Erasmus parties in Porto. Viva a festa!
My last post about Erasmus+ in Porto1 turned out not the way I probably wanted it to be. It seemed a bit negative and absolutely didn’t reflect what I experienced in this city. My time there was amazing and I can’t imagine it being any better for a student – Erasmus parties were amazing.
In the first post for my background information I talked about how I traveled with my car and etc. This time this sort of info will be completely unnecessary. The most important thing that you need to know that I was in Porto for the summer semester2. So, here is the first tip – if you have a choice, it is definitely the semester to choose. You will find yourself in a situation when on February Porto will seem grey and abandoned. But as the weather will get warmer the city will blossom in the way you will have not ever experienced.
Second of all, you will see the tourist-flow. Starting at May Porto will become more lively every day. With that, each time you go out you will feel this amazing friendly atmosphere all around you created by friendly locals and also by the tourists who come to relax and enjoy their time. Which is why your Ribeira and Adega3 nights will be awesome.
Finally, Summer semester will give you a chance to enjoy two massive and most incredible city fiestas you’ve ever experienced – Queima das Fitas and Festa de São João. Both of these are almost solely Porto’s festivities and they are fucking crazy! But let’s start from the beginning.
Ribeira4 night – Week of Erasmus parties begins
What’s the best day to party and get wasted? In Porto it’s Monday.
Of course, I am a bit exaggerating – Friday is always the best day for these kind of activities. Still, in Portugal’s second city Monday’s are, at least, not that bad.
When me and my mates just started to get settled-in we were very skeptical towards Ribeira. And I believe that’s a good thing. Arriving with attitude to drink on Mondays won’t lead you anywhere good5. But in our case, we got used to this idea gradually, until finally we accepted the fact that we must drink on Mondays.
The reason for that? There comes a moment when you realize that you still don’t know how to manage your finances. The main reason why people spend too much money in Erasmus – there is so much excitement and desperation to party with your new friends, that you just forget to think about what’s coming next. Also, you realize that if next day you don’t have important lectures or an exam in the morning it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. So, Ribeira is an amazing place for your Erasmus parties. Mainly because there are lots of students and the drinks on Ribeira are 50% off.
Yes, that’s right – 50% off. So all you need is a good company and in my case – I had purchased the portable Bluetooth speaker, so it was an awesome addition to our Monday evenings. Really, if you have a purchase one – do it. My Marshall Kilburn6 speaker used to boost each party that we had under the open sky. About the Bluetooth speakers I recommend you to read at my older post.
Adega – Party all the time
Adega Leonor is actually a bar, but between Erasmus students all this small part of the city with it’s bars and park became known as simply Adega. It is like a meeting point, where everyone starts or spends their evenings.
Now I am not really sure till this day why everyone used to go there. But this has become a place that everyone goes to and is probably the most popular gathering spot for young people. The park next to it always smells like urine, because there’s no toilets in the bars. During bigger events it could get even a bit obscene. You have to put lots of effort into avoiding urine puddles. But isn’t it what the student life and parties is all about?
Of course, it is necessary to mention that one of the biggest attractions is the beer, which is very cheap – 1 Euro for Super Bock7. And on Wednesdays it’s 50% off. So that’s why it’s the best place for your Wednesdays.
To give you a clearer view of what Adega is all about I asked my Romanian friend to give his opinion. Here’s what he had to say: I think it’s good and popular because of the people that came there. It is a place where Erasmus students of many nationalities interact.
As one former Erasmus student best mentioned – Adega is a small place with a big heart.
Breyner85 – Karaoke Thursday
I don’t know what purpose does Breyner85 bar serves on a regular day, but on Thursdays it’s probably the best karaoke bar in Porto.
Personally I’ve been there a few times, but I know people who used to go there every single Thursday. It’s always full of people, who share wonderful mood. The owner of the bar is the one who collects all the requests for the songs and is a very cool and friendly person to everyone.
We spend a lot of nice time here8. Singing songs like Backstreet Boys “I want it that way”; Britney Spears “…Baby one more time” and etc.
Also few pieces of advice, from my own experience. Never bump the mic or do the mic checks, if you think that it’s broken. It’s probably not, just you’re too drunk. Never drop the mic, there’s a huge chance that your performance wasn’t that good. Finally, while you wait for your song try not to drink too much. Enjoy!
Queima das Fitas – Party week in Porto
From the first day we arrived at Porto all professors and those who’ve lived here for more than a year talked about Quiema das Fitas. This week-long fest starts on the first week of May. During this time there are twelve different events, which celebrates that there’s only one month left to the upcoming final exams for the graduating students.
The name Quiema das Fitas means Burning of the Ribbons. It’s a Portuguese tradition for graduating students to burn these ribbons as a symbol of the end to their studies. This whole festivity started in Coimbra, but now Porto has probably become THE PLACE, to celebrate this occasion.
Ten-thousands of students gather from all over the country and celebrate. During my stay in Porto, the biggest events were held in Parque de Cidade. Despite the fact, that the tickets were pretty expensive for us, we went to a few events and it was crazy. That day when we went for the concert it was raining heavily. Still the atmosphere was so great, that nobody cared.
I will never forget what one of my friends said to me the next morning after this fest. I have never thought something could hype me so much, that I would stand in a rain puddle, while peeing in it and it would feel awesome.
Festa de São João – Porto’s best kept secret
This was a cherry on top. All Erasmus parties were wonderful and amazing. Each and every single one had a story, a laugh and memory that everyone will cherish for most of their lives. Still, the way Porto looked and how everyone was celebrating during the Festa de São João was a lifetime-lasting experience.
I heard that the people are waiting for this fest more than they are waiting for Christmas or even their birthdays. Soon I realized why the celebration of the shortest night of the year is so important for the locals.
The emotion that was floating in the air was absolutely marvelous. The city was packed with people. Like literally, in Ribeira there was hardly a space to move in. Still every person was smiling and would treat you like their friend. And the reason for that was that everyone, from an elder to a child sitting on his parents back, was smashing each others heads with rubber hammers.
Some spots were like a tunnels of rubber hammers, where you would run through and everyone is trying to smash you. At the beginning all the squeaking and bashing is a bit annoying, but as you buy your own rubber hammer everything changes. This exchange of smashes becomes a way of sharing joy and congratulating a person next to you.
Besides that during all night people are letting the sky lanterns9, which gives you a sense of magic everywhere. And at the midnight there’s a 30 minute long fireworks show, which was the most impressive one that I have ever seen10.
All in all, it’s the best city-wide fest that I have ever been to. And, I believe, that everyone should come to Festa de São João during their lifetime. Just to see how a celebrating city should look like.
I am definitely going to write a separate post about this fest!
Porto has become my second home and a city that will always have a special place in my heart. I believe, that if you have a chance to choose Porto as your Erasmus destination you shouldn’t think twice. Also, I hope I righted my wrongs that I did with my previous post.
Te amo Porto!