Porto is an incredibly picturesque city that is visited by millions of tourists every single year. It is easy to understand why when we look at the top attractions that the city offers. However, although the top attractions of Porto are definitely great, you might want to experience more private tours in Porto in order to see some of the hidden gems, those locations that locals want to keep to themselves. With this in mind, here are some of the top hidden gems in Porto you should consider visiting.
Antigo Velodromo Rainha D. Amelia
The former Maria Amelia Velodrome is definitely the top hidden place in the city of Porto. It is perfectly hidden behind a pretty large gate and you rarely see it listed on a traveler tour. The velodrome’s history can be traced to 1862. This is when King D. Pedro V bought the Palace of Carrancas with the purpose of turning it into the royal family’s official residence.
King D. Carlos I then offers land in 1894 to the Porto Association of the Velo Club so that a velodrome can be built there. The name Maria Amelia was obvious as at that point in time since it was normal to offer the name of the consort queen.
After being built, the velodrome became the largest sports venue in Porto, with 2 tennis courts and a track covering 333.33 meters. Countless sports events and races were held there along the years. In 1910 the velodrome was closed and slowly forgotten.
If you want to find the velodrome, go to the Soares dos Reins National Museum. It is located right behind it.
Capela do Sr. de Alem
This chapel was built in the year 1877 and should be visited by all people that are inspired by ruined monuments. The original one was actually built in 1140 due to a picture of the Lord found during the building of a St. Nicholas dedicated convent. Then, conflicts appeared due to this image. Gaia’s inhabitants basically lent the image to Porto but Porto never returned it. The stolen image was practically stolen and Gaia ended up with an incredible hidden place that all tourists should consider visiting. If you decide to visit, knock on the door. The guardian will actually welcome you.
Chambers Of Torture Of PIDE
PIDE was a security service for the state that operated during the dictatorship of the Portuguese. Close to Prado do Repouso Cemetery’s entrance, you can find the Military Museum of Porto. Here is where you find a secretive Porto hidden gem.
This is a building that housed PIDE delegations for tens of years. It was were arrests, torture and interrogation happened. In fact, over 7,600 dictatorship dissenters were questioned and tortured here, on the top floor. At the ground floor you can find the cells.
The torture that happened here was horrible. According to historians, “exercise of the statue” was the most common torture method used. It meant that the person accused had to stand until all questions were answered. This process went on for days and days. The brutal suppression of even the lowest fainting was enforced.
Cemetery Of Agramonte – Jewish Gravestone
In the Cemetry of Agramonte, there are numerous Catholic tombs. Among them, you can see a gravestone that is simple and has no props, except small stones that are usually placed on the Jewish gravestones, which is a ritual that has Biblical tradition.
The reason why this is impressive is that Jews were actually expelled from the country in the fifteenth century. The Porto Jewish community is actually really small. It is really rare to see such a Jewish gravestone and you can use this as an excuse to see the beautiful cemetery that is rarely ever visited.
The Oldest Porto Café
Café Porta do Olival does not stand out when you walk by it but it is actually the oldest one in the city. It was opened in the year 1853 and is older than Majestic and Guarany, which are better-known among tourists.
The small café is located close to the Clerigos tower and hides an even more interesting hidden gem, a small arch that is a very important door when looking at the city’s medieval walls.
Medieval walls in Porto were built in 1336 to 1376 and the door we mentioned, Porto do Olival, is the one used by Philippa of Lancaster to enter Porto when getting married to King D. Joao I. It was this marriage that established a really important alliance between England and Portugal.