Arriving by plane
Dr. Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport is situated at Pedras Rubras, roughly 16 kms from the centre of Porto, a distance that can be covered in roughly a quarter of an hour.
There are various buses from the airport, as well as a special “Aerobus”, which will take you to the city’s main hotels.
Airlines with regular flights to Porto Airport:
Air France, Air Luxor, Iberia, Luxair, Lufthansa, Portugalia, SATA, TAP , Transavia Airlines e Virgin Express .
Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (11 km from the centre of Oporto)
Lisbon Airport (317 km)
Faro Airport (595 km)
Porto: The Most European City in Portugal
"Porto: An Introduction"
Porto is located about 310 km north of Lisbon, and is the second largest city in the country. There are about 300,000 residents within the city limit while about 2 million people live in the metropolitan area, makes it the second largest metro in Portugal as well. The city is home to a number of popular venues, including FC Porto - the best football team in Portugal's Superliga - and the Vinho do Porto, known in English as the Port Wine.
Porto is often referred as the City of Six Bridges, because there are six bridges connecting Porto with the area across the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia. The most popular ones are Ponte Dom Luiz, a two-tier bridge designed by Gustav Eiffel whose top floor is now used by the Line D of the Porto's new metro/lightrail system (Metro do Porto).
The name "Portugal" comes from this area. It is pretty easy to see the first part of the name "Portu" resembling Porto; before the foundation of the region, there were two towns named Portus and Cale where currently Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia are located. The port at the mouth of the Douro River - the Portuguese word "porto" means a "port" in English - played an important role during the formation of the Portus Cale area, which became the "County" of Portugal. Dom Afonso Henriques, a son of the Burgundy family, decided to be independent from Castille, and eventually made it an independent kingdom of Portugal in 1443.
The old town area, which includes the entire Ribeira district, was designated as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. Porto, with Rotterdam in the Netherlands, was also selected as the European City of Culture in 2001. In addition, the city was one of the most important venues during Euro2004, which Portugal hosted with a great success.
"My Personal Impression"
To start from the conclusion, I love Porto. I may like this city more than Lisbon - sorry for the Lisbon residents! - but with valid reasons. I like the views of the Douro River, including the Ribeira districts of both Porto (where I can see wine cellars in Gaia) and Gaia (where I can see a fantastic view of the downtown Porto). Also, looking at both parts of the river from the second tier of the Ponte Dom Luiz I is really something. A blue sky, a blue river, and a colorful array of houses... These small things are good enough to make me like the city.
My other favorite of the city is Avenida dos Aliados, the "Avenue of the Alliance," which is more or less similar to Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. A wide boulevard with a pedestrian park in the middle is stretched from the statue of Dom Pedro IV to the city hall, dominated by the high tower in the middle. The major reason why I like this avenue so much is because of architecture of the buildings along both sides of it. While Lisbon has a lot of buildings influenced from the Moorish culture, the buildings of Porto, at least the ones along Avenida dos Aliados, are completely Victorian, giving the pedestrians a very appealing view of the street. Walking along this street is, with no question or doubt, is my favorite activity in Porto.
There are other reasons why I like Porto so much. Its convinient metro system has a very new, clean service, and also plays a role of a commuter train because two of its routes travel far out from the city center. Casa da Música in the Boavista rotary, a spanking new performing arts center in Porto, is the masterpiece of the modern architecture, with the outside shape that looks like a huge diamond. But I like its architecture the most, which is something I cannot see so much in Lisbon.
I have been to Porto for 7 times so far, but have always run into something new every time I went there. This is the city that makes me happy and fully satisfied, and this is the city where I can feel the passion that the Portuguese people have.
"Transportation System in Porto"
There are two main ways to go from Lisbon to Porto, besides by car along A1:
1) Bus (Rede-Expressos): Lisboa Sete Rios - Porto (near Batalha Square)
2) Train (CP Alfa Pendular): Lisboa Stª Apolónia or Oriente - Porto Campanhã
Porto has an extensive bus network, operated by STCP. However, its expanding metro system is also quite useful, especially to travel to the places outside the downtown area. There are five lines at this point, whose routes are:
Linha A: Senhor de Matosinhos - Estádio do Dragão
Linha B: Póvoa de Varzim - Estádio do Dragão
Linha C: ISMAI - Estádio do Dragão
Linha D: Hospital São João - João de Deus
Linha E: Aeroporto - Estádio do Dragão
Linhas A, B, D, and E meet Linha D at Trindade.
Linha B operates an express service every hour, stopping only at major stations until Pedras Rubras, then stop at all stations until Estádio do Dragão.