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7 Reasons Why This Stunning City In Portugal Is Surging In Popularity With American Travelers

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There’s no doubt that one of Europe’s hottest destinations over the past 12 months has been Portugal. 

While Lisbon and the Algarve may get most of the headlines in this Iberian enchanter, there’s an up-and-coming city in the north of the country that’s really climbing the ranks as one of Europe’s coolest hangouts for travelers.

young woman walking along the famous luis bridge in porto portugal

In case you hadn’t guessed, we’re talking about Porto.

Lying on the banks of the Douro River just off the Atlantic Coast, Porto is seriously trending right now – a record-breaking 15 million passengers passed through its airport in 2023.

Not only that, but it also flew 100,000 passengers to and from New York thanks to a route from Portuguese airline TAP Air.

So, what’s driving this surge of interest for Porto among Americans? Here are a few possibilities:


At the back end of 2023, Porto was named Europe’s Leading City Break Destination at the annual World Travel Awards.

Things like that don’t happen by accident – and this accolade can be added to previous award wins for this Portuguese hotspot, including Best City Destination in the World in 2022.

woman taking a photo of luis bridge in porto on a smartphone at sunset

When the name of a place keeps popping up in awards like this, you know that your curiosity will be rewarded if you decide to check it out for yourself.  

Ideal For Digital Nomads

Portugal’s digital nomad visa has proved to be incredibly popular since its launch in October 2022.

Simply by having a monthly income of around $3,250, a contract for your remote work, and pre-arranging your accommodation before you arrive, any non-European Union citizen is well on their way to obtaining a Portuguese digital nomad visa.

young female digital nomad working on a laptop in porto portugal

Porto is a city packed with co-working spaces and other innovations to help digital nomads have an easier life – it’s also in the same time zone as the United Kingdom, only five hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time.

Great At Any Time Of Year

One of the things that helps make Porto such an appealing destination is the fact that you can travel there practically any time of year and still have decent weather.

In winter, you’ll find the average temperature sitting around 55F, which, while not tropical, combined with a little winter sunshine, is pleasant compared to most European destinations.

view of a town in Portugal

Come summer, the prevailing breeze that comes in off the Atlantic in the west helps take the edge off the temperatures so it’s not stiflingly hot – expect averages between 65 and 70F between June and September with lots of sunshine.

Super Connected

We’ve already talked about how the New York to Porto connection is catching fire right now, but there could be more routes on the way.

TAP Air is understood to have secured another flight into Porto from New York for 2024 as well as one from Boston, Massachusetts, and one from Toronto in Canada.

young female travelers laughing and joking on train platform in porto portugal

Portugal also has a very affordable and reliable train network that will allow you to get to Porto easily from almost anywhere in the country, or take day trips out from Porto to destinations such as the rugged Atlantic Coast or Braga just to the north. 

Safe And Welcoming

Portugal regularly ranks as one of the safest countries in the world to visit, and Porto embodies that record perfectly.

The people of Porto are friendly, welcoming, and laid back, while crime rates are relatively low. 

It is a city that is held in high regard among our solo travel experts here at Travel Off Path thanks to this good safety record and the enjoyable hostel scene.

young couple look out over river douro in porto portugal

Cool With A Capital C

Above anything else, Porto is a cool place to hang out for any length of time.

The city is rich in history, which can be seen in beautiful gothic cathedrals and exquisitely tiled colorful buildings on every corner.

It’s also a hub of art – both traditional and modern – which you can see at famous museums such as Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis or in the tasteful and commissioned graffiti on many street corners. 

colorful houses in ribera the old town of porto portugal

As for nightlife, Porto has the vibe. Bars and nightclubs are plentiful, with many featuring impressive views over the Douro Valley and river below.

It Puts A Smile On Your Face

As travelers, we are naturally drawn to places that make us feel good, and Porto is certainly one of those.

This charming, cultural gem is known as being a place that will have you beaming from ear to ear as you wander around its artsy, cobbled streets. 

two young women laughing and joking at street cafe in porto portugal

We can’t say whether it’s the whiff of Portuguese pastries in the air, the availability of good, cheap port, or just being near the beautiful river Douro that does it – but Porto is definitely a happy place.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

José Santos

Monday 26th of February 2024

Excellent article. I would only add that one of the best ways to discover this photogenic city is on a photo tour!