Streets of Porto – Carlos Alberto Square

Let’s discover Porto’s streets! This week: Carlos Alberto Square.

Carlos Alberto Square is a pleasant place to check during a walk in Porto’s downtown! The square got it’s name after the former King of Piedmont and Sardinia, who came to live in Porto after he lost his throne in 1849. Before he moved to his official residence at Quinta da Macieirinha (next to the Crystal Palace Gardens) he lived in a mansion located right at this square – known as Palacete dos Viscondes de Balsemão.

carlos alberto

A long time ago, this place was the junction of two important roads that connected the old city of Porto with Braga (through where is now Cedofeita Street) and Guimarães (through Oliveiras Street). The place was known as Farrier Square because it was where the horses got ready for the long journeys ahead! In the 19th century the square was also important because it was the starting point of the first “american car” line, the precursor of the famous trams (“eléctricos” in Portuguese) used in Portugal.

In 1928 was inaugurated the “Monumento aos Mortos da Grande Guerra” (translated as Monument to the Departed in the First War), made by Henrique Moreira. And more recently, in 2006, the square and its surroundings were rehabilitated with the intention to attract more people to this area of Porto. For sure it worked! Nowadays Carlos Alberto Square is very popular between locals and tourists. Here’s some suggestions of where to go and what to do there:

On Saturdays you can stroll through the square and check some great stuff made locally, at Porto Belo street market. Vinyls, design clothes, vintage items, bio and organic products… a lot of original things! Good place to find that unique gift to take back home. Porto Belo market happens every Saturday, from 10am to 7pm.

Make a quick stop at Quiosque da Ramadinha to try some Ginga, a kind of liquor very typical in Lisbon (usually made in Óbidos or Alcobaça). It’s not the traditional way of having it, but you can drink it in a small cup made of chocolate! They also have different typical pastry delicacies that you must try, like Queijadas de Tentúgal. Opened everyday (except when it’s raining!) from 10am to 7pm.

Mustache Café opened in 2011 and since then is a place of choice for people looking for a place to study, have informal meetings or simply to have a delicious coffee drink or an awesome piece of cake. With a super cool atmosphere, Mustache is a great place to have a break and chill during your walks through the city center. Working hours: Monday to Wednesday 8am to 8pm; Thursday to Saturday, 8am to 2am; Sundays 2pm to 8pm.

Embaixada Lomográfica is a great mix of store, coffee place and bar. On the ground floor you can find awesome analogic cameras and vintage objects; on the 1st floor you can grab a coffee and some quick meal during the day and, at night time, enjoy one of the parties they organize every day of the week (Brazilian music night at Tuesdays, lindy hop on Wednesdays and so on!).

We hope you enjoyed our tips! And if you want to discover Porto downtown and check its coolest places and stores, book a Porto Downtown Tour with us. We will see the true and most hype side of the city!

To see more suggestions of what to do in other Streets of Porto, click here.

Photos: O Caçula|Facebook|Monumentos Desaparecidos||WeBook Porto|P3 – Público||O diário da Inês|Fugas – Público