Espinho: the go-to guide to this hidden paradise
May 8, 2019
Located right in the North of Portugal is Espinho, an undiscovered city by the sea with so much to offer. At this point, you may know Porto, so it would be ideal to hop on a train and get to know this small city with endless beaches. We’re about to tell everything you can’t miss in Espinho.
Where is Espinho and why it is so unique
Espinho is about 20 minutes away from Porto (by car), one of the hottest cities in Portugal right now. As well as the “North’s capital”, Espinho is also bathed by the sea, with some beautiful beaches you should meet. However, in case you don’t have a car, you can always hop on a train and arrive at this city in half an hour. The station is right in the heart of the city, so you can visit everything on foot.
This is indeed a very unique city. Actually, did you know that Espinho and New York are only cities in the world where the streets have no name? We know you immediately started to sing the iconic U2’s song, but the truth is as simple and that. Just like in the Big Apple, Espinho also has numbered streets, unlike the majority of cities around the globe.
Things to do in Espinho
We’re talking about a small town which can be quickly and easily visited by foot. If compared to others, Espinho does not have a wide range of monuments, museums nor churches to visit, but it has some other landscapes to appreciate – such as the beaches. Espinho is famous for its waves, but let us name some top things to do when in the city.
Even if you do not practise this sport, you can either consider yourself an enthusiastic or just someone very curious about it. Anyway, you must not miss the perfect endless waves in Espinho since they are very famous in the North of Portugal, and actually considered one of the bests – either if you are starting at surf or if you are an experienced surfer.
You can find at least 3 schools in case you want to try a lesson out (bodyboard and longboard included):
- Espinho Surfinn Company;
- Green Coast;
- Academia do Mar.
With decades of existence, the Espinho Market is one of the most preserved traditions around. In Portugal, these types of markets are very popular but they have been disappearing as time passes. The one held in Espinho, which happens every Monday of the week, is one of the most antiques in Portugal and currently one of the few still happening in the country.
There, you can buy almost anything you can think of. From food to clothes, you can find any product at a much friendliest price since it is directly sold by the producers or the owners of the items. This market can be found right in the middle of the city, something you should not miss since it is such a marvellous experience.
If you are a shopping fan, you’ve come to the right city. In Espinho, you can find a lot of local stores selling almost everything you need. From clothes to accessories and even sports gear. Local businesses are placed in the main street, street 19 (the “5th Avenue” of Portugal), which introduces you to a very face-to-face shopping experience.
Bet at the Casino
Are you a fan of the game? If you are, please feel welcomed at Espinho’s Casino, one of the most famous in Portugal. Any machine you can think of, you most certainly will find in this casino.
Dive in a huge swimming pool
This pool is known in Espinho as “Solário Atlântico”, a public swimming pool (with salty water) located right in front of the beach where you can go in case you want to take a break from the beach. The entrance is paid (€5,4 for adults and $4,1 for children) and only opens in the Summer season, from 9 am to 7 pm.
If you are familiar with Portugal, you must know that one of the top things you cannot miss is food. Each city has a particularly delicious dish to offer since food traditions vary from region to region. In Espinho, especially by the sea, you have a lot of restaurants to try out, so don’t be shy and try some of the best food you have ever eaten.
Best places to eat in Espinho
Speaking of food… This is a local speaking, so you can rely on my (advanced) knowledge regarding the top places to eat in Espinho. These are tips you cannot miss and that you can’t find in Google. Get to know exquisite spots do have a bite.
This one is one of the oldest restaurants in Espinho. Go there if you want to try the best seafood you can think of. Also, ask for the “arroz de marisco” which is a dish served with rice and seafood so delicious you will never forget.
In case you want to have economic meals without compromising flavour, go to Baliza, a restaurant that also used to be a guest house. You can delight yourself with typical Portuguese food.
Continuing the “economic perspective”, you should have lunch at Maria Barraca, a very recent restaurant in Espinho the will surely not disappoint you. No menu whatsoever, only fresh food each day and deserts that make you come back again.
Vegetarian? Vegan? No problem, the solution you were looking for is right here. Terra Viva serves exceptional meals, prepared with much love and a variety of nutrients.
Casa S. Pedro
Are you a fish fan? Great! Pay a visit to one of the most typical neighbourhoods in Espinho and, besides Casa S. Pedro, delight yourself with a great variety of restaurants specialized in grilled fish.
Italian food right in front of the sea. Fresh pizzas with exquisite pizza dough and pasta to die for.
We also have delicious sushi around, mainly in Mau Maria. Besides picking from selected sushi pieces, you can also go for the daily freestyles that you surely never forget.
If you are a burger fan, go to Hora H (pro tip: the codfish burger is amazing!).
This one is a bonus from me to you and a top-secret tip (so don’t spread it around!). Aipal is the oldest bakery in town. Needless to say, it is here that you can taste the best cakes (and the bread also). The thing is, after the closing, a small part of the store opens normally at 9 pm to serve people until 4 am the next morning. Ask for the “Bola de Berlim” and pray you will not have to back again (the version with Nutella as the cream is also delicious).