My personal Porto photo journey and few tips how to find the best photo opportunities in Porto – the photographer’s paradise.
Just a couple of hours after I arrived in Porto and ventured into its streets, I realised that Porto is indeed a photographers paradise.
Not only the incredible architecture, the colours, the riverbank and its breathtaking sunsets or old streets nooks and crannies but also the incredible, magical mood that this city emanates gives tons of fantastic photo opportunities.
Porto is indeed a photographer’s paradise. Here is my Porto photo journey.
A word of advice – when in Porto, always have your camera with you and ready. There wasn’t a day that I ventured into its streets, and I didn’t find fantastic photo opportunities. Not only that. ..
Very quickly, it stopped being a Porto photo opportunity search. I naturally wanted to capture the feel of the city. I became so mesmerised by its atmosphere, the deep colours and this unexplained magical feel that I couldn’t stop snapping photos hoping that at least one will capture the essence of Porto.
I didn’t go everywhere, nor did I find all the best Porto photo spots. But what I found put Porto in a very special place in my heart.
Once you are in Porto, don’t worry about ticking all the locations off your list. You will come across them naturally. And then some.
Get off at the Sao Bento Metro station and take your way down towards the Ribeira district and riverbank. But take your time. Take Rua des Flores and then head towards Igreja de Santa Clara. Follow the small cobbled winding streets towards Ribeira. You will not be disappointed.
Those streets are full of surprises. Winding stairs and cobbled paths, small quirky restaurants at each corner, colourful facades and somehow, melancholic architecture – this, for me, is the best part of the city.
Eventually, you will find yourself at the bank of Douro River. Unquestionably the best Porto photo spot.
The vast body of the Douro river, dotted with colourful boats and cruise yachts, is surrounded from both sides by colourful houses and historical buildings spreading to the top of the valley. Magnificently hanging over the whole river gorge is the Ponte Luís I Bridge – the landmark of Porto riverside and the city.
Both sides of the river are great for photography but make sure you climb up to the upper level of the bridge as this will give you the best Porto photo spot.
At the riverbank, you will find numerous bars and restaurants with buskers entertaining diners and passers-by. And if you will have only one chance to be there – make sure it’s just before the sunset. I am a massive fan of the coastal sunsets. But after I experience the Porto Ribeira sunset, I had to pick my jaw right from the pavement.
But there is much more to Porto than just Ribeira and Douro river.
Spend an afternoon wandering around other Porto districts like Baixa/Se, Bolhao (my favourite after Ribeira) or Fontainhas, where you will find a lot of hipsters sitting by the river. Let yourself be surprised by the city. No matter where you will end up – it will be an incredible Porto photo journey.
You will find landmark monuments and cathedrals, grand plazas like The Praça da Liberdade, cute bookstores, and less touristy parts of the city – nevertheless equally interesting.
If you have a spare day, make your way to Matosinhos and take a walk towards Foz do Douro and all the way to the Douro Lighthouse.
Matosinhos is located few kilometres from the Porto downtown area so you will have to take the Metro or a taxi. The trip is definitely worth it. Before embarking on your Metro trip – check this website for some explanation.
Matosinhos has one of the best Porto beaches where you can also spend a day. From there, you can follow a beach promenade which then turns into a wooden pathway towards Foz. Stop for a glass of wine at one of many bars and restaurants, but make sure you make it to the lighthouse on time for the sunset.
Although I like spending more time in one place, I have only stayed in Porto for a week. I was gutted, knowing the city is an endless well full of magnificent and exciting photo spots. I guess I will have to return for more 🙂
I will return for more. Once you visited Porto, it will stay in your heart for ever, and you will have this never-ending longing for return.
If you like this photo journey, be sure to check my Madeira photo journey.
My Photo Gear Info: As an experiment, during my whole stay in Porto, I shoot in JPEG format only. I usually shoot in raw, which gives me complete creative freedom also in the post-production. Yet, I wanted to conduct this experiment given I have heard so much praise about JPEG’s coming straight from my Fujifilm X-T30, so I took a risk. As a result, the photos in this post are much less edited. But some edits were applied. I am happy with the overall effect. The camera I travel with is a fantastic piece of gear, and a kit lens attached to it is of such exceptional quality that many photographers say it’s an insult to call it a kit lens. Due to its size and weight, the fact that I can put it in my bumbag and the quality of the photos – it is an excellent travellers camera. I highly recommend it for full-time travellers like me 🙂
Portugal Know before You Go – Important Information and Travel Tips
- Currency – Euro
- Language – Portuguese but English is widely spoken (don’t take it for granted though, it’s always good to learn few basic terms)
- Power plugs and sockets – Type F (European). The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
- Driving – on the right-hand side.
- Climate and Weather – Portugal enjoys a warm climate with wet winters, dry and sunny summers, and the highest temperatures averaging above 25C. There are, however, distinct differences when it comes to climate within the length of the country. Porto has a mild, oceanic climate and is colder than Lisbon and the Algarve. The average temperature in winter is about 14ºC, and in summer around 25ºC. But still, in the summer, it can quite easily reach above 30ºC and drop to between 5 and 0ºC in winter.
- Most popular supermarkets – Continente Bom Dia, Pingo Doce, Minipreco and Spar.
- Remember about the Travel Insurance. I recommend SafetyWing especially for those nomads and long term travellers among us. No need to specify the destination nor the duration of travel. And you can cancel at any time.
- For accommodation search, I recommend Bookings.com and Hostel World. Although a dorm room is not always the option especially these days, however, I still prefer to stay in a hostel as I get to meet and befriend other travellers. Most of the time I book a small private room in a hostel. This is my preferred form of accommodation. But on both websites, you will be able to find anything from a dorm room bed to a self-catering apartment for the best prices.
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