It is commonly known that a lot of inspiration for Harry Potter saga came from the beautiful city of Porto in Portugal. Legend says, that Hogwarts got its primary shape on the napkin in one of Porto’s cafés. But one thing is clear for sure – after teaching English language in Porto, J. K. Rowling came back to United Kingdom with the first three chapters of what later become our beloved wizardry world.
However, shame on me, but I, a true fan and believer of wizardry world, acknowledged this just a few days before our road trip to Porto. I was excited about our trip enough before, but when I heard about J. K. Rowling and Porto, I have to admit, that I started jumping in the middle of my mum’s kitchen. And since then my main goal was to find as much of Hogwarts in Porto, as I could.
I know that you, Dear Reader, love magic as much as me, so I want to share my discoveries with you. In addition to this, if you haven’t been to Porto, my aim today is to inspire you to go there. It is the most charming city that I have ever had a chance to see.
So here are my personal Top6 things that reminds of Hogwarts in Porto for me.
6. Serralves Park
Serralves is a significant cultural institution with Contemporary Art museum in the middle of the city. The place where I found magic here was the Park territory with its gardens. There are a lot of interesting things in 18 hectares area, but I was happily surprised with several in particular. It were the Herbology greenhouses!
5. São Bento Railway Station
Yes, we all know that the real station from which Hogwarts Express departs each September is easily discoverable in London. However, São Bento has something magical and I like to believe that this beautiful station has something to do with the birth of Harry Potter saga.
Of course, this feeling can only come because of the knowledge that J. K. Rowling was wandering in Porto for two years and I naturally started to search for more than there is to find. Anyway, São Bento Railway Station is a place to visit for everyone, no matter are you a believer of wizardry world, or not.
4. Porto Students Uniform
Sadly, due to the shock I experienced the moment I saw them, I couldn’t manage to take a photo of the coolest students in the world. Porto college students are walking dressed in capes! In the same magically looking black capes that we have imagined from J. K. Rowling books and the same that we saw on Harry Potter movies. Dear Reader, it is crazy, insane and… AMAZING!
P. S. You can’t miss this just because I was to shocked to take a pic. Check the uniforms here.
3. Majestic Café
Majestic Café is the most beautiful café that I have ever seen. It is one of the oldest and definitely the most popular café in Porto opened since 1920s. Due to it’s retro interior, which is rich in wood, blurry mirrors, white marble, golden details, and history this place resembles probably the most of Hogwarts in the city of Porto. In addition to this, legend says that this was the place, where between her classes, J. K. Rowling started to create wizarding world.
2. Cloisters of Se Cathedral
Porto Cathedral as a piece of Hogwarts in Porto, was my latest, but one of the major discoveries. To be fair, not the Cathedral itself, but its cloisters from Gothic period is the thing to see. If not the whitely blue azulejos1 on the walls, I would have thought that I am walking in the movie between my magical lessons. Though, I love those Portuguese tiles – they looks perfect there.
1. Livraria Lello Bookstore
Livraria Lello is my No. 1 magical place in Porto because of two reasons. Firstly, I found out that Porto has been an inspiration for HP saga, because of Livraria Lello. This bookstore is undoubtedly the most popular magical place in Porto. In fact, after the release of Harry Potter books it became so popular, that owners faced tourist-overload problem. Today, before entering Livraria Lello you have to buy ticket for 3 Eur, which later you can spend inside the bookstore.
Second thing about me and Livraria Lello is that I love books and bookstores in general. And when I first saw those spectacularly curvy red stairs, retro wooden ornaments above the shelves full of beautifully illustrated books, I decided that this bookstore just became mine favourite. If you ask me what is the best thing to do in Porto, I would say to go Livraria Lello by one of Harry Potter books and go to read it to the beach or to Jardins do Palácio de Cristal.
Porto shines in a magical aura, and it’s not only because of these 6 things. Narrow hilly streets, dark wooden facades, high and narrow houses reminds Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Sculptures on main city fountain Is Fonte dos Leões reminds Gryffindor Lion. And even Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar can brought a thought or two is he an inspiration fro Salazar Slytherin.
Dear Reader, if you haven’t been to the second biggest and definitely the most charming city in Portugal, you need to go packing and go on a road. We, meanwhile, are waiting for your experience and thoughts about magic of Porto in comments.