Oporto (or Porto) is one of the major urban areas in Southern Europe. The city is divided into 15 civil parishes and considered a Gamma-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group. Located along the hills overseeing the Douro River, it is a prominent historical centre. Awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1996, Oporto is the most livable cities in Portugal.
Along with 15th century houses, it has the oldest surviving structure Oporto Cathedral, the small Romanesque Church of Cedofeita, the gothic Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis) and the remnants of the city walls. Enjoy Palácio da Bolsa guided tour and visit Arab Room, which is an eminent tourist attraction.
When it comes to transport, Oporto has many choices. Travellers have plenty of public transportation options. It is better not to drive in Oporto if you are visiting it for the first time. There are many one-way streets and it is tough to navigate easily. So people prefer public transport because it is inexpensive and convenient. A number of buses, trams, metros and trains are always there to reach any local place with no effort. But if you are looking for privacy, then hire a taxi. This medium of transportation is also reasonably priced and easily available. Many tourists rent a taxi in Oporto to visit major attractions such as wineries. Two famous cab companies are Invicta Radio Taxis do Porto and Radio Taxis Os Unidos. Rental car is available in Oporto, but it is highly expensive. Driving in the city is a bit difficult because of chaos traffic and bad drivers. Ferry boats take you to the neighbouring city of Vila Nova de Gaia, but tourist boats sail on Douro River offering far-fetched views of the green landscape. The city also has one of the third busiest airports in the country. To take a glimpse of the city, helicopter is another best option.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons/69joehawkins
Oporto is one of the safest destinations in Portugal. It is a very touristic place where crime rate is very low, but small crimes do exist. Apply common sense and do not flash cash or valuables in public. Like other cities in Portugal, bus and train stations are busy spots in Oporto. Be alert with bag snatchers and thieves because they are active at busy places. So be careful at these places and contact police in case of any misfortune. Many towns have Guarda Nacional Republicana Station.
In case of any emergency, dial 112. Dial this number in case of major emergencies, but if you have minor medical problem, then visit the local medical centre.
Almost customary in Oporto, it is very important to tip hotel staff members. In most of the restaurants, service charges aren't charged in bills. So it is obvious to tip 10% or something nearest to it. It is appreciable if you give a tip figuring around 1-2 euro per day, as a reward for good room service. Tip for porters varies from Euro 1 - 2 as they carry your luggage to your hotel room. You can also tip taxi drivers whatever amount fits the best. Some travellers round up the bill though others tip 10% as well.
Best time to visit Oporto is from April to September, when the city's atmosphere is warm and sunny. Again if you are thinking of a budget plan, then either fly Oporto from February to April or visit from October and November. Visit the city any time throughout the year because it doesn't get too hot and humid in summer as well as cold and chilly in winter. It receives a little precipitation in September and temperature rarely falls below zero in winter.
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