Alfândega Porto Congress Centre

Alfândega Porto Congress Centre[1] won the category for Europe’s Best Meetings and Conference Centre in the Business Destinations Travel Awards 2014 and 2015 edition, a recognition for the excellency of this space to hold events such as the EIP Water Conference 2017 and the Mayors & Water Conference 2017.

Nevertheless, this building holds more to the city than just being Europe’s Best Meetings and Conference Centre. It is part of the city’s history and growth.

The construction of Alfândega (meaning Customs) dates to 1859 when it was built as the Customs House taking advantage of its strategic location that could both deal with trade coming from the river and the sea. Later, with the construction of the city’s railway network it was also able to control cargo coming by train.

Alfândega remained the Customs House until 1987 when the custom services left the building heading towards a closer connection with the airport and the Port of Leixões. The building was them converted into the Museum of Transports.

In 1992, the Association for the Museum of Transports and Communications was created, and gave start to the refurbishing of the buildings rooms with the direction of the Portuguese architect Souto de Moura, original from Porto, who came to win the Pritzker Award in 2011.

Alfândega Porto Congress Centre, is today one of the largest facilities in Porto with a total of 36,000m2 usable and flexible area and has hosted a wide variety of events such as conferences, expositions, fashion shows, concerts, celebrations and balls.

Alfândega has also holds a number of important awards:

  • Award for Best Congress Centre in Portugal in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (by Gala dos Eventos);

  • Award for Best Space for Congresses in 2013 and 2014 (by Portugal Trade Awards – Publituris);

  • Europe’s Best Meeting & Conference Centre in 2014 and 2015 (by Business Destinations Travel Awards);

  • Best National Supplier in 2015 (by IAPCO);

Most certainly, Alfândega’s most exquisite service is the possibility to access the building though the river using a shipping dock, (privileges of a venue that served as a Customs Control Services in the past), however its key characteristics are the wideness and versatility.

Alfândega Congress Centre – Porto has 22 multifunctional spaces that can be displayed in accordance to each event needs; 400 parking spaces; rooms with built-in translation booths; a total Wi-Fi coverage; and it is able to host congresses up to 3,000 people and concerts up to 1,200. It is a unique and beautiful space with rooms still holding parts of the transports and communication museum bringing the past and the future together.

[1] A brief video presentation on the Congress Center.

Palácio da Bolsa

In 1842, the closure of Casa da Bolsa do Comércio (Stock Market’s House) created a problem for the merchants who found themselves without a place to privately discuss their trading deals. This was the incentive for the creation of Palácio da Bolsa, a building that aimed to foster economic growth and create in the city of Porto the ideal business and trading location.

The land where the building lays was granted by Maria the III, Queen of Portugal, the former ground of the S. Francisco’s Monastery which burned to the ground during the siege of Porto (from July 1832 to August 1833). From the remains of the Monastery, and right next to the still existing church, arose the magnificent building of Palácio da Bolsa.

Its construction began in 1942 and lasted for 70 years. Six different lead architects coordinated the project that counted with the contributions of so many renowned people from engineers to painters and workers, that the final result is a mixture of architectural styles with predominant features of the Neoclassical period.

The building of Palácio da Bolsa is the headquarters of Porto Trade Association – Porto Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Associação Comercial do Porto – Câmara de Comércio e Indústria do Porto), today chaired by Nuno Botelho.

Porto Trade Association is the institution responsible for the advocacy of interests and promotion or prosperity of the business community in Porto and Northern Regions of Portugal. It was founded in 1834, right after the first Portuguese liberal movements occurred. Today, Porto Trade Association is the oldest Portuguese association and its rule of conduct always values the principle of free will, free trade and the primacy of the individual (the merchant).

Palácio da Bolsa is simultaneously a growing tourist attraction. The building has eight theme-specific rooms, constituting various museums and exposition rooms; a Gallery of the Presidents, created to honor all the former presidents of the Trade Association; a courtyard, Pátio das Nações, flanked by 20 blazons, which represent all the countries that maintained trade relations and alliances with the merchants at the time; the Noble Stairway filled with detailed decorative figures; and an Arabian Saloon used on official acts and celebrations. The diverse rooms in the building make it an ideal location to be used as a conference center and host official ceremonies, theatre plays, concerts, dinners or fashion shows. Therefore, this would be an ideal place to host the dinner of the 4th Water Conference.

