The neighbor on the move
Matosinhos is the neighboring city to the north of Porto. This is where the busiest beach of Porto metro area is located, with a wide promenade by the sea, restaurants, surfing lessons and an aquarium.
It is a privileged residential area and where you can stay if you want to be within walking distance of downtown Porto and next to the sea. Check here the hotels in Matosinhos.
What to see in Matosinhos?
Matosinhos is full of restaurants serving seafood. On Rua Heróis de França you will find many places to eat fresh fish. Most of them buy from local fishermen at the fishing pier (located on the same street) every morning.
You can also visit the Matosinhos Municipal Market to buy fish, fruits and vegetables or to try the restaurants.
Coming to this area means eating well, strolling by the sea, taking a surfing lesson, riding a bike or skateboarding, eating an ice cream while looking at the beach or sitting and watching the sunset on a café terrace.
Coming from Porto along the seafront, you’ll know you’ve arrived in Matosinhos when you encounter the “Rotunda da Anemona”, adorned with a huge red net, the work of artist Janet Echelman. This piece represents the industrial and maritime legacy of Porto and Matosinhos.
Sea Life Porto
Technically part of Foz, but in this same area, is Sea Life Porto. This aquarium can be a good option for those traveling with family or people who have a special interest in this type of attraction. See more recommended activities for children in Porto.
In this Atlantic beach the water temperature can be freezing for many visitors and locals as well, being at 59º F during winter and around 64º F during summer. The beach is not recommended for bathing, due to the quality of its waters which is poorer than most of its neighbors. In fact, not far away there are even some with the blue flag award (a recognition of the water quality and the services offered by the beach).
However it is the most popular and visited beach in the area. Very popular with surfers from all over Porto and its surroundings.
Surfing in Matosinhos
From the “Edificio Transparente” (transparent building), a glass construction next to the beach of Matrosinhos, you begin to find the surf schools of the area. You can ask the schedule of the next class and join your instructor to enter the sea in just a few steps.
Classes last about an hour, and prices range from 25€ to 35€. Wetsuit and surfboard are included.
The sea in this area is safe, thanks to the wall of the Cruise Port that you see on the right side of the beach. However, we advise you to go in with an instructor if it is your first time, for your safety and for the safety of the other swimmers on the beach.
In this area there is also plenty of space for biking and skateboarding.
Parque da Cidade
The Parque da Cidade is the most beautiful park in Porto, and one of the most beautiful in Portugal. Its wide green spaces are perfect for walking, jogging, cycling, picnics, meditation, you name it …
It is perfect to visit with children and let them walk safely.
Inside the park, there is a small interactive museum known as “Pavilhao da Agua” (water pavilion), where the activities and exhibit are, as expected, related to water. The displays are suitable even for the little ones.
Marés swimming pool
Past the port of Leixões and across the Leça river, a little further north, is the beach of Leça da Palmeira, where the famous saltwater pools made by the internationally renowned Portuguese architect Siza Vieira are located.
They are called Piscina da Marés, and during the summer season it opens its doors to receive visitors.
This architectural complex is public and can be accessed by paying around 3€ per person. It is worth visiting on a hot day and especially if there are children in the group.
How to get to Matosinhos
Metro: line A or blue line goes to Senhor de Matosinhos, which is the center of Matosinhos. But all the stops from Camara de Matosinhos leave us close to the city. For example, for the restaurant area it is better to get off at Brito Capelo or at the Market (Mercado in Portuguese). If we want to go to the beach, it is better to get off at Matosinhos Sul station.
Sometimes, the bus can go even faster than the metro because in Porto a long stretch of the tracks are on the surface. To go to Matosinhos it is convenient to take bus 500, which starts its route in the center of Porto, in Aliados, and can drop you off at Castelo do Queijo, the “Edificio Transparente”, Matosinhos Beach or to the Matosinhos Market, which is the final stop.
To go to Leça da Palmeira and visit the Piscina da Marés, take the 507.
The Porto tourist bus also goes to Matosinhos.