The second largest city in Portugal, Porto is also one of the largest urban areas in Southwest Europe, covering over 41 square kilometers. In 2013, the city had a population of approximately 220,000, made up of a mix of different nationalities, including native Portuguese people and non-nationals from Angola, Cape Verde, Brazil, Ukraine, Guinea Bissau, and Mozambique, as well as a large expatriate community that have made the move to Porto.
Although not the capital, Porto is seen by many people as the country's cultural capital, and as such is a popular tourist destination. Portuguese is the of course the primary language spoken in the city, but due to the country's excellent education system and emphasis on languages, many people also speak English, as well as other European languages, particularly other Romance languages. A warm, friendly city with a fascinating history, Porto is a great place to be an expatriate in.
Although Porto has a Mediterranean climate with dry, warm summers and mild winters, it does on average experience shorter, less consistent summers than many other cities with a similar climate. It is also one of the wettest cities in all of Europe, with heavy rainfall expected especially in the winter months.
However, due to its southwesterly location, the winter season can often be interrupted by periods of sunshine and warm weather. Living in Porto in the summer months means you can expect temperatures between 16°C and 27°C on average, but during heatwaves it can reach up to 40°C, when forest fires are also very common outside the city. In the winter, however, temperatures can drop to 5°C.
As an expatriate moving to Porto, you will need a Portuguese visa. As Portugal is a full EU member, those relocating to Porto from an EU member state (or Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway, or Iceland) are exempt from this rule, but should not forget to apply for a residency permit if staying for more than 90 days. These come in both short term (lasting for 90 days to one year) and long term (lasting up to five years) versions, and can be renewed when expiring.
If you are moving to Porto from a country outside of the EU, you need to apply for and be granted a visa before you arrive — you can do so via your nearest embassy or consulate. Additionally, you also need a residency permit. However, be advised that although you apply in the same way as an expatriate from an EU nation, you will need to do so before you arrive as per the rules set out by the Portuguese government. For more information, please refer to our article on Moving to Portugal.