In recent years Portugal has become a hotspot for culture and investment. Everyone’s talking about Lisbon, but few people know much about Portugal’s second city: Porto. Many people pick Porto as their Portuguese city of choice, and as house prices rise in Lisbon, it is becoming an increasingly more attractive investment option.
The elegant and atmospheric northern city of Porto has long been a rival to the larger and more cosmopolitan capital Lisbon. But Porto has plenty to offer in its own right and is an incredible place to live. Its inhabitants are famous for being friendlier, the cost of living is lower, and the city is imbued with the relaxed feeling of a smaller city where everything moves at a slower pace. And there are many incredible neighborhoods in Porto to choose from.
Let’s take a look at some of the best neighborhoods in Porto to live in:
- Ribeira, Miragaia, and Baixa
- Cedofeita and Boavista
- Foz do Douro
- Bonfim and Campanhã
- Vila Nova de Gaia
- Vila do Conde
Which neighborhood in Porto should I live in?
Porto’s historic center is certainly the most picturesque part of the city, with winding cobblestone streets that lead down to the river. But is it the best neighborhood in Porto to live and to buy property? That depends entirely on what you are looking for.
There are also a number of other options in newer neighborhoods in Porto to the south and to the north of the city which are equally lucrative options in terms of investment. If you prefer to live away from the bustle of the touristic areas, closer to the incredible northern Portuguese coastline, there are many spots to choose from.
Which is the best neighborhood to live in Porto? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular choices.
What is it like to live in Ribeira, Miragaia and Baixa in Porto?
– Lively nightlife
The Baixa area of Porto includes a number of well-known neighborhoods, such as Ribeira and Miragaia.
There are few views in Porto which exemplify its beauty better than those of Ribeira. The Ribeira neighborhood in Porto is so-called because it lies next to the river Douro, and every photo looks fit for a postcard. Neighboring Miragaia is equally beautiful, and known for being particularly lively during São João, the traditional street party that takes place in Porto in June.
This is where you can eat sardines and drink the best of Portuguese wine as you watch the sunset over the river. As one of the most historic neighborhoods in Porto, its colorful old houses and cobbled streets will charm any visitor.
In the neighborhood of Ribeira, Miragaia and Baixa, property is valued at an average of €3,850 per m².
This centrally located neighborhood is close to everything you might need. It’s walking distance from the center, as well as the bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. It also a number of different metro stations, making public transport easy.
What is it like to live in Cedofeita and Boavista in Porto?
Another charming historic neighborhood in central Porto, this area surrounds the pedestrianized Rua de Cedofeita. Popular with younger residents, it also features a number of street markets on the weekends.
In the neighborhood of Cedofeita and Boavista property is valued at an average of €3,850 per m².
This centrally located neighborhood is perfect if you want to be in the historic heart of the city of Porto. It is also good for shopping and has good transport connections.
What is it like to live in Foz do Douro?
Porto isn’t just about the historic center, and if you take a trip to the affluent suburb of Foz do Douro, the modern homes with sea views could make you think you’re in another city altogether. The seafront neighborhood in Porto is popular for this very reason, offering some respite from the chaos of the city. It can be a good choice for families, with easier access for cars, more spacious housing as well as being close to the beach.
Property in Foz do Douro is highly sought after and generally more expensive than other suburbs in Porto, at an average of €2,051 per m².
If you’re looking to invest in an upmarket area located close to the center but also close to the beach, this is the right choice for you.
What is it like to live in Bonfim and Campanhã?
– Relatively inexpensive
The freguesias of Bonfim and Campanhã, located next to one another, are becoming one of the hottest neighborhoods to invest in Porto. These areas have long suffered from the stigma of being some of the poorest in the city, but in recent years have benefitted from generous public investment. Streets such as the Rua do Miraflor are becoming cultural hubs thanks to the renovation of derelict warehouses.
Price of property
The average price of property in Bonfim is €1,121 per m², whereas in Campanhã it is €801 per m².
If you’re looking to score a bargain in an area with a lot of potential, this is probably the right area for you.
Where should I live near Porto?
If you would prefer to live somewhere outside of the city, there are plenty of options depending on what you’re looking for.
What is it like to live in Vila Nova de Gaia?
– Variety of different options
– Close to the beach
– Close to the center
Vila Nova de Gaia is the city on the other side of the river Douro, best known for the cellars where they age the Port wine. However, the city extends far beyond the riverside. It makes an attractive investment option as it is close to the city of Porto but also less expensive than the city’s downtown district.
Price of property
The average price of property in Vila Nova de Gaia is €1,196 per m² for a house.
Vila Nova de Gaia is close to the center of Porto, but offers much more variety in terms of housing options.
What is it like to live in Vila do Conde?
The charming historic town of Vila do Conde has been rated as one of the best areas to live in in the greater Porto region. When visiting this beautifully traditional seaside town, it’s not difficult to see why. Its distance from the city means it scores highly in terms of cleanliness and air quality as well as security.
Price of property
The average price of property in Vila do Conde is €1,235 per m² for a house.
This quiet seaside town is beautiful and peaceful, as well as being connected to the city of Porto by the metro, making it a convenient place to live as well.
Life in Porto
Is Porto a good place to live?
