Porto's art district: a bustling must-see neighbourhood
Bombarda, named after the legendary political figure in Portuguese history, is Porto's art district. It offers a first-rate setting for all aesthetes and news trends enthusiasts. While the atmosphere is decidedly bourgeois, there is also an easy going feel to the neighbourhood. Working class Porto has escaped gentrification and holds onto a certain rebellious edge. Around Rua Miguel Bombarda, you can wander through an area that has become a playground for street artists. Vintage shops, innovative galleries and fashion designers all rub elbows here.
One Saturday every other month, a festive atmosphere takes over the neighbourhood. Dandies, hipsters and young people in the know meander through the contemporary art spaces to discover up-and-coming artists. Serpente and Trindade are two of the city's most dynamic galleries. Between 4pm and 5pm, they hold inaugurations open to all. It is the perfect place to cultivate your taste for beautiful things, do some shopping and have a drink with the Portistas (Porto football club fans) while listening to live world music.
Rua Miguel Bombarda 558
+351 226 099 440
Rua Miguel Bombarda, 141
+351 969 092 109
From gaol to photography centre
Photography lovers should head to the Portuguese Centre of Photography. After closing following the Carnation Revolution, this former prison has been turned into a remarkable public contemporary photography museum. There is a carefully curated – but not pretentious – selection of international artists whose images provide a counterpoint to the monastery-like severity of the vaulted stone halls. Do not miss the permanent collection from António Pedro Vicente, a renowned Portuguese historian who collected hundreds of cameras. Ancient models, such as daguerreotypes and bellows, are displayed alongside some more unexpected inventions. Get a closer look at devices made to look like cigarette packets used by Cold War spies or cult classics by Kodak and Leica.
Centro Português de Fotografia
Antiga Cadeia e Tribunal da Relação do Porto
Largo Amor de Perdição
+351 220 046 300
Porto's kingdom of contemporary art
Get ready for a radical change of scenery in the trendy district of Boavista, where you will find the Serralves Foundation, designed by famous contemporary architect Siza Vieira. Sitting on 18 hectares of land, this contemporary art museum attracts conceptual art fans and hosts numerous temporary exhibitions devoted to avant-garde artists. Work by well-known visual artists, such as California John Divola and his photographs of abandoned buildings, is also displayed in the exhibition halls, which resemble white cubes bathed in natural light. This autumn, the museum will be showing photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe. The tour continues to a tree-filled garden, between giant sculptures and an Art Deco-inspired pink villa.
Afterwards, head back to the city centre for an evening out at Passos Manuel, which has a concert hall, bar and club. A mix of vibes makes this a fascinating venue, which was built inside the Coliseu (Coliseum), a huge modernist building inaugurated in 1941 and renovated in 2004 in a more “Kubrickian” style. It is the ideal starting point to get off the beaten track when exploring Porto's creative side.
Rua D. João de Castro, 210
+351 808 200 543
Coliseu do Porto
Rua de Passos Manuel 137
+351 22 205 8351