Get ready to rediscover the magic of Porto! Who would have thought that Harry Potter, written by the English J.K. Rowling, would learn to walk in the “Invicta”, where she lived between 1991 and 1993, becoming then real on paper after a long stay in the author’s mind? With landscapes as beautiful as those that Porto offers, it is no wonder that Joanne found, in its streets, a safe haven for writing, from the Ribeira to the passionate view that can be appreciated from the Clerigos Tower. All About Portugal did its homework and prepared, for the biggest fans of the saga (and not only), an irresistible route. Are you ready to start this adventure?
To start: Majestic Café
This magical journey begins at the Majestic Café, one of the oldest and most emblematic cafés at Porto. Start the itinerary by having breakfast at one of the places that served as an inspiration to J.K. Rowling, who was at the time an English teacher and was married to a Portuguese. In the author's biography, written by Sean Smith, it can be read that J.K. wrote part of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" at the Majestic.
Get to the São Bento Train Station
At the São Bento Station there is no 9/3 platform, like at the reimagined King's Cross, but there are other revelations to discover. Its walls breathe history and the imposing construction seems to hide, in its structure, the secrets of a passage to a fantastic world. We are sure it made an impression on J.K.
Enter Hogwarts through the door of the Lello Bookstore
One of the highlights of this itinerary is the iconic Lello Bookstore, a must-see for Harry Potter fans. The saga also attracted new audiences to the historical Porto store. The central stairways of the store, its crowning jewel, seem to directly teleport the visitor to the School of Witchcraft. Any resemblance to the Flourish and Blotts Bookstore is no coincidence either.
Get to the city centre through Praça da Liberdade
The inclusion of the Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Square) in this itinerary is rather symbolic, in addition to it being a point of passage for the remaining attractions. Portugal succeeded in liberating itself from a dictatorial regime in 1974, whose highest representative was António de Oliveira Salazar. It is said that this politician may have inspired the character of Salazar Slytherin, founder of one of the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - the Slytherin House. The name seems to confirm that.
Go up to the Rectory of the University of Porto
One thing that obviously influenced J.K. Rowling was the Portuguese university students and, particularly, what they wear. The similarities are evident: the academic suit of the national universities is a black suit, a white shirt and a black cape. What do they look like? With the suits of the Hogwarts students, of course!
Pay attention to the Fonte dos Leões, at Praça Gomes Teixeira
Just in front of the main entrance of the University of Porto is the popular Fonte dos Leões (Lions Fountain), well-known for the animals that adorn it. Their wings resemble the statues in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, while the lions remind us of one of the houses, Gryffindor. This was the team selected by the Sorting Hat for Harry Potter to be at.
Travel to the past with the Clérigos' Tower
One of the most painful moments of the whole saga happens in a Tower, in the sixth book, where one of the central characters is assassinated. One of the most well-known and elevated sites of the city, also known as Invicta, is the Clérigos’ Tower, which could have served as an inspiration to the Tower of Astronomy, the highest one in Hogwarts. Although it refers to a sad event in J.K. Rowling's work, the view from its top over Porto will certainly provide some very happy moments.
Pick your broom at the Escovaria de Belomonte
Before you leave Porto's city centre, you can’t miss the “Escovaria de Belomonte” store, opened since 1927. With brooms and all kinds of handmade brushes, this store would fit perfectly in Diagon Alley. The brooms themselves, some hanging from the ceiling, resemble the "flying ones" of the universe created by J.K. Rowling.
Top it all of with the Palácio de Cristal gardens
There's nothing better than to end this itinerary at the wonderful Gardens of the Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace). The author wrote some chapters of the first book in this place, which is said to have inspired the Black Forest of the saga, namely by the aura of mystery that "inhabits" the gardens. Besides the view over the city, this is an authentic outdoor treasure, perfect for those who like to go for walks.