There are two major cities that always come across everyone’s mind when talking about Portugal: Lisbon and Porto.
Porto being the second biggest city in the country, it’s hard to overlook one of the most charming places in Europe (dare we say, the world?).
As one of the oldest cities in Portugal, its truly idyllic people, noble historical architecture, amazing food and incredible cultural lifestyle is what keeps attracting more and more people to the city!
Is Porto your next vacation stop?
Better yet, your next Home?
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Our beautiful ‘Invicta’ is located in the Northern part of Portugal, along the Douro River, 3 km from the river’s mouth on the Atlantic Ocean and 280 km north of Lisbon.
Other major cities nearby include Braga which is 56km away and Aveiro, 77km away. Porto has an outstanding transport network to both of these cities and more nearby.
If stopping by Spain is in your plans, Porto is also somewhat close to the borders. Vigo further North, for example, is around 155km away and Salamanca East of Porto, is around 350km away.
As the second biggest city in the country, Porto is the ‘crown jewel’ of the North. There is a whole “world” to discover in Porto, from its beautiful natural landscapes to its iconic architecture, Port wine, proud and friendly locals, incredible restaurants and small businesses and so much more. Yes, in Porto you will find everything!
Because Porto is so rich in its history, let’s keep this short and sweet! However, if you’re interested in Portugal’s history, we highly recommend researching the history of Porto!
Porto was once called “Cale”, during the Celtic establishment on the mouth of the Douro River.
Later on, when the Romans occupied the Iberian Peninsula, a crucial commercial port was developed in Porto, as a strategic point for trading between Olissipona (modern-day Lisbon) and Bracara Augusta (modern-day Braga). And so, this flourishing settlement was soon after called “Portus Cale”. Notice a similarity with “Portugal”? It’s because there is! The name not only gave its name to the Porto of today but the nation of Portugal.
Fast forward to 1387, to the important marriage of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, that took place in Porto.
Why is it important?
Because this marriage symbolizes a long-standing military alliance between Portugal and England. This alliance, the “Treat of Windsor”, is the world’s oldest recorded military alliance.
One of the most prominent historical figures of Portugal was born into this marriage: Infante Dom Henrique (Henry, the Navigator). Infante Dom Henrique led the “Age of Discovery” during the Golden Age of the Portuguese Empire, which made Portugal the most influential commercial center of the world. Naturally, our ports, particularly Porto’s port grew substantially during this time. thanks to its ports, including Porto’s.
The city’s renowned shipyards made the vessels used by Henry the Navigator for his exploratory voyages.
Citizens of Porto are sometimes referred to as “tripeiros” (tripe people). This colloquial name began during this era of history, when higher-quality cuts of meat were shipped from Porto with their sailors, while off-cuts and by-products, such as tripe, were left behind for the citizens of Porto; tripe remains a culturally important dish in modern-day Porto.
From 1580 to 1640, the Iberian Peninsula came under the Spanish rule of kings Philip II, Philip II and Philip IV of Spain. Porto actually benefited from the Spanish reign and grew both in size and stature. It gave way to Porto’s Golden Age during the eighteenth century.
In the 18th century, Porto further established itself as a paramount center of industry, commerce and cultural activity, due to its world-renowned wines and many wealthy families settling in the city building remarkable Baroque and neoclassical buildings.
Porto has also been in the heart of Portuguese culture, with incredible poets, writers, musicians, architects, professors, political figures, and more emerging from the cultural scene.
Porto has been elected to one of the best cities to live in, both by expats and locals alike. It’s truly a one of a kind city that has been attracting more and more people.
The city has also been attracting incredible (mostly international) businesses and investments, which consequently attracts younger people, especially foreigners.
In fact, according to the 2022 census, the city of Porto is home to over 230 thousand people, 7.9% of whom are foreigners with a Residence Permit. That’s above the national average of 6.4%, and the expectation is that this number will increase more and more.
What about day to day life?
There’s a reason why Porto keeps on growing!
Besides the reasons mentioned above, Porto also has a vast educational and cultural offer. In addition, it is a safe city, with good infrastructure, many restaurants, shops and places of interest.
One of Porto’s selling points is how great the public transportation system is. Here, you most likely won’t need a car, as you can travel in and out of the city easily.
When it comes to walkability, Porto is not the flattest city and you may find some steep hills that can make your walking commute more difficult, especially if you have some physical disability. Nonetheless, Porto makes this up with exceptional metro and bus transportation.
Much like Lisbon, Porto “breathes” culture. Throughout the year, the city holds frequent musical concerts, theater & dancing performances, cinema festivals and so much more. Casa da Música and the Coliseum always have something going on! There are also amazing museums absolutely worth your time! For example, the Serralves Museum, The Tram Museum, Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis.
The city parks in the city cannot go unmentioned! It’s a known fact that one of the most important indicators of quality of life in a city are its green spaces. Places like the Parque da Cidade, the Palácio de Cristal gardens, the Botanical Garden and the Serralves Park are an absolute must.
What about the weather?
Well, if you didn’t choose Porto to live in, most likely the weather was a deciding factor. Not because it has bad weather but because it is indeed colder than, say, Lisbon. And of course, it is. Porto is located in the North. Being located so close to the Atlantic ocean, the city tends to be quite rainy during Winter. Summer, however, tends to experience amene temperatures, only rarely reaching 40ºC.
REAL ESTATE MARKET IN PORTO
Being the second biggest city in Portugal has its consequences in the city’s real estate market. Obviously, this means that it’s also the second’s most expensive city to live in.
If you’re thinking about renting in Porto, expect to find a one bedroom apartment averaging 700€, and a three bedroom apartment an average of 1300€, as of June 2022.
There are some neighborhoods that are a local and foreign favorites to buy: Ribeira, for example, one of the most historically important areas of Porto, currently has an average price of a property of 100 m² of 437,450€.
In Boavista, the average price of a property of 100 m² is 352,500€. Bonfim, the average price of a property of 100 m² is 295,800€.
Keep in mind real estate prices are currently undergoing a major increase everywhere in the world, so prices mentioned here may not be accurate in the future.
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