Practical Information

Passport and Visas

Visas are not necessary for citizens of EU countries, the U.S.A., Canada and the majority of countries, in this case a valid passport (or identity card for European Community Nationals) is only required.

Please contact your local Portuguese Embassy, Consulate or your Travel Agency for further information.

Accessibility

Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is located 11km (7 miles) north of the center of the city and is a modern airport that was expanded and refurbished in 2001, and in 2007 won the "3rd Best European Airport" award from Airport Council International. Porto is the second largest city in the country with an area of 42 km2. It is located in the north of Portugal and in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula.

Check in/out Policy

Usually, should hotel rooms be required for guaranteed occupancy before 13.00 hrs, the previous night should be reserved. Check out time is 12.00 hrs noon.

Currency

As a member of the European Monetary System the accepted currency in Portugal is the Euro (€)

Climate

Porto city has a maritime climate and can be generally deemed an all-season tourist destination, given air temperatures and other climatic parameters rarely reach to extreme values. Porto receives warm and dry summers and mild and rainy winters. As a rule, air temperatures during the hot season tend to stabilize around 25 degrees Celsius (77º Fahrenheit), though values of 35 degrees Celsius (95º Fahrenheit) are not unheard of in Porto.

Language

The official language is Portuguese. English and French are broadly spoken.

Public Transportation

• Metro
The metro in Porto is the best, easiest and most common way to travel. It covers most of the city both under and over ground, all the way to the surrounding suburbs. Trains run from 6AM to 1AM, and stations are marked with a curvy blue "M".

Tickets (or in Porto's case, cards) are bought at vending machines and must be validated before you board the train, even every time you switch lines. The very first time you use the metro when you arrive in Porto you must purchase the metro card called "Cartão Andante" at vending machines available at the metro stations. "Cartão Andante" is a ticket that is rechargeable at those same vending machines in future journeys. It costs €1,95 (this price includes the price of one journey and the price of the ticket).

Visit www.metro-porto.pt for the map of the network and additional information.

• Buses
Porto has an excellent and extensive bus service called STCP, which operates from 6AM to 9PM. After 9PM the service is less frequent and after 1AM it is reduced to the main routes. You may purchase tickets from the driver, which must then be validated on the machine behind him or her. Buses show their number and final destination on the front, as do the bus stops, where there are also details of the routes. Individual fare is 1.20 €.

For more information, please check - www.stcp.pt .

• Trams
There are three tram routes still in operation in Porto, No. 1, No. 18. and No.22. Tickets are bought from the driver. It costs €2.50

For more information, check - http://www.portotramcitytour.pt/

• Taxis
Taxis in Portugal are inexpensive when compared to the rest of Europe. Most are beige, but there are also some older black and green ones. You can hail a taxi by just raising your arm. There is always a mandatory minimum fare of €3.25 from when the meter is switched on. There are 2 rates of pay, depending on whether or not you are travelling during the day or night times. Also, there are taxi stands by most of the main squares in Porto, or you may call the following numbers to have one pick you up at a certain location at a scheduled time:

Raditaxis: 00351 22 507 3900
Taxis Invicta: 00351 22 502 2693
Taxis Unidos: 00351 22 502 9898

Driving

Vehicles drive on the right side of the road. The use of safety belts is compulsory, and children under 12 must ride in the back seats.

Portugal has a large freeway network crossing the whole country from the North to the South in Algarve, and from the Ocean front to the border with Spain.

Valid driving licenses from EU countries, the USA, Canada and other major countries are acceptable for use in Portugal up to 6 months stay.

Electric Current

European type 2 pin sockets with 220 volts AC at 50 cycles are used. The phase 380 volt current is normally available in meeting and exhibition rooms.

Entertainment

Porto is one of the oldest cities of the country. Take the tram to the mouth of the river Douro and get to know the excellent beaches and the outdoor cafés, visit admiring churches and monuments and encounter the non-conformist modernism of the new contemporary buildings of architects like Siza Vieira, Souto Moura or Rem Koolhaas. Take the opportunity to admire the six bridges of the city, visit the Port Wine cellars and taste this characteristic wine in a cozy and refined environment.

Besides history and culture, Porto has also leisure, fun and night life. The famous streets around the Galeria de Paris Street, the cafés and its terraces, the Miguel Bombarda area or the shopping center Sta Catarina Street are reference points in arts, in culture, but also in leisure and shopping.

Visit the Casa da Musica, the Historical Centre and the Ribeira Square, the Lello Bookshop, the Café Majestic, the Port Wine Cellars and the Monastery of Nossa Senhora do Pilar, the Guindais Funicular, Miguel Bombarda Street, Galeria de Paris Street, Cândido dos Reis Street, Serralves House, and Museum of Modern Art, the São Bento Train station, the Cathedral, the Clérigos Tower. And, of course, don´t miss the excellent gastronomy and the wine.

Exchange

Major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, shops and restaurants. Travellers cheques and currency can be changed at hotels or at a bank - these are open Monday to Friday from 08h30 to 15h00. Automatic changing and ATM linked to international networks are also widely available.

Health Requirements

In fact there are no special health requirements, with the exception of vaccination certificates for persons coming from areas where yellow fever is endemic.

Meals

There are a wide variety of restaurants and cafés in Porto ranging from elegant and sophisticated to casual and inexpensive. Take-away and fast food is also available from many outlets. Restaurants, bars, some with live music, and discos, can be found in this link http://www.lonelyplanet.com/portugal/the-north/porto/things-to-do/top-things-to-do-in-porto. Breakfast is normally served between 07.30 and 10.00 hrs, lunch from 12.30 to 15.00 hrs, and dinner from 19.30 to 22.00 hrs.

Medical Care

Clinics and hospitals provide round the clock emergency service. The national emergency phone number is 112. Hotels have a doctor on call through the reception. Reciprocal E.C. cover is available at out-patient departments, otherwise private consultation fees are charged.

Smoking

Smoking is forbidden by law in public transportation, and in closed public areas.

Tipping

Tipping is optional, but normally 10% is customary in taxis, restaurants and bars.

Sales Tax

Sales tax (VAT) is included in prices quoted. For non E.U. residents, tax free shopping schemes are available in many shops, which give substantial savings to visitors.

Security

Crime rates in Portugal are among the lowest in the world. Hotels have their own security staff, which is sufficient for most events. Specialist firms are also available if necessary, and the police provide special protection for visiting dignitaries and high risk individuals.

 

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