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Is Matosinhos Worth Visiting on a Trip to Porto?

Planning a trip to Porto? Discover reasons to visit Matosinhos. Find out why I think Matosinhos is worth visiting. Plan a Porto day trip to Matosinhos

I recently had the opportunity to visit Porto on a business trip. The meeting venue was outside the city near the airport. One of my Portuguese colleagues suggested staying in Matosinhos rather than at the airport.

Did you know that about 172,000 people call Matosinhos home? This small city (a suburb of Porto, really) sits right on the beach. I couldn't have envisioned a better place to visit for work especially after just returning to Portugal from a trip to Copenhagen in winter).

Is Matosinhos worth visiting? Read on for reasons to consider stopping by whether you are visiting on a business trip or planning a day trip from Porto while on vacation.

Reasons to Visit Matosinhos

I spent about 48 hours in Matosinhos for work and was pleasantly surprised by a number of cool things to do. Below you'll find nine hand-curated reasons to visit Matosinhos based on my personal experience.

Sculptures on the beach in Matosinhos Portugal

1. Walks on the Beach 

Matosinhos is nestled right up against the Atlantic Coast of Portugal. I especially enjoyed walking along the water. I found the winter wind and waves when I visited in January to be invigorating.

Atlantic Ocean views from the Portuguese coast in Matosinhos

2. Sit and Sip at a Beachside Cafe 

What better way to conclude a walk on the beach than with a visit to a beachside cafe. I stopped for a tosta and a glass of wine at Lais de Guia. 

Steep in the winter sunshine and watch surfers catch a wave. I found that the sound of the waves and wind gave my Matosinhos cafe experience an especially calming vibe.

Beachside cafe in Matosinhos Portugal

3. Matosinhos has a Fortress - Castelo do Queijo 

Matosinhos has an atmospheric fort called Castelo do Queijo. At first, I thought, "why is there a cheese castle here?!" 

Then, I learned that Castelo do Queijo is so named because it was built on a cheese-shaped rock in the 17th century. 

Castelo do Queijo in Matosinhos

For just 0.50 EUR you can go into the fort and have a look around. There is a small museum exhibit (in Portuguese). I found that the best part was the views you'll find from the top of the fort. 

4. Passadiço das Ondas 

I spotted Passadiço das Ondas (Walkway of the Waves) on Google Maps just south of Matosinhos town. A precarious wooden boardwalk (with no handrail, so be careful) juts out into the sea. If you dare, walk to the end of Passadiço das Ondas and feel the power of the sea. 

Passadiço das Ondas in Matosinhos Portugal

If you aren't feeling brave enough (or if the waves are too large to make a walk to the end of the boardwalk a sensible undertaking), have a seat next to the rocks where you can watch the waves crashing in and birds flitting about. It's a lovely spot with a unique raw energy.

5. You Can Walk from Matosinhos to Foz 

Visiting Foz where the Douro meets the sea is a popular thing to do on a trip to Porto. If you are feeling ambitious, you can walk from Matosinhos to the iconic Farolim de Felgueiras in Foz in a little over an hour. 

Farolim de Felgueiras in Foz near Matosinhos

I was feeling extra ambitious and walked the round trip between Matosinhos and Foz. It was such a lovely day in January that I couldn't resist! The path between Matosinhos and Foz runs along the coast and is a beautiful stretch.

6. Seaside Sunsets 

I found that another great reason to visit Matosinhos is the seaside sunsets. I returned to Passadiço das Ondas to watch the sun go down over the Atlantic. Another tranquil activity to add to your visit.

Matosinhos sunset

7. Craft Beer Breaks 

I was pleased to discover that Matosinhos actually has a craft beer scene. I popped into HopTrip Craft Beer Shop near my hotel for a sneaky pint in the early evening. I loved that they had custom taps made to resemble the staff and owners.

Fun beer taps at HopTrip Craft Beer Shop in Matosinhos

8. Nosh Amazing Seafood 

One of the most popular reasons to visit Matosinhos is the amazing seafood. I found a lovely array of local seafood restaurants in the area bounded by R. Heróis de França, Rua de Brito Capelo, Rua Godinho, and Rua 1º  de Dezembro. 

I sampled traditional Portuguese Bacalhau at A Chalandra and grilled sardines at Petisqueira Godinho. 

Grilled sardines from Petisqueira Godinho in Matosinhos

Petisqueira Godinho is run by a local man and I think he was working both the kitchen and front of house when I visited. He was the only person we saw working the entire time we were there. 

I was skeptical that he could do it all, but found that both the service and food was excellent. Petisqueira Godinho doesn't take credit cards so make sure to bring cash.

9. Matosinhos Doors

Of course, I am an avid door photographer. My regular readers know that I tend to judge whether a place like Matosinhos is worth visiting based on the quality of its doors. 

I am pleased to report that Matosinhos and the residential streets between Matosinhos and Foz had some amazing doors. I especially loved the blocky transoms decorated with ornate metalwork. For those of you less familiar with door architecture, check out my explainer on the anatomy of a door.

Make sure to budget time for a photowalk if you visit Matosinhos.

Tall door on a blue wall in Matosinhos PortugalWhite door and street sign in Matosinhos PortugalTall door surrounded by Portuguese tiles in Matosinhos Portugal

Is Matosinhos Worth Visiting?

As you can see, there are many reasons to visit Matosinhos. That said, is Matosinhos worth visiting? I think that Matosinhos is indeed worth considering as an easy day trip from Porto, perhaps combined with Foz. 

If you are a budget-minded traveler, consider staying in Matosinhos and commuting into Central Porto on your vacation. 

For me, the classic Portuguese architecture, delicious and affordable cafes, and beachside setting make Matosinhos worth considering even if you are spending just 3 days in Porto.

View of Matosinhos from Castelo do Queijo

Getting to Matosinhos

Matosinhos is about a 12-15 minute drive from Porto Airport. For less than 10 EUR, catch an Uber or Bolt from the airport to the coast. Porto's Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is well served by both TAP Portugal and is also a popular Ryanair destination.

If you are visiting Matosinhos on a day trip from Porto, the A line of Porto's modern tram system terminates in Matosinhos. It takes about 45 minutes to get from Senhor de Matosinhos to Trindade station in Central Porto.

Inside Porto Airport

Where to Stay in Matosinhos 

I stayed at Eurostars Matosinhos Hotel which is just a 5 minute walk from the beach. In January, I paid less than 75 EUR a night for a clean comfortable double room (not including breakfast). 

I found the Eurostars Matosinhos to be a good value for money. The hotel even had mini pastel de nata available for guests near the elevators.

Exterior of Eurostars Matosinhos Hotel in Matosinhos Portugal

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Is Matosinhos Worth Visiting on a Trip to Porto?
Is Matosinhos Worth Visiting on a Trip to Porto?
Planning a trip to Porto? Discover reasons to visit Matosinhos. Find out why I think Matosinhos is worth visiting. Plan a Porto day trip to Matosinhos
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog