“Let’s take a stroll…”

Porto, Portugal. May 2019. (12 photos)

This is Part 2 of my Portugal 2019 photo series, and also Part 4 of my Europe 2019 photo series.

“…around Porto”

Recently I spent a month visiting France and Portugal, with a short visit to Singapore for good measure.

I stayed for 6 nights in Porto, using it as a base for my time in northern Portugal. Here are some random photos from my wanders around Porto.

“Windows of Porto”

“Rooftops of Porto”

“Rua 31 de Janeiro”

The name derives from the historical republican revolt that broke out in Porto in 1891. That’s the Torre dos ClΓ©rigos in the background, a 76m high bell tower that offers great views over the city.


The Capela das Almas, or Chapel of Souls, dates from the 18th century. In the early 20th century, Eduardo Leite added almost 16000 blue and white tiles (azulejos) on the side of the church painted to depict The Death of St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint in the Presence of Pope Honorious III, and The Martyrdom of St. Catherine. The clothing store across the street couldn’t have been named better for this photo opportunity.

“In the company of saints”

Capela das Almas

“The wedding crasher”

Sadly I was not invited to the reception, although the wedding photographer was intrigued to see my camera and took a photo of me.

“Downtown Porto”

As you may know, Porto is a bit rundown in areas but that’s part of its charm. Notice the funicular on the left. Elevators, funiculars and cablecars can be found around town to ease the climb in hilly Porto.

“Tears of the clown”

Street art is easily found around Porto.


I took a couple of tours and asked my guides why some people refer to Porto as Oporto.

Porto is a port on the Douro River and in years gone by, to distinguish the city from other ports in the area, the locals would refer to the city as O Porto (The Port). In Portuguese, “O” means “the”, just as “e” means “and”. So hearing O Porto, many foreign traders thought the city was actually named Oporto. Both the guides I spoke to were a bit irked by people calling their city Oporto. I guess many locals would feel the same, so I don’t recommend you call it Oporto if you visit there.

“Oh Porto!”

Because of its aspect and hilly geography, the Porto region positively glows at sunset when the conditions are right. In that situation, “Oh Porto!” is a perfectly acceptable exclamation.

The next instalment of this series, Oh Porto! (2) is now online.

In May and June 2019, I visited France, Portugal and Singapore.

This is Part 4 of this photographic series and Part 2 of the posts about Portugal.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Oh Porto!


76 thoughts on “Oh Porto!

  1. My first thought: what a beautiful city! My second thought: but, every city looked beautiful in his photos… Portugal’s people and culture do attract me. Hope I will have a chance to visit one of these days.
    BTW, do you have that wedding photographers email address? πŸ˜‰
    Have a wonderful day.

    • You must get to Portugal. I only saw a small part of it but it is so lovely and the people so warm and friendly. And the pasteis de nata are delicious. πŸ™‚

      That wedding photographer has been sworn to secrecy in the usual way. Sorry about that. πŸ™‚

  2. What an atmospheric city. I never made it to Porto during my Portugal trip, but I see that it has the gorgeous azulΓ©jos and street art that I so loved about Lisbon.

    • Many claim that Porto is more beautiful and charming than Lisbon. It certainly is more compact so it’s easier to get a concentrated hit of beauty and charm. Those azulejos are so amazing to see. I loved Portugal. So warm and charming.

    • Portugal has rundown charm everywhere you look, but Porto does it particularly well. You’re going to love it there. A glass of port and a golden sunset, you can’t ask for much more.

      PS You’re going there soon? We need to co-ordinate our holidays better. πŸ™‚

      • I’ve been planning it for a while. It’s very cheap from Munich and besides some friends weren’t impressed so I want to prove them wrong.
        I just read a newspaper article from a Serbian novelist/translator who lives in Lisbon and often writes about it. He mentions a group of Scandinavian tourists who managed to not have a great time in Lisbon because it was rainy (?) and too rundown. Then they frowned when he told them to push the entrance door toward themselves to open it. But, as he says, when they said they were shocked there were no fire alarms in the apartment, I had it.

        I think you need to be really talented not to like/ enjoy Lisbon.

        P.S. Most definitely.

        • Take your friends to a rooftop bar to watch the sunset, on a perfect evening with food, drink and song and your task will be completed.

          As for those Scandinavian tourists, they should just stay home. OK, I might not want to be walking on Lisbon’s cobblestoned hills in the rain, but it’s all about experiencing something different. “You need to be really talented not to enjoy Lisbon” – that’s hilarious and true. πŸ™‚

    • Those blue and white tiles are a very common adornment in Porto and Portugal, on buildings, in train stations and elsewhere. The artwork is really impressive to see.

