MenStyleFashion was visiting Porto in Portugal for the press trip to test drive the new Audi A5 and S5. I arrived one day before the actual press trip in Porto and unbeknownst to me, I happened to stay in the city centre on the day they celebrate the Festa de São João do Porto. Festa de São João do Porto (Festival of St John of Porto in English) is a festival that happens every year during Midsummer, on the night of 23 June (St John’s Eve) thousands of people come to the city centre and more traditional neighborhoods to pay a tribute to Saint John the Baptist, in a party that mixes sacred and profane traditions.
I was even more surprised when the hotel manager told me there would massive fireworks show and that the hotel would be closed between 23:30 and 00:30. My room which was on the banks of the Douro river had a large balcony on the fifth floor. It had perfect views of the Maria Pia bridge which was built by Gustave Eiffel. The bridge would feature in the fireworks display a bit like Sydney harbor bridge I was told by the hotel manager.
I had five hours to kill before my evening meal and the mega party that would follow so I decided to walk around the old town with its Port house, colourful houses, and tilled houses. I also took a trip to the São Bento railway station which had a beautiful blue and white tiled interior. Porto has an amazing amount of colour which you can see in the photos below (click on the photos to enlarge).
Walking around town I noticed the preparations for the party were in full swing. Food was being cooked on every street corner, outdoor bars popped and plastic hammers were being sold everywhere. If you want to get a hammer style balloon for at home check out bargain balloons.
I had to get back through a huge crowd to make it back to the hotel in time for the fireworks. Whilst pushing through the crowd I was constantly hit with plastic hammers on my head and I did the same in return, this is part of the São João do Porto tradition. The fireworks show was absolutely worth it, you can see the show which I recorded on my camera.
After the fireworks, it was time to enjoy the big street party. I noticed lots of people lighting up small hot-air balloons, it added to the atmosphere.
I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the party and the friendliness of it all. From small children to grandmas and grandpas they were all enjoying the party. Street parties where everywhere and drinks and food wherein abundant and cheap. If you ever want to visit Porto do it around Festa de São João do Porto. Remember to buy the plastic hammer, I had so much fun with mine.