Palácio da Bolsa also owns a Library, to which, as opposed to all other rooms, entrance is not allowed since it is the guardian of a priceless and valuable book collection. The Library also possesses few artistic clocks and two XIX Century world globes, one with terrestrial representation and the other one with a representation of the celestial sphere surrounding the Earth.


Porto International, or Francisco Sá Carneiro, Airport has been named one of the top 5 European Airports by Airports Council International every year since 2006, following a worldwide poll. The airport is known for its modern eye-catching architecture, which is also functional and comfortable, and its wide-open and well lit interiors.

The airport is located just 11km from the city centre. There is a direct metro line into town and road access is excellent. Last year, more than 8 million passengers passed through this Airport.

Porto Metro is one of the largest light railway networks in Europe and its 81 stations are spread out along 67 kilometres of track. In social, environmental and economic terms, the metro has had an extremely favourable impact on society and local geography. As a substitute for road use, the metro has meant that 55,000 fewer tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere each year.

The city has two main train stations, Campanhã and São Bento, both connected to the metro network and the latter is just 1.3 km from the Conference Venue. There are direct train connections from Porto to Lisbon and Vigo (Spain), both of which have international airports. Madrid (Spain) is also reachable by train from Porto, via Coimbra.

Apart from the metro, the city also has a bus network, heritage trams and a funicular (Guindais funicular).

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Recommended Hotels

The Porto metropolitan area currently boasts a wide variety of hotel accommodations, in particular many internationally recognised hotels, ranging from 2-star to luxurious 5-star hotels, hostels and guest houses that have won national and international awards, as well as a local offering of themed and exclusive rooms.

The Porto Water Innovation Week 2017, in partnership with a local entity specialised in the hotel sector, arranged for pre-booking multiple rooms at different types of accommodations in Porto at special and exclusive prices. These rooms may be booked when registering to attend the event or, if you have already done so, by booking rooms through “HOTEL BOOKING". The list of hotels offering pre-booking are described below along with other recommended hotels for which the organisation does not offer pre-booking.

(Note: The pre-reservation of rooms made by Porto Water Innovation Week 2017 only guarantees the availability of the rooms at the prices indicated in the registration platform up to the deadline of each hotel unit, so it is advisable to register and reserve rooms as much As soon as possible).

Porto Palacio Congress Hotel & Spa
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Hotel Infante de Sagres
Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel
Eurostars Oporto Hotel
Eurostars Heroísmo Hotel
Eurostars Porto Douro Hotel
Hotel Premium Porto Downtown
Descobertas Boutique Hotel Porto
Vincci Porto Hotel
Holiday Inn Porto Gaia Hotel
Hotel Ribeira Porto
Grande Hotel do Porto
Hotel da Bolsa
Hotel Malaposta
Bluesock Hostel Porto
Nice Way Hostel Porto
InterContinental Porto – Palácio das Cardosas Hotel
The Yeatman Hotel
Ipanema Park Porto Hotel
Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa
Porto Trindade Hotel
Flores Village Hotel & Spa
Casa do Conto Arts & Residence
Hotel Internacional do Porto
Pão de Açúcar Hotel Porto
Yes! Hostel Porto
Porto Lounge Hostel & Guesthouse
Tattva Design Hostel
Rivoli Cinema Hostel

Gastronomy Offers



Tripas (Porto-style tripe stew)

Tripas (Porto-style tripe stew)

Gomes de Sá Codfish

Gomes de Sá Codfish

Caldo Verde (cabbage soup)

Caldo Verde (cabbage soup)

Port Wine

Porto Wine

Other Traditional Gastronomic Suggestions

Alheiras (pork-free sausages) and regional sausages
Pork ears
Chicken gizzards
Small fried sardines
Mountain cheese
Pica-pau (fried meat in spices and garnished with pickles)
Papas de Sarrabulho (minced meats w/bread and pork blood)
Pataniscas de bacalhau (fried codfish cakes)
Grilled sardines
Polvo à Lagareiro (baked octopus with French fries)
Cozido à Portuguesa (cabbage, potato and pork stew)
Roasted piglet
Fried bief sandwich
Transmontana-style bean stew
Bolhão pato style clams (sautéed with garlic and coriander
Fresh shellfish
Roast kid goat
Duck rice
Minho-style fried pork meat
Chicken meat and chicken blood rice
Eel stew
Codfish dishes
Belém custard tarts / cream
Rice pudding
Sponge cake
Tentúgal egg puff pastries
Ovos moles (soft egg sweets)

Porto Water Innovation Week

Alfândega Porto Congress Centre, Portugal

24 to 30 September