Porto in Northwest Portugal
By Maria Thermann

Porto in Northwest Portugal

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Located some 11 kilometers (ca. 7 miles) from Porto International Airport, the city is the second largest in Portugal and a great alternative to the hot property market of Lisbon, if you are looking to retire or relocate for work or to start a business. The airport is a hub for low-budget airlines like Ryanair, TAP Air Portugal and Easyjet among others.

Porto has numerous attractions, among them a splendid cathedral, built in the 12th century and adorned with beautifully tiled cloisters and walkways what offer amazing views over the Douro River.

The Old Town of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the district of Ribeira being a particularly lovely spot to visit. Here medieval buildings and winding, cobbled streets still exist as if time had stood still. River cruises start from the district, making it especially popular with tourists, should you wish to start a business in Porto that relies on tourism.

The main shopping activity centres on the Avenida des Aliados in the Old Town. The city's Town Hall is one of the main architectural attractions here.

Porto is also home to the world-famous Lello Bookshop, also known as Livaria Lello & Irmão. The shop stocks thousands of rare books and manuscripts, but is most famous for its scarlet staircase, a complicated wood construction covered in beautiful neo-Gothic carvings that reputedly in spired Harry Potter author J K Rowling's fictional Hogwarts. The shop is also admired for its vast stained-glass skylight in an Art Nouveau style. Opened in 1906, the shop often hosts special events, such as an Italian/Portuguese solidarity day in commemoration of the devastating fires that ravaged both countries in 2017.

Among the other architectural treasures from the 19th century the former Stock Exchange building stands out as unique. Palácio da Bolsa is home to the beautiful Hall of Nations, the Arab Hall and a stunning staircase.

If you are looking to move to Portugal and are finding it hard to get on the property ladder in Lisbon, Porto is a good alternative. Here a 3-bed apartment or 4-bed house in the suburbs starts at around 240,000 euros. Going further out in the municipality of Porto can mean finding apartments for just 70,000 euros.

Offices and other commercial real estate is also cheaper than in Lisbon, although admittedly a large office unit overlooking the Douro River may cost as much as 1.2 million euros. However, going just a little outside the city limits presents plenty of opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs whose business does not directly rely on tourism. Here commercial real estate ranges from around 80,000 to 120,000 euros.

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