As you can imagine, the best things to see and do in Porto are not restricted exclusively to the busy summer months when the streets of this city are flooded with millions of tourists in search of an authentic and fun Portuguese experience. In fact, during February you can get to know a whole new side of this community popularly known as the capital of northern Portugal.
I invite you to familiarize yourself with the sites, plans and events I will mention below. For each and every one of them offers you quality entertainment so that you can enjoy Porto on your own terms, in comfort and in a completely memorable way.
1. Celebrate Valentine's Day with dinner Portuguese style
Valentine's Day is one of the most important dates in the month of February on an international level and this is something that Portugal is well aware of. For it tries to advertise itself as a destination that presents itself to the world as a seat of romanticism as important and influential as Paris.
Therefore, it is a good idea that you propose to have a romantic dinner of Portuguese food during this day if it happens to coincide with your visit to Oporto during the month of February. Some places to consider are:
- Café Majestic, with its Belle Epoque aesthetics.
- Café Santiago with its simple, but well-known proposal of Portuguese street food.
- Casa da Mariquinhas, which offers a typical Portuguese dinner with a Fado show.
At the same time, you don't have to sit in just one restaurant to enjoy the food during February 14th. The best gastronomic tours in Porto are a good way to familiarize yourself with the Portuguese culinary world without having to give up your tourist interests.
2. Enjoy a good wine tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia is that city that is located right in front of Porto's riverside and is characterized by its strong cultural and commercial association with the different wine cellars that have their headquarters there for a couple of centuries.
At the same time, February is an ideal month to visit this area not only for its low tourist influx, but also for the fact that most of the wineries will be offering wine tastings that combine perfectly with the winter season weather conditions. Keep in mind that the ideal Port wine for a summer evening is usually not the same as the one recommended for a cold winter evening.
Some of the wineries you should seriously consider for these wine tastings are Sanderman and Burmester, as they are among the oldest. Plus, their facilities are impressive. There are many wine tours that tour these and many other wineries in Porto.
3. Visit the World of Discoveries museum
The World of Discoveries is a museum with mechanized and interactive exhibits that focuses on the history behind Portuguese colonization around the globe and the strong influence that Portuguese explorations had on the connection between Europe and the new world.
Keep in mind that February is an ideal month to visit it because of the low tourist influx that will allow you to tour the museum's facilities with peace of mind and also because it is an entertaining and safe plan to escape the cold that characterizes the season.
The museum is located in the Miragaia neighborhood and this is also convenient, because when you leave you could explore the area that is also characterized by its architectural beauty. Just as in the case of its neighboring Ribeira neighborhood. Tickets to the World of Discoveries in Porto offer you one of the best children's entertainment opportunities in the whole city.
4. Party with the locals in trendy neighborhoods
The months with a low tourist influx such as February are known in Porto for being the party season par excellence. And it is clear that summer has a very significant nightlife throughout its length, but winter is the time when the locals take to the streets to have fun with the intention of escaping the routine.
So if you are looking to live the night in Oporto under the terms and traditions of the locals, note the best neighborhoods to party:
- The Galerias de Paris street area is the party district par excellence when it comes to going out dancing, as its proximity to the University of Porto makes it very much associated with Porto's youth.
- The Ribeira district in the heart of the historic center of the city is also full of bars a little quieter and more conceptual than those in the university area of Porto.
- Matosinhos and Foz do Douro are other neighborhoods that also have a significantly attractive nightlife scene, but keep in mind that they are not exactly close to the center.
Don't miss a fado concert in Porto
But going out at night and not seeing a fado show in Portugal is a mistake. Listening to this traditional Portuguese song live is a delight for your ears and there are many places that for a very affordable price allow you to enjoy it also in Porto.
5. Enjoy a concert of the winter season at the Casa da Música
The Casa da Música is the concert hall of the National Orchestra of Porto as well as two other philharmonic orchestras of the city. It is a modern building that over the past two decades has become one of the city's architectural icons.
The orchestras that use this cultural venue as their main concert hall are in the middle of their winter performance cycle throughout the month of February. That means you will always have a chance to catch a show no matter what week of the month your visit to Porto falls on.
6. Participate in the Ovar Carnival
February is synonymous with carnival in many parts around the world and specifically in the south of Porto one of the most famous in all of Portugal is celebrated. It is the Carnival of Ovar, which is a festivity that extends during the 4 weeks of the month, starting with an internal parade of the participating samba schools and orchestras and ends with the carnival contest.
