Although most people head to Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, Porto is equally deserving of your time. It’s incredibly quaint and picturesque, it inspired Harry Potter, and it’s where Portugal’s delicious dessert wine, Port, is made.
You might not be a fan of Port wine just yet, but don’t worry: you’ll get to try a lot of different types of Port here, in bars and on the various Port tours, and hopefully you’ll leave the city with a new appreciation for it.
Porto is quite a small city, very easy to get around on foot, and just the right size for a long weekend break. There’s plenty to see and do here, new dishes to try, and plenty of beautiful hotels and guesthouses to relax in.
Like Lisbon, Porto is very gay-friendly and has a great selection of bars, clubs, and cafés to choose from. In fact, as we discussed in our gay travel guides to Lisbon and the Algarve, Portugal is a very gay-friendly country overall. It was the 6th country in Europe to legalise gay marriage, and the 8th country in the world.
It’s also incredibly safe, and ranks as one of the safest places in the world to visit along with New Zealand and Denmark. This statistic doesn’t specifically apply to gay travel, but should give you some indication of how open, tolerant, and welcoming Portugal is to visitors.
Accommodation ideas for Porto
- Maison Nos B&B – A small and stylish B&B, Maison Nos is one of the few places in Porto to specifically advertise itself as gay-friendly accommodation.
- InterContinental Porto – Set in a renovated 18th-century palace, this 5-star hotel is the perfect location for lovers of old world luxury.
- Yeatman Hotel – A haven for wine lovers, this historical hotel offers classic luxury accommodation with fantastic views of the Douro river.
- Pestana Palácio do Freixo – Situated a few kilometres outside of Porto’s city centre, this renovated 18th century Pousada has been painstakingly restored with all of its beautiful original features. Facilities include an infinity pool, gym, Turkish bath, and sauna.
- Hotel Infante Sagres – This small historic hotel, a member of the Small Hotels of the World organisation, features stylish rooms, a swimming pool, and a designer bar and café.
- Hotel Teatro – Located in the heart of Porto’s city centre, this stylish modern design hotel is just minutes from key attractions like Lello Bookshop, Clérigos Tower, and the Porto Coliseum.
- Palacio Fenizia – A beautifully-renovated small boutique hotel that’s just minutes from Porto’s Bolhão Market.
- Gallery Hostel – One of Porto’s most popular hostels, this small boutique hostel offers affordable and stylish accommodation with hostel facilities like a kitchen and other shared communal spaces.
- The House of Sandeman – A new boutique hostel that’s part of the Sandeman port house with beautiful rooms overlooking the Douro river.
As well as the hotels and B&Bs above, there are also a few websites like Mister B&B and Gay Homestays that specifically focus on gay and gay-friendly room and apartment rentals.
- MisterBandB.com – An Airbnb-style site where you can rent a room or an entire apartment from a gay or gay-friendly host.
- Gayhomestays.com – Similar to MisterBandB, Gay Homestays allows you to stay with gay hosts, rent an entire apartment, or stay in a gay or gay-friendly B&B.
- Ebab – A similar platform that allows you to rent an entire apartment or room from a gay or gay-friendly host. Ebab is much smaller than the other sites, but does have a handful of properties in Porto.
(If you fall in love with Porto and decide to stay here, we’ve written a guide to finding long term accommodation in Porto.)
Gay bars, clubs, and cafés in Porto
- Pride Café – By day this is a popular gay venue for coffee, and by night it turns into a bar.
- Invictus – The place to go to watch drag shows in Porto.
- Bar Conceiçâo 35 – For gay hipsters in Porto, this is the place to visit. It’s known for its happy hour and events, which you can find out about by following their Facebook page.
- Café Lusitano – A beautifully-renovated old café that’s the perfect place for sophisticated conversations over wine and cocktails during the week. At the weekend, the vibe is more relaxed and there are often organised parties.
- Fabrik – One of Porto’s most popular gay bars, Fabrik is known for its cocktails and parties.
- Bar Labirintho – An alternative and artsy bar that attracts a trendy and progressive crowd, including many from Porto’s LGBT community.
- Pride Bar Nightclub – One of the most popular gay and lesbian nightclubs in Porto, Pride is known for its themed parties and drag shows.
- Zoom – One of Porto’s coolest nightclubs, Zoom attracts some of Porto’s hottest gay and lesbian locals. Expect drag shows, themed parties, and strippers.
Annual gay events in Porto
Porto Pride – The Porto pride parade (Marcha do Orgulho LGBT no Porto) takes place every year in the very beginning of July. You can keep up to date with all of the events surrounding the parade by following the group’s Facebook page.
Gay saunas in Porto
- Sauna Camões – The oldest sauna in Porto, Camões has a bar, dry sauna cabin, Turkish bath, showers, TV showing naughty flicks, and lockers.
- Sauna Thermas 205 – Gay sauna featuring a Turkish bath, sauna, steam room, dark room, and video room.
Gay parties in Porto
1906 Club – Private gay party community that holds a couple of events every month, usually with changing themes and locations. There’s a limit to the number of tickets sold, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance through the website.
Have you visited Porto? Did you stay somewhere nice or visit any restaurants or bars that you’d like to recommend? Help other gay travellers out by leaving a review or comment below.