Why Porto

Porto View - Arrábida
Photo:  Hugo AzevedoCC BY-NC-SA - Some Rights Reserved

Living in Porto

Known as the 'Cidade Invicta', Porto gave Portugal its name.

Located in the north of Portugal, on the right bank of the River Douro, Porto is the country's second largest city situated within an urban area of over 1.3 million inhabitants. In demographic terms, the resident population numbers 237,559 (Statistics Portugal (INE), 2011) in an area covering 41.66 km².

The city prides itself on being the birthplace of Infante D. Henrique, o Navegador (Henry the Navigator), and the house in which he was born has been conserved and converted into what is today the municipal archive (Casa do Infante – Arquivo Histórico Municipal). It is internationally known for its port wine, bridges and its old and contemporary architecture. Its historical centre has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. In 1998, it held the 8th Ibero-American Summit and in 2001 was joint European Capital of Culture with Rotterdam.
The city of Porto is also a centre of educational and research excellence and is home to the largest university in the country (in terms of courses and student body), standing out for its technological and scientific innovation which attracts students from all across the country and from overseas. The University of Porto is Portugal's largest scientific research institution, home to research, development and innovation groups in the various fields of knowledge, and is the highest internationally-ranked Portuguese university (among the 400 best).

The city provides a great variety of services and resources to suit every taste and pocket, but as far as satisfying basic needs is concerned, the city can be enjoyed on a very reasonable budget.

From the perspective of developing an all-inclusive city, a continuous effort has been made to raise awareness of the human rights of those with disabilities, particularly those with accessibility and mobility issues, both in the public realm and in public and private facilities and buildings, making them accessible, particularly in the case of schools, local administration and transport, notably the Metro and buses.

With regard to telecommunications, national coverage by mobile voice network services (GSM) is nearly 100 per cent in cities and main roads and the three national operators have low-cost options.

Education, health, legal information and protection, and banking services are accessible by all foreign citizens and ensure at least a basic level of cover equivalent to that provided to Portuguese nationals, thereby ensuring effective assistance in any case for anyone who chooses to live in Porto for a temporary period of up to one year. In these three areas, services intended for foreign citizens are also available and provide specific support.

It is also important to note, in terms of amenities, that the city has a diverse range of cultural and sports facilities, green spaces, public transport network (STCP-buses) and metro system, hospitals and local health units, clinics, pharmacies, etc.

On a final note, and of particular note, the city of Porto was voted Best European Destination in 2012 by the European Consumers Association.

Because Porto is known for its human dimension – its capacity to welcome, integrate and make anyone feel at home – any foreign citizen can easily find the right route for their specific needs in the city.

Studying and conducting research in Porto

The internationalisation of the public, private and cooperative institutes of higher education in Porto result in an increased flow of students, who, under the exchange and mobility programmes, show a preference for them due to the quality and scientific and technological recognition of the education provided and, equally, by the city's social environment. Various educational, training and research mobility programmes exist that allow students, workers and researchers to complement their training to a very high standard in Porto.

  • Porto Acolhe Programme

In the aim of providing the best welcome and integration of students on international mobility programmes, Porto Municipal Council (Câmara Municipal do Porto) and the institutes of higher education have developed the Porto Acolhe programme, which promotes a a series of measures to provide young people with access to museums and sports complexes, concerts (Concertos Promenade), scientific events (Visões do Cosmos and Observação Noturna do Universo) and a programme of visits to places of historical and cultural heritage, as well as urban regeneration projects and the city's creative industries. The Council, as a member of the Erasmus Consortium of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa – Porto Regional Centre, also makes vocational work placements available lasting 3-12 months. The range of council activities available to international mobility students is announced every six months in PortoWays, a newsletter which unites Porto with different parts of the world.

  • Municipal Youth Plan (Plano Municipal de Juventude)

The voice and actions of young people are indispensable for a city which aspires to create the best and most focused opportunities. Through the Municipal Youth Plan, the city has made a commitment to young people, based on their opinion concerning the creation of policies/actions for the city of Porto.
The priority intervention areas of this Plan cover education, training, employment and entrepreneurialism, social innovation, culture, leisure and sport, social promotion, partnerships and citizenship, creativity, science and knowledge.

Over 120 actions organising and making available the existing range of opportunities in all of these areas are aimed at thousands of young people who live in or travel to Porto, making this city a more solid “port of departure” and a successful “port of arrival”.
And there you have Porto – a place of education and work, of creativity and investment; a place of citizenship and solidarity, of culture and entertainment; a place of democratic participation and of  knowledge and science – all within the grasp of the younger generations.    

Published 20-05-2013