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When planning a holiday to Portugal, many LGBTQ travellers may immediately think that Lisbon is to the go-to place when it comes to planning any gay Portugal travel trips. But I’m here today to tell you that you should definitely not discount the beautiful and grandiose city of Porto in the north.
Porto is a stunning city with history, charm and personality by the bucket loads and offers up an array of gay-friendly travel and entertainment options for any would be LGBTQ visitor. In this Porto Gay Travel Guide I’m going to outline all you need to know to plan your next holiday as a gay traveller to Porto in Portugal.
If you’ve already read my Lisbon Gay Travel Guide, then you’ll know that Portugal is a surprisingly open-minded and tolerant country when it comes to gay rights. This is of course especially more so in the bigger cities such as Lisbon or Porto. But even if travelling through remote towns and cities you may only get the odd side-ward glance with very little hostility to speak of.
Not only will you find general social tolerance, but Portugal has also passed several laws providing for some of the best gay rights policies in the world!
Naturally, as in any destination that you do travel to, you may encounter isolated acts of hate crime or violence. If you happen to be the victim of such an incident then you should immediately report this by phoning 112 (Portugal’s single Emergency phone line) or by going to the nearest police station. The Portuguese police take matters such as these extremely seriously.
In saying this, these incidents are very, very rare and in my almost 3 years of living in Portugal I have never felt threatened or unsafe as a gay man and traveller.
Porto doesn’t have a specific or demarcated gay district, but whenever we visit, we absolutely love to stay in the city centre close by to the Sao Bento train station or in and around the Avenida Aliados. Thankfully Porto is quite a compact city and if you stay anywhere close to these areas, you will very easily be able to get around town on foot.
Casa Alegria – Gay Guest House, markets itself as a gay resort / guest house located in the district of Bonfim. It is worth noting that this is not an exclusively gay property.
Casa Alegria – Gay Guest Hosue – check rates and availability on Booking.com
Although there aren’t any other exclusively gay hotels in Porto, as a gay traveller in Portugal you will feel welcome in almost any hotel or guest house you book into. Having said that, some of my favourite hotels in the city includes:
The PortoBay Teatro Hotel – check rates and availability on Booking.com
PortoBay Flores Hotel – check rates and availability on Booking.com
InterContintental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas – check rates and availability on Booking.com
Maison Albar Hotels Le Monumental Palace – check rates and availability on Booking.com
If you’re looking for other hotel options then check out rates & availability on all properties throughout Porto on Booking.com here.
Alternatively, there are several gay hosted apartments in and around the city offered through misterbandb.com. If you haven’t already signed up, feel free to use my invite code and you’ll get a discount on your first booking.
Also be sure to read my post on 27 Incredible Palace Hotels in Portugal that you can stay at for added inspiration on hotels may want to book, both in Porto as well as in other parts of Portugal.
Porto Pride – If you plan on visiting Porto at the beginning of July, then why not check out the annual Porto Pride that usually takes place around this time? Pride here is perhaps not on the same scale as you’d find in other parts of Europe or around the World. But it’s still an important and great event to be a part of. Hey, you may even make a few out & proud Portuguese friends along the way too!
Queer Porto – International Queer Film Festival – Having originally started in Lisbon and owing to its huge success, the Queer Porto International Film Festival was subsequently launched in the city in 2015. Normally taking place around October, it features several LGBTQ films and is growing stronger every year. You will usually also find a range of related activities and events centred around the Film Festival. So be sure to check out their site for all the up to date info and schedules.
Porto definitely has a diverse, fun and unique gay scene. With many different bars and clubs to choose from, I can almost assure you that you’ll have an awesome time painting the town pink!
Again, it is worth noting that Portugal gay clubs and bars are not necessarily on the same scale in terms of size as you may come to expect from other European gay hubs such as, say Berlin or Barcelona. But I guess that is exactly what I find so appealing about Portugal’s gay club scene. It adds a touch of Portuguese realness and is uniquely different from what you’ll find elsewhere.
So, here are some of Porto’s most well-known and loved gay bars & clubs.
Bar Conceiçâo 35 – So, let’s talk happy hour. Well, who doesn’t love a good happy hour, right?! And here is the place to be. Having been branded by some as the ‘hipster’ hangout in Lisbon, they definitely attract a fun crowd and also host regular parties and themed events too. So be sure to check out their Facebook page to join in on all the fun!
Bar Labirintho – Definitely a tad more alternative, trendy & artsy, Bar Labirintho recently celebrated their 31st anniversary, making them one of the oldest gay bars / clubs in Porto. Their events, that happen regularly, include amongst others live music, jazz and other non-traditional types. Drawing in a mixed crowd and offering up a different perspective, you definitely have to visit.
Café Lusitano – Sophisticated and very trendy, we were struck by Café Lusitano’s gorgeous interiors that take you back to Paris and the grand belle époque era. This is definitely one of my favourites in Porto. We got to enjoy a smaller drag show (with only two drag queens), but they were fab!! And then we danced the night away sipping very strong G&T’s (strong – seemingly the norm in Portugal when it comes to drinks shots).
