Porto for Design lovers

Porto has always shown its creativity, may it be through its historic architecture or its typical food dishes.In the past…

Sara Riobom
12 de March de 2024

Porto has always shown its creativity, may it be through its historic architecture or its typical food dishes.
In the past few years, Porto has seen decaying buildings being renovated into thematic hotels and / or restaurants. An increasing number of art galleries are currently exhibiting the latest trends in contemporary art.

Thus, today I bring you a guide to Porto for design lovers, that includes the best art galleries in Porto, the most artsy hotels and some amazing stores to buy contemporary handcraft souvenirs.

No time to read the full article? Here’s a summary

armazem luxury housing porto detail furniture design

Porto for Design Lovers: What to Visit

Serralves Contemporary Art Museum

Rua Dom João de Castro, 210 | Porto
serralves contemporary art museum
© Trevor Patt

No guide of Porto for design lovers would be complete without mentioning the Serralves contemporary art museum. Projected by Álvaro Siza Vieira and inaugurated in 1999, Serralves Museum is considered one of the most important museums of contemporary art in Portugal. There you will find several collections of contemporary art as well as music and dance performances. Moreover, it has a fantastic garden, at the entrance of which there is a small shop with fantastic work from Portuguese designers.
Serralves is divided into several areas: the museum of contemporary art, Serralves Park, Treetop Walk, Serralves Villa and the House of Cinema Manoel de Oliveira. If you’d like to visit all of these areas, the ticket costs 22€.
How to get there: Take the subway to Casa da Música and then take a bus (201, 203, 503, 502, 504).

Miguel Bombarda’s Art Galleries

Rua de Miguel Bombarda | Porto
woman visiting art galleries miguel bombarda porto
© Agora Porto

A guide of Porto for design lovers must start in Rua Miguel Bombarda, also known as the art block since it lodges some of the most interesting art galleries in the city.
There are many art galleries in this street of Porto for design lovers, which are walking distance from one another. I recommend you to take your time to stroll down this block and to enjoy all it has to offer. After all, each of the galleries has its peculiarities.
For example, Cruzes Canhoto gallery is one of a kind in the Iberian Peninsula, producing art brut as well as primitive folk art – from devilish sculptures to tribal masks, Cruzes Canhoto is a whole new world of marginal art. 
Miguel Bombarda organizes simultaneous openings event (six times a year) during which new art exhibitions are inaugurated. During these events, you may find tons of entertainment, such as dancing performances and workshops taking place on the streets. It is really cool (and free).
How to get there: the closest subway stations are Aliados and Carolina Michaelis. You may also take a bus (12M, 13M, 200, 201, 207, 208, 303, 501) and drop at the stop Palácio de Cristal. Art Parking is the closest parking facility.

Mural by Joana Vasconcelos

Largo Moinho de Vento | Porto
mural joana vasconcelos azulejos tiles porto
© Me and My Little Self

Any guide of Porto to design lovers has to mention this vibrant mural.
I must say that for over a year I walked by this mural and did not realize it was created by Joana Vasconcelos, one of the most recognized visual artists from Portugal. Moreover, she was the first woman and the youngest visual artist ever to exhibit her work at Palace of Versailles!
The multi-colored mural she created is part of the building façade of Steak’n Shake (an American food restaurant famous for its steakburguers) and was inaugurated in 2017. With twenty meters of length and eight thousand painted tiles, this mural is the largest public work of Joana Vasconcelos.
How to get there: the nearest subway stations are São Bento and Trindade. The mural is a 15 minutes walk from these.

Casa da Música

Avenida da Boavista, 604-610 | Porto

casa musica porto
Casa da Música is a must-see in Porto for design lovers.
This concert hall was projected by Rem Koolhaas, a Dutch architect, and was inaugurated in 2005. Casa da Música, due to its peculiar geometric form, looks very similar to a raindrop falling into the ocean.
The tours inside the building take place at 11h and 16h and are really worth it. Otherwise, just check the schedule of Casa da Música, pick a concert and have fun!
How to get there: the subway station Casa da Música is a 5 minutes walk from the building.  

Anémona

Praça da Cidade do Salvador | Matosinhos
she changes sculpture porto for design lovers
© Joana Ferreira.

“She Changes” was designed by Janet Echelman and is an homage to the fishing community in Matosinhos.
With 50 meters in height and 42 meters in diameter, this structure was dubbed “Anémona” (anemone). Why? When the wind blows, the nets move, imitating the movement of anemones.
This structure is located eight kilometers from Porto. Nevertheless, it is essential to mention it in any guide of Porto for design lovers, as it has become an emblematic symbol of the region.
How to get there: take the bus 500 in front of the Stock Exchange Palace. Without traffic, the bus will take 30 minutes to arrive at your destination. 

Do an Azulejos tile painting workshop with a glass of Port wine

azulejos tile painting workshop porto
tourists painting tiles porto

If you are an art lover and would like to do a fun activity in Porto, why not do a tile painting workshop? 🙂 Imagine a pristine white tile—an uncharted territory. But wait! Behold a collection of pre-designed replicas of traditional Porto tiles. Each whispers stories of history, culture, and craftsmanship. Will you choose one or make your own design from scratch?

As your brush dances, so do the conversations. Fellow participants become companions on this creative journey. Sip on a glass of port (because, Porto!) and let inspiration flow. The room hums with laughter, ideas, and shared passion.

Once your masterpiece is complete, venture out. Explore the local streets; return after 2 hours, and there it is: your tile, transformed, waiting to adorn your home 🙂

Best stores in Porto for Design Lovers

Ó! Galeria

Rua de Miguel Bombarda, 61 | Porto

o galeria illustration gallery porto
Ó! Galeria is THE place in Porto for design lovers, particularly those that fancy illustration. It exhibits the illustrations of national and international illustrators, such as the amazing Marina Miserável, so it is a great place to buy easy to carry souvenirs and support local artists.
How to get there: Ó! Galeria is a 15 minutes walk from the subway station Lapa.

Collectiva

Centro Comercial Miguel Bombarda | Porto

collectiva urban design jewelry store porto
You may not enjoy jewellery that much (I personally don’t) but it is impossible to resist Collectiva. This store is a platform for the promotion of contemporary jewellery, exposing and disseminating the work of national and international authors. Besides, it was created by eight FEMALE jewellers & designers and we are so proud of them. Do yourself a favor and get some Portuguese handmade contemporary jewellery, it is not that expensive.
How to get there: Collectiva is a 15 minutes walk from the subway station Lapa.

CRU Cowork

Rua do Rosário, 211 | Porto
contemporary piece art cru cowork porto
© Cru Cowork.

CRU Cowork opened in 2012. Not only does it have a store that sells design products of national artists, but also a coworking space, where you will find some designers working on their new projects. Moreover, you will also find art and design exhibitions and workshops in this space.
If you are a design lover and would like to buy contemporary souvenirs in Porto this is definitely the store for you. CRU Cowork sells a wide range of products (jewelry, houseware, illustrations, stationary) fashioned after the latest trends in the design industry.
How to get there: CRU Cowork is near Rua Miguel Bombarda and just a 10 minutes walk from the subway station Aliados.

Coração Alecrim

coracao alecrim concept store porto
coracao alecrim

I adore the unique blend of vintage and local products at Coração Alecrim. It’s not your run-of-the-mill store; it’s a curated haven. Picture a cozy space where silk and linen scrunchies coexist with handcrafted leather belts from local designers. The result? A delightful mishmash of style and substance.

Coração Alecrim nestles on Travessa de Cedofeita, a most charming cobblestone street. The store’s unassuming façade belies the treasures within. It’s Porto’s little secret—a place where locals and curious wanderers find their next favorite piece. Moreover, there is a fantastic café on the back, called Musubu.

So, fellow design enthusiasts, if you seek authenticity, friendly vibes, and a touch of Porto’s soul, Coração Alecrim awaits. 

Best Hotels in Porto for Design Lovers

You will find several articles about the best places to stay in Porto on the blog. However, here are some perfect hotels in Porto for design lovers.

Casa do Conto

casa conto hotel porto for design lovers
The development of Casa do Conto, one of the best boutique hotels in Porto, began in 2008. However, a year later a fire forced the restoration of this bourgeoisie house of the 19th century to begin anew.
Casa do Conto was designed by Atelier Pedra Líquida – an awarded architecture atelier known for restoring old buildings. Creativity can be found everywhere in the Casa do Conto, as if it was specifically built for design lovers in Porto, as every bedroom tells a story with words engraved on the ceilings.

I also love the location of Casa do Conto – right in the romantic (and quiet) neighborhood of Cedofeita, around 10/15 minutes walking distance from the main city attractions.

Armazém Luxury Housing – Architectural & Design Hotel

armazem luxury housing porto detail furniture design
My choice of a photo for this particular hotel in Porto for design lovers might seem a bit odd, but it is entirely intentional as it shows the level of cleverness in the utilisation of space and materials of Armazém Luxury Housing- Architectural & Design Hotel.
This hotel has both private bedrooms and apartments at your disposal, and they provide unique experiences to their guests such as golf, yoga sessions and massages.

Moreover, the Armazém Luxury Housing- Architectural & Design Hotel is located in Largo de São Domingos, a vibrant square full of hotels, restaurants and street musicians.

Hotel Tipografia do Conto

design hotel tipografia conto porto

Hotel Tipografia do Conto is a boutique hotel in Porto designed by the exact same architecture office of Casa do Conto, and you can tell that as soon as you step on the door as it has a pretty unique blend of modern aesthetics and traditional elements. Its location, just a stone’s throw from the city center, makes exploring Porto a breeze.

But what truly sets Hotel Tipografia do Conto apart is its bar. With its fabulous, funky, and quirky atmosphere, it is the perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

Cocorico Luxury Guest House

standalone bathtube cocorico luxury guest house porto
I vividly remember the first time I entered Cocorico Luxury Guest House, one of the best luxury hotels in Porto. The way it combines vintage furniture with Portuguese azulejos tiles on sections of the floor, and the way it cleverly uses glass walls to separate different section within the same bedroom, made quite an impression on me.
It is certainly not cheap but it is a great hotel to stay in Porto for design lovers. Moreover, it is strategically located at the start of the Bonfim neighborhood, with plenty of restaurants nearby, as well as a subway station and the cathedral of Porto.

S. Bento Residences

sbento residences porto

The S. Bento Residences is a remarkable blend of history and modernity. Its origin lies in an old ruin, situated within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an extension of the cliff itself, the building stands as a testament to architectural transformation. While the exterior appears unassuming, the interior reveals a different story. The S.Bento Residences houses comfortable self-catered apartments that are to die for.

Moreover, the S. Bento Residences‘ location, right next to São Bento train station, allows for stunning views. Whether it’s the iconic São Bento Railway Station or the winding streets of Porto, the vistas are captivating.

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