Portuguese cities got a very good network when it comes to public transportation. So does the third biggest city in the country, Porto. Even though the city does not even have close to a million inhabitants, there is a large network consisting of trams, metros, regional trains, buses and even some ferries. For tourists, coming around in Porto is very easy and convenient.
Many tourists have fear when it comes to transportation in foreign cities. However, there are exceptions like Porto. Even though many people don’t speak English, the information available will guide international tourists through the city without any problems.
If you are coming from one of the towns and cities in the Porto region, you’ll most likely get to the city by train. The number of train lines in regional and long distance traffic in Portugal is pretty high and the taxis are very comfortable and absolutely safe. Trains are definitely a good way to come to Porto!
The metro in Porto is the most important means of transport. It operates frequently on six lines that mostly connect the suburbs with the city center of Porto. Five of the six lines use the same route in the city center, while only one takes another path.
That one, line D, also connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia on the opposite side of the river. All other lines have more than 10 stops in common in the city center. Line E is of special importance as it connects the airport with the city center since its opening 2006. In the city center, you won’t have to wait more than five minutes for a train on daytime, while the trains operate less frequent in the suburbs. All metro cars are modern, clean and comfortable.
Important Metro lines in Porto:
While public transportation in Porto nowadays is mainly operated by the metro and buses, there are still three tram lines operating in Porto. These, however, are mainly used for touristic purposes. Especially tram line 1 is known as a touristic sight itself. It follows the Northern bank of the Douro River and offers stunning views of the river and Vila Nova de Gaia.
Lines 18 and 22 operate on different routes, mainly in the city center of Porto. However, these lines are great for sightseeing as well as tourists can get a feeling for the city by having a look at the architecture. All tram cars are historic and remember of the golden times of the Porto tram system that once consisted of 30 different lines connecting all parts of the city with each other.
Trams lines in Porto:
In addition to the metro and tram system, Porto has a very good bus system. As Porto stretches many kilometers from its West to East and the North to the South, there is a need for good connections in areas where the metro and trams are not operating.
Especially in the West and East of Porto, there are no good connections available with metro. In these areas, buses operate frequently and either connect stops with the city center via a direct route or stop at one of the many metro stops. Buses are generally easy to use as they are modern and all have displays showing the number of the service and the destination.
If you don’t want to use the public transportation, you may opt for a taxi. In Porto, this can be a good decision as taking a taxi is cheap compared to other European cities. The average fare per kilometer currently lies at 0.8 Euro (~ 0.85 US-Dollar) while the start fare usually is around 3.5 Euro (~ 3.75 US-Dollar).
When taking a taxi to or from the airport, you should be aware that luggage is charged additionally. There are also extra fares for rides at nighttime. Taxis in Porto are generally safe and mostly modern. There are no recent reports about rip-offs in Porto.
Due to its unique location right on the Douro, Porto got a wide range of alternative means of transport. The Funicular dos Guindais is a very interesting one for tourists. It descends 61 meters (200 feet) and is 281 meters (922 feet) long. A ride takes about three minutes and the views from the top station are remarkable. The Funicular can be used in combination with metro and bus tickets and operates frequently between 8 am and 8 pm.
Another special means of transport is the Gondola that connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia. It opened a few years ago and offers spectacular views of the cities and the Douro River. However, that’s not all Porto has to offer as there are also some ferry connections on the river. This means of transport may also be of interest for tourists visiting Porto.