Is Porto expensive?

Basics

May 29, 2018
rita real blog portoalities

Written by Rita Leal

Written by Rita Leal

rita real blog portoalities

I organize private tours in Porto

private tours porto

Check this page for more information or send an email to sara@portoalities.com.

Porto, a city with a unique identity, offers many cultural and gastronomic experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. Even as a resident of Porto, I am fascinated by this city every day. But is Porto expensive?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the cost of living/traveling to Porto. We’ll go over transportation, food, activities, housing and healthcare. I promise you, the answer will not be it depends.

So, is Porto expensive? Read to find out!

Transportation in Porto

For long distance travel in Porto, the best options are metro, buses, tram, Uber and car rentals. The question remains, is Porto expensive when it comes to mobility? Let’s find out.

© Visit porto

Metro

Porto has one of the most beautiful metro systems in the world – it even won multiple design awards! Not to mention, using the metro in Porto is easy once you get the hang of it and it’s quite cheap too.

If you’re not sure how to use the metro, read our guide on riding Metro do Porto where we explain zones, lines, subway etiquette, purchasing and validating tickets.

You can check all the metro prices here, but we’ve written down some of the most important ones:

Metro prices per person

Andante (rechargeable) card0.60€
Z21.20€
Z31.60€
Z42.00€

Bus

Buses use the same rechargeable Andante card as the metro. They follow the same zone concept and they have the same price, except for buses you can buy an onboard ticket.

Buses in Porto are affordable, accessible and almost all of them have WiFi. As of now, buses in Porto don’t bike racks, unlike Metro do Porto which allows you to bring bicycles in.

If you’re not sure how to ride the bus, you can read our complete guide on using the bus in Porto.

Bus prices per person

Onboard ticket (1 use only):1.95€
Z21.20€
Z31.60€
Z42.00€

Tip: I recommend Moovit for all public transportation whereabouts in Porto. It’s available for Android and iOS. I find Moovit more accurate and easier to use than Google Maps.

Tram

The tram is a fun way to ride around Porto – however, in peak season, the waiting queues can get long. That’s why we don’t recommend the tram for daily transportation.

If you’re new to the tram system, read our guide on how to travel by tram in Porto.

Tram prices per person

Single ticket3.00€
2 days adult ticket10.00€
2 days child ticket (ages 4 to 12):5.00€

Uber

I have ridden on Uber many times around Porto, and it’s hard for me to imagine using anything else. Uber is cheaper than taxis, and the experience in Uber vehicles is more pleasant too.

Uber prices in Porto

Base fare:1€
Price/km:0.65€
Price/minute:0.10€
Minimum fare:2.50€
Cancellation fee:2.50€

Car rentals

Driving a car is not our top choice for transportation in Porto as there is a lot of traffic, and it is very hard to find a place to park (and when you find it, you will pay for it!).

However, renting a car is definitely the best solution if you are planning to visit the stunning Douro Valley, the medieval cities of Guimarães and Braga and other hidden gems in Northern Portugal.

If you’re looking into car rentals, we have a detailed article on everything you need to know when you rent a car in Porto.

Tip: To find out about parking prices and free parking spots, go to Parkopedia.

Prices of Accommodation in Porto

Housing in Porto will take most of your budget. If you don’t know where to start your search for accommodation, read our guide on Porto’s best neighborhoods. So is Porto expensive when it comes to accommodation? Let’s find out!

© 4-Suites Batalha Residence on Booking.com

Hotels

Hotels in Porto offer convenience and luxury, but they’re expensive (for Portuguese standards). If you’re staying in Porto for short-term, you can find a nice hotel without spending too much. And you can always go the expensive route by booking one of Porto’s luxury hotels.

Hotel prices per double bedroom

Type of hotelPrice / night (€)
5-starsaround 380€
4-starsaround 150€
3-starsaround 90€

Apartments 

Staying at an apartment is great for privacy and comfort, especially if you’re traveling with family. To see for yourself, check out the best apartments to stay in Porto.

Tip: If you’re planning on using Booking.com, book in advance because places fill up quickly during the high season.

