Are you planning on visiting Porto? A great idea! To avoid parking anxiety, read our complete guide to finding cheap parking in Porto.
Plane tickets, accommodation, day tours… you have finally booked your stay in Porto. You’ve made a good choice: thanks to its countless qualities, the “Unvanquished City” is bound to please you. But you’re probably wondering how you’ll be able to park in a city that’s famous for its lack of available parking spaces.
If you plan to stay more than three days in Porto, it might be a good idea to rent a car or simply to drive your own if you want to enjoy the beauties of the city and its surroundings. However using a car entails parking, and finding a parking space can sometimes feel like mission impossible, especially in Portugal’s second largest city. Don’t panic, discover our tips to help you park in cheap car parks in Porto!
Parking in Porto: Free parking on the street
Finding available free parking in downtown Porto is a real challenge, and often practically impossible. If some streets offer free parking in the city center, you’ll have to go there early to hope to find a place: you have to come very early in the morning, before the start of Portuguese office hours, i.e. before 9 am. And since you’re here for the holidays, getting up at dawn to find a parking space without any guarantee to succeed is not necessarily the best idea.
So what’s the best solution if you want to save money? Park in a slightly more remote area, but often free of charge, and situated near public transport. For example, you can park your car in the Vila Nova de Gaia area and reach the city center via the Dom-Luis Bridge. Or you could park near the metro stations outside the city.
Photo credit: Flickr – SnippyHolloW
Parking in Porto: Paid street parking
Porto features numerous parking meters, so if you are willing to pay to park in the city center, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a space. However, be sure to use the closest parking meter, displaying all the necessary information on timetables and parking rates, because the Portuguese are pretty strict when it comes to traffic fines.
Also be careful if you decide to park in a residential area: some streets are reserved for residents and require a resident card – “cartao de Residente” – while other spaces are reserved for embassies, taxis or the police. So even if you don’t speak a word of Portuguese, keep an eye on the road signs.
Cheap parking in Porto: Paid parking
Price and map of the cheap parking in Porto
Porto houses an array of paid car parks, and most of them are covered. In terms of rates, the prices vary between €15 and €30 for the day. Some car parks offer the possibility to park for the night such as the Irmaos Rocha car park (€11,70 per night).
For the cheapest car parks in Porto, you can find the Palacio de Cristal at €12 a day, the Cristal Park at €15 a day or the Lapa, which offers the advantageous rate of €3 for 7 hours of parking. This will save quite a bit of money.
The other trick is to book your car park in Porto in advance. The advantage is that by booking online, you can always cancel free of charge, you are flexible in terms of arrival time, you have a guaranteed parking space in a covered and secure car park and above all, you no longer have to worry about the availability of a space. In addition, booking in advance allows you to save money.
Cheap parking in Porto: Free parking
Another pleasant surprise: there are free and covered car parks in Porto. Though they are located outside the city walls, they are nevertheless an economical alternative to parking in Porto.
These free car parks include Arrabida Shopping, near a shopping center or the Edificio América. As for camper van owners, they’ll find what they’re looking for at the Aparcamiento Autocaravanas.
Main photo credit : Flickr – Clark & Kim Kays