For one of the oldest cities in Europe, Porto is remarkably forward-looking.
Street art and contemporary architecture typify Porto as much as Gothic-baroque churches and fortified wine, while laidback locals and waterfront bars make for one very welcoming city. Throw in outdoor adventures in Peneda-Gerês National Park, and Portugal’s second city is a fantastic all-round destination.
Arriving at Porto Airport
Porto's Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO) is about nine miles (15km) north of Porto city centre, making for a quick and easy journey into town.
The most convenient option is the metro, which serves the airport on the purple line E. It runs every 20 or 30 minutes depending on time and day, and the journey takes 20–40 minutes, depending on where you're staying in town.
There’s a bus stop at the arrivals hall, where public and private buses pick you up for destinations in the city centre and beyond. There's also a shuttle bus, which runs every 30 minutes from the airport to the city centre during the day, although this is a more expensive option than the normal buses.
Taxis are another convenient way to get from the airport into town. They’re all metered; you can expect to pay between €20 and €30 for a ride into town. Between 2100 and 0600, and on weekends and public holidays, the rate increases by 20%.
Car hire is a good option if you plan to travel beyond the city.
Festivals and events
As Portugal's second-largest city, Porto hosts some of the country's most spectacular and enthusiastically celebrated festivals. Many of the most vibrant are religious celebrations. The Festa de Sao Joao - Festival of St John - is held each Midsummer's Eve, on 23 June. Street parties are held across the city where people drink wine, eat meat and sardines, and, less predictably, hit each other with plastic hammers.
Another highlight of the religious festival calendar is Carnival, a riot of parades and street parties running up to Ash Wednesday. Masked dances, float parades and musical performances characterise this festival, celebrated with gusto across Portugal.
Wine enthusiasts rejoice - Porto holds not one, but several festivals devoted to the country's favourite drink throughout the year. The Essencia do Vinho, held each February, brings together some of the finest wines from the region and beyond in the spectacular setting of the Palácio de Bolsa stock exchange building. Look out for Vinho Verde Wine Festival in July and Porto Wine Fest later in the year too.