Hostels

For students and solo travelers, hostels are probably the best option. Not only are they affordable, but they also allow cultural exchange. You can check our recommendations for best hostels in Porto.

Hostel prices

Type of roomPrice / night (€)
Dorm9€ – 20€
Private room35€ – 100€

Purchasing a home in Porto

Some of our readers are interested in the process of buying a home in Porto. But buying a home in Porto is not that different from other places. The price depends on the location, the construction year and the size. You’ll be surprised to know that the price of existing houses in Porto is below the national average.

Housing prices

State of preservationPrice / m2 (€)
New dwellings1120€
Existing dwellings860€

Tip: Talk to an engineering company to assess the house for problems before purchase. Also, contact a lawyer to oversee legal matters before signing.

Food

When it comes to food, is Porto expensive? Well, compared to other European cities, food in Porto is not pricey at all. Let us analyse the prices of supermarkets, grocery stores and eating out in Porto.

© Moustache Coffee House Facebook

Supermarkets

For those staying at apartments, shopping at the supermarket will save you money that you can invest in other experiences.

Chain supermarkets in Porto include Continente, Jumbo, Pingo Doce and Lidl. Even though these are convenient and are great for those who cannot eat meat, dairy or gluten, there’s still something missing.

Not all their fruits and vegetables are national or in season. In that regard, I prefer to buy locally sourced fresh produce from local grocery stores. Same goes for meat: when in Portugal, never buy packaged meat, there’re many butchers around selling fresh meat!

Prices of supermarkets in Porto

Type of goodsPrice (€ /kg)
Fruits and vegetables0.99€ – 2.50€ (local produce)
3€ – 6€ (tropical fruits)
ProteinMeat 4.95€
Fish all the way from 2.50€ to 20€ / kg
Tofu 4,80€
Eggs 1.39€/doz
CarbohydratesRice 1.14€
Pasta 1.82€
Potatoes 1.50€

Local grocery stores

© Leon Kholkine

In Porto, local stores include grocery stores (mercearias), fruit shops (frutarias), bakeries (padarias) and butchers (talhos).

Shopping in these stores is an authentic way of experiencing Portuguese culture and way of life, you will be able to buy products that you could not find otherwise, such as traditional breads coming from all over the countries and Portuguese sausages (they are to die for). Read our guide to the Portuguese grocery stores in Porto to see why local stores are so special.

Local grocery stores

Type of goodsPrice (€ /kg)
Fruits and vegetables:Average 2.88€/kg
Poultry & meat:3.99€ /kg – 5.49€/kg
Fresh bread:0.10€/roll

Cost of Eating Out in Porto

Eating out is a great way to get to know Porto’s culture and cuisine, but it could get expensive if you’re not paying attention to where you’re eating.

During lunchtime, you can order a menu do dia which usually includes soup, dish of the day, drink and coffee ranging from 7.50€ to 12.50€. Naturally, there are more expensive options, but these are the standard prices.

For dinner, expect to pay between 20€ – 25€ for a regular meal with starter, main dish and dessert. If you choose to drink wine the prices will rise: wine bottles in restaurants start at 10€ and can go all the way to 90€.

For people following no-meat or no-gluten diets, don’t worry, there are many places to eat in the city – just check our survival guide for vegetarians in Porto.

Eating out per 1 person

Type of mealAvg price / person (€)
Breakfast3€ – 5€
LunchMin. 7.50€ (full meal)
DinnerMin. 20€ (full meal)
BeerMin. 1.20€ / 20cl
WineMin. 3€ / glass

Tip: If you’re in the city of wine, please drink high quality Portuguese wine! Sara, Portoalities’ founder whom I consider a wine expert, wrote great guides on wine tasting in Porto and the best Port wine lodges.

Prices of Sightseeing Activities in Porto

There’s so much to do when you arrive in Porto including sightseeing, sports activities, arts, museums and of course, shopping. But is Porto expensive when it comes to cultural activities? Let’s find out.

© Visit Porto

Sightseeings & sports

Sightseeings can be inexpensive if you choose the right activity. You can visit the most famous monuments like the Clérigos Tower, Porto Cathedral and all of Porto’s bridges without the need to break the bank.

Most importantly, don’t forget to visit the amazing wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. And if you want free activities, visit the best parks and gardens in Porto.

