Porto is the largest metropolitan area in Portugal and one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Porto is home to ancient Roman architecture and world-famous wine and is one of the oldest districts in Europe.
There are many ways of exploring Porto. To focus on the local sightseeing, compare the most popular ways of getting around Porto.
Porto offers several means of public transport: metro, funicular, tram, and bus. A Porto card can help you save money on rides in central Portugal and the side regions. If you want to orient yourself in Porto, the information from this article should be useful.
After buying a Porto card, you don’t pay any more for the rides when you use public transport. You also get around 150 discounts, entrance to a couple of museums, and a map to help you navigate the area.
Each one has a different expiry date. If you have a child younger than four years old, you don’t need to pay for them. One day of usage will cost you around 6 EUR, two days will cost 10 EUR, and three days will cost 13 EUR.
Another popular option in Portugal is using the Andante Tour ticket. It also gives you fixed-priced rides and it is cheap but does not give you any additional discounts. You can only use it to ride public transport, and online purchase is unavailable.
Let us check on the best local transportation in Portugal.
Catching a city bus
City bus (by Pierre Olivier)
Portugal has a broad bus network, which is the best way to see all areas of the city. More than 70 bus routes are available for usage. They are accessible from 6 A.M. to 1 A.M., with fewer buses functioning in Porto between 9 P.M. and 1 A.M.
The bus is one of the best opportunities to find what you need in Porto and observe it. Depending on the route, it will take you everywhere you want to go. Some itineraries will get you through the most important sights. If you find a bus only as a tool to see the city, we recommend hopping on special tourist buses, like No. 207. Accessible wifi and a timetable are two significant advantages of buses in Portugal. The first letter in the code of the bus defines its destination; this is all the information you should know.
Riding a bus in Portugal will cost you €1.80-1.85. Using one of the passes can save you some money. Thus, a ride on a bus with Andante Tour costs only €1.20, and you can do every 10th ride for free. Each eleventh journey will be free of charge. Its special tourist edition is called the Andante Tour Ticket. With it, you can have an unlimited number of rides. Andante 24 will cost you between €4.15 and €6.40.
The metro is a popular public transport option to travel around Porto. Before using the subway, build your route with a phone navigator.
The Portuguese subway has six lines and 81 station. One huge advantage of the Portuguese metro is that it is affordable. The metro is good for relocating within the city, but if you are looking for a route from one tourist attraction to another, you should probably stick with the bus.
Lines B and C are served by tram-trains, or in other words, the Bombardier Flexity Swift, city light trams on and under ground. Eurotrams function on the rest of the lines (A, D, E, F). There is also one funicular route you can use, called Funicular dos Guindais. Funiculars cover a large area and have operated since the 19th century. You can take it to get to the subway.
Sticking with a tram in Porto
Historical tram in Porto
In Porto, the tram has existed since 1872. A tram is a perfect kind of public transport to travel around Porto, but it can give you much more as a tourist attraction. It used to be the most useful mode of transportation, with 30 lines. However, only three lines are currently serving the city.
Trams in Portugal leave depots at 9:15 AM as the earliest time and stop working at 7 PM at the latest. The average price for a single ride is €3.50; we recommend booking a return ride for €6.00 or an unlimited 2-day pass for €10.
It will take 20 minutes to get from one end to another on line 1. Every tram is usually fully occupied on this line, so you'd better make it early in the day. It is convenient to ride a tram to approach the waterside or the main tourist attractions (e.g., Jardim do Passeio Alegre).
Car hire in Portugal
If you prefer to be a driver rather than a passenger, consider hiring a car. There are many Portuguese private companies to choose from. The necessary age for a driver is 25 years or older.
Please be ready to demonstrate your license: you should hold it for 12 or more months. Visitors from most countries (e.g., the US, Brazil, and the EU) will need to provide their driving licenses in Portugal if they rent an automobile. UK citizens would also have to show their IDP, or International Driving Permit if they were asked.
Many risks make renting a car in Portugal a risky option. We recommend walking instead of driving a car. A car rental is a good idea if you go to the countryside. It costs €30–90 a day. Choose a service that does not charge you an extra cost.
Getting somewhere by train
Sao Bento railway station
Choosing Porto for your vacation does not mean you can not explore the other cities of Portugal. If you plan a short trip to another city, getting on a train is quite an option. The primary railway station is called Sao Bento. You can find it in the historic center of Porto (also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List). Two other popular lines are Campanha and Vila Nova de Gaia. There are seven primary lines available.
You can either purchase your ride online or at a vending machine, which you can find almost everywhere. Better yet, look online for discounts and choose a train with no connection to save your time and have a comfortable ride. The average price for the ride in Portugal starts at 30 USD. Trains operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
People often ride trains to get from Lisbon to Porto and back. If you are one of them, don’t pass by the Silver Coast, a beautiful area with ancient towns and historical sites along the coastline.
Metropolitan and historical streets of Portugal are where people mostly walk or book a place on a tour bus.
If you are not physically ready for long walks, a private tour in a minivan should be what you’re looking for!
While visiting Porto, look closely at its culture and cuisine. Port wine is known for its grape sweetness and can be a great souvenir that your family or friends may receive. Have dinner while enjoying the Fado Show to have life-lasting memories!