Porto: Where design, innovation and global business converge

Porto: Where design, innovation and global business converge

Porto is unique. A dynamic hub for design, media, technology, industry, science and research. A city where innovation sits alongside a richly textured history and a culture that prioritises quality of life. A small city, built on a human scale, with all the energy and vitality of a world capital.


Strategically located at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and the Americas, with excellent connectivity by air, land and sea, Porto is an ideal gateway to access the largest free trade areas in the world – the lucrative European Union market of nearly 500 million consumers, from 28 countries, as well as to expand your business to other parts of the world.

Porto’s Metropolitan Area is home to 1.7 million people, being considered the only MEGA (Metropolitan European Growth Areas) of the northwest peninsula.


The Financial Times has considered Porto the 3rd Best City to invest in Southern Europe (2014-2015) and the 5th Best Mid-Sized European City for FDI Strategy (2020-2021).

Porto offers a safe and stable environment to do business and attractive investment incentives, recognized with fDi Intelligence’s FDI Strategy Awards 2018.

Portugal is ranked as the world’s top residence-by-investment program, according to the Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2017–2018 report, which has become the industry standard for benchmarking and measuring the attractiveness of investment migration programs.

Doing business is easy, simple and accessible. It’s possible to set up a company in 45 minutes and register a property in 1 day.

Portugal is considered a case study in e-Government, by the United Nations, with many public services available online.

A city open to foreign cultures, that excels at integrating immigrants.

The region (Porto and Northern Portugal) accounts for 29% of Portugal’s Gross Domestic Product (2017) and 39% of Portuguese goods exports.

Porto’s leading sectors include ICT, Nearshore Services, Advanced Engineering, Creative Industries, Health and Life Sciences, and Mobility Industries. Other industries such as real estate, wine and agro-food are also attracting a growing amount of investments.


Porto has world-class scientific and academic institutions, high levels of investment in research and development (R&D), generous R&D tax incentives for businesses, a modern telecommunication infrastructure and access to the best talent and R&D infrastructure.

Portugal was the 9th International Innovation Champion in the world in 2018 according to CTA – Consumer Technology Association.

Portugal ranked 32nd in the world in Global Innovation Index 2018 and Porto received the “The Smart City Innovator Award” in the world in 2020. 

The quality of Portuguese scientific research institutions is among the best in the world – 22nd  in the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018

Fraunhofer Institute – the largest organization for applied research in Europe – has chosen Porto to open its first subsidiary outside Germany.


Porto has a highly educated, multilingual, multicultural, flexible, open, and committed workforce that is well suited to the challenges of todays’s knowledge-based economy. Porto’s workforce is underpinned by a world-class education system and attracts students and researchers from all over the world.

Porto Metropolitan Area is home to 62 higher education institutions and the University of Porto is among the World Best Universities in 22 study areas (according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020). In 2020, the Leiden Ranking rates the University of Porto among the 100 best in the world for scientific performance.

According to Eurostat, Portugal is the 2nd country in Europe with the highest rate of engineering graduates.

According to IMD, Portugal is the 8th country in the world in skilled labour and is the 5th country in the world in language skills (English, French, and Spanish are widely spoken).


Porto is a connected city with world-class infrastructure.

Porto International airport has been distinguished multiple times by Airport Councils International’s Airport Service Quality Survey as one of Europe’s Best Mid-Sized Airports. In 2019, it is the thirteenth time that Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport leads this category among airports in Europe.

Located just outside the inner-city, the port of Leixões is one of largest, most efficient and competitive multipurpose ports of the Iberian Peninsula.

The new Porto Cruise Terminal has won multiple international prizes of architecture and design, including Building of the Year 2017 by ArchDaily International, and People’s Choice 2016 by AZ Awards.

The city is home to a fast-emerging, export-oriented ICT cluster and to thriving communities of developers, entrepreneurs and early-adopters.

Excellent telecom network with high levels of investment in R&D, accessibility and connectivity. Portugal has the 4th best ultrafast broadband coverage in Europe and the 6th best communications technology in the world according to IMD’s World Digital Competitiveness 2017 and 2018 rankings. 8 out 10 of investors find Porto’s telecom infrastructure attractive according to a international survey conducted by EY in 2019.

Porto was selected to spearhead the European Commission’s strategy for Connected and Automated cross-border Mobility (CAM). The city is at the centre of the biggest EU-backed experiment of 5G technology, which will be testing one of the three first 5G Corridors for automated driving in Europe. Tests of vehicle-to-everything 5G infrastructure in the highways linking Porto to Vigo in Spain are running since 2019.

