Top unusual things to do in Porto

Local culture

October 23, 2018
rita real blog portoalities

Written by Rita Real

Written by Rita Real

rita real blog portoalities

I organize private tours in Porto

private tours porto

Check this page for more information or send an email to sara@portoalities.com.

If you’re visiting Porto, we hope you’re ready to embark on a journey to discover important historical landmarks, the best restaurants and top places to shop.

But have you thought about the most unusual things to do in Porto? Well, if you like to do things most people don’t think about when visiting Porto, you came to the right place.

Before reading this article: have you already decided where to stay? If not, read my article about the Best neighborhoods to stay in Porto! There I give you plenty of recommendations of great hotels and apartments in Porto.

Here are the top unusual things to do in Porto:

Watch a Fado show

fado show port wine cellar porto
It might seem strange that I included a Fado show on this list of the unusual things to do in Porto. But in fact, Fado is not original from Porto but from Lisbon and Coimbra, so it is not common at all that people watch Fado shows in our city.

Usually the Fado shows run during dinner, and I’ve already written about the best Fado houses in Porto. As it usually includes dinner it ends up being an expensive activity (about 30/40 € per person). However, if you are only interested in listening to Fado, I recommend that you to buy the online ticket for the Fado show at Casa da Guitarra, which is very economical – only 14€/person.

An even nicer way to do it is to get an online ticket for a Fado show taking place at a Port wine cellar, which is only slightly more expensive than the previous one.

Watch a film at an independent movie theater

Rua do Almada, 412
best movie theater porto

© JPN

Cinema Trindade is our favorite place to go to for independent films. It has a great selection of movies, affordable prices and comfortable seats. There is no popcorn (yes, we are the kind of people who hate loud chewing), and no advertisements before screenings.

The movies are in their original language with Portuguese subtitles. Therefore, you can catch many English movies in this theater, as well as a lot of European and Latin American ones. Check out the list of all independent movies screening in Porto here.

Local tip: If you’re watching more films, get the “Tripass Card”. It costs €10 giving you a free first ticket and 25% discount on all your future purchases. You can get the card (which is valid for a year) at Cinema Trindade and use it for Rivoli, Campo Alegre and Passos Manuel theaters.

Prices (2018)

Normal ticket€6 (per person)
Tripass Card holders€4.25 (per person)

How to get there: Trindade subway station is a 4min walking distance.

Eat lunch in a cat café

Avenida de Rodrigues de Freitas, 93-95

If you’re a cat lover like us, don’t miss out on participating in one of our favorite unusual things to do in Porto. And that is visiting the Porto cat café, Porto dos Gatos, one of the few of its kind in Europe.

The interior is calm with a dominating cat theme as one would expect.

Their food is 100% vegan, but you don’t have to be vegan/vegetarian to enjoy their tasty meals. Our recommendations are the lasagna, the vegan hot dogs, the soups and the tofu-bean salad. Also, they excel in making desserts like cakes and brownies.

The cats have their own separate room which you’re not allowed to bring food in. However, some of the cats like to roam in the outdoor area where you can sit down and eat. In O Porto dos Gatos, all the cats are up for adoption.

How to get there: 24 de Agosto subway station is a 4min walking distance.

Join a private tour in Porto

portoalities best private tours porto
There are many ways to discover Porto, but one of the most unusual ones is to do a private tour. The main advantage of a private tour is clear: you will be accompanied by a professional guide – myself or one of the talented people who work with me – who will explain not only the history of Porto but also lots of fun stories about the local culture.

There are many tours in the city but our tours are exclusively private, which means that we can tailor make an itinerary that really meets your expectations and pace. You can read what other travellers wrote about us on TripAdvisor and then send me an email to sara@portoalities.com telling me when are you traveling to Porto and how many people are traveling with you. It will be a pleasure to welcome you in Porto! 🙂

Take an art class

Rua da Bainharia, 119
different art activities porto

© Lago Artes Facebook

In the historic center, you have the opportunity to take part in one of the unusual things to do in Porto: taking an art class!

In Lago Artes studio Hugo, a local artisan, will then teach you how to paint with watercolors. He will also talk about materials, brushes, paper and techniques. Then everyone starts to paint their own work while he gives support as you go along. No previous experience required.

The easiest and most affordable way to attend the class is to make a reservation with Hugo directly by phone/text message on +351 915 682 581. The class costs 47, but slots are subject to availability. It starts at 3pm and it lasts for about 1-2 hours.

How to get there: São Bento subway station is a 4min walking distance.

Visit the Tram Museum

Alameda de Basílio Teles, 51
tram museum porto

© Wiki Commons

One of the most unusual things to do in Porto is to go visit the Tram Museum. Few people realize what this place has to offer.

In Porto Tram Museum, you’ll indeed take a trip back in time. First, you will get to see old tram vehicles and how they progressed over the years. At the same time, you’ll get to know the history of each train and why they have different nicknames. There are also other vehicles besides trams like buses and, coal and fish transporters.

But the best part is that you get to enter in each train and even sit down to imagine what it felt like years ago. Kids will love this place since it’s one of the best museums in Porto for families.

There are many other museums you can visit in Porto such as Serralves Contemporary Art Museum – you can get the online ticket to Serralves museum and enjoy a nice and invigorating walk in its vast gardens – World of Discoveries Interactive Museum – you can buy an online ticket to the World of Discoveries here – and MMIPO – don’t forget to buy your ticket online for MMIPO.

Check them all out in our article about the best museums in Porto.

Prices (2018)

Normal ticket8€ (per person)
People 6-25 years old and above 65 years old€4 (per person)
Children 6 years old or youngerFree
Family ticketAdults: €5 (per person)

Children 6-25 years old: €4 (per person)

How to get there: take the tram Line 1 until Museu C. Eléctrico. The Museum is a 1min walking distance.

