Portugal is surging in popularity, and it has had a record-breaking summer for tourism this year.
For many years, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon has been the most popular choice in the country for both tourists and digital nomads alike.
But now tourism in the smaller coastal city of Porto is booming.
New research has shown that overnight stays for tourists have increased more than twice as fast in the coastal town of Porto than in the capital of Lisbon.
The number of hotel rooms available in Porto has increased rapidly, with 4,601 new hotel beds available in the past 12 months. And Porto has also seen increased air traffic in the last year.
Here’s why Porto is surging in popularity with international visitors this fall:
Easy to Access With Direct Air Routes
Destinations tend to become more popular when you can reach them via a non-stop flight. And this is certainly true of Porto. As flights to the city have increased so have the numbers of international arrivals.
United Airlines and American Airlines both offer seasonal direct flights to Porto. United, Delta and American Airlines also all offer non-stop flights to Lisbon year-round, and from here you’re just a short hop away from Porto.
The carrier Azores Airlines has also expanded its schedule and will now fly directly to Porto from two North American destinations.
These flights connect Porto to Boston Logan International Airport and to New York JFK. A third route will fly to Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada.
It should go without saying, but there are far fewer tourists in Porto in the fall.
The peak tourism season in the city ends in the middle of September, so you can enjoy the city without the crowds.
Porto has a typical Mediterranean climate, which means it is very mild during the fall and winter months.
In early fall, you will enjoy hot days and the weather is still warm enough for swimming in the sea and days on the beach.
For this reason, Porto is considered a year-round vacation destination, although it is not one of the best winter sun destinations in Europe.
That being said, Porto does have significantly better winter weather than most Northern European countries, and the cooler weather makes for more comfortable sightseeing.
If you’re a culture vulture thinking of heading to Porto to explore the city’s beautiful Cathedral, climb to the top of the Clerigos Tower to enjoy spectacular views of the city or enjoy a tasting in the Porto wine cellars, then you’re likely to find this a much more comfortable experience in fall than in summer.
Brilliant Options For a Budget Break
Because Porto is such an in-demand destination right now, supply for hotel rooms outstrips demand during the peak summer months.
In fact, if you don’t book in advance, then it can be very difficult to find a room in Porto during July and August.
By contrast, because demand is lower during the fall months, not only is it easier to find a hotel room in Porto, but it is also significantly more affordable.
Prices for a single room for 2 people in a 3-star hotel in Porto in October start from $41 per night, while the cheapest 4-star hotel in the city during the same period can be secured for $95 per night.
In general, Porto is considered one of the most affordable cities in Western Europe. Public transport is affordable and easily accessible. You can expect to pay between $12-15 for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant. And a beer will set you back just $2 per glass.
If you’re not on a budget, then head to the Ribeira district for a meal on the most iconic terraces in Porto.
This district is on the river and is made up of beautiful brightly colored houses that appear to be stacked on top of each other.
The views are spectacular but the restaurant prices don’t fall into the budget category.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com