I’m visiting Porto, Portugal for the first time and I’m most curious about feng shui of this city. Porto is Portugal’s second biggest city. My feng shui highlights are the bridges with spectacular vistas, the most beautiful bookshop in the world, fat sandwiches, pastries and some amazing views of Porto, as well as the wealth of ancient churches and contemporary museums. Portugal actually took its name from Porto which was given by Romans meaning Porto’s cow.
There are six major bridges in Porto over the river Douro. Porto is frequently referred to as Cidade das Pontes (City of the Bridges). Other Porto’s nicknames are ‘Cidade Invicta’ (Unconquered/ Invincible City) and ‘Capital do Norte’ (Capital of the North).
The most famous bridge, Dom Luis I bridge was built in 1886 by a disciple of famous Gustave Eiffel.
The Ponte Arrabida is the only bridge in Europe which you can legally climb (262 steps to climb – 65 metres above the river at it’s highest point). It was designed by a renowned Portuguese engineer Edgar Cardoso as the largest concrete arch bridge in the world (at the time of construction between 1953 and 1963). The bridge offers a spectacular view of Porto and the sea when it’s not too misty.
The most beautiful bookshop in the world is in Porto, Portugal – the inspiration behind Harry Potter
Porto is a home to one of the oldest and most beautiful bookshops (once ranked by the Guardian as the most beautiful bookshop in the world), called Livraria Lello which was designed by architect Francisco Xavier Esteves. Charging 10 Euro for the entry to a bookshop might sound extravagant but that doesn’t deter 5000 visitors a day – some of them come primed for Harry Potter. JK Rowling was living in Porto for a bit and was inspired by the architecture of the bookshop which can be apparent in her bestselling Harry Potter books (see Hogwarts). A very beautiful staircase is made of the first concrete that was used in Portugal in 1906. (The biggest bookshop in Europe is in London – Waterstones in Piccadilly.) JK Rowling wrote, “I fell in love with Porto and I love it still. I was enchanted by Porto, the melancholy folk music that reflects the Portuguese themselves, who in my experience had a quietness and gentleness unique among Latin peoples I’d encountered so far. The city’s spectacular bridges, its vertiginous river-banks, steep with ancient buildings, the old port houses, the wide squares. I was entranced by them all.”
If you like Livraria Lello, you may like another famous bookshop that is in Paris, called Shakespear and Company – which has unusually good feng shui.
If charging for the entry to a bookshop sounds usual – they could glue all the books to the shelves – how about one of the oldest stationery shop that was turned into a hotel (Hotel A.S. 1829). Porto has some unusual quirky habits.
Travelling in Porto
Porto is a small place and walking is probably the best way to see this recognised global city (beside Lisbon). You can also hire an electric bike or scooter (Monkey Rider) if you’re brave enough to face the coble roads. The medieval part of Porto is charming and full of nice restaurants.
The train stations
Sao Bento station was built on a former site of the Benedictine monastery. It was inaugurated in 1916 and it took eleven years to put up. The interior is beautifully decorated with scenes from Portuguese history painted by Jorge Calaco. The second train station, Campanha is your train station if you want to take a two-hour train to Lisbon.
A holistic view of Porto
Clerigos tower is the highest point in Porto and the 3rd most visited monument in Portugal. I love to start my visit to any new city with an overview of it – just to get my bearings on it and to build a virtual map in my mind so I can orient myself when visiting different parts. From the tower you can see the square where the statue of the king is, also known as ‘The Soldier King’ was only a king for two months, reigning from March 1826 to May 1826.
There are three world-class terraces in Porto which afford panoramic vistas of the city. One terrace and bar is called the Yatman.
If you want a quick overview of Porto, of if you don’t have enough time to see it all, you can go to the 5D cinema (Look at Porto) which shows the highlights of this city while you’re strapped to an aeroplane seat (while 3D dragons flay and brash against your face).
Biophilia of Porto and the area
The area here is sometimes called the Green Coast (Costa Verde) from the verdant vegetation that the wet weather offers.
Food, wine – the wood element
Desert wine port is delicious (ideally drunk in a chocolate cup). Cafe Santiago serves the Port’s favourite sandwich called Francesinha or Frenchie for short (wet-cured ham, smoke-cured sausage, French sausage, steak or roast meat) which was created in the early sixties. Another very popular place to get, probably the best sandwiches in Porto, is Casa Guedes.
Cakes are the cornerstones of Portuguese food. In Porto, you can actually hire a cake connoisseur who will give you an unforgettable cake experience and cake tour (Avant Garde Crew). Top cakes to try are Tarde de Amendoa, Bola de Berlim (filled with creme patisserie), Nata de Chila (filled with jam made from fig leaf gourd), Bispo, Tarde de Maracuja, Queque de Cenora (carrot cake).
Check it out – Trash animal by Bardalo II.
Clous Porto is a neat shop that has been selling soap for over 100 years (not recommended for people who obsessively wash their hands). Promesas de cera (wax promises) is a Portuguese Catholic tradition of making wax body parts to offer them on church altars and there are shops selling them.
Although Porto is near the sea and has a river, it has a few fountains such as the fountain of the Lions built in 1886.
Spiritual feng shui
Churches in Portugal are very elaborate and the 18th-century church of Lady of Carmo / Igreja do Carmo, near an adjutant hospital is one to go to (to leave your wax promises as an offering on the altar).
The property market in Porto
More and more foreigners are buying properties in Porto with property prices rising 15-20% each year (although house prices in Porto are about 40% below those in Lisbon). Popular neighbourhoods are the riverfront Sao Nicolau, Cedofetia, Miragaia, Vitoria and Se as well as Foz do Douro, a beach district at the mouth of the Duoro river. Because of the boom in tourism – the buyers and investors are coming.
Feng shui consultants in Porto, Portugal
A quick Google search revealed that there are feng shui consultants in Porto. But if you live in Porto and are looking for a feng shui consultant near you – with 30+ years of experience in feng shui and environmental psychology feel free to call/text me on +44 7956 288574 for a quote for feng shui consultation for your home or workplace. Although I live in London, I do remote feng shui consultations. Email me