Ready for a gay Porto tour?
Here is the interview of Juan, a local from the City.
Hello Juan, you are from Porto. Can you tell us a bit about you?
I am originally from Brazil. When I was pretty young, I moved first to the US and then to Portugal, where I work as a journalist. I always feel like learning new things, discovering new places and meeting people from all over the world.
Why do you love Porto that much?
Porto is a picturesque and charming City, a place where you can discover something new every day. It hides precious secrets on every corner. I like to say that Porto is like a fairy maze. The atmosphere is excellent, and the people are amiable. This is some of the reasons I love it so much.
Your favorite restaurants
Miss’opo: this restaurant is a great place to experience traditional Portuguese food with a touch of innovation. It’s a trendy place, with beautiful decoration and music, and the menu is changed every day. You should taste it to really know about this City and this country. The staff is lovely.
Marcello e George: this restaurant was open 2 years ago, and it’s specializing in organic and vegan food. I like their original cuisine, a mix of French and Portuguese tradition, and their card of local wines. The decoration is cozy, and you can even come during the day to enjoy a drink, some pastries or a coffee. It’s a pretty cheap place with first lunch menu on 8 €.
Your favorite places in Porto, you like to show to your friends and gay travelers
Plaza de la Ribeira is the typical colorful Portuguese square. There are plenty of bars and restaurants there.
Jardim do Morro: On the other side of the bridge of Dom Luis I, on the shore of Gaia, those gardens offer a fantastic view of the City.
Serralves Museum: I would recommend this place for its incredible architecture, and collection. Gardens are stunning and very peaceful.
The Contemporary Art Museum is fascinating, with one of the most significant collection in the country. Casa de Serralves, inside the park, is a unique piece of Art Deco. It’s a bit outside of the historical center so I would recommend going there by cab or Uber.
Gay Porto bars and more LGBT venues
Porto is relatively traditional but very friendly with LGBT people. There is no discrimination, and our community is a full part of this City. Porto is increasingly popular with gay couples, as there are so many secret and romantic places everywhere.
Aduela Esplanada: this is a gay-friendly bar to go after dinner with friends or with your partner. The view from there is breathtaking. I really recommend it.
Lusitano: This place is impressive. During the week you can have an evening beer, cocktail or a coffee with friends in this glamorous and historical environment. The place is actually very cozy and sophisticated. You can even join live concerts, fado or tango evenings. On weekends, after midnight it turns into a trendy gay nightclub, with Portuguese and international DJs. It’s undoubtedly one of the best places to go out in Porto, and one of the most original gay venue in Europe.
Zoom: this vast disco, in a former industrial warehouse, is open until 7 am on weekends. This is the place to dance till late, with good electronic music, drag shows, hot guys, and go-go dancers.
LGBT rights in Portugal
If Salazar’s dictatorship has banned homosexuality and, consequently, flouted LGBT rights, Portuguese society opened up more and more and the years that followed the fall of the dictatorship are synonymous with liberation, since the 25th of April 1974 Carnation Revolution.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1983 and since then Portuguese laws have consistently advocated the cause of the LGBT community. Portugal is one of the few countries with far-reaching anti-discrimination laws and to include a prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation in Article 13 of its Constitution.
The country legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, making it the eighth country in the world to recognize same-sex marriage. Four years before the United Kingdom and five years before the United States.
The Portuguese President ratified on 1 March 2011, the Law on Gender Identity. The goal was to simplify the gender and name change process for transgender people. Thus Portugal has become one of the most advanced countries on LGBT rights.
Ready for a tour of gay bars and venues in Porto?
It takes a few minutes walking around Porto city center to make you fall in love with this town. In the last years, Porto faces a big change with more people going to visit, new restaurants, bars, and venues and made the city “The Best Europe Destination in 2017”. When it comes to gay life, Porto has also become a perfect destination.
From its cozy apartments to lively clubs, Porto is an eventful town that can host all kinds of visitors. Lose yourself around downtown maze streets and get thrilled with beautiful views on hidden belvederes. Porto is all about enjoying life, food, great wine, beautiful and warm people. Get ready to find out about 10 venues you can’t miss when visiting Porto.
