We finally made it to Portugal! This is the first country on our multi-country tour while we search for a 3rd place to call home after the U.S. and Ecuador.
Portugal is also at the top of the list for a large number of our viewers so it seemed like a great place to start this adventure.
We took a red-eye from Newark New Jersey and arrived at the Porto airport around 9:30 AM.
We knew we would be tired from the overnight flight and the jet lag, so we wanted to spend the first couple of days of our trip recovering by the beach in Matosinhos. It’s located on the western side of the Porto Metro Area and it has a lot going for it.
This isn’t the best time of year for a beach vacation in Portugal, but it was perfect for our first trip to Portugal because this area is a really popular place to live year-round.
In this article, we share the pros and cons to help you decide if Matosinhos should be on your list of places to consider.
Watch Our Video About Matosinhos, Portugal
The Pros of Matosinhos, Portugal
This beautiful beach town has a lot of great things going for it, starting with…
Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. We felt extremely comfortable wandering around Matosinhos, even at night.
The city is very clean! We were so impressed. It is obvious that the residents care about their city. They don’t litter and keep the sidewalks clean.
Matosinhos is a popular beach and surfing destination. Since we were there during the shoulder season, it wasn’t crowded.
In general, it doesn’t get as crowded as Porto, even during high season, which is a big plus for us.
We saw a lot of families and lots of grandparents enjoying quality time with their grandchildren during the day. There are a lot of family-friendly activities and parks.
The city is very pedestrian-friendly. Drivers are considerate and stop for pedestrians, (you still need to pay attention to the traffic lights and walk signs).
There is a nice pedestrian and bike trail so you can avoid cars completely.
It is flat so you don’t have to walk up and down steep hills.
One thing to note is that some of the sidewalks are a bit uneven since they use stones instead of flat cement. This can be an issue for those with mobility issues.
After spending time in the U.S. it was refreshing to see the small, locally owned businesses. They add to the character and sense of community.
We were able to find what we needed but they didn’t have a huge variety of specialty items.
Norteshopping is a big mall in the area and it’s very popular! We were shocked by the amount of people there on a Sunday afternoon!
In retrospect, it isn’t surprising that the mall was crowded since it has so much to offer besides shopping. There is a play area for kids, a food court, upscale restaurants, and they occasionally have performances.
The shopping is great too. You can find everything you need from clothing to electronics and everything in between. There is even a full-size grocery store.
The beach, Praia de Matosinhos, has so much to offer. You can just relax and enjoy the views like us, or surf, play volleyball, fútbol, or go for walks in the sand or on the wide sidewalk.
We loved Parque da Cidade do Porto. It is a big urban park with a lot of walking trails, lakes, and beautiful views.
Cycling and skateboarding are also very popular activities in Matosinhos and there are lots of small parks to enjoy.
Uber operates in Matosinhos; however, there aren’t many taxis in the area. If you don’t want to hire a car you can take the Metro or bus.
A big pro for us is the proximity to the Porto airport and the heart of Porto. After traveling on a red-eye we wanted to get to our hotel quickly.
The airport is 20 minutes by Uber or taxi and there is a direct route on the metro.
It is also a 20-minute drive to the center of Porto making it a great place to explore the area without staying in the crowded tourist spots.
The Cons of Matosinhos, Portugal
No place is perfect and Matosinhos is no exception. Here are the drawbacks…
We knew we were arriving during the rainy season but we weren’t prepared for the amount and intensity of the rain.
A hard rain took out the internet for hours! The rain was blowing sideways and it was just miserable.
This area of Portugal is more expensive since it is close to the beach, the airport, and Porto.
We stayed in a Sheraton for $120/night, but there are small AirBnBs available in the $60 to $80 range.
Rents have increased steadily and the locals told us it is getting harder for them to find places to live that are convenient to their work. They said the rent has increased by hundreds of euros per month.
We didn’t expect the amount of cranes in the area. There are some big condo developments under construction.
Lack of Cultural Activities
There aren’t as many cultural activities in Matosinhos compared to Porto. You’ll have to travel into the city to find a wider variety of things to do such as museums and concerts.
We enjoyed exploring Matosinhos and think it would be a great place to call home.
The community has a lot to offer: safety, nature, good shopping, and no need for a car thanks to the good public transportation.
The location is ideal since Porto and the airport are so close. You can easily explore more of Portugal or other countries in Europe.
We aren’t ready to call anyplace our 3rd home yet; we’ve just started exploring. We’re excited to share more of our exploratory trips from Europe with you!
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I grew up in the Chicagoland area and spent most of my career working as a sales rep in the commercial lighting industry. I still work online for a company in Denver doing sales CRM administration. YouTube is my part-time gig, but I'm so happy we can share our Unconventional Life and hopefully inspire you live yours!