Porto has many cafés, an ideal place to spend some hours reading, writting, and looking around.
The rainy winter months bring mould and damp to Porto. Days are sad, grey mixing the atmposphere with the bare stone of the walls. Fortunatelly you have some great places to spend your time while acting as a Porto inhabitant. For example our long tradition of sitting and reading in cafes in Porto.
Belonging to a way back tradition people in Porto like to gather in a café. Students spend there a good amount of their time, so much that a tipical students’ cafe has it’s wall covered with memorial plates left by the students, who studied there for long hours, met their loved ones there and found the café a kind of a second home.
Cafés are also the meeting point for culture and ideas exchange, as it still is one of the preferred places for detabes while tasting a coffee. You can participate in a political, cultural or philisophical meeting just because some intelectuals gathered at the next table.
So it’s a place for a break. To have a coffee traditionally known as “cimbalino” after the first expresso machines introduced in the 50s of past century; it’s the place to go for the afternoon tea in a portuguese way with a torrada (toast) and a galão (similar to latte machiato) and above all to live the life of Porto, very much like the portuguese.
Café Progresso, the oldest in Porto
One of the oldest, if not the oldest in Porto dating back to 1899. It is also one of the few where you can still have a “café de saco”, instead of the more modern cimbalino, the expresso variante. A charming place that has been renovated and with a regular clientelle. Go there for a beakfast with orange juice, coffee, toast with butter and jam and eggs. All for less then 5€.
Rua Actor João Guedes 5, 4050-310; opens every day: mo-thur.: 7:00 – 19:00; fr. 7:00-19:00; sat.:7:00 – 00:00; su.: 10:00 – 17:00
Café Guarany, in the centre of Porto
Another charismatic café in Porto, this one in the centre. It was opened in 1933 and fully refurbished in 2003. Here the atmosphere used to be far more intelectual. Probably because it’s is closer to the decision centre of Porto? Be as it may, this is a lively place with some cultural events. This month you’ll have a fado night every saturday evening, or if you can’t then go for the afternoon tea.
Avenida dos Aliados, 85/89; opens everyday from 9am to midnight.
Café Majestic, the art nouveau café
This café is today mostly visited by tourists, but nevertheless it is really worth a visit and a coffee break. It is simply beautiful. It was opened in 1921 and for many years the other intelectual and specially artistic centre of Porto. The café was already in very bad shape when it was fully renovated in 1994, keeping all the ambience of it those gone 20s. There is still every now and then live music.
Rua de Santa Catarina, 112, opens everyday except sundays from 9am to midnight.
Café Piolho or Ancora d’Ouro
This café, is the student’s café. It has been so for generations of univeristy students of Porto, mostly, but not only, Medicine. Known as Piolho, it’s real name is Ancora d’Ouro. It is open since 1909 and always merrily serving generation after generation of students. It is a tipical gathering point before going out at night, where you have the coffee or the first beers with tremoços. It is always quite full at night, but the place to eat some late snakc as it is open until 4am.
Praça Parada Leitão nº 45, open everyday, except for sundays, from 7 am to 4 am.
It has been since long a regular tradition for Porto (and portuguese people in general) to meet our friends in cafes in Porto. We like to sit, discuss and talk in front of a coffee (cimbalino, as it used to be called). Try it yourself! You’ll enjoy it!