A Pérola do Bolhão, Porto’s most charming grocery shop

Wouldn’t think we’d be writing about a famed grocery shop, but here we are. Thankfully, it’s no ordinary chain, but the A Pérola do Bolhão, a charming shop in Porto at 279, R. Formosa street. What’s so special about this particular shop? What can you buy there? All of that today.

A Pérola do Bolhão was founded in 1917 by Antonio Rodrigues Reis. It’s famous not just for its products but also its aesthetics, which have not been changed for over a hundred years. The shop’s façade is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau decorated with traditional Portuguese azulejo tiles. Unlike, for example, Sao Bento Station or the Chapel of Souls, there are no images of saints or motifs from Portuguese history here.

Perhaps thankfully, the façade here is not the same serious tiles about big things that you’d see everywhere else. The azulejo here depicts silhouettes of two women picking coffee and tea. That’s it. Just the most everyday scene possible, and yet it’s so charming and folky, perfectly fitting for the shop itself. We suppose we could classify shopping in the most famous grocery shop in Portugal as an ‘unusual attraction’ of Porto.


What can we buy in Porto?

Shopping in Porto
Shopping in Porto

First and foremost, it’s a local shop with local products, which make for great souvenirs for your trip to Porto. You can expect to find traditional Portuguese sausages, cheeses, olive oils, sardines, dried fruits, nuts and, of course, wine.

The wine assortment is quite sizable. From cheap bottles for a dozen pounds to top shelf wines for the more discerning connoisseurs among you. Prices aren’t exactly bad here, but it’s a local shop with local products and, as such, local prices. You’ll probably pay a bit more than in your big chains.

For more Art Nouveau, you may be interested in the Majestic Café located nearby. And what you cannot buy in Perola do Bolhao, you can certainly get at the stalls in the famous Mercado do Bolhao market, just a few minutes away.

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