Located 11 kms northwest of Porto, in neighbouring town, Maia, Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (to give its full name) is named after a Portuguese Prime Minister who died in an airplane crash heading to this airport... Mostly though, it’s known more simply as Porto Airport.
Porto or Oporto
It might just me who got confused but I’ve always known the town as Porto so when I started seeing Oporto, I thought maybe that was the Portuguese way of spelling it - but it’s not, that’s the English spelling of the city! Some say Oporto came into being when the English (long present in Porto mainly because of the wine named after it) misheard locals saying “Vou ao Porto” which means I’m going to Porto but they just thought they were referring it to as Oporto... or simply that they misheard the article ‘o’ generally used before the town was part of the name. Who knows though! And it doesn’t really matter as people in Portugal know it as both so you can use either.
Arriving into Porto Airport
After receiving a big revamp in the run up to the city holding the Euro 2004 football finals, looks modern and still feels brand spanking new. Serving a number of airlines including Iberia, Lufthansa and easyJet, the biggest players at the airport are Ryanair and Portugal’s national airline, TAP Portugal.
On landing, we stepped off the plane (I flew with Ryanair) and were just a few steps away from a staircase up to the Airbridge connecting to the airport. Speak to one of the staff if you need assistance - there wasn’t a lift (or elevator) at this point so they’ll need to help you get into the terminal an alternative route.
Dark blue for way out
Directions are colour-coded to make it easier for you. Way out (or Saida) is in dark blue but if you’re connecting to another flight, follow signs in yellow saying Connecting flights.
Once in the airport, you’ll walk a few more minutes (there were a couple of moving walkways you can use too) to Passport Control. It’s a straightforward walk basically down one corridor and then down escalators - you’ll find Passport Control towards your left. It’s a spacious hall and only a couple of desks were staffed when I arrived so there was a long queue. Make sure you’re in the queue for EU citizens if you are one... it’ll go quicker! They didn’t use snaking lines with barriers so the queues seemed to merge a little but it all soon became clear.
Doing it yourself!
is yours an E-passport?
They’ve fitted in a number of those fancy new machines which mean you can check yourself out of Passport Control if you have an E-Passport. Check your passport for this symbol - it’s normally on the bottom of the front cover like the photo above. If you do have it, hurrah! And try it - there wasn’t a line for those at all! It’s really easy to do. You need to open it up at your photo page and place it face down onto the scanner and then wait for it to give you the go-ahead before then being asked to look into a camera so they can do a biometric eye check. Once you have the all-clear for that, you’re good to go - all in a minute! A member of staff was at hand to help in case you needed it too.
Once through, you’ll spot the colour-coded directions to help you marking the floor. Dark blue’s for Baggage Reclaim - which is only a short walk away from Passport Control. There’s a screen in the Passport Control area where you can check for which belt you need whilst you wait. If you’ve zoomed through and didn’t spot it, there are more screens once you’ve come into Baggage Reclaim.
Leaving Baggage Reclaim
If you’ve only got hand luggage or once you’ve picked your checked in luggage up, the way out is on your right, after the toilets. Once you’ve gone through to the Arrivals Hall, there’s a low barrier that separates waiting family, friends and drivers. Walk to your right to get to the Porto Airport car hire desks.
In the Arrivals Hall
If you’ve walked towards your right, you’ll find a pharmacy and a Relay newsagents on your right. Keep walking a little further and you’ll see the car hire desks to your left - in front of exits going out of the airport and opposite a Buondi Caffe. You’ll soon become very familiar with the red of cafés serving Buondi coffee once you’re in Porto. See our guide to collecting your car hire from Porto Airport here or see Travelling onwards from Porto Airport for information on other options.
If you need money, there’s a Western Money Union as well as a couple of money exchange desks housed within this area - you won’t be able to miss its fluorescent pink lights!
If you just need to take money out of an ATM, you’ll find one just to the left of the money exchange block.
There’s also a Costa Coffee branch - just keep walking past the money exchange desks (or if you want to head straight there on entering the Arrivals Hall, just walk towards your left rather than your right).
Information - available at the touch of your fingertips!
All you need to know on Porto in here...
This snazzy construction is home to tourist information. There are staff on hand to answer questions and you can pick up a city map as well as other leaflets with information on activities in the region. There’s also some fancy big table like computer screens you can look for information yourself if you like. Getting with the touchscreen times, these are touchscreens too.