Porto Airport, officially known as Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport with the IATA code OPO, is the second-busiest airport in Portugal and the main gateway to the northern part of the country. It is known as one of the most pleasant airports in Europe, with its spacious facilities, friendly staff, and abundance of shops.
If you’re flying in or out of Porto, it is nice to know how the airport works. We are bringing some practical pieces of information here. So if you want to know how to get from Porto Airport to the centre, which connections the airport has, where you should shop, or anything else that would be good to know, keep on reading below!
Facts about Porto Airport
Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO) is an international airport situated 11 kilometers (7 miles) northwest of Porto’s city centre. Due to the large size of the airport, it is surrounded by multiple municipalities – Maia, Matosinhos and Vila do Conde.
It opened in 1945 and received its current name in 1990. Francisco de Sá Carneiro was a Portuguese prime minister. He died in a crash while traveling to this airport.
Several additions have been made to the airport, and it has also been gradually modernized over the years. The newest terminal building was finished in 2006.
Porto Airport has enjoyed a steady increase in passengers every year, finally exceeding ten million in 2017. The number of passengers went down in 2020 due to the coronavirus restrictions, but it still remains one of the most used airports in Southern Europe, and it is expected to grow over the next decade as interest in Porto increases.
The airport has a very modern feel. Going through it is a smooth experience, as there are short lines at the spacious security area, and since it is generally easy to locate gates. There is a relatively frequent issue with delayed and canceled TAP flights (similar to Lisbon).
From Porto Airport to Porto city centre
There are several ways to get from Porto Airport to the city centre (and vice versa):
- Metro (easiest)
- Taxi (fastest)
- Private pickup (practical)
- Bus (cheapest)
- Car rental (if you’re going to another city)
For most travelers we recommend taking the metro. It is cheap and practical at the same time. Line E (the purple line) has the airport as one of its end destinations. You can get on at the airport and go to the centre. The line continues all the way to Estadio do Dragão. If you’re going from the city to the airport, you just get on in the other direction. Line E runs every 20 minutes on most days. The trip to the city centre takes 25 minutes. Expect to pay a bit less than 5€ for the trip. You buy your ticket at one of the vending machines at the airport metro station. The metro is open from 6 am in the morning until 1 am at night.
Taxi and private pickup both take around 20 minutes since you will drive directly to your destination. It usually costs between 20-30€. Taxis are parked outside of the airport (easy to find) and you simply get on one of them. Private pickup can be arranged with your hotel or a transportation provider in advance. Some people like the comfort and security of a private transfer.
Bus is the cheapest option, although it costs almost the same as taking the metro. There are several buses going back and forth. Line 120 is one of them. Many of the long-distance buses also have a stop at the airport. For instance, the Porto-Vigo bus connection usually stops at Porto Airport. Average bus price from the airport to the city centre is around 4€.
Car rental is an option if you’re not staying in Porto but going to another place in Northern Portugal. For instance, if you’re going to Guimarães or Aveiro, you will probably arrive in Porto Airport. You can then rent a car and drive the rest of the way yourself. Car rental at the airport is easy – you can book your rental in advance, or you can simply go to one of the counters in the airport.
Airlines and destinations
Porto Airport is a hub for TAP Air Portugal (the national Portuguese airline) and it’s a focus airport for low-cost airlines such as Transavia, easyJet and RyanAir.
These airlines allow you to travel between Porto and several big cities in Europe.
If you’re flying with TAP, there are direct routes from Porto to London, Paris, Zürich and Geneva. There are also connections to Brazil, as you can travel from Porto to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In most cases, however, you can expect a stop in Lisbon. Lisbon is the main hub for TAP, and TAP has cheap routes between Lisbon and Porto every hour.
Major airlines from other countries also have flights to Porto from their own hubs. Examples are:
- AirEuropa flying between Madrid and Porto
- Iberia flying between Madrid and Porto
- Air France flying between Paris and Porto
- KLM flying between Amsterdam and Porto
- Lufthansa flying between Frankfurt, Munich and Porto
- Turkish Airlines flying between Istanbul and Porto
On top of those, you have all the low-cost airlines with multiple connections, as well as many airlines that provide seasonal destinations (typically in the summer).
The 5 busiest routes from Porto are:
- Lisbon (with TAP)
- Madrid (with TAP, AirEuropa, Iberia)
- Paris-Orly (with TAP, Transavia)
- Geneva (with TAP, SwissAir, easyJet)
- Barcelona (with RyanAir)
Shops and restaurants
Waiting in Porto Airport can be pleasant if you have something to do. Many passengers pass time by checking out the shops and grabbing a bite at one of the airport restaurants.
There are over 25 different shops in the airport. These include Tous, Victoria’s Secret, AleHop, SunglassHut, Parfois, Desigual and Chocolate Lounge. In other words, you’ll find lots of clothing and accessory stores. But you’ll also find the major Duty Free Store where you can buy candy, alcohol, cigarettes, souvenirs, and books.
If you’re hungry or thirsty, there are currently 14 restaurants, cafés and lounges in the airport. That includes fast-food joint Burger King, the locally inspired A Francesinha, exotic Sushi Passion, the classic Super Bock lounge, and Italian restaurant Italian House.
Hotels near Porto Airport
Park Hotel Aeroporto is the local hotel that must passengers use if they need to stay near the airport for whatever reason.
So if you’re traveling for business, or if you have an early connection and want to be close to the airport, this is the hotel to pick. The Park Hotel is only a 3 minute walk away from the airport so it is practical for everyone.
The hotel has international tv-channels, a breakfast buffet, free Wi-Fi, and 24-hour reception. So if you’re looking for a nice hotel near Porto Airport, this is the one to stay in.
Check-in is a necessity for all passengers. We advise you to do it online in advance – you should get an email or a phone message from your airline when check-in opens. There are check-in desks at the airport as well. For European flights you must do it at least 90 minutes before your flight, and for intercontinental flights you must check-in at least 180 minutes before your flight.
You should probably go to the airport 2 hours before your flight to make sure you have enough time. For intercontinental flights you can consider showing up even earlier.
Tickets can easily be printed out at the airport, either at the self-service machines or by going to the check-in counter at any time. Nowadays, you may also have your ticket on your phone. If you need to charge your phone in the airport, Porto luckily has may electric plugs.
After check-in you have to go through security. Expect to show your ticket and passport. You will have to go through x-ray screening like in any other airport. The good news is that Porto’s security department is very fast and efficient. It rarely takes more than a few minutes and it is much easier than in Lisbon or Madrid.
If you’re traveling with cash money, there’s no need to worry. You are allowed to travel with any amount. The only rule is that if you’re carrying more than 10,000€ you must declare it. This is done by filling a form at the airport. Upon arrival in another airport, you might be asked to declare any purchases.
Porto Airport is generally a nice airport. It’s rarely overcrowded, it has some stores and restaurants where you can entertain yourself while waiting, and most importantly – it is easy to travel between the airport and the city centre.
We hope that this guide has been useful. Enjoy your trip to Porto, and wherever you are going next!