That means that during the whole month of February you will have the opportunity to enjoy this carnival that takes place in the coastal city of Ovar, about 40 kilometers south of the metropolitan area of Porto.
This is one of those excellent activities to do with children in Porto due to the fact that the allegorical costumes that combine elements of Portuguese culture with the well-known Brazilian elements can be very entertaining for the little ones of the house.
In addition, for adults it is a good way to understand first-hand the connection between Portuguese traditions and other customs associated with Brazil.
7. Visit Claus Porto's facilities
Claus Porto is a brand dedicated to the artisanal production of soaps and perfumes that is over 130 years old. During this period the business has established itself as one of the major references when it comes to quality and luxury in the field of creation and marketing of fragrances.
So February is a good time to visit the facilities of the store that is inspired by the one where Claus Porto started out as one of the giants of the local industry.
That's because during this month all kinds of workshops are held on the handcrafted elaboration of soaps of the highest olfactory and aesthetic quality. It's also a good time to take advantage of discounts from one of the most famous Portuguese luxury brands of all under attractive and compelling prices.
The store is located on Rua das Flores, right in the historic heart of the city. Perfectly, it can be a short stop on your itinerary when you find yourself walking from the Torre dos Clérigos to the Porto Cathedral, or in the opposite direction of this route.
8. Visit the best museums in the city to protect you from the cold
Porto is full of museums that relate to its extensive history or its architectural values, as well as the classical or modern art that has developed among Portuguese society throughout its history. Visiting them can be an excellent idea during the month of February as they are a safe escape from the cold in addition to the low tourist influx. I tell you which are the main ones:
- Serralves Museum, can be a good alternative if you want to know a space dedicated to contemporary art in an urban complex that also has one of the jewels of Portuguese Art Deco.
- National Museum Soares dos Reis, is more advisable if you are interested in the Portuguese decorative arts that were created from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century.
- Port Wine Museum, offers you the chance to familiarize yourself with the history behind the region's wine industry.
- Porto Museum of Photography, can be a fun experience if you highlight the fact that its facilities are located in an old building that was once the city's prison.
9. Go shopping at the Bolhão Market
Many say that to experience the true essence of a place you need to go shopping at a public market that is frequented by locals. This is exactly what a visit to the Bolhão Market offers you, since it is an establishment that has been opening its doors for more than a century to all locals who need to buy everything from meat and fish to flowers and condiments for their culinary preparations.
As you walk through its different levels you will see up close the way of life that the average local has on a daily basis. You will also be in a privileged location due to its proximity to Avenida dos Aliados and Rua Santa Catarina, two of the most important commercial and tourist areas in downtown Porto.
The second reason is that you will also be able to see up close the ingredients that define Porto's culinary world during the winter. For you don't usually eat the same thing during the winter and during the summer, at least in the north of Portugal. In fact, this visit can be one of the things to see and do in Porto during the winter, at least if you enjoy a cultural visit like this one.
10. Take advantage of the seasonal change discounts
Portugal is known for having more favorable prices than many of the other European Union countries, at least when it comes to commercial consumer products. In turn, February is a month that is plagued with discounts from the beginning to the end due to the change of season and the need to sell to the maximum all the merchandise left over from the autumn and winter months.
Shopping malls like Alameda Shopping are a good option if you are interested in having a shopping session in one place. In turn, the entire Rua Santa Catarina is known to be the most commercial street in all of Porto.
It is not superfluous to recommend you to leave the shopping session for the afternoon or evening. Most of the stores will remain open, and the rest of the tourist attractions usually close their doors at about 5 pm.
Temperatures in Porto in February
Northern Portugal tends to have colder weather than the rest of the country during the winter and so you can expect temperatures ranging from 10 degrees Celsius to negative numbers. The average temperature for the month of February is usually around 8 or 9 degrees Celsius.
The number of tourists in Oporto in February
February is an ideal month to visit Porto without having to deal with thousands and thousands of tourists all over the city. This month has left behind the tourist influx of Christmas and the arrival of tourists associated with the beginning of spring has not yet begun.
Prices in Porto in February
The prices in Porto in February are another very convenient factor, since it is the low season then the prices also fall with the intention of capturing the largest number of tourists and consumers. This is something that is not a problem in summer and therefore the excessive demand makes prices rise quickly.
What to pack to visit Porto in February?
Porto in February is characterized by humid and slightly rainy weather. Therefore I advise you to pack comfortable shoes for walking around the city, but it is important that you pay even more attention to the coats you choose. For it is preferable that they are waterproof and versatile enough to be used in all kinds of contexts.