  3. I couldn’t decide which one is my favourite: the panoramic view at sunset or the wedding photo. Both are amazing! I guess the couple would be happy if they see this photo πŸ˜‰

  4. Now you’re in my backyard! And I will be in Aveiro, half an hour south of there, on Wednesday πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ The light is so beautiful in your shots, Draco!

  5. Oh Porto indeed! Thank you for explaining the differences, I wondered why it was often called Oporto. Now I know there is no excuse to get it wrong. Like Lisbon it appears to be very hilly, a bit like Sheffield too I guess… πŸ˜‰ Love the telhados, but downtown Porto looks a bit rough, some of those houses don’t look in the least bit habitable. As for the church with the Azulejos – MyGod doesn’t begin to come close!

    • That particular part of downtown Porto was actually pleasant and photogenic to walk through. The numerous steps were another matter. I happened to be there as the local football team had scored a goal on the tv broadcast. Lots of celebration and dancing; even got a free beer. πŸ™‚

      Yes, the Chapel of Souls was quite a sight. I walked by several times looking for the “right” street photography moment.

  6. josypheen says:

    Beautiful photos (as always, you are such a good photographer) this is bringing back great memories of that lovely city.

    I always wondered about why some people call it Oporto! Thanks for clearing that up too! πŸ˜€

    • Yes, I was uncertain about Oporto before arriving, particularly because some businesses and websites use that name. But the explanation made perfect sense. I’m glad you had a great time there as well.

  7. What a coincidence – those young musicians of the wedding picture spend every summer some weeks here in Munich, they are wandering through the streets in the town center, playing and singing.
    Once again thank you for your wonderful pictures.

  8. A perfect delight to visit Porto, Draco. Thank you for these exquisite photos highlighting the glow and specialness of this city. I like the “O” story, and your well-named title for the post. The blue-and-white tiles, rooftops, cable car and trams for the hills, the haphazard layouts and street scenes–all so illustrative of this beautiful town. I always appreciate how high you climb to get some of these photos, because the perspective is most unique. While I studied and enjoyed every single photo here, my favorite one was the penultimate, with the river, sun, boats, buildings, birds, and bridge. Also loved the clown climbing the hill. Many thanks.

    • Thank you very much, Jet. Porto seems to hold a special place in many people’s hearts and I’m glad I could show off even just a small part of it. I hope you have a great weekend.

    • Yes, the door design looks upside down and that really caught my attention. I’m sure it still functions appropriately though. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thanks so much, Lisa.

  9. Lol maybe you were doing a better job than those photographers πŸ˜› Can definitely see how hilly Portugal is. It also looks quite dense from your shots, all the domestic buildings lined very closely with each other. I’ve never heard of the place being called Oporto. Oporto makes me think of the fast food chain we have here in Australia.

    • Yes, it’s a compact and densely packed city. Very easy to get around as a result and plenty to see. I’ve seen a few people refer to Porto as Oporto online, and of course there is Oporto burgers here which adds to the confusion.

  10. Tom Gagner Photographer says:

    I went to Braga for two weeks a few years ago as a guest teacher at the Universada do Minho. The schedule was quite intese so it was not possible to include a visit to Porto. Just went throug on the way to and from the airport. Quite frustrating. I plan to pay a visit in the near future. Architect students at the University of Lund, Sweden, spend a week in Porto for field studies. After the visit the students practise creating “fill in buildings” in a historical environment.

    • That would be a very interesting exercise for the architecture students. I think you will enjoy your time in Porto.
      I had the chance to go to Braga or Guimaraes. I chose Guimaraes this time.

  11. As common as the blue painted tiles are in Portugal it’s surprising there aren’t more churches festooned with bible stories like the one you found. Quite striking.

    • There are several places with entire decorated tile walls but I agree it is less common for entire buildings to be covered externally. I found 3 churches in that vein, all in Porto. It made for some very interesting street photography.

  12. So many goodies here I don’t even know where to start. How about at the beginning with the light on β€˜Let me take a Stroll’. Magnificent composition. And those windows #love. And that endless array of rooftops are breathtaking. The blue tile work is beautiful and your Downtown Porto made me green with any #wishidtakenit. You inspire me!

    • Porto is all that and more. Definitely another place for you. Funnily enough, visiting Portugal has got me interested in Brazil, the two countries do have a strong history and your post about Olinda Brazil is just flaming my interest.

      • I seriously hope that you heed the call and find your way to Brazil. You’d have a field day in Olinda. And I would also love to see your lens on Iguazu Falls, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park and The Amazon basin (all of which sadly we had to bypass due to time constraints).

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