Is Porto Safe?

jenny chu with Clérifos Church in background

Is Porto safe? Generally speaking, yes. From my experience, I realized no matter where you are, you must always travel with caution and never leave anything valuable in the car.

So many things happened in the 24 hours when we were in Porto. Toll roads malfunctioned and did not accept credit card payments. Our rental car was broken into. The Air B&B was a dump. To final straw was the bf losing his wallet with out joint credit cards. Yet we somehow managed to make the best out of our short little trip and learn from our mistakes.

Driving To Porto from Vigo

After renting a Hertz car at Vigo airport, we started our 2.5 hour drive to Porto. Along the way, we encountered 2 tolls. The first toll had a problem with the credit card Toll Receipt driving to Portoprocessing machine therefore a receipt was printed. After following instructions for an online payment, there was no record of it. Finally, after calling customer service, the representative instructed me to email this person and wire money. RED FLAG SHADE ALERT! Luckily we knew a friend from Portugal who was willing to help us. In the end, he paid the toll at an actual pay site. Lesson learned: ALWAYS BRING CASH WITH YOU FOR THE TOLLS.

Jenny Chu PortoChecking Into Our AirB&B

To begin, we arrived a bit early to our Air B&B. To kill time, we went to the corner cafe to have a glass of wine. After the Air B&B host showed up, we retrieved our luggage from the car. When I returned to the car to put more money in the meter, I noticed the side car window was broken. My heart sank as I checked for more damage. The only thing missing was the car rental documents. My explanation is while we were in the cafe, the thief broke into the car but didn’t have enough time to steal our luggage. Grr!!!

To top that off, the AirB&B was a dump. In other words, it was so bad, AirB&B offered me a refund. Off to the police station we went to file a report. It appears this was a common occurrence as there were other tourists filing police reports due to robberies. To reiterate, we were VERY lucky that our belongings weren’t stolen. Lesson learned: Park where you can see your car and NEVER leave  valuables in the car. On the other hand, since I booked the rental car with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, I made a car insurance claim. Chase cut a reimbursement check for $315 for the window damage. You can read about it here.

Why You Need To Bring An Extra Visa Card For Emergencies

To add to our chaotic day, the bf lost his wallet. Because we have a joint account, I had to cancel the credit cards.  Holding only very little cash and slightly panicking, I realized there was another credit card I could use. My American Express! Oh wait. Most establishments outside the US do not accept American Express. Last resort was a Spanish debit card with some money in it. Lesson learned: Bring an extra VISA credit card with you. Is Porto Safe

By the time we were finished with the police report and cleaning out the glass, it was already 6pm. We had to make the most of our day!

What To Do In Porto

My first stop was the Chapel Of Souls, known for their beautiful blue decorative tile.

The tall tower in Porto is the Clérifos Church can be seen in the background.

Sâo Bento Rail Station – who knew a rail station could be as beautiful as this?!?!

We hiked all the way down to Ribeira Square area for this amazing view of the bridge and the water.

I know my first time in Porto wasn’t the best experience due to some mishaps. I’m sure I will be back to explore all the other hidden gems. On my list is Livraria Lello (the library) and the Casa Da Música, and of course the wine and the food!

Don’t forget to check out my other blog on visiting other Portugal destinations – Lisbon and Sintra.

Is Porto Safe?

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