Porto is a fantastic city to visit for a weekend away. Not only does it offer visitors kind service and great food, but it is also one of the lower cost cities in Europe. When I visit a city I love to learn about its history, its local food and wine, and most of all, I love taking photos. If you are heading to Porto and are looking for some Instagram worthy spots, here’s where to look:
1. Igreja do Carmo
Porto is famous for its gorgeous blue tiles called “azulejos” which come from the Arabic word meaning “small polished stone”. They were painted in blue as it was considered a fashionable colour during their production. You must visit the the Igreja do Carmo during your stay. It may look like one church but they are two separate buildings. Igreja dos Caramelitas was built in the 17th century, while the Igreja do Carmo (on the right) was built in the 18th century. Why were two churches built attached to one another? Legend says that there were two archbishops in the city of Porto who couldn’t stand each other. So, in order to make one another angry they built their churches side by side as a sort of competition. If you want a photo of the azulejos, on the side of the Igreja do Carmo, you will find a large facade that looks stunning in photos.
2. Livraria Lello
This bookshop is one of the oldest in Portugal. Although its interior is unbelievably beautiful, it was JK Rowling that made this bookstore the crowded photo spot that it is today. JK Rowling used to teach English in Porto. When she got the idea to write the Harry Potter books, she used the Livraria Lello as an inspiration for Hogwarts. If you visit the shop, you’ll know why. It gets very full during the day, so try to go in the morning or right before it closes. Entry: 5 euros (you can discount the ticket price off of a book if you choose to buy one).
The Ribeira neighbourhood is one of Porto’s liveliest and coolest places to visit during your stay in the city. The historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the tiny streets are super cute. You can also take a walk near the Douro River which is very vibrant in the evening and full of restaurants and bars.
4. The Half Rabbit by Bordalo II
This spot isn’t technically in Porto’s city centre but across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. The artist created the rabbit using trash he found on the streets of the city. Although it looks like a painted mural from far away, the closer you get you’ll see that it is, in fact, beautifully placed garbage. Bordalo II wanted the rabbit to symbolize the materialism and greed in society, where the production of waste is at its highest.
5. Largo da Pena Ventosa
This little square was probably one of my favourite finds in Porto. At the end of a narrow street you will find Largo da Pena Ventosa where you’ll see pastel coloured homes and outdoor cafes. It gets quite lively in the summer and is a great spot to spend some time after you’ve taken some great photos.