Porto features the world’s largest public bus wi-fi network, providing hundreds of free internet hotspots scattered around the city.

Portugal has one of the best fibre optic FTTH networks in Europe.

Portuguese are early technology adopters:

  • the first to have a pre-paid mobile card;
  • pioneered the electronic highway toll collection system (Via Verde);
  • innovative ATM network: users are able to perform multiple operations for free, such as buy cinema tickets, train tickets, pay taxes, etc.

Portugal has been cited by the United Nations as a case study in e-Government best practices.


Porto is one of the best European cities to live, work and to do business. The city is shortlisted as the fourth friendliest City in the World, as voted by readers of Condé Nast Traveller in the Readers’ Choice Awards 2020. With no surprise, Porto was considered the 9th best place to escape from the megacities to increase quality of life by Monocle Small Cities Index 2020, and the 2nd most exciting city in the world for living according to Time Out’s City Life Index 2018.

Once again, the World Travel Awards 2020 state that Portugal is the Best European Destination for the 4th consecutive year and Porto is the World’s Leading City Break Destination 2020. Porto won the award of European Best Destination in 2012, 2014 and 2017 and is the third best world destination for 2020 in The Travellers’ Choice award, by TripAdvisor. Portugal is fast becoming a culinary Capital of Europe.

Portugal is 3rd most peaceful country in the world and 1st in Continental Europe according to the Institute for Economics & Peace’s Global Peace 2019 Index. It is the best and most recommended country of choice for expats in Europe according to InterNations’ Expat Insider 2019 Survey, ranking 1st when it comes to expat quality of life, personal happiness, ease of settling in, feeling at home and local friendliness. Portugal is considered one of the world’s most tolerant and inclusive societies for migrants, ranking 2nd best in migrant integration policies among highly developed countries according to the Migrant Integration Policy Index. According to Euromonitor International, Porto is one the world’s Top 100 cities with most international visitors.



…Porto is home to the oldest protected winemaking region in the world?

…Porto is home to a world-class research institute in health sciences?

…The first GPS in the world with aerial photography was created in Porto?

…Porto is home to EFACEC, which provides cutting-edge technology to the European Space Agency’s lab and also in the area of electric vehicles?

…Porto has the largest network of buses with Wi-Fi in the world?

…Porto is home to The OceanScan, one of the main suppiers of robotic submarines in Europe?

…The future aircraft interiors are being developed in Porto?

…Porto is one of the Top 100 Smart Cities in the world according to IESE Cities in Motion Index 2019?

…Portugal is the 2nd country with the highest share of engineering graduates in Europe?

… Porto is home to leaders in the development of new technologies for the automobile sector, auto manufacturing technology and adaptive production systems?

…Portugal is internationally recognized for the high quality of its maintenance and engineering services in the Aerospace sector?

…Porto is a European Biotech Hub?

Important business events in Portugal

According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry, which is the most respected global comparison of destinations’ performance in attracting international business meetings, Portugal is now one of most sought-after destination for business events, namely, conferences, congresses and meetings.

The global ranking of 2019 places Lisbon as the second top city ahead of Berlin, Barcelona, New York, London, or Singapore. Portugal has been ranked as one of the top 10 country spots.

Web Summit

The world’s largest technology conference.

Forbes has said we run “the best technology conference on the planet”;
The Atlantic said that Web Summit is “where the future goes to be born”;
The New York Times said that we assemble “a grand conclave of the tech industry’s high priests.”

The European Summit

Also known as the TES Affiliate Conference that brings together professionals from the online entertainment industry, e-commerce, financials, gaming, gambling, dating, forex, health, nutraceuticals and many others for an intensive 3-day networking event.

The European Summit is simply one of the best-loved and most respected events for brave affiliate marketing pros to discuss industry trends!

BTL Travel Market

Has become the tourism event most professionals in the industry do not want to miss. It attracts over 77,000 visitors to over 1,100 exhibitors and features numerous demonstrations and workshops.

Lisbon Investment Summit

Is a start-up conference in Lisbon that brings together top tier investors, bold entrepreneurs, innovative executives and visionaries in an informal setting. A reference in Europe for the startup and corporate world.

FIA Lisboa International Fair of Handicraft

The largest craftsmanship and multicultural trade market fair in the Iberian Peninsula. FIA Lisboa showcases professionals in the handicrafts, arts and design sectors and the culinary sectors as well as people interested in crafts as a cultural expression.

Why Porto?

A city that works