Philip King: A day in Porto


We love to travel, but staying at home can be a lot of fun too. To inspire you to explore your own backyard, we’ve asked a few friends to guide us through a perfect day in their home town. Third in this series is Philip King, who takes us around Porto.

Leaving from our home near the sea in Foz, I walk up along the Avenida do Mar. Gomes da Costa. The homes along this wide sunny avenue seem reminiscent of Beverly Hills: lots of big old houses, some Spanish style, some very Sunset Boulevard.

This route takes me past Serralves, a museum of contemporary art, with its beautiful French-style gardens and pink Art Deco house. At dusk you can pretend you have a starring role in ‘Last Year At Marienbad’.

A slight detour down the back streets and we reach a colourfully painted estate called The Musicians, as the streets are named after Portuguese classical musicians.

On Avenida da Boavista I pass a 1970s optician sign I always covet, all the more so when it’s lit up at night. The optician is still there, on a side street.

Then onwards, past the Rem Koolhaas-designed Casa da Musica where I guested onstage with the group I used to be in, The Jesus And Mary Chain.

On the other side of Avenida da Boavista there are a lot more Art Deco buildings. Also lots of interesting tiles, doors, door knockers etc.

There’s a bookshop I like to go to called Livraria Alfarrabista Varadero, which is towards the top end of the Avenida da Boavista. They sell mainly used Portuguese books and magazines, such as a great ’60s one I picked up called Mundo Moderno, and they also sometimes have old magazines and comics in English for sale.

Rua do Almada has a lot of interesting bric-a-brac shops, the Louie Louie record store, and bars to stop off at and have a Portuguese beer – or two.

Another recommended place to get a drink is Candelabro in Rua da Conceicao, which is housed in a former bookstore. The bookcases are still there, filled with old film cameras, projectors and books and magazines.

A few doors down is a comic and magazine shop called Timtimportimtim, which is always very interesting to browse in.

After stopping in at a couple more record shops (Porto Calling and Muzak Vinil) I’ll walk down to Ribeira and get the tram back to Porto along the Douro River.

Along the way we travel under the Ponte da Arrabida bridge – which connects Porto to Gaia. Once I get off the tram in Foz, I am by the outlet from the Douro to the Atlantic Sea. Next stop, New York. Nearby is the Farol de Felgueiras lighthouse and Praia dos Ingleses beach.

Philip King is a musician who has played with The Jesus & Mary Chain, Felt and Lush (among others) and is the picture editor on music magazine Uncut.

Published 4 September 2018

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