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Planning Your Trip
Porto, also known as Oporto in English, is Portugal's second city and the capital of Norte region. It is, along with Lisbon, one of Portugal's two global cities. The city is located in the estuary of the Douro river, in northern Portugal. Being the largest city in the region, it is considered its economic and cultural heart. With an estimated population of about 220,000 (est.2008), it lies at the centre of the political Greater Metropolitan Area of Porto, with a population of slightly more than 1.7 million (est. 2008), and is the main agglomeration of northern Portugal.
The city of Porto comprises 15 civil parishes. The historic centre of Porto was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. One of Portugal's most internationally famous products, Port wine, is named after the city because it is produced in, and shipped from the area or, more precisely, from Vila Nova de Gaia, a city just across the river which belongs to the same conurbation.
The Latin name of Porto, Portus Cale, is the origin of the name "Portugal" for the whole country. In Portuguese, the city is usually referred to with the definite article as "o Porto" (the port), hence the English name "Oporto".
As the young generation of Porto scrambled to the more successful areas of Portugal, the locals thought their tradition and culture would end up forgotten. Fortunately, a much-needed makeover was initiated by the government and the tripeiros. After a two decade struggle for a rebirth, Porto happily welcomes tourists on a car rental holiday to enjoy their sights, hospitality and cuisine. The renaissance has been significant not only to locals, but also to patrons of architecture as the Álvaro Siza Vieira’s Museu de Arte Contemporânea and Rem Koolhaas’ Casa da Música are considered as architectural gems.
Old traditions die hard, you would witness as you go around the city in your Porto rent-a-car. Porto locals commune in plazas to catch up over bread and coffee. You will also see how different eras are interspersed in the colorful town of Porto: medieval roads, magnificent rococo churches, and sprawling boulevards that showcase neoclassical works of art.
Going around Porto
Travelers are often excited to ride the Funicular dos Guindais, a cable railway system that spans the distance of Ribeira and Batalha Square. This is a refuge to aching feet that refuse to walk Porto’s steep walkways. Tourists that come in groups of 4 or 5 rent a car hire in Porto and split the bill as it is one way of cutting down on vacation expenses.
From the Airport
The Porto Airport is among the top three busiest airports in Portugal, so riding public transportation to the city may be an inconvenience. A fast way to go from the airport to the city center, an 11-kilometer distance, is through a reliable Porto rent a car, which may be picked up at the arrivals area of the airport.
Places to See
It will be the saddest thing to go to Porto and not bring you rental car to the Ribeira District. It is Porto’s remarkable center, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a postcard perfect destination, with tall pastel houses overlooking the ocean, guarded by traditional boats. While you’re in the Ribeira District, make it a point to drive your Porto car hire to the Ribeira Negra, a large mural made from hand-painted tiles by renowned artist Julio Resende. Another sight worth the drive is the Hilltop Cathedral, which was built in the 12th century. It has undergone major renovations, but its Romanesque origins are still visible.
If you are a beach person, take your Porto car hire to Gaia and chill under the Mediterranean sun. To pick out the best sites on the beach, look for establishments with blue flags. Never leave Porto without visiting their bakeshops and cafes for their famous uma nata, a melt in your mouth delicacy made of egg yolk and cream. A combo of uma nata and steaming Portuguese coffee is all it takes to fall in love with Porto.
Don light clothes and comfortable shoes and drive your Porto car rental to Viana do Castelo, home of the Mother Church, one of the most imposing Romanesque cathedrals built in the 15th century. Magnificent palaces and churches will satisfy the history buffs. For a more historical awakening, why not steer the wheel of your car hire to Lisbon, home to Vasco de Gama and Portugal’s most illustrious attraction?
Car Rent Services Directory in Porto
125 Rua Guedes de Azevedo
1158 R. De Santa Catarina
899 Rua de Santa Catarina
Udrive.com.au offers instant car rental bookings for vehicles from budget or economy options through to 4WD, luxury &minivans. Udrive.com.au compares rates from reputable & reliable car hire providers to find you the best deal for your car hire in Porto.
Compare Cheap Porto Car Hire
Try our simple-to-use booking engine to compare car hire deals in Porto. Type in your pickup and drop off locations & other information required and we'll immediately provide you with some quotations. Whether you're after an economy Porto car hire, or a luxury Porto rental vehicle, we have the perfect deal for you. Our low cost car rentals are provided by well-known suppliers such as Avis, Hertz and Europcar, but we can often provide better car hire rates!
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After Lisbon, Porto is the second largest city in the cosmopolitan country of Portugal. Settlement in the city dates back thousands of years and in 1996, its history was recognised when it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. It has a typical Mediterranean climate with the hottest months lasting from June to August. Lonely Planet listed Porto as the fourth best destination for value for money and it certainly makes an attractive option on the list of places to visit for a holiday.
Tips for Travel in Porto, Portugal
The St John festival happens on the 23rd to 24th of June every year. If you find yourself in the city during this time be sure to pre-book your accommodation. The streets will also be extremely busy with concerts, flame eating, and Barbecues.
Food and drink: The city is famous as the production centre of traditional Portuguese port wine and it is typically drunk at dessert time. If you want to take the experience one-step further, sign up for a port wine tour throughout the city. The recommended snack dish to sample is Francesinha, a sandwich with several combinations of meats, topped with cheese and a home-made sauce.
Famous landmarks and places to go include Oporto Cathedral: Located in the city centre, much of the construction dates from the 13th century. While the exterior looks rather stark, the interior receives much admiration.
Church of Cedofeita: It is estimated this church dates from the 11th century although much re-construction has taken place over thousands of years.
Take a river cruise to see the landscape from a different view. Cruises last for approximately 1 hour
The National Museum Soares dos Reis is dedicated to Portuguese art from the 16th century onwards
The Mercado do Bolhao area is worth exploring for its food market and handicraft stalls.
Families should take a day trip to the Geres National park that has amazing landscape scenery and a variety of animal species.
The Neoclassical building of Palácio da Bolsa dates from the 19th century and is one of the top visited landmarks in the city. The Arabian room is the most admired of all attractions although the Chairman’s and Portrait room is equally as exquisite. Called the Stock Exchange Palace in English, it is open every day from 9am to 6.30pm.
Get Around Porto
Car hire is available for airport transfers and general transportation around the region. Source prices from all the local suppliers here
If you plan to visit other places in Portugal or stay in Porto for an extended length of time, car leasing is a good option. Supplied by Citroen, Peugeot and Renault, more details on this choice of transportation are available here.