1. Café Lusitano
Located in downtown, Café Lusitano is not a beginner on the gay scene.
Opened in 2005, Lusitano décor still preserver some of its original details – it used to be a grain store – that evoke the Parisian Belle Époque Style. If you’re not a party person, we suggest you reach it right after dinner (around 9/10 p.m.) for a drink in this gorgeous space
2. Conceição 35
Opened from 5 p.m to 4 p.m, Conceição 35 can be a spot to grab a beer, have some snack or stay through the night
Another tip? Always check Conceição 35 calendars. They throw some special parties with great DJs and a cool atmosphere.
Are you ready for fun? Zoom Porto is the most lively dance floor in town. On Fridays, it’s all about pop and drag queen performances that are quite popular. Saturdays are the nights when the club hosts big events, with International DJs and Gogo dancers.
Located in a former warehouse, Zoom is the venue where everybody ends up going and dancing until the sunrise.
Local tip: Zoom opens at midnight but the audience usually starts arriving after 2 a.m.
Galerias is known as Porto’s bohemian area. There are tons of bars of all styles, from the cheapest to the fanciest. Best part? They are all free, so you can just be around each of them, trying drinks and shots. But we are sure that you’ll end up at Fabrik
Are you a drag queen fan? Like to enjoy classic, diva lip syncs, and glamorous gowns? So we guess you’re gonna like Invictus Café Bar. This venue is not new in Porto, but it has been coming back to life lately
6. Café au Lait
It’s not hard to just walk straight of Café
7. Sauna camões
Wanna relax and have fun? Sauna Camões is just right in the city center and opened 7 days of the week. In a very discreet spot, Camões offers Turkish Bath, Finnish Sauna, Cabinets, Video Room and a bar with a special selection of drinks. If you wanna hang out with locals best time is after work and Saturday nights.
8. Maus Hábitos
Defining Maus Hábitos maybe be a little bit complicated but pointing out its attractions may help. A restaurant, a bar, an art gallery, a cultural center. “Phew”!
A lot right? Hidden on the top floor of a parking building, Maus Hábitos has a busy events calendar and we are sure you’ll find out something that cheers you up. Art exhibitions, film festivals, drag parties, live music and also a delicious menu to enjoy with a gorgeous Porto view.
9. Passos Manuel
Right across Maus Hábitos and next to
10. The Portuguese Cock
Taking a souvenir on a trip is almost a must do. But, why not taking this idea to another idea to another or we’d say a queer level. The Portuguese Cock is a handcraft store in Porto where you’ll find most traditional Portuguese products in rainbow or humoristic versions.
If you want something even more exclusive, you can personalize all products you wish.
If you are visiting Porto in summer, don’t miss the chance to have a drink and some tapas at Aduela terrace. If you choose fall or winter, you can enjoy its cozy interior and a glass of red wine. Aduela is the bar that local people love going after work and before dinner.
Local tip: be there around 5 p.m. if you want to have a spot 🙂
More Gay Bars and Clubs in Porto
Gay Saunas in Porto and cruising
Gay beach close to Porto
Porto is located on a sublime coast and is surrounded by beautiful and long beaches. However, this one are on the Atlantic coast, the water is rather cold and the sea can be violent, so be very careful. If you are brave enough to swim, do not leave the supervised areas.
Surprisingly, you will not find a real gay beach close to Porto.
Matosinhos beach is the most easily accessible from Porto city centre. You can either get there by underground in just 15 minutes, or by taking the bus 500, from Praça da Liberdade. Departures are frequent, every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 20-30 minutes on weekends.
In Matosinhos, I advise you to go to Praia dos Ingleses, a stretch of sand and rock, overhung by a super trendy bar where you can drink an excellent cocktail, admiring a spectacular sunset.
You can also have lunch and dinner there, with a beautiful offer of tapas but also Portuguese dishes. The music is pretty good so it is an ideal place to spend part of the day enjoying the sun, or to spend your early evening before going to dinner.
If you are visiting Portugal, read our Guide for Lisbon.