Attend a cooking class

Rua Bento Carqueja
cooking class local chef porto

© With Locals

If you’ve tried some Portuguese delicacies, here is your chance to learn how to make them! The Portuguese ​Gastronomy Workshop is one of the most unusual things to do in Porto. Chief Nuno will invite you to his home and will make dinner with you.

You’ll make carne de porco à Alentejana (pork and clams), bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (codfish casserole), bacalhau à brás (shredded codfish with eggs and potatoes), francesinha (famous Porto sandwich), among other famous Portuguese traditional dishes.

This is a 3-hours-long workshop and it costs €45 per person which includes Port wine, appetizers, dessert and coffee or tea.You can get information about this cooking class here.

How to get there: from Marquês subway station, take bus 805 (via Pedrouços) and stop at S. Crispim. Bento Carqueja street is a 3min walking distance.

Discover the best street art in Porto

Multiple locations
best street art porto

© Mrdheo.com

In Porto, you’ll encounter some of the most stunning street murals in Europe. What’s so unique about street art in the city is the fact that it’s celebrated and encouraged. The current mayor gives incentives to artists to display their art on the city walls, a great initiative to promote an art that was once censored.

There’s street art everywhere you look in Porto like in Rua das Flores and Rua da Restauração. The local government agreed to allow artists to paint electrical boxes there.

This might be one of the most unusual things to do in Porto, but it’ll give you a new perspective of this intriguing city. If you don’t know where to start, join us on a private tour. We’ll be happy to introduce you to the most amazing street art in Porto. And we can also dive into the history of this magnificent form of art.

Embark on a private sailing trip

Vila Nova de Gaia Dock
private boat porto

© Flyfip – Rodani Website

One of the most romantic and yet unusual things to do in Porto is to take a private sailing trip. This way, you won’t have to deal with long lines or standing in a crowded boat with random people.

The trip usually lasts 2 to 3 hours and you’ll have the boat all to yourself (besides the sailor). On board, you will also enjoy some Port wine, champagne and petiscos (snacks).

To book a trip, email our sailor Tomás, on tomassilva@flyfishinginportugal.com. Use the code PORTOALITIES5 to get 5% off on any experience provided by him.

Prices (2018)

From Ribeira until Foz (2 hours)€98 (for 2 people)

€180 (for 4 people)

€258 (for 6 people)

From Dom Luís I Bridge until Matosinhos (3 hours)€158 (for 2 people)

€267 (for 4 people)

€382 (for 6 people)

How to get there: To get to Vila Nova de Gaia docks, take the subway until Jardim do Morro. The docks are a 10min walking distance.

Climb the Arrábida bridge

Rua do Ouro, 680
climbing bridges porto

© Wiki Commons

Climbing the arch of the Arrábida Bridge is one of the most unusual things to do in Porto. It is great for those who are looking for outdoor activities.

The climb takes around 30 minutes of easy climbing. At the top, you will have a Port wine served in chocolate cups while you enjoy the amazing view of the Douro river.

You can get information about tickets to climb the Arrábida bridge here. It costs €16.5 per person, but if you’re coming with a group greater than 5 people, it’ll cost €15 per person.

How to get there: take tram Line 1 and get off at your destination by stopping at Ponte Arrábida.

Join a Pub Crawl

Multiple locations

If you’re not familiar with a pub crawl, it’s when you go to multiple bars in one night. Here in Porto, there are many cool places to do that. Travessa de Cedofeita is great to have drinks, listen to music and chat with people.

This activity costs €10 and with that amount, you’ll visit 3 bars, get 5 drinks and have a 3.5 hours worth of fun. You can get the online tickets here.

Walk down the Codeçal stairs

Travessa de Santa Clara, 193

climb codecal stairs porto

© Malcolm Payne

Climbing Escadas do Codeçal (which translates to the Codeçal stairs) is one of the most unusual things to do in Porto. When done, it offers a different viewpoint of the city.

The stairs are 270 meters long (885.827 feet), but the exact date of their existence is unknown. During medieval times, they connected Santa Clara convent to the Fernandina Wall gate.

Going down, enjoy the remarkable street art, interesting architecture and the amazing view.

How to get there: São Bento subway station is a 4min walking distance.

Learn to paint azulejo tiles

Rua Comandante Rodolfo de Araújo, 162 – 2º
azulejo tile painting workshop porto

© Visão

One of the most unusual things to do in Porto is to paint azulejo tiles. In the workshop of cultural producer Marisa Ferreira and designer Alba Plaza, you will learn a brief history of tiles in Portugal. Then, you’ll discover the painting techniques of this ancient art. The class is 2 hours long, and it costs 25€ including tools, materials and the cooking of 1 tile (if you want to paint more, it’ll cost 5€ per tile).

How to get there: 24 de Agosto subway station is a 5min walking distance.

Go thrifting around town

Multiple locations

If you love finding unique or second-hand items, you should visit one of the best markets in Porto.

Street markets have been around for ages. They are part of Porto’s identify, one we’re trying to keep alive today—after all, it was the city of merchants. Attending one of those markets is one of the most unusual things to do in Porto. But if you prefer hunting for stuff in shops, we recommend you visit the best antique stores in the city.

Extra: Go on a private tour in Porto

private tour porto

The best way to get to know Porto is to go on a private tour with me!

Check this page to learn more about my tours in Porto, or simply send an email to sara@portoalities.com. I will shortly get back to you with a tailor made tour designed specifically for you.

It will be a pleasure to welcome you in Porto!


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2019-08-29T15:55:52+00:00October 23rd, 2018|Local culture|0 Comments
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