An open-air museum
Being the main urban center in northern Portugal, Porto is located along the right bank of the River Douro and the Atlantic Ocean. The city is also strategically positioned between Europe, Africa, and America, easily accessible with the existing modern transport network. Porto is a tourist destination par excellence, particularly because of its beauty and the plurality and diversity of experiences for visitors. Classified as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 1996, visitors can explore the historical centre of medieval origin, which has continued to evolve, modernise, and keep up with the trends and new demands of both residents and visitors. An example is the Management and Sustainability Plan 2020-2030, that covers the buildings’ rehabilitation. It is easy in Porto to enjoy examples of Roman, Gothic, Baroque or contemporary architecture, and Art Deco shouts aloud in commercial spaces and historic cafés.
Using digital tools for the tourist experience
Porto has been investing in digitalisation, and its different digital platforms respond to the needs of citizens, visitors, and tourists. The mobile-friendly VisitPorto website is an essential tool for the organisation of the visit, providing information on points of interest and activities. A live Chat service on WhatsApp is also included. Created in 2016, ShopInPorto is another digital tool offered by the city. Pioneer in Portugal, this large digital window is dedicated exclusively to traditional commerce, and it promotes its digital visibility and attractiveness. In total, 1,600 merchants have joined. With more than 300 Access Points and still expanding, the “Porto Free Wi-Fi” offers residents and visitors uninterrupted internet access. The city is digitally accessible to all. The network offers ample coverage, and it includes areas of high tourist affluence, parks, gardens, and beaches and, since 2016, free Wi-Fi is also provided on the urban buses of Sociedade de Transportes Cletivos do Porto.
The aim of the city: carbon neutrality by 2030
The number of tourists visiting Porto is always growing. In 2019, urban accommodation registered over 2 million guests, 79% of which were international tourists. In order to relieve pressure on zones of high demand, dispersion of tourism flow has been promoted, with new routes and accommodation opportunities. The Tourism Transport Regulation has defined parking locations, circuit timetables and number of registrations per operator to encourage the use of electric vehicles and to reduce traffic and pollutant gases emission. Most public transport is already hybrid, electric or natural gas powered, and soft mobility network is being consolidated, with 55km of cycle path and 210 bicycle and scooter sharing points. Beyond this, the city is working on implementing various other solutions to improve structural issues. These solutions are based on the Municipal Master Plan which is designed to help increase energy efficiency and combat climate change with the overall aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. By doing this, Porto is actively educating its stakeholders and residents on the environment, building a widespread practice of urban cleaning, and planning for effective water cycle management.
City Museum – Like a metro line
Designed as a metro line, the “City Museum” in Porto is a disruptive concept based on a polycentric idea of the city that emerged in February 2020. With different dispersed museum stations, visitors can move as if it were a metro railway network, interconnecting five thematic axes: Sonorous, Nature, Material, Liquid and Romanticism. It incorporates archaeological sites, water places, houses, libraries, industrial spaces, gardens, among others. This original concept has already attracted more than 186.000 visitors.