Porto still has old trams running through the city.
The trams are oldfashioned vintage trams that have been running there since 1872.
In the beginning they were pulled by horses, but today they are electric.
There are 3 tram lines that travels through the city and they can be quite practical to use and the city council is actually planning to expand the tram system so it's not going out of fasion there.
Tickets cost 2,5 euros and can be bought onboard.
Once used to bring the wine down the river, these beautiful boats are only a touristy attraction today. Most of them are only anchored as decoration for the wineries, only sailing in festive days, but a few are available to a small trip in the river. Why not?
Starting from near the base of the bridge between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, the funicular (rack and pinion or cable pulled, not sure which) will take you from the Riberia district back UP the hill to the central area of Porto, not far from the Cathedral.
The car looks like it is sitting on an accordion as it goes up that steep incline, so you arrive at the top still standing on level surface.
This can save you from walking up that hill....
I have included two photos taken from the opposite side of the river to give you an idea of the height of the hill and the incline this funicluar climbs.
Porto also has several of the old trams running, we took the one from the Riberia district going along the waterfront.
It may be old, noisy and small, but it IS fun and you get to enjoy the area at a relatively slow pace without killing your feet. ^O^
The same ticket you purchased for the Metro can be used to continue your ride if it is used within an hour of purchase time.
Just over the bridge from Porto you will find the cable car that takes you for an aerial view of the port side of Vial Nova de Gaia, the river and also the Riberia district. We decided on taking this instead of walking from the metro stop above the Port Wine distillery area and although relatively expensive it was an easy way to make the drop down to the riverside and also gave us a few photo opportunities.
The photos show-
1) The square grey building on the left is the cable car station, no signs were obvious.
2) Cars being prepared for sending.
3) Looking out from the station into air.
4) Car ready for boarding.
5) Pylons and cars in the middle of the air.
Although Porto has a good metro network, maybe it is only useful for the trip Airport-city centre-airport in case you only visit this part of the city.
Warning: Don't forget to validate the ticket before you get on it!
And when you leave the metro, don't throw the ticket away. If you take it again, insert the ticket (inside the teller machines) and follow the indications (there is an english version too), and instead of paying the full fare, you will save money.
I was thinking of where to add this tip to: Transportation, Off the Beaten Path or Sports Activities, but finally I've decided to use the first mentioned section.
If you feel in shape or don't want to spend the money using the Funicular dos Guindais, this could be a good option, but be aware that there are many steps.
It goes from the lower part of D. Luis I Bridge (besides the funicular station) to the upper part of the city.
Here you can find the distances between Porto and...:
- Lisbon (Portugal): 317 kms.
- Madrid (Spain): 557 kms.
- Paris (France): 1.577 kms.
- Berlin (Germany): 2.648 kms.
For more, together with the driving distances, check the website.
Portugal has a wide train network, and S. Bento station is right in Porto city centre. This station operates urban and commuter trains. For long distance trains, there is another station: Campanhã.
- Metro: S. Bento (line D).
For the portuguese rail network, check the link.
This is the biggest station in Porto, a bit far fron the city centre, but well linked by metro. Apart from urban and commutter trains, it operates the long distance ones.
. Metro: Campanhã (lines A, B, C and E.
For the Portuguese rail network, check the link.
At the time of my visit to Porto in March 2006, there was a limited route, but I understand there are plans to enlarge the routes.
We caught our tram near to the Churches of Carmelites and Carmo (see my things to do tips for more info), and I think paid 0.50 euros. The tram trundled down the hill, and came to a halt at Masserelas, where we had to wait a short while for another tram, to continue our journey to Foz, passing along the side of the Douro River.
This was a pleasant way, to travel to/from the seaside town of Foz, a bit of a chance to 'step back in time' as the rickitty tram jolts along slowly enough for you to enjoy the views.
The trams run every 30 minutes, I'm not sure of the times - my guide book states Mon-Sat 08.30 - 19.30, (while a web site stated 10.00 - 22.00)
The first trams came into operation in Porto in 1872, and were pulled by mules. Steam and then electricity led to an increase in the number of trams, carrying passengers, as well as cargo such as coal and sardines.
The trams were replaced by trolley buses. Then with the popularity of motorised transport, the use of trams/trolley buses went into decline, as the residents of Porto were transported quickly by single decker buses, then double deckers.
There is a tram museum (Museu do Carro electricos) in the Massarelos area, and an annual tram festival/parade.
I don't know when they inaugurated this airport, but it seems to be a brand new.
The best way to reach the city centre is by metro: Line E (violet). It takes about 35 minutes. The second pic shows the metro station at the airport.
There are versions in other languages.
There is no direct train or bus between Porto and Bilbao. One means of doing the journey by train is take the overnight train which runs across from Portugal into Spain and goes to Vitoria and Donostia from where a local train takes you to Bilbao. This train is the only train that runs from Portugal into that area of Spain.
From Porto the connection with this train is made at either Coimbra-B or Pampilhosa and the journey will be of around 12 hours duration.
Alternatively, there are two trains every day from Porto to Vigo where a connection can be made with Spanish trains towards Bilbao but this is also a very long journey on a route with very few trains. Journey time could be as much as 24 hours including waits between trains.
The website of the Eurolines bus system (which offers many routes between many countries) does not even list Portugal as a possible starting point! The Internorte bus from Porto to Vitoria travels through Spain at night which is not at all helpful for connections to Bilbao.
Perhaps some travellers might avoid this type of transport tour as a tourist trap, but I find the 'hop on, hop off' buses a great way to get around and see the place you're in. They seem to be especially good for cities and towns not on the top of a travel agenda. I remember the one in Naples, Italy as being equally good; whereas in major destinations, they seem to be an overpriced tourist trap.
For this tour, go to the corner of the Rua de Sao Joao Novo and the Rua do Infante Dom Henrique. The departure stop of the bus tour is on the north side of the Rua do Infante Dom Henrique; buy the ticket from the driver, it's about 10 euros.
You can get off at a number of stops such as Rem Koolhaas' Casa da Musica (finished in 2005) which is located half way between the centre of Porto and the Atlantic coast. However, we decided just to enjoy the tour (see pictures below of some of the sites you pass), then got off at the ocean front for an hour's visit. The fort (name?) is worth a quick visit and should not cost more than a couple of euros.
After the ocean front visit, take the bus back into town and have a good meal in one of the restaurants on the Cais di Ribeira. Enjoy!
If you happen to need to take the bus to other cities close to Porto, there are some companies that link them.
- Bus station: Travessa Passos Manuel/Ateneu Comercial do Porto (in front of Restaurant Abadia do Porto).
Close to Rua Santa Catarina and Bolhão market or Av. dos Aliados.
Metro: Bolhão (lines A, B, C and E) or Aliados (line D).
- Tel.: (+351) 22 200 56 37
- Fax: (+351) 22 200 56 37
- Internet: www.rodonorte.pt
Good for Vila Real.
* Rede Expressos:
- Bus station: Rua de Alexandre Herculano.
Close to Praça da Batalha.
Metro: São Bento (line D).
- Internet: www.rede-expressos.pt
- E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good for Vila Real and Viana do Castelo.
* A.V. Minho
Bus station: Praça Régulo Magauanha
Close to Trindade and Praça da República.
Metro: Trindade (lines A, B, C, D and E).
- Internet: www.avminho.pt
Good for Viana do Castelo.
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