One of the activities we can enjoy when we travel is shopping for local products and souvenirs. Porto is a city that combines a retro vibe with the modernity of the big cities. Today I want to talk about the many options for shopping in Porto.
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Areas to do shopping in Porto
Although we can find souvenirs and shops in many places, these are the areas where most of the commercial establishments are concentrated.
The city center covers a very wide area for shopping in Porto. It is not delimited or easily identifiable as in other cities where the center is more compact. These are 4 small areas that encompass the center where are most shops.
Rua Santa Catarina
We stayed in Lapa, near the Faria Guimarães metro stop. Every day we went to the center we saw that it’s around the church of the Souls of Santa Catarina that the commercial area begins.
This church is what gives its name to one of the streets. the Rua Sta. Catarina where you will find local stores and other popular brands. It also gives its name to a two levels shopping center that you will find in this area.
You arrive at this street and this church by metro, getting off at the Bolhão station. By the way, you can also find the Mercado do Bolhão near here. Unfortunately for my trip, this market was under construction.
It’s said they temporarily relocated some stalls in the Bolhão Shopping Center. In fact, I confused it with the market, when we were seeking, but I saw nothing more than modern goods stores. Anyway, we decided to take a look at the Christmas season offers they had in the mall.
I had read that in the Bolhão market they sell local products such as groceries and handicrafts, that’s why I was seeking it. I hope that if you visit Porto soon, you have better luck than me.
Around the Cathedral
Around the cathedral or Sé de Porto, you will also find some options for shopping in Porto. There are usually some street vendors and stores where you can buy gifts and souvenirs
Around Praça da Liberdade
Around Praça da Liberdade there are some alleys with shops where you can take a look to find a unique gift or souvenir.
Near Torre dos Clérigos
If you’ve read my previous post about my one week stay in Porto, you will know that the famous Lello bookstore is near Torre dos Clérigos. This is the bookstore that inspired JK Rowling to create the Harry Potter library.
Well, I also told you that the same owners of the bookstore have a souvenir shop where you can find Harry Potter items if you are a fan. They sell other products as well, so you can take a look if you are in the area.
A few steps away is another curious gift shop to visit. It is called A Vida Portuguesa and is a shop with a vintage look. The items they sell are also in a retro and curious style. You can find cups, cans, soaps, notebooks, bags, etc. The prices … mmm well, they are not very cheap but not super expensive either.
Anyway, take a walk through this area, as there are several fashion stores.
La Ribeira is not characterized by having many stores, but rather restaurants. Yet, being a tourist area, you can find several stands of street vendors offering souvenirs at good prices.
Do not expect to find very good quality items, but rather the most typical Portuguese souvenirs. For example, cork wallets (I don’t know if they are authentic or imitations) and objects with mosaics such as magnets and chopping boards.
Vila Nova de Gaia
If you walk along the other side of the Douro River, in Vila Nova de Gaia you will also find several stalls and souvenir shops. In these stores, besides the similar products that you can find in Porto, there is more variety of gifts with bottles of wine.
If you are looking to give wine or a curious souvenir related to the port wine you must come to this area. In Gaia, it is where the wine cellars are. I saw several curious things made of wood with barrels or bottles with different presentations. For sure any wine lover will appreciate these gifts.
Shopping centers are also a good option for shopping in Porto. In this city, there are a good amount of malls to which you can take a look.
As I mentioned, on the street Santa Catarina is the Via Catarina Shopping mall. It is a 2 levels mall with clothing stores, electronics, and fashion accessories shops. We entered a couple of times seeking refuge from the rain ?
We also visited Norte Shopping mall. This is a huge mall with many fashion brands and a large hypermarket called Continental. I was interested in going to the Primark store (which we don’t have in Mexico and that’s why my obsession ?) to buy some requests from my family.
You can reach this mall using the metro and getting off at the Sete Bicas station. Then you have to walk a few blocks to see the mall. This center is so big that when we left, we did it from the other side and we got lost ?. We had to use google maps to find the subway stop.
Porto is a large and modern city, so I will not list all the shopping centers there are, because they are too many.
Another good option for shopping in Porto is to visit supermarkets. I have a weakness for markets and supermarkets because I love to see the different products that they offer in other countries and cities.
But besides that, you can find options to give away or take as a souvenir of your trip. For example, I bought different canned sardines at a lower price than in tourist shops.
A widespread Portuguese supermarket chain is the Pingo Doce. Also, you will often see the discount supermarkets Minipreço. Although the last one is of Portuguese origin now belongs to the Spanish company DIA.
You might like: What to see and do one week in Lisbon.
Typical souvenirs from Porto
Well, a very typical souvenir of Porto is wine, of course. There are different varieties from Porto wine to Vinho Verde. I am not very knowledgeable about wines, but being in Porto you can take a tour to the wine areas and the wineries. There they will explain to you thoroughly and allow you to taste different wines.
Throughout Portugal, mosaics are also very typical and you can find many products with tiles. For example, chopping boards, fridge magnets, trivets, trays, and others. Also, ceramics like plates and decorative objects are very representative.
Besides, as I already mentioned, they sell cork items such as key chains, wallets, bags, and watches. In Porto, there are also wooden crafts allusive to the city such as miniature ships and barrels.
In both Lisbon and Porto, I found store windows with lovely retro items. It’s a matter of touring stores and taking a glance at the windows.
Well, I hope you found this article and my experience shopping in Porto useful. If you have any questions or want to suggest a store or souvenir options you are welcome in the comments section.
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Bon voyage and happy shopping!