Did you know that the author of the beloved Harry Potter books lived in Porto between 1991 and 1993? J. K. Rowling taught English there and used to hang out at the Majestic Café, and the 100-year-old bookshop, Livrario Lello.
According to The Portugalist, “During this time she outlined and developed her ideas for the entire seven-book series, and even got started on book one.”
I loved reading all the Harry Potter books and watching the films, so visiting J. K. Rowling’s old haunts was very exciting!
Located on a pedestrianized street in the heart of old town Porto, the Majestic Café is a fun place to have a drink and people-watch.
“J.K. Rowling scribbled down notes on napkins while enjoying a coffee break in Café Majestic. This gorgeous, belle époque space is one of Porto’s most exclusive cafés, complete with glittering chandeliers and smartly dressed waiters.”
– The Portugalist
Visit: Cafe Majestic, Rua Santa Catarina 112, 4000-442 Porto. Open 9:30am-11:30pm, closed Sundays.
Diagon Alley’s premium bookstore, Flourish and Blotts, was inspired by Livraria Lello.
“This ornate bookshop in the heart of Porto has been voted one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. It’s such a big tourist attraction that you now need to pay €4 to enter (don’t worry: you get it back as a discount if you buy something).”
– The Portugalist
Apparently, I was there just weeks before its hundredth anniversary celebration, so the facade was covered for reconstruction, and there was scaffolding on the famous staircase.
Still, I couldn’t resist capturing the excitement of being in the shop that looks like where Harry and Hermione got their wizardry books!
Lello should be in great shape for visitors now. In fact, Bay Area peregrina was just there last week and shared this photo looking down the staircase.
Whether or not you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is worth checking out when you visit Porto.
Visit: Livraria Lello, Rua das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto. Open 10am-7:30pm Mon-Fri, 10am-7pm Sat and Sun. Buy your ticket from the booth outside or book online.
For more fun Harry Potter trivia, visit Did J.K. Rowling Write Harry Potter in Porto? and On the Harry Potter trail in Portugal – JK Rowling’s inspiration.
Up next, the São Bento Railway Station.
4 thoughts on “Porto Memories: J. K. Rowling Hangouts, Majestic Café and Livrario Lello”
I was just there a few weeks ago, and they’ve upped the price to 4€, which I refused to pay…how did you get the photos? I thought they didn’t allow photos inside!
Hmm, they must not enforce that rule, I saw lots of people taking photos in Lello. A friend was just there and shared a photo of the staircase that I added to the end of the post. I also updated the price to 4 euros. Thanks for the update!
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was there for a couple of days this week on vacation with family. there as a line out the door at the majestic. with Bourdain eating at gazelle and JK writing at majestic, all of porto is now a tourist attraction. the locals have mixed feelings about it. on one hand, the money pouring in has led to a ton of new infrastructure and services (you’ll see cranes everywhere building new and repairing old); on the other, rent is going up fast, which is forcing locals to rent on the periphery of the city. same is happening across lots of other eu cities like lisbon, madrid, etc. but I can certainly see why JK spent time in porto. it’s absolutely beautiful and still very livable. you can eat amazing food, see thousand-year old structures everywhere, go surfing at the beautiful beaches, and raise a family on a worker’s wage. if I were considering ex-pat life, porto would be on my short list.