Oh, Porto! Where to begin? You’re everything I ever wanted. Ooops, stop right there, almost everything I ever wanted. Except for the rain and cold weather that you happen to bring every autumn and winter, you’re pretty awesome. Seriously now, Porto is such an amazing city with so much to offer. You are most definitely going to get in love with this place. Continue reading to see my Porto vegan guide of places where to eat and things to see. And just so you know, you don’t need to be vegan to eat in these places. You will not feel that something is missing. Full satisfaction guaranteed.
I visited and stayed in Porto a total of 4 days, as I was volunteering in a small town nearby the city. Unfortunately, the volunteering experience did not finish on a good note. But more about that later. I’m waiting to have more of these “funny”, “bad”, “weird” experiences to put them all together in a post. You’re going to enjoy that one for sure. Meanwhile you can read about my first travel volunteer experience here.
As the world is upside down with the covid hysteria, of course not everything was fully functional in the city, as it was prior to covid. People are afraid to travel, many countries are in lockdown and I could see that Porto was missing something. And it was not just the sun, but people. A lot of restaurants and shops were open, but no people. Kind of sad. But, let’s look at the good side, you have the whole city for yourself. Hostels are not packed which makes it so much more enjoyable.
I had a great stay at Pilot Design Hostel&Bar. The place is really clean and the staff is always making sure that you are comfortable and happy. Also, you have a bar inside if you wanna have a few drinks, a kitchen and individual shower and bathroom if you don’t feel like sharing with others at the same time. The location is just perfect, near the center, just a few minutes walk and you have a vegan doughnut place just across the street.
The city is so charming, so stylish. So many places and angles to take pictures of. There are many types of architectures present in Porto, neoclassical style being the most predominant one. Every building is unique and I love that they are all colorful and illuminated at night. You really have to experience the city during the day and during the night. The vibe is totally different. Have a look at some pictures below.
There are a lot of cultural events, art, theatre that happens in Porto. With covid, not so much of course. So many narrow streets to explore. You can find on these cobblestone streets, small boutiques and traditional Portuguese shops with things that you would not find anywhere else. Also, if you are a vintage lover, this is the place for you. There are streets full with vintage shops waiting for you to explore. Some are cheap, some not so cheap.
With every turn you take, you will be wowed. Definitely 4 days is not enough to see everything but have tried my best to see most of it. I strongly suggest you to see these places if you go to Porto. The list is in no specific order.
1. Luis I Bridge
This iron bridge is spectacular. You really have to walk on it above and below to have different views over the Douro river. There is a viewpoint near the bridge called Serra do Pilar which I didn’t have time to go to, but I went to others. As this river is crossing the city, there are several bridges connecting the city. All looking different, so it’s quite interesting to see them. There is this other bridge, Infante, with a viewpoint near it.
2. Crystal Palace Gardens
As confusing as that might sound, there is no Crystal Palace, not anymore at least. It existed at some point and it was intended to bring the finest European minds to Porto. However, later was used to exhibit what the Portuguese colonies where bringing from overseas. The palace was demolished to build a dome where practically nothing happens now. But what is beautiful here are the gardens, the peacocks, ducks, small chickens running around and the gorgeous view over the Arrabida bridge. Go on a sunny day and watch the sunset from there.
3. Lello Library
I wish I had gone here, but I didn’t. The inside decoration of this bookstore is so incredibly beautiful and detailed that you would go there just for that.
4. Vitoria Viewpoint (Miradouro da Vitoria)
If you are looking for an amazing view over the city go here. When I went there it was full of seagulls, sunny and such a nice spot in the middle of the city. It’s also very easy to find.
5. Stock Exchange Palace (Palacio da Bolsa)
This neoclassical building style is so beautiful. And is more so on the inside. To visit it you have to pay 10 euro. I didn’t go inside, but took a picture at night. Really like how it’s illuminated.
6. Portuguese Centre of Photography
If you are into photography, then you should visit this old prison coverted into photography centre. They have different photo exhibitions every time of contemporary, documentary and historical Portuguese photography. The entrance is free and you have nice views from the top floor.
Porto is so vegan friendly that even restaurants that have never had a vegan menu, now are ready to serve you vegan dishes. Just wandering on the streets with no direction, I encountered lots of vegan options. The places that have personally tried and loved are the following:
Really loved this place. I went there to eat like 4 times. All the food is vegan, and it’s a buffet. Now with covid you don’t get to serve yourself, but they do, and you can eat as many plates as you want for these prices shown below. Drinks and sweets are not included.
- Breakfast (8h30-11h30) – 6.50€. I never got to eat breakfast cause I don’t really eat in the morning and most of the time I’m not even awake at that time. Unless I have things to do, of course.
- Lunch (12h-15h30) Mon-Fri – 8.50€. You have an amazing variety of salads, and cooked foods changing every day. And the great thing is that you can eat all you want. My maximum was 4 plates, 2 soups and a chocolate cake to take away ?
- Dinner (19h-23h) Mon-Fri – 10.90€. The food is really fresh, seasoned just right and you feel great after eating it. At the weekend the price is the same.
2. Nola Kitchen
Another amazing place to eat out if you appreciate healthy food that nourishes your body, mind and soul. They prepare the food exactly as you would make it at home, not a ton of oil, no preservatives, chemicals or hidden stuff.
This restaurant is not a vegan one, but they have some vegan dishes shown below. It’s also beautiful decorated creating a cozy like atmosphere.
Another cozy place where you can also go to yoga classes. They have some interesting books for sale inside too. The food is really yummy, they have vegetarian food too and vegan. I really like places that are flexible like that and can accommodate everyone.
Casa Da Horta is a cultural and environmental association, based on local action with a horizontal decision making structure. It aims to search and create alternative ways of living questioning the existing layers of culture, habits, lifestyles and the political state.
Sharing ideas, critical thinking, mutual aid, ethical consuming, consumption of seasonal/local food, broadening the perspective of animal and human rights, investigating alternative horizontal usage of the communities/urban spaces, creating artifacts by reusing leftovers, repairing and exchanging, cooperation instead of competition are just some core issues of Casa Da Horta. (Text taken from Casa Da Horta website).
They prepare vegan/vegetarian food from seasonal produce and they have a menu for just 10 euro. It’s a great place to meet like minded people, travelers, get inspiration and learn something new.
I hope you enjoyed this Porto vegan guide tour and the places that you can explore. I will definitely go back to this city again. It is officially my favorite.
I leave you with some more picture of the city.