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Expat Exchange - 7 Tips for Living in Porto 2024
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Porto, Portugal


7 Tips for Living in Porto

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Advice for people moving to Porto or thinking about moving there.

This is a must read if you're moving to Porto or thinking about moving there.

Porto's second-largest city, is a vibrant and dynamic place that has become a popular destination for expats and digital nomads. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and friendly locals, it's no wonder that so many people are choosing to call Porto home. But living in a new city, especially one in a different country, can be challenging. Here are seven key tips to help you make the most of your time in Porto.

1. Learn the Language

While many people in Porto speak English, especially in the tourist areas, learning some Portuguese can greatly enhance your experience. Not only will it make everyday tasks like shopping and dining out easier, but it will also help you connect with locals on a deeper level. Plus, Portuguese people appreciate when foreigners make an effort to learn their language. There are many language schools in Porto, such as Fast Forward Language Institute, where you can take classes.

2. Explore the Neighborhoods

Porto is made up of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. Ribeira, the city's historic district, is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with narrow, winding streets and colorful houses. Foz do Douro, located by the sea, is known for its upscale homes and beautiful beaches. Meanwhile, Cedofeita is a trendy area with a vibrant arts scene and plenty of hip cafes and boutiques. Spend some time exploring each neighborhood to find the one that feels like home to you.

3. Try the Local Cuisine

Portuguese food is delicious and diverse, and Porto has some of the best restaurants in the country. Be sure to try francesinha, a sandwich native to Porto that's filled with various meats and covered in melted cheese and a tomato-beer sauce. Some of the best places to try this local delicacy include Café Santiago and Bufete Fase. For seafood lovers, Restaurante O Gaveto in Matosinhos is a must-visit. And don't forget to sample some port wine, which the city is famous for.

4. Get a Local SIM Card

As a digital nomad, staying connected is crucial. One of the first things you should do upon arriving in Porto is to get a local SIM card. This will give you access to the internet and local calls at a much cheaper rate than international roaming. There are several providers to choose from, including Vodafone, MEO, and NOS. You can purchase a SIM card at one of their stores or at the airport.

5. Take Advantage of Public Transportation

Porto has an excellent public transportation system, which includes buses, trams, and the metro. It's an affordable and convenient way to get around the city. You can purchase a rechargeable Andante card, which can be used on all forms of public transportation. Also, don't miss the chance to ride the historic Tram Line 1, which offers stunning views of the Douro River and the city's landmarks.

6. Enjoy the Outdoors

Porto is blessed with beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. The Crystal Palace Gardens, with its stunning views of the river, is a great place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. The City Park, the largest urban park in Portugal, is perfect for jogging, cycling, or just relaxing in the sun. And of course, there are the city's beautiful beaches, such as Matosinhos Beach and Foz Beach, where you can swim, surf, or simply enjoy the sunset.

7. Immerse Yourself in the Culture

Finally, to truly feel at home in Porto, immerse yourself in the local culture. Visit the city's museums, such as the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art and the Soares dos Reis National Museum, to learn about Portugal's history and art. Attend local festivals and events, like the São João Festival in June, which is one of the biggest and most colorful celebrations in the city. And don't be shy about striking up conversations with locals. Portuguese people are known for their hospitality and friendliness, and they'll be more than happy to share their culture with you.

Living in Porto as an expat or digital nomad can be an enriching and rewarding experience. By following these tips, you'll be able to make the most of your time in this beautiful city.

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Fun, easy and effective language courses designed by language experts. Learn 41 languages from your native language. Anytime, anywhere, on any device. 50 topics to prepare you for the most common situations. 36 vocabulary builders to install words fast. 41 real conversations to give you fluency.

Mondly by PearsonMondly by Pearson

Fun, easy and effective language courses designed by language experts. Learn 41 languages from your native language. Anytime, anywhere, on any device. 50 topics to prepare you for the most common situations. 36 vocabulary builders to install words fast. 41 real conversations to give you fluency.
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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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