Photos by Ana Roque
Known for its beaches, port wine, and diversity of architectural styles — from art nouveau to art deco and gothic — Porto is humming with creativity. In search of under-the-radar spots to explore, we looked to photographer and creative director Ana Roque. Born in Rio de Janeiro to a Portuguese mother, Ana has lived in Porto for three years and continues to be charmed by the city. “From creative independent designers to excellent art galleries, the Porto design scene is blooming,” she says.“I can honestly say that moving here was the best choice I’ve made.”
What I like most is the mystery of the city, which surprises you with every step. Porto is small, but it constantly arouses curiosity. I find inspiration walking through the streets: seeing the curves of the cast iron spirals, the facades of Art Deco grocery stores, the historical tiles, and the flocks of seagulls squawking. There's nothing like discovering a city with your own eyes, and stumbling across a perfect little place that you didn't know before.
Museums, Galleries, and Architecture
Piscina das Marés: Álvaro Siza-designed works are all around the world, but his best known ones and my favorites — like these beautiful seaside pools — are in and around Porto.
Boa Nova Tea House: Another Siza work, built in conjunction with the nature around it.
Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art: Visiting the city of Porto and not stopping here would be an utter waste — even if you don’t like art! The Siza-designed museum is itself a work of art with an unmistakable art deco exterior. Surrounded by manicured gardens, it allows for a peaceful escape from the busy cobblestone streets.
Rua de Miguel Bombarda: Design lovers should head straight to this area, which is known as Porto’s arts district. You’ll find design and antique shops, artisans’ studios, independent fashion, and art galleries.
Mira Forum: Located in an area that’s on the rise, this restored warehouse and gallery showcases work from emerging Portuguese artists, and hosts film festivals and photography nights.Galeria Fernando Santos: A gallery that has served as a gateway between up-and-coming Portuguese artists and art collectors since 1993.
Praia dos Ingleses: A sand beach that’s one of many you can find on Avenida do Brasil.
Praia das Pastoras: A rocky shore on the point where the waters of the Atlantic Ocean mix with the Douro River, the beach is next to the lighthouse in Felgueiras and great for sunbathing.Porto a Pergola Da Foz: One of my favorite places in Porto is this shaded walkway along the Atlantic Ocean and the Avenida do Brasil. Designed by António Enes Baganha in the 1930s, it makes me feel like I’m in a Jean-Luc Godard film.
Cafes and Restaurants
Café Candelabro: A charming multidisciplinary space in an old bookshop from the 1950s, this place is ideal for taking your computer to work, or meeting friends for wine. Next door they have a wine cellar with a great curation.
Out to Lunch: Amazing Japanese take-away that often collaborates with Época Porto for breakfast. Follow their Instagram for the weekly menu. They also have an amazing concept store.
Combi Coffee: One of the best specialty coffees in Porto!
Café Vitória: A relaxed atmosphere for taking your computer to work, having meetings, or meeting up with friends for an evening drink.
Photo Supply and Labs
Maquinas de Outros Tempos: In addition to attention from the excellent staff who work there, you’ll find a wide variety of analog cameras, films and photographic materials, as well as a great place to develop 35mm and medium format films.
Cameras and Company: Another good option for buying photo materials and 120mm and 35mm film, with excellent guidance from Raul and Leonor.
Sitio do Cano Amarelo: In addition to the good selection of analog photographic equipment, Nuno will no doubt help you choose a good camera.
Saturday morning flea markets: Throughout the city; you can always find treasures.
Matéria Prima: A fine selection of music, art, and design-forward books and magazines.
Térmita: A bookstore that is part of the cafe candelabro, with a special curatorship and independent books, cinema, photography and art.
Patch: A great concept store that invites exploration. You'll find small sculptures, ceramics, kitchen utensils, plants in the garden and separate rooms for curated vintage fashion.
O Sótão da Tia Becas: An incredible family-owned store featuring vintage and antique pieces like watches, globes, cameras, and other curiosities.
Agrafo Studio: A beautiful store in the Quarteirão das Artes, where ceramics, flowers and specialty coffee coexist.
Otilia Flowers: The green facade of this flower shop is imposing, but the interior is rustic and bright, with a changing display of vases, ceramics, and floral motifs. There’s a strong attachment to what is seasonal for fresh flowers and dried arrangements.
A Vida Portuguesa: This shop sells traditional Portuguese products — everything from pretty soaps to hand-painted dishes.Rua do Almada: An entire road worth exploring; grocery stores, such as Mercearia das Flores (the place to stock up on olive oil, sardines in retro packaging), Queijaria do almada (a beautiful cheese shop), and the former Trinity Cinema with the best curation of independent films.