“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” - Unknown
Spain and Portugal share the Iberian Peninsula and Portugal is smaller than its neighbour. However, there are plenty of great reasons to visit Portugal.
When it comes to visiting Portugal, most people think of Lisbon or the Algarve. However, the north of Portugal is home to plenty of wonderful sights including Azulejo and little cobbled streets.
The air traffic into Portugal’s second city has increased by 15% in the space of a year. This is thanks to a lot of budget airlines which have made travelling to Porto much more accessible.
So how much does it cost to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site? How much does a trip around the old town cost?
In this article, we'll look at the cost of travelling to Porto, how much you'll spend on accommodation, what you'll need to budget for food, how much it'll cost to see the sights, and how much you'll pay getting around the city.
The Cost of Getting to Porto
Are you dreaming of visiting Porto’s beautiful little streets?
Keep in mind that the city on the Douro river is now far more accessible. The arrival of budget airlines has helped tourism in the north of Portugal. Thanks to Ryanair, Vueling, and EasyJet, almost anyone can visit Porto. Of course, the cost of getting to Porto will vary depending on the time of year. You can pay as little as £50 for return flights between London and Porto whereas at other times it can be far more expensive.
The reasons these prices climb so much is due to Porto’s proximity to the sea. You should probably try to plan well in advance to pay as little as you can. Keep in mind that if you can also get buses throughout the year across Europe but this does mean that you’ll have to endure several days on buses and coaches. Overall, flights are generally cheaper and quicker than every other type of transport.
Finally, if you want to transport a lot of stuff, you can drive but this will take you around 20 hours of driving and cost you £250 for the trip (based on a drive from London).
How you want to travel and when to go is up to you.
The Cost of Accommodation in Porto
Accommodation isn’t particularly expensive and you just need to pick the right hotel for the right price. Like any other city, different areas have different amenities and some are more expensive than others.
Porto’s old town is where you’ll probably find the most expensive accommodation. For example, a 2-star hotel could cost you somewhere around £50 a night or £15 per night for a dormitory in a youth hostel. You can also find Airbnbs for around £70 a night. Visiting Portugal isn’t necessarily cheap.
There are sometimes some really good deals on accommodation or you could even opt to CouchSurf and you won’t need to pay anything!
So what is CouchSurfing?
CouchSurfing is staying at a stranger’s house for free. Put simply, you don’t pay anything and you can stay at a local’s home.
This is a good way to speak with locals, learn more about the culture, and find out about great places to go.
The Cost of Eating in Porto
Eating in Porto might end up being a significant part of your budget. That said, the cost of food in Portugal is a fraction of what it is in the UK.
Whether you’re picking up a coffee, a bottle of water, or a 3-course meal, you can get it all on a budget in Porto!
Porto’s a great place to get pasteis de nata and a nice Port for very little. Port wine is from Porto and, unsurprisingly, wine production is thriving in the city, with winemakers offering wine tastings and tours of their cellars.
After you’ve eaten, you can then start visiting the city!
The Cost of Visiting Attractions in Porto
There’s so much to see and do in Portugal and Porto, in particular. This city is a goldmine for lovers of unusual monuments and activities by the Atlantic Ocean.
Once again, unlike cities in the UK, Porto is quite cheap and there are many attractions you can visit for free. Here are some of Porto’s tourist attractions and how much it costs to visit them:
- Lello Bookstore: €5
- Stock Exchange Building: €8 (adult) and €4.50 (child)
- Porto Cathedral: €3
- Clérigos Tower: €5
- Casa do Infante: €2.20
- Serralves Foundation: €10
The Centro Portugues de Fotografia, Church of Santa Clara, Dom Luís I Bridge, and the Palácio de Cristal are all free! You can visit Porto and its attractions very cheaply.
The Cost of Public Transport in Porto
The Portuense (the locals) have a great public transport system but walking is still often the best way to discover the city.
Basic Public Transport
You can travel around Porto using the city’s public transport. The system might seem quite complicated for those visiting the city, but it functions in two ways.
The Andante Card is a card you can buy for €0.60 and you can put credit on it with journeys costing €1.20. This also includes trips on the bus or metro. You can also get the tram, which is an enjoyable way to get around the city. A ticket on the tram costs €3 or €4 with entry to the Porto Tram Museum. Finally, if you’ve got money to spare, you can travel around the city by taxi for between €4 and €6, with trips to the airport costing around €20.
Since you’re visiting the city as a tourist, you might want to enjoy the city by travelling around in transportation designed with tourists in mind. There are companies like Yellow Bus and City Sightseeing offering guided tours around the city. This is a good way to enjoy a short stay in the city and still get to see everything with trips starting at €15. You can also get a boat trip from Porto Tours along the River Douro for around a tenner!
Finally, you can also get the funicular railway between Batalha and Ribeira for a great view of the Douro and the Dom Luís I Bridge. This costs €2.50 for a 10-minute trip.
The Porto Card
Are you familiar with the Porto Card?
This is a pass you can get when visiting Porto that gets you discounts on public transport.
This costs €6 for a day, €10 for two, €13 for three, and €15 for four. The Porto Card also offers a 10% discount at certain shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions like:
- Clérigos Tower
- The Archaeology Museum
- The Quinta da Macieirinha romantic museum
- The Serralves Foundation
- The Military Museum
- And many others!
You can get them in Tourism Offices or at the airport!
As you’ll have understood, Porto is a town you can quickly fall in love with. What’s even better, is that it’s cheaper than most towns in the UK. With flights, restaurants, tourist attractions, and transport, a two-day trip to Porto could cost between £250 and £500.
This could be a good time to start learning Portuguese, couldn’t it?
Before you go to the largest city in northern Portugal and enjoy all the heritage sites, Roman ruins, and Portuguese cuisine, you might want to get in touch with a tutor to help you learn the language!
Fortunately for you, there are plenty of talented Portuguese tutors on Superprof!. There are three types of tutorial available, each with its advantages and disadvantages: group tutorials, online tutorials, and face-to-face tutorials.
Group tutorials are great for those on a budget as you can share the cost of the tutor's time with the other students in attendance. However, you will get less one-on-one time with your tutor and receive more generalised tuition. It could be useful if you're going to Porto with a group of friends, though.
Similarly, online tutorials are good if you're on a budget as the tutor doesn't have to travel and can, therefore, charge less per hour. If you both have a webcam and a decent internet connection, you can get Portuguese tutorials from anywhere in the world. Your tutor might even be from Porto.
Finally, face-to-face tutorials are between you and the tutor. This is the most costly type of tutorial but it's also the most cost-effective. With these tutorials, you can get bespoke Portuguese lessons and learn exactly what you need to know.