For all you megafans, I’m sharing the top Harry Potter Porto spots that you can’t miss!
Even if you haven’t read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies (any one of the eight out there!), you’re at least familiar with the sight of the round eye-glass-wearing, lightning bolt-marked boy wizard—it’s pretty hard not to be!
Like me, you probably assumed that everything in Harry Potter was inspired by England or the UK. But we know that JK Rowling lived in Porto Portugal from 1991 to 1993 where she taught English, started a family and started writing her first Harry Potter book.
And while JK Rowling hasn’t confirmed the direct connection between Porto spots and those described in the book, the evidence is compelling.
To all my fellow Harry Potter fans out there, this one is for you. As a fan, I’ll show you why visiting these Porto spots will leave you totally spellbound! 😉
Pssst, heading to Porto? Don’t miss these travel guides to help you plan your trip!
8 Harry Potter Porto Spots
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’re probably just as enchanted as I am by Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley, the bookstore that Harry and all Hogwarts students go to for their magic books.
The real bookstore that’s said to have inspired the magical version is the Livraria Lello (Lello Bookshop) in Porto’s historic center.
Built in 1906, this neo-Gothic style building is nothing short of spectacular. When you see its iconic red-carpeted winding staircase, glorious stained-glass skylight, art installations, and floor-to-ceiling shelves packed with books, it’s instantly clear why Lello earns its title as the “prettiest bookshop in the world.”
There’s no question that this bookshop leaves an impression and it’s easy to see how JK Rowling would be inspired to bring this marvel into the wizarding world.
Word of advice: purchase a priority entrance ticket voucher. It’s a super popular tourist destination, so the line to get in is very long (or you don’t have to worry about it if you’ve booked a Harry Potter tour).
Besides being an absolutely gorgeous establishment to have a cup of coffee, the Majestic Cafe is said to be the birthplace of the first book in the Harry Potter Series, Harry Potter, and the Philosopher’s Stone.
JK Rowling frequented the Majestic Cafe and would spend some of her time there writing—some say that she finished the book while sitting at one of its marble tables.
The Majestic Cafe has long been a prominent spot on Porto’s Rua Santa Catarina. It’s famed for its Art Nouveau style and for attracting the world’s most influential clientele—from diplomats to celebrities—since 1921.
If you get there at the right time to snag a table or are willing to wait for one, it’ll be one of the fanciest cafe experiences you’ve ever had.
University of Porto
I’ve gotta say that the University of Porto, one of the highest-ranked public universities in Portugal, has the best school uniforms for its university students as far as dress codes go: black pants or skirt, tie, and full-length black cape. If that doesn’t scream wizard school, I don’t know what does!
This style of dress is a 500-year tradition at the University of Porto and goes back even farther in Portugal to the days that higher education began. It’s also the uniform style for Coimbra University, the oldest university in the world, which is located about 90 minutes from Porto.
If you visit any of these prestigious universities, you’ll see beautiful buildings with Harry Potters walking about, which is pretty cool.
Escovaria de Belomonte
Ok, so I didn’t even know that broom stores existed outside of imaginary worlds. Turns out, there’s a super famous one in Porto called the Escovaria de Belomonte.
Interestingly enough, the look of the store isn’t that far off from how Broomstix and Quality Quidditch Supplies are portrayed in the Harry Potter series.
The Escovaria de Belomonte is located on Rua de Belomonte in Porto and was founded in 1927. The atelier represents quality craftsmanship that artisans take great pride in.
All the brooms are handmade using only natural fibers and top-quality wood without the use of dyes or anything synthetic.
Sounds a lot like Harry’s beloved Quidditch broom, the Nimbus 2000. Don’t you think?
Torre dos Clérigos
Many believe that the Torre dos Clerigos (the Clerigos Tower) inspired Hogwarts’ own Astronomy Tower. The tower is well known by Potter fans as the spot where one of the most tragic events of the Harry Potter saga happens.
Let’s just say that it’s where heartbroken fans discover kind old Dumbledore’s fate (sniff, sniff).
I’d say “spoiler alert,” but if you’re a fan and reading this post, I’m sure you already know the storyline.
The Clerigos Tower tops the Baroque-style 18th-century Clerigos Church and is one of Porto’s most significant landmarks.
If you’re up for climbing up its 225 steps, you’ll get a pretty amazing 360-degree birds-eye view of the city down below.
Fonte dos Leões
As you tour Porto and enter the Gomes Teixeira Square, you’ll come across the Fonte dos Leões (the Fountain of the Lions).
As a Harry Potter fan, I’m sure you’re well aware that the lion is the emblematic animal of Gryffindor, one of Hogwarts’ four Houses—and famously the house that Harry, Ron, and Hermione belong to.
What’s interesting is that the four lions that circle the base of the Fonte dos Leões have wings, which technically makes them griffins. There’s a pretty undeniable tie between the word “griffin” and “Gryffindor,” right?
It’s not too far of a stretch to imagine that JK Rowling frequently encountered the fountain during her time in Porto and that this local landmark inspired the identity of Hogwarts’ most adored House.
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
Porto folklore says that the enchanting Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens) inspired the creation of the Harry Potter chronicle’s Forbidden Forest, or the Dark Forest, that bordered the edge of the school grounds.
For Hogwarts students, entering the Forbidden Forest was, well, forbidden.
Although the description of the Forbidden Forest as a mysterious place where rough-looking, ancient trees hid many secrets doesn’t quite match the immaculate, well-kept gardens you’ll find at the Crystal Palace, it’s hard to deny that the place doesn’t have a bewitching allure.
Perhaps it was while getting lost wandering the themed gardens—like Jardim das Plantas Aromáticas (Garden of Aromatic Plants) and Jardim dos Sentimentos (Garden of Feelings)—and the network of paths that JK Rowling created the magical forest that would one day haunt the pages of her books.
Harry Potter Guided Tour
While it’s possible to visit all of these Harry Potter Porto spots on your own, you should consider booking a guided 3-hour Harry Potter tour. Not only are you guaranteed access to some of the more crowded spots—like the Majestic Café and Livreria Lello—but you’re sure to hear some entertaining stories.
Your guide (or should we say storyteller?) will provide insights into the details of these spots and all the connections between Porto and the Harry Potter storylines which is perfect if you’re interested in fandom travel.
One of those stories will probably be how Hogwarts’ most notorious wizard, Salazar Slytherin, could very well have been named after one of Portugal’s most infamous dictators, António de Oliveira Salazar. Cool stuff, right?
I already love Porto and think it’s such an amazing place. When you add the fact that you can be a wizard for a day and enter into the wizarding world of Harry Potter while you’re there, it’s just icing on the cake.
Planning a trip to Porto? Check out my other Porto guides here.
What to See in Porto: 4-day Travel Guide
Top 20 Things to Do in Porto Portugal
Boutique Hotels in Porto
Azulejos in Porto: The Best Places to See Blue Tiles in Porto
The 14 Most Beautiful Places in Portugal
Top 20 Porto Instagram Spots
Livraria Lello Harry Potter Bookstore in Porto
Porto Food Guide: The Best Porto Restaurants
The Best Rooftop Bars Lisbon Has to Offer
The best Harry Potter Porto spots are:
– Livraria Lello
– Majestic Café
– Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
J.K. Rowling did write some of Harry Potter in Portugal.
Yes, Harry Potter was inspired by Portugal.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.