For those who love sports and outdoor activities, especially in Porto’s nice weather, you can rent a bicycle, take some surfing lessons or watch a football game in one of Porto’s biggest football clubs, FC Porto and Boavista F.C.

Sightseeing & sports prices

Type of ActivityPrice / person (€)
Hop on hop off Bus tour15€
6 bridges cruise15€
Visit to a Port lodge12 – 15€
Climbing the Clérigos tower5€
Bicycle rental6€ / 2h
Surfing lessons 20€

Tip: There are discounts for children and seniors (+65) in many places so make sure to ask.

Arts & museums

My most profound travel memories are of my family and I, visiting museums. So if you’re traveling with kids, museums are an affordable way to learn about Porto andto  build memories.

If you love music, Casa da Música has free outdoor acts and affordable indoor concerts. There are also music festivals in different times of the year.

Art & museum prices

Type of ActivityPrice / person (€)
Serralves contemporary art museum10€
Transport and Communication museum7.50€
Misericórdia do Porto museum5€
Festivals & concerts8€ – 60€

Tip: Sometimes, it’s better to buy tickets online, because they are cheaper and more convenient.

Shopping

Shopping in Porto is fun. Many people ask me if Porto is expensive for shopping and my answer, as someone who lived in a North American city is, no!

There are the obvious (and, in our opinion) boring shopping centers, but the real star here are the little local stores with individuality, personality and quality including 43 Branco on Rua das Flores and Loja da Burel on Rua Mouzinho da Silveira. Read our best shops in Porto guide for more store suggestions.

Prices of Healthcare in Porto

© Bogdan Tapu. Hospital de Santo António.

Is Porto expensive for medical care? Obtaining a European Health Insurance Card before coming to Portugal allows European nationals to receive treatment at the same cost as a Portuguese citizen – in most cases is free. They’re also eligible for discounts on medicine.

If you’re from a non-European country, you can be seen by an ER doctor, but you’ll pay out of pocket. That’s why it’s wise to travel with health insurance. Temporary residents and people staying in Portugal for more than 90 days can receive health care at a discounted price. For more information, click here.

Public hospitals

For European nationals, the cost of attending a public hospital in Porto is close to none. However, non-European travellers might have to pay a large fee to see a doctor.

The major public hospitals in Porto are Hospital de São João and Hospital de Santo António. They both have emergency care, but I find that São João has longer waiting times than Santo António.

Public hospital prices

Type of servicePrice (€)
Emergency (EHIC)Min. Free
Emergency (non-European)Min. 100€
Ambulance/km0.48€ – 1€

Tip: Anyone can call the national Health Line called “Saúde 24” on (808 24 24 24) to ask for medical advice. This phone line works really well and provides effective support.

Private hospitals

For foreigners, private hospitals in Porto may not seem expensive, especially if they’re going in for something minor. The top private hospitals in Porto are Lusíadas and CUF. They both have a 24/7 urgent care and the ability to make an appointment with a general doctor or a specialist.

Private hospitals prices

Type of servicePrice (€)
Lusíadas urgent care70€
CUF urgent care96.50€
CUF specialist80€

Tip: Try doctors on demand app called Knok for Android and iOS. You pay around €40 for a doctor to see you at home.

Conclusion: is Porto expensive or not?

After going over expenses from hotels rooms to cultural adventures, is Porto expensive? The answer is, no! Porto is not that expensive. That’s why it has been a tourists’ favourite in the last few years. Yes, hotels are expensive, and eating out can be costly, but you can always find cheap alternatives.

We’re talking about visiting the Best European Destination of 2017 with a fraction of the price of cities like Paris or Barcelona. So save up some money for your next trip to Porto. We promise you won’t regret it.

Extra: Go on a private tour in Porto

private tour porto

The best way to get to know Porto is to go on a private tour with me!

Check this page to learn more about my tours in Porto, or simply send an email to sara@portoalities.com. I will shortly get back to you with a tailor made tour designed specifically for you.

It will be a pleasure to welcome you in Porto!

2018-06-06T15:51:40+00:00 May 29th, 2018|Basics|0 Comments
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