Portugal consistently ranks very highly in terms of quality of life. In 2017 it was ranked #1 in the world for leisure and peacefulness in a survey conducted on expats around the world. 93% of those surveyed said that they were satisfied with their quality of life. Porto in particular is frequently cited as a good place to live, due to the relaxed pace of life, fantastic food, and good wine. The city also boasts a lively cultural scene with plenty of museums and art galleries to explore, as well as beautiful parks and other outdoor spaces.
International schools in Porto
If you are looking to move to Porto with your family, there are a number of international schools to choose from. The Oporto British school is one of the oldest British schools in continental Europe, there is also CLIP – The Oporto International School, the Luso-French College, the Lycee Francais International de Porto, and the German School of Porto.
Transport in Porto
Porto has one international airport, the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, with frequent non-stop flights to both continental and international destinations.
Within the city, Porto has an extensive public transportation network. The metro system has six different lines that span a large distance to the east and west of the city, as well as south of the river to Vila Nova de Gaia and north to Vila do Conde and the airport.
Tourism in Porto
Tourism in Porto has seen a steady increase over the past few years. It’s easy to understand why the beautiful city has such allure, with good food and fine wine available at a lower cost than many other European cities. It was named best destination by the European Best Destination award in 2012, 2014 and 2017. 2017 was the same year in which Portugal received a record 20 million visitors. According to statistics, the small northern city received more visitors in 2017 than bigger European cities such as Barcelona and Prague.
2019 is scheduled to be a record year for investment in Porto, with €293 million of public money earmarked for work on infrastructure and museums.
Festivals in Porto
June is one of the busiest times of the year in Portugal when much of the country celebrates the Festas Juninas, street parties that involve eating sardines, dancing, drinking, and partying all night. Porto is known for its São João festival on the night of June 23. This when Porto’s residents take to the streets to eat grilled fish and release candle-lit lanterns into the sky, and bizarrely hit each other on the head with plastic hammers.
Restaurants in Porto
Just like Lisbon, Porto has seen a huge expansion in the restaurant industry. The city boasts many traditional options as well as inventive new gastronomic ventures. There are also four Michelin-starred restaurants in Porto.
Climate in Porto
Another of the draws of living and visiting Porto is its temperate climate. Temperatures in the winter are usually between 5 – 14 °C, and in between 14 – 25 °C degrees in the summer, although they quite frequently surpass 30 °C. Although it is known for being one of the rainiest cities in Portugal, it gets a lot more days of sunshine than many other cities in Europe, including Berlin, Paris, and London.
Nature around Porto
Porto is well situated by the spectacular Silver Coast, as well as close to the incredible national parks of Peneda-Gerês and Serra da Estrela.
Cities near Porto
Lisbon is just a 3hr drive from Porto, and less than an hour away from the historic cities of Braga and Guimaraes. Coimbra, the site of Portugal’s oldest university, is about an hour and a half away.
Frequently asked questions about neighborhoods in Porto
Should I live in Lisbon or Porto?
Both Lisbon and Porto are cities on the up, becoming real hotspots for investment and culture. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, and which city suits you the best is entirely up to your needs and expectations. Porto is smaller and more laid-back, while Lisbon is bigger and more international. Property in Lisbon has become increasingly expensive in recent years, whereas property in Porto is still relatively inexpensive by comparison.
Is now a good time to invest in property in Porto?
According to many reports, Porto is at the start of a real estate boom. With big growth in the industrial and tech sectors in the city, as well as an increase in tourism and public spending, there is all the reason to believe that the price of property will continue to rise. It is expected that in the coming years, the price of property in Porto will rise by about 30%.
Is it expensive to buy a house in Porto?
Average house prices in central Porto are €2,389 per m², which is cheaper than most other cities in western Europe, and cheaper than Lisbon, where prices average around €3,615 per m².
Is it expensive to rent a house in Porto?
The average rent in the center of Porto for a 2-bedroom apartment costs around €1,200 per month.
Are there any international schools in Porto?
There are five international schools in Porto.
What is public transport like in Porto?
Public transport is cheap and very accessible in Porto, with 6 different metro lines and train and bus links to national and international destinations.
Where do expats live in Porto?
Many expats who live in Porto live in the central districts of the city, although those who prefer to be by the beach live in areas such as Foz do Douro.
Does Porto have a beach?
Yes, Porto does have a beach, in Foz do Douro. It can be accessed easily from the center by bus.
What areas to avoid in Porto?
There aren’t really any areas in Porto to avoid, it just depends on your preferences. If you don’t want to be too far from the city center, then it is probably advisable to pick areas such as Baixa or Cedofeita and Boavista. If you would like to be outside of the city, the seaside town of Vila do Conde is a good option.
Is Porto expensive?
In comparison to other cities in western Europe, the cost of living in Porto is very reasonable. A meal in a traditional Portuguese restaurant will set you back around €8, and a pint costs around €1.50. Overall it is slightly cheaper than Lisbon.
Is Porto a safe city?
Porto is a very safe city. Crime in Portugal is generally very low, and few problems are reported by those who visit the country. Pickpockets can be common in the city center, but violent crime is generally very low.
What is the best neighborhood in Porto to live in?
There’s really no one answer to this question, as it depends entirely on what you’re looking for in a neighborhood. If you would like to be somewhere historic and traditional, then it is better to go for one of the neighborhoods in the center of Porto. If you would rather be somewhere more upmarket, then Foz do Douro is a good bet. For some tranquility, Vila do Conde is a good option.
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