Club 1906 – This is an exclusive adult only club for men that requires that you are a registered member before you can join in on any of the events they host. They host a range of parties, socials and events that are strictly for over 18’s and there are guidelines that you need to adhere to in order to retain membership. Their website provides all the info you may need.
Fabrik – If you’re after ‘trendy’, then Fabrik is the place for you. Their cocktails are fantastic and they also host several themed parties and events too.
Invictus – Probably one of the most popular clubs to enjoy the Porto drag scene at is Invictus. Be sure to check out their Facebook page for upcoming drag shows and events.
Pride Bar Nightclub – One of the main and most popular gay clubs in Porto is Pride Bar Nightclub. Here you’ll have an awesome night out, partying the night away and enjoy some drag too. They are always hosting new events & themed parties, so be sure to check out the Pride Bar Nightclub Facebook page for all their upcoming events.
Pride Coffee – The name may give it away, but if you haven’t guessed already, Pride Coffee is a chilled gay café during the daytime, converting into a bar at night. They also host many events featuring guest DJ’s, themed parties and more.
Zoom – Another of the main Porto gay nightclubs worth mentioning is Zoom. Set in an old warehouse, this club attracts a fairly mixed and eclectic crowd happy to dance the night away. It’s a great club to visit with lots of cool events, parties and themed evenings to enjoy.
If you’re looking for gay-friendly tours & activities in Porto, then check out:
Gayting’Out – offers an exclusive and bespoke gay travel service in Porto. The company was founded by 3 friends who wanted to provide the gay community with a truly unique experience that will no doubt leave you with wonderful memories of Porto! Visit their site for more info on what they have to offer.
Now, it’s not to say that you have to stick to gay only tours & activities in Porto. The city has so much on offer, whether you’re planning a Hop On Hop Off city sightseeing tour, or want to enjoy a Fado Show with Porto Wine, or perhaps venture out on a stunning Douro Valley Tour with wine tasting, cruise & lunch , Porto honestly has something for everyone to enjoy.
Visit Get Your Guide to view rates & availability for tours & activities in Porto.
If you’re looking for a Gay Sauna / Bath House in Porto then you’re in luck. There are two gay saunas currently operating in the city. They are:
Sauna Camões – Having been in operation for over 20 years (previously under a different name), Sauna Camões is the oldest gay sauna in Porto. It has all the facilities you’d expect and draws in a nice mixed group of guys.
Sauna Termas 205 – This sauna is a popular choice for many and offers a range of different facilities including dark rooms, private rooms, a video/cinema room, sauna, steam room and a Turkish bath to name a few. They also host regular and very popular themed events.
The Portuguese Cock – For a bit of tongue in cheek fun, why not buy the perfect gay themed souvenir from The Portuguese Cock store, as your perfect keepsake to remind you of your visit to Porto!
This store offers a range of rainbow and multi-coloured handcrafted items. From the Portuguese Cock (Rooster that is), to rainbow coloured saints and sardines, there’s a healthy dose of humour and fun, done the Portuguese way! Check their Facebook page for more info.
ЯOK Fotografia – If you want to try out something unique, then why not consider a professional photo shoot by a photographer in Porto. Able to do both indoor and outdoor photo shoots in Porto, ЯOK Fotografia can do any type & style of photography ranging from couple shoots, erotic or nude shoots to portraits.
The Portuguese take social & community responsibility very seriously and in Porto you will find a host of different associations and groups focused on different spheres of LGBTQ life.
These range from sexual health awareness and support through to activism and issues of gay rights, equality, general community support and more. Some of these important groups & associations include Abraço, APF, Associação Plano I, Centro GIS, LGBT Center and Médicos do Mundo that all play an integral part in the community.
O MAP – Motociclistas Alternativos Portugueses – The Portuguese Alternative Motorcyclists group is an inclusive LGBTQ motorcycle club that host regular events, meetings, get togethers and biking adventures with aim of brining different members of the community together through a shared passion for biking. Check out their site for upcoming events and to find out more.
I have to say, every time my partner and I visit Porto we fall that much more in love with the city. Not only is Porto a stunning and beautiful city, but it also offers up so much to see & do and not even to mention all the gay-friendly clubs, activities and entertainment as listed in this Gay Porto Portugal Travel Guide. As such, I can highly recommend you visit!
Have you already visited the city and tried out any of the places, clubs or activities mentioned in this guide? If so, then I would love to hear about your experiences visiting Porto as a gay or LGBTQ traveller.
Feel free to share this post or comment below adding any tips & suggestions I may have left off that you think may be relevant / useful to others.
Welcome! I'm Marco Santos a.k.a Travel-Boo. A South African & Portuguese travel blogger connecting with my Portuguese roots. Since I've moved to Portugal from South Africa permanently a few years ago, I've decide to share my story of discovery of all things Portugal travel related. So follow along and see what makes this beautiful country so very special!
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