The oldest coffee shop in town

“The Porta do Olival café is the oldest establishment of its kind still operating in Porto. It is known that it was already active in 1853, in the same place where it still is. It is, therefore, as if it were more than 160 years ago. In an advertisement, published in 1926 in the magazine “Terras de Portugal”, it is already referred to as the oldest café in the city of Oporto.

The name “Porta do Olival”, is related to the door that existed in the so-called medieval wall, a solid wall built with thick granite blocks, between 1336 and 1374, to defend the city.

The wall was 11 metres high and 3500 metres long. The gate “Olival”, one of the most important in the city, was defended by a tower, built in the shape of a fortress. It took its name from a long land of olive trees that, since ancient times, existed on the site where it was built.

It was at this door that, in the 15th century, the City Council installed a bell, called the “running bell”, which was rung at sunset so that the citizens of Porto would return to their homes. Pilgrims would pass through this door, who had a shining star of a sanctuary on the horizon, like Santiago de Compostela, for example.

It was also through this door that, in 1387, D. Filipa, the eldest daughter of the Duke Lencaster, entered Porto to marry the Portuguese king D. João I.””


Germano Silva, Porto historian

Comments are closed.
BOOK NOW BOOK NOW Skip to content