Although Porto is smaller than Lisbon, you will be surprised by the wide range of activities that you can find here in the north of Portugal. This is the city where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean – and the perfect place to enjoy the sun at the beach or at one of the many parks around the city center. The old town highlights nine centuries of Portuguese history – but don’t think that Porto is only about heritage. The city is a vibrant place to discover cool bars and cafes, concerts and shows, and an emerging dance scene that continues to grow stronger. In this article, Inês Carvalho and Bernardo Queiros of Diagonal Dance share their top Porto dance and travel recommendations.
Bonus tip: A perk of visiting Porto? You can explore the main attractions of Porto by walking! On weekends, you can also find many activities for free including dance classes, live music and yoga sessions.
Dance in Porto: Diagonal Dance Suggestions
Dance Class in Porto: Contemporary Dance with Companhia Instável
At Companhia Instável, you can take contemporary dance classes, where you experience what it’s like to be part of a professional company. They also have multiple professional development opportunities! The best part? They are based at one of the main Porto’s theatres (Teatro Campo Alegre).
Porto Dance Company: Circolando (Contemporary Dance)
Founded in 1999, Circolando is a Porto-based contemporary dance company that has toured both nationally and internationally in many countries across Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.
Its ethos is strongly connected with collaboration – not only with established artists but also with emerging performers and choreographers, who can find at Circolando a chance to learn, explore and create new pieces of work. The company building welcomes more than 20 artistic residencies per year, open to people from all around the world.
Theater in Porto: Rivoli Theatre
Rivoli is the main public theater in Porto, located in the heart of the city center. Since 2014, the Portuguese choreographer Tiago Guedes has served as its Artistic Director, and he has been making efforts to increase the number of dance shows in the city. You can experience bold and diverse programming, from local independent artists to world-famous companies at Rivoli Theatre. This is why it has become one of the best places to watch and discover dance in Portugal, with regular dance shows alongside theatre performances, concerts and cinema screenings.
Porto Dance Festival: Festival DDD
The DDD (Festival Dias da Dança) is a contemporary dance festival organized by the councils of three cities: Porto, Matosinhos and Gaia. The festival happens every year between April and May, presenting a wide range of shows in traditional venues, but some are also performed in public spaces. DDD is considered the biggest international contemporary dance festival in Portugal. Beyond the performances, you can also take part in workshops, classes for dance professionals, discussions and parties.
Dance attraction in Porto: Jardim da Cordoaria
This is a recent dance attraction for all dance lovers: on Sundays, local dance artists come together at the public Jardim da Cordoaria garden (also known as Jardim de João Chagas), where they perform and teach free classes for all ages. We can guarantee that this is an experience that you will never forget!
While you’re in Porto, Portugal…
As you can see, there’s plenty of dance, including contemporary dance, in Porto – but the Portuguese city has more to offer. Spend the rest of your trip surfing, taking in the sights or relaxing at an upscale spa in The Yeatman Hotel. To make the most of your trip to Porto, Portugal, follow these additional Porto travel tips by Diagonal Dance.
Porto Yoga Class: OM Porto Yoga
Enjoy a Hatha yoga class at OM Porto Yoga, founded by Brazilian Edna Mendes, one of the city’s first yoga instructors. Although this yoga studio is located in the busy street of Santa Catarina, you’ll completely forget you are in the city center once you enter the room!
Spa in Porto: Caudalie Vinothérapie® Spa at The Yeatman Hotel
Situated in one of the country’s most luxurious hotels, visiting the Caudalie Vinothérapie® Spa promises the experience of a lifetime. You can relax in the Roman bath or sauna while you look at the Porto’s skyline over the Douro River. They also provide a range of massages.
Porto Restaurant: Apuro Vegan Bar
Our favourite restaurant in town is Apuro Vegan Bar. Whether you are a vegan/vegetarian or not, you will love this friendly and cozy athmosphere. Their menu consists of tapas and snacks, salads and ‘burgers’ alongside a selection of craft beer, spirits and wine. Apuro also hosts regular free live music shows.
Porto dining tip: You can’t leave Porto without trying out the two main traditional dishes: Tripas and Francesinha. Also, don’t forget to sample the amazing Porto wine!
Hostel in Porto: Selina Porto
Selina Porto is so well-located that you can enjoy loads of attractions within a short walking distance. The hostel has a library, coworking space, movie room and a nightclub. It’s also a great place if you like to meet new people – both locals and international travelers. You can hang out in the courtyard and meet new friends while dancing to live DJ sets here.
How to spend a day in Porto, Portugal…
You can start a day in Porto by taking a surf class at Praia de Matosinhos before strolling around Parque da Cidade – Porto’s largest public park. Also, don’t forget to visit the iconic Casa da Musica (House of Music) and the museums of Serralves and Soares dos Reis. Palacio de Cristal and Jardim das Virtudes are perfect places for a small break; and then you can walk around Ribeira and visit Torre dos Clérigos: an old tower with breath-taking views of Porto. If you want to enjoy a drink at the end of the day, just walk around Galerias de Paris and pick one of the inviting bars!
All information accurate and up to date at time of posting.
Have you been to Porto, Portugal? And what was your favorite suggestion from Ines and Bernardo’s Porto dance guide? Let us know in the comments below!
diagonal is a platform for dance promotion. It aims to create a more engaging relationship between professionals and audiences by rethinking contemporary dance as an accessible language for everyone.
Dance and artistic creation will never be static processes – and that is why their mission is to support the sector in the areas of promotion and participation. Their work is dedicated to designing a range of services that focuses on the specific features of contemporary dance while responding to the individual needs of each professional artist and organization.