Are you a Harry Potter fan? Discover the city that inspired Hogwarts’ uniforms: Porto.

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, you are guaranteed to love the city that inspired some of its most famous attributes: the Hogwarts uniforms, the Hogwarts Library, and even Quidditch brooms! So hop on our version of the Hogwarts Express and discover the beautiful Portuguese culture and its emblematic second city, Porto!

Portuguese students walking on campus in their traditional traje school uniforms.

- © RossHelen / Shutterstock

J.K. Rowling’s Time in Porto

The British author lived a short part of her life in Porto in her twenties, from 1991 to 1993 - the starting point of her inspiration for the Harry Potter novels! In fact, rumour has it that J.K. Rowling’s initial notes for the novel were written in a local cafe, Majestic, on the folds of napkins! Locals also witnessed her coming back and seeking inspiration there for hours, where she eventually wrote the first three chapters of the first book. 

Cafe Majestic, Porto.

- © PhotoFires / Shutterstock

You can find this cafe on one of the busiest central streets of the city, Santa Catarina and by Porto’s beautifully renovated food market, Mercado do Bolhao - a must see! To find out more, visit their website

Livraria Lello Bookstore

You may recognise this breathtaking interior, undoubtedly similar to the Hogwarts library described in the books. Well no surprise there, the Livraria Lello Bookstore (1906) is the famous bookstore where J.K. Rowling would regularly browse in between classes in Porto. Notice a few sparking similarities, such as the red themed dual staircase

Livraria Lello Bookstore, Porto.

- © Nido Huebl / Shutterstock

Indeed, visits to this hidden paradise are highly recommended during your visit to Porto! But beware, as you may be able to purchase your entry ticket online, but there are no organised time slots so it's on a first-come-first-served basis, meaning that you may be queuing up for a while outside (as it is estimated that up to 1.2 million tourists visit this store every year). To find out more, check out their website

How to get there

The Livraria Lello Bookstore is conveniently located in a parallel street next to Porto’s university at R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto, Portugal - right in the heart of charming Porto! Witness the students in their Hogwarts style cloaks on your way to emblematic city sites, such as the bell tower church, Igreja e Torre dos Clérigos, or the twinned baroque tiled facade church, Igreja do Carmo

The Portuguese Traje Academico uniforms

Now, what you’ve all been waiting for: the Portuguese inspired Hogwarts uniforms! During her brief time in Porto, J.K. Rowling was an English teacher for a local university, where she spent a large part of her time on campus surrounded by students wearing their required academic uniforms, otherwise known as their traje academico

Traditional traje academico university student uniforms in Portugal.

- © Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock

Indeed, you may be thinking the same as we are: these uniforms are almost identical to those described or shown on screen for Hogwarts students. It has been confirmed that J.K. Rowling inspired the wizard outfit from the local student uniforms she would see everyday - a black suit (or knee-length skirts) and cloak combo that has been adopted by Portuguese universities ever since 1911 (and adapted in 1945) from Coimbra’s first student uniforms. Today, these uniforms are no longer mandatory, but they are still hugely popular amongst students - so if you are visiting Porto during the school semester, you will without a doubt witness groups of students heading in and out of class in these adored outfits!

Escovaria de Belomonte: Broomstick store

The broomstick hypothesis. Now this one may be a bit too far fetched, but some say that the Quality Quidditch Supplies broom store is inspired by Porto’s very own Escovaria de Celomonte store created in 1927. This old fashioned broom store has a unique store front, that some find similar to that shown in the movies. What’s your take? 

To find out more about opening times and how to get there, visit their website

Where to stay

Carris Porto Ribeira Hotel Porto
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Carris Porto Ribeira Hotel

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by Lena COLIN
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