Porto traditionally has always been quieter in the summer, as locals tend to go away on holiday either further north or south to the Algarve. As down town Porto can get quite hot and stuffy in the summer, it is worth escaping to the beaches and parks of the surrounding area even if you are only in Porto for a few days.
There are many beaches both north and south of Porto which are only a twenty minute bus ride away from the centre of town. If it is very hot you might want to go to the beach for a dive in the sea or even just for the breeze. The beaches in Porto and Gaia are also great to go for a walk and to stop at one of the many beach bars along the way. The Foz front and Matosinhos beaches are the most popular and there are a number of different ones to choose from.
Porto Events recommends you try Praia dos Ingleses, Praia da Luz and Praia de Matosinhos. Praia de Matosinhos has the popular Edificio Transparante which offers a number of bars and restaurants with outdoor ‘esplanadas’ as well as beach bars dotted along the beach. If you are feeling more adventurous you can get the train from São Bento to beaches south of Porto. We recommend Praia do Carneiro, Miramar, Granja, Francelos or Espinho.
If you are looking for longer beach days on more deserted beaches and have a car, you might want to try the beaches north of Porto such as Leça da Palmeira, Vila do Conde, Mindelo and Afife. South of Porto there is Praia da Maceda and Ovar.
During the summer months most beaches have easy pedestrian access, free car parking, lifeguards and at least one bar. On the bigger beaches such as Matosinhos, Espinho and Leça da Palmeira you are also able to practise activities such as surfing and body boarding.
The parks and gardens of Porto are worth escaping to during the hottest time of day. The shade and beauty of the trees are perfect for a picnic or afternoon nap. Parque de Cidade, Parque de Serralves, Jardins do Palácio de Cristal and the Jardins do Passeio Alegre are among the most popular.
When it comes to the end of the day on these hot summer evenings the best places to watch the sunset are Jardim das Virtudes, Jardins do Palacio de Cristal e Jardim do Morro along with a cool beer.
Events in Porto this summer not to miss…
Fridays at Virtudes – throughout the summer at the end of the day, the place to be is Jardins da Cooperativa Arvore. Apart from having the best view of the sunset over the river Douro, there is live music and a great atmosphere. Free entry from 7pm every Friday from 14th July to 22nd September. Check out the facebook page for more information.
Porto Sunday Sessions – every Sunday until the 17th September at the end of the day join in and relax at the open air concerts and DJ sets at Jardim do Passeio Alegre in July and Parque da Cidade in August and September. Free entry from 4pm to 8pm. Check out the facebook page for more information.