisbon to Porto, follow the A1 motorway. The distance between the two cities is about 310 km. Choose the signs “Arrábida” to cross the Arrábida bridge and leave the motorway at the second exit, called Bessa Leite. After getting off the highway, the main hotels are 500 meters straight ahead on Av. da Boavista.
Train: For information on trains to and from Porto, please visit www.cp.pt.
There are 2 main railway stations in Porto:
Campanha: Located in the eastern side of Porto, this railway station includes international services, from the Alfa Pendular (from Lisbon), services between cities and regions, and regional and suburban services, which enable the connection to several destinations in the country and abroad.
S. Bento: Located in the centre of the city, this railway station includes suburban and regional services, as well as services between regions, which Centro de Congressos e Exposições, the connection to several destinations in the city. If you arrive at S. Bento Station take a few minutes to view the beautiful tiles, including in the ceiling.