Oh, Porto! Where to begin? You’re everything I ever wanted. Oops, stop right there, almost everything I ever wanted. Except for the rain and cold weather, you bring every autumn and winter, you’re pretty awesome. Porto is such a fantastic city with so much to offer. You are most definitely going to fall in love with this place. Please 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. Satisfaction guaranteed.
I visited and stayed in Porto for four days, as I was volunteering in a small town nearby the city. Unfortunately, the volunteering experience did not finish on a good note. Long story short, I was kicked out over an argument. Anyhow, I saw this as an opportunity to explore Porto. You can read about my first travel volunteer experience living in a yurt in the South of Portugal.
As I was traveling during Covid hysteria times, when the world was upside down, not everything was fully functional in the city, as it was before Covid. People were afraid to travel, many countries were in lockdown, and I could see Porto was missing something. And it was not just the sun, but people. A lot of restaurants and shops were open, but no people. 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 spotless, and the staff always makes you feel comfortable and happy. Also, you have a bar inside if you want to have a few drinks, a kitchen, and an 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 charming and stylish—so many places and angles to take pictures from. Many types of architecture are present in Porto, the neoclassical style being the most predominant. Every building is unique, and I love that they are all colorful and illuminated at night. You have to experience the city during the day and the night. The vibe is different. Have a look at some pictures below.
There are a lot of cultural events, art, and theatre that happen in Porto. With covid, not so much, of course. So many narrow streets to explore. You can find small boutiques and traditional Portuguese shops on these cobblestone streets with things you would not find anywhere else. Also, if you are a vintage lover, this is the place for you. There are streets full of vintage shops waiting for you to explore. Some are cheap, some not so cheap.
With every turn you take, you will be wowed. Four days is not enough to see everything, but I have tried my best to see most of it. I strongly suggest you see these places if you go to Porto. The list is in no specific order.
1. Luis I Bridge
This iron bridge is spectacular. It would be best 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 crosses the city, there are several bridges connecting the city. They all look different, so it’s pretty 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 was intended to bring the finest European minds to Porto. However, later was used to exhibit what the Portuguese colonies brought 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. I heard that the inside decoration of this bookstore is so fantastic and detailed that you would go there just for that.
4. Vitoria Viewpoint (Miradouro da Vitoria)
If you want a fantastic 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 straightforward 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. I like how it’s illuminated.
6. Portuguese Centre of Photography
If you are into photography, you should visit this old prison covered in a photography center. They have different photo exhibitions every time of contemporary, documentary, and Portuguese historical photography. The entrance is free, with lovely views from the top floor.
Porto is so vegan-friendly that even restaurants that have never had a vegan menu before are ready to serve you vegan dishes. I encountered many vegan options by just wandering the streets. The places that I have personally tried and loved are the following:
I loved this place. I went there to eat four 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 the prices shown below. Drinks and sweets are not included.
- Breakfast (8h30-11h30) – 6.50€. I never got to eat breakfast cause I don’t eat in the morning, and most of the time, I’m not even awake unless I have things to do.
- Lunch (12h-15h30) Mon-Fri – 8.50€. You have a fantastic variety of salads and cooked foods changing every day. And the great thing is that you can eat all you want. My maximum was four plates, two soups, and a chocolate cake to take away.
- Dinner (19h-23h) Mon-Fri – 10.90€. The food is fresh, seasoned just right, and you feel great after eating it. During the weekend the price is the same. With the inflation, the prices must have changed slightly since November 2020.
2. Nola Kitchen
Another fantastic place to eat out is 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 vegan, but some vegan dishes are shown below. It’s also beautifully decorated, creating a cozy-like atmosphere.
Another cozy place where you can also go to yoga classes. They have some exciting books for sale inside too. The food is yummy, and they have vegetarian food too and vegan. I 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 for 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 have a menu of just 10 euro. It’s a great place to meet like-minded people and travelers, get inspiration, and learn something new.
I hope you enjoyed this Porto vegan guide tour and the places you can explore. I will go back to this city again. It is officially my favorite.
I leave you with some more pictures of the city.