When we think of Portugal we never think of spending some quality time at the shopping mall, right? After living here for a while I came to the conclusion that neither do the Portuguese! But, at the mall you can have a bite to eat, browse some stores, and do the biggest trend nowadays: charge your phone while using free wifi! That's why I created this list of the "busiest" malls in Porto so you know where to go according to your needs.
1. Via Catarina: if you are walking around the Bolhão area you will come across this mall since its on the street that takes the same name and it's at one of the most traditional areas of Porto. In my opinion, the best feature of Via Catarina is the food court that imitates the Portuguese houses and also some tables that make you feel like you are in a streetcar. Congratulations to the person who had this idea! Isn't it just too cute?
2. La Vie Baixa Porto: still in the Bolhão area, there's La Vie. It has the famous bookstore Bertrand and it holds some events. Though from what I see, it's just a place for you to chill a little before you go back to sightseeing.
3. Parque Nascente: now this is a relatively big mall but it's away from the tourist area, in Fânzeres. You should go up to Levada station, up the street and in four minutes you're there. Really good for shopping for clothes or groceries (there's an attached supermarket), eat something, go the famous Primark two-floor store, hang out and use free wifi.
4. Shopping Cidade do Porto: this is one of the calmest malls I've ever been to. Close to Casa da Música, Shopping Cidade do Porto may be seen as a perfect place to work online. At its food court, there's free fast wifi and outlets for you to charge you phone, tablet or notebook! Always good to find a place for you to charge your devices nowadays, right?
5. Alameda Shop&Spot: until June this year, 2016, this mall used to be called Dolce Vita, but nothing has changed just the name. It's peak hours are just before a game starts at Estádio do Dragão, Porto's soccer team stadium, which is in front of the mall. There's a nice water fountain and a glass floor on the first floor. Easy access from the subway station, another place to have a bite to eat and just chill.
6. Mar Shopping: this one is a big mall, considering that the famous Ikea store is there! Since it's really away from tourists and with no public transportation nearby, they provide a free shuttle service from Casa da Música bus station every half an hour, round trip.
7. Norte Shopping: biggest mall in the North of Portugal! Sete Bicas station is full of shoppers holding their shopping bags! Remember, Portugal is not famous for its shopping malls, but this is a modern one with 267 stores (including Primark), and its ground floor is made of those Portuguese cobblestones which is really nice, because you don't feel like you are in a mall, it seems like you're outdoors.
Each one of them brings some special feature as I have highlighted, and at all of them you'll feel comfortable and safe and will definitely charge your own energy to go back there and appreciate all that Portugal can offer you. So, you see, in case you were wondering if there were any malls in Porto, you just found the perfect post!