If you are an experienced software guy, you can probably get a job before even coming. Some companies you may check: Blip, Farfetch, Critical Software. Use linkedin, a lot of companies put their jobs there.
It depends on what you're looking for. Do you prefer an apartment or a house? Do you prefer a busy place or a calm one?
If you want to live literally downtown center, rent will be probably be very expensive and apartments are harder to find. But you'll be constantly near that touristic environment, with every "cool" place to hangout or restaurant/places to eat near you. That city vibe of Porto will be there 24/7.
Then there's places like Foz, which it is seen as a rich area. Beautiful and big houses there. A lot of people with money choose to live there. I can say it's a great place to live and by car you'll be downton in about 10 minutes (or you can use the bus, which is good too but takes way longer).
Then there's another places like Matosinhos or even Maia, which have great neighborhoods.
Public transports overall are actually very nice, specially the Metro. Any person here will tell you good things about it.
I don't think I have much to add to Martina's comments...
A thing to remember is that a lot of the Algarve is geared for tourists, of which the British are probably the greatest portion.
Porto is the second city but is much less cosmopolitan than Lisbon. This has improved in the last few years, though.
As there are less aids for foreign languages (compared to Algarve) things might be a bit difficult at first.
Porto is a lovely city. Great advice given so far, one thing I would add with regards to living in V.N. de Gaia is the traffic into and out of Porto can be insane during rush hour. Having said that, you can get a place near the amazing beaches that Gaia has to offer if you are willing to put up with rush hour traffic.
Well Porto is for me the best city in the world I live 27 km north of Porto but I love Porto because it is home to the best soccer club in the world PORTO. Then in Porto you can visit many places in the city if you are interested in learning the Porto calture and if you like to visit of the beautiful churchs the city has.
it has some nice bars and some of the best restaurants in the world. if you wish we can chat on FB or by fone my number is
I total agree with Katarina about Matosinhos is the best option to live special with kids... you can enjoy the beautiful city park of Porto and the shoreline to walk, run, cycle, etc....
Vila Nova de Gaia can be nice if you don't need to go to Porto, because the traffic to Porto is really bad...
I read the message and kind of ignored it cause I wanted someone older to answer it. I am pretty young, living in Porto without my own family and I wasn't sure if can give any relevant advice. Since nobody is answering I ll give a try ;)
So, as you already said, Porto (and all the north) is pretty different from the south part of Portugal. What I like here is that the place is smaller and people are more hospitable and easier to access.
Porto is pretty peaceful, with not so many events (social, cultural) but still enough. I consider it really safe city, there is no problem to go by walk alone during the night. ;)
When it comes to best areas for the expats, I am not sure there exist a specific one. There are just some parts of the city that is better to avoid (for example: Francos region).
For the family I think the best is to live in Vila Nova de Gaia (just across river Douro, on the oposite side of Porto), Maia or Gondomar region. If you have some extra money I would advice Matosinhos ;)
I hope someone else will write their opinion too so you can have a better overview of what you can expect here!
If I can help somehow, let me know!
Alex Newman Veloso dos Santos
I’m originally from Brazil and lived in Porto for a full year as an exchange student. I never felt it would be that different from my previous city (São Luís) given that both are historically rich and have much in common, like the Portuguese colonial architecture houses. Oh, poor me…
Porto will surprise you, definitely. It can be so calm and yet so full of life; crowded and still very safe; modern but old; a walk in the park and or a walk on the beach… Everything, just pick one.
You can easily move around the city. The metro and buses are integrated for the most part and they work very well, not more than 5 minutes late. It can be quite difficult to board during rush time though.
Housing is a lot cheaper compared to any other big European city. Some student on a budget can easily find a decent one-room apartment just two minutes walk away from any university. Speaking of which, there are some good universities in Porto. Universidade do Porto for instance is one of the most importants that constantly figures in good rankings.
Just because you live in the city it doesn’t mean you can’t do some tourism. Take pictures in Ribeira, Jardins do Palácio de Cristal; visit the Avenida dos Aliados, attend concerts in Casa da Música, watch soccer in the Estádio do Dragão and much more… You ~probably~ will never get tired of it.
I still miss Porto. I will definitely pay another visit later with wife and kids.
I am too biased to write an answer that is purely factual. I was born and raised in Porto. Porto is not a city. Porto is a nation. It is a place that you will either love or hate. You can't be indifferent to it. I have never met anyone who did not like it though. The majority of foreigners told me it was quite a unique place. No surprises there. I know it is! Porto’s sea breeze stays in your soul. The cuisine is delicious, fresh and diverse. Its espresso coffee is one of the best in the world (unless you fancy the watery type of stuff but hey that’s not coffee…really!). Porto’s award winning wine is affordable and abundant. The sounds are nostalgic and filled with longing specially in the winter near the Atlantic Ocean. The summers are cheerful and pleasant. Surf’s up no matter what! The cobblestone streets and its narrow alleyways are filled with decadence and poetry. The nightlife is mischievous, flirty and inebriating. The art scene is interesting and has been improving steadily. Concerts are abundant. Porto’s “Casa da Música” is an architectural master piece and materialises a myriad of cultural activities. There are great airline connections and the metro system is modern and efficient. It is a very walkable city and it is safe to walk around. The people will embrace you with the right amount of warmth without prying too much. Porto’s natives are extremely hospitable towards foreigners. It is easy to settle in. It is hard to leave.
Why did I leave?
The job market is difficult if you want to build an interesting career. The cost of living is low compared to other European cities but the salaries aren't great. Taxes are high in Portugal.
Will I return for good?
Tiago Pinto de Sá
Living in Porto is very nice, in my opinion. You have nighlife, sighseeing, FCPorto games at Dragon Stadium, plenty of Universities and cool restaurants, very young people and a full day by day. You also have the riverside among Rio Douro which has the best views and tourist attractions.
You also have many companies and banks to work, 7/8 shopping centers and many shopping streets.
The weather is tropical, meaning:
From November to March - Cold and rain
From April to October - Sun and heat
Basically it's like this.
Tiago Luiz Dos Santos
Porto is an amazing city to live. The weather is good with a winter that is not very cold but well defined. What I loved most about Porto was the atmosphere of the city. It’s one of those places that have something special.
Prices are cheap compared to other places in Europe, safe and with a charm of it’s own. Although is a place with several hills, it is easily walkable, with amazing views from Douro. From all places I visited so far, no place has such a beautiful sky as Porto. If you are planning to retire, Porto is the place to be.