Worth a Trip: Matosinhos

Just north of the posh seaside suburb of Foz do Douro, Matosinhos is a genuine gritty fishing port. It’s worth venturing out here for its fish and shellfish fresh off the boats, and to see two stunners designed by Portuguese starchitect Álvaro Siza Vieira: the Boa Nova Tea House, and the Leça da Palmeira Piscina das Marés, remarkable saltwater swimming pools cut into the rock face and hammered on one side by the Atlantic.

If you’ve walked here from Foz, you can’t help but stop dead in your tracks as your gaze is drawn upward to the 50m-high sculpture SheChanges – Anemone, by North American artist Janet Echelman. The giant net, an ode to Matosinhos’ fishing community, is most spectacular when lit up at night. It also changes shape in the wind, hence the name.

For fish so fresh it's almost still flapping, head to Rua Heróis de França, where wall-to-wall restaurants spill out onto the smoke-enshrouded pavement, wooing passers-by with the tempting fish treats on their charcoal grills. A solid bet is Dom Peixe. You can walk off lunch with a stroll along the wide seafront promenade, which is clogged with ice-cream-licking locals on summer days.

To reach Matosinhos, take the blue metro (A) to the end of the line, or hop on bus 500 from central Praça da Liberdade.