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3 weeks in Porto in Jan or Feb 2022

I'm going to spend about 3 weeks working remotely from northern Portugal and explore the area for a possible part time residence in the future. We've watched dozens of videos (Expats Everywhere for example) on the country and we feel it might be a good fit for my wife and I in the future.

I plan to fly in to Porto, spend about a week there and explore the area from there. After 7-10 days I plan to move on to Braga and use that as a hub to explore it and also some of the towns around it in the Braga region. I'll return back to Porto and fly back home to WA state to report back to my wife. :)

Porto, Gaia, and Matosinhos
Braga, Barcelos, Guimaraes, Vila Verde
Viana do Castelo, Darque, Ponte de Lima

I'm expecting rain but its also off season so it will likely be very quiet so that's all good to me.

I plan to use trains and buses to get around and to save money on rental cars. I lean towards AirBND but am open to ideas.

The trip's focus is to identify a possible place to live part time that is a fun, safe, walkable, affordable city. We like smallish to mid size cities that have good transportation and are not crazy touristy and also has a good food and drink scene element to it. University towns could be a good fit. I'm also a cyclist and rock climber so that sort of outdoor scene is a big plus.

Ultimately we may buy a T2 or T3 as a part time residence and rent it out with AirBnB other times.

If anyone has any suggestions on what to look at while here, let me know. Would love to hear from any expats or fellow travelers with experience in this region.


p.s. I'm also a little worried about this new variant and what it will do to travel so we'll need to see how that goes. I am fully vaxed and boostered though.

Posted by
128 posts

Why not Lisbon?
It is the center of culture and has everything you say you are looking for.

P.S. I share your concern about the ever changing COVID scene. You don't want to get caught on the wrong side of the Atlantic if there is a lockdown.

Posted by
34 posts

@dkgibbons that's a very good question and I don't have a great answer except that Lisbon feels too big and unapproachable for both my wife and I. I am sure we could live in Lisbon and be happy there but we're just looking at Porto first. Rest assured, we will give Lisbon a fair chance ultimately. Deep down, I wonder openly if the weather in the winter up north might actually not be what we're looking for. Basically, we have Porto's weather now in Spokane, but just more snow here.

For now, we're just focusing on the north but we may indeed revisit somewhere towards Lisbon.

thanks, Jeff

p.s. Maybe being stuck in Porto won't be so bad ;)

Posted by
178 posts

We’re in Porto now and have fallen in love! A few other places I’d recommend are Tomar (the Convento is lovely), Aveiro (the Venice of Portugal and really pretty), Óbidos, and it might be too cold, but the Castelo de Almourol is really neat, but you do take a little boat out to it.

We are staying at the Mercure Porto Centro Aliados and it’s fantastic! The rooms are gorgeous and new, the staff is friendly, breakfast is amazing, and the location is wonderful. We’re paying <$120/night, which is a steal for the quality.

Lisbon was lovely, large, but it didn’t feel unmanageable. We do like Porto better though :)

Posted by
5375 posts
Posted by
95 posts

Real estate prices are cheaper in Braga, it has a university and the old city center is blocked off from traffic - pedestrian only.
It has a local bus transit system and a bus terminal for intercity and international buses.
Braga's train terminal is the first/last stop for local, intercities and bullet train, Alfa Pendular.
Braga is smaller than Porto and but i've stayed in Braga many times and enjoyed it every time and also used it as a base for travel in the region and also Spain.
Instead of listing Braga's attractions I'm posting this sites.
University Happy travels