Heading to Porto as a digital nomad? Or do you just need to slot in a few hours of work in between exploring? This is our tried-and-tested list of places to work from your laptop in Porto.
Although Porto doesn’t get the same plaudits as Lisbon when it comes to the remote working lifestyle, it really is an up-and-coming digital nomad hotspot. There are some great places to work with a laptop in Porto if you’re like us and you like a change of office scenery from time to time.
We have a few ground rules for anywhere to gain a spot on our list:
- Free and fast wi-fi
- Plenty of plug sockets
- Lots of space
- Good lighting
- Well-priced food and drink (or good complimentary coffee if it’s a coworking space)
- Staff that don’t fuss over you
We know things are constantly changing, with cafés opening or closing and some even adopting no-laptop policies (ergh, don’t get us started…) – so we try our best to keep this blog updated. The info in this guide is accurate as of summer 2022.
So if you’re wondering where to work from your laptop in Porto, keep reading!
We start our caffeine-fuelled journey at the exceptionally cozy Negra Café. Negra is only a short stroll away from Trindade station and 15 minutes up the road from São Bento station, so it’s easy to get to whether you’re staying in the heart of Porto’s historic centre or on the outskirts.
Negra Café is a stylish yet affordable café/restaurant/bar with funky decor. The atmosphere outside of breakfast and lunchtimes is subdued and quiet. There’s plenty of space and several tables are backed up against the walls with plugs beneath the seats. The well-lit lounge area towards the back you may find slightly quieter during breakfast and lunchtime as you’re not allowed to eat back there. There’s also a garden to enjoy in summer.
The staff are very friendly and they’re happy to let you use a laptop outside of busy eating times. They may ask you not to use your laptop during these periods, so bear this in mind.
Negra offers a substantial and varied menu that is perfect for brunch or lunch, and coffee is reasonably priced. Oh, and the café is just around the corner from a laundrette, so it makes for a perfect base on laundry day!
Located on Rua de 31 de Janeiro, just up from São Bento station, Esquires offers a no-fuss, cheap and cheerful alternative to some of the fancier cafés in the heart of Porto. It’s still an incredibly comfortable place to work from, but perhaps a little less ‘hip’.
Esquires has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and they offer a packed menu with lots of homemade cakes. Spacious and chilled, Esquires is the ideal place to base yourself for a few hours and crack on with some work. The staff are super friendly.
An oasis of calm just a short distance away from Porto’s shopping district, C’alma Coffee is a stylish and beautiful (and extremely Instagrammable) café set inside a rather intriguing old building.
You’ll feel as though you’re stepping back in time, into what we can only assume used to be an exclusive and rather swanky social club. If you need to use the toilet facilities, you’ll be given a paper map and you’ll have to navigate your way through the property and imagine what it must have been like in its heyday. Bear right on arrival and you’ll find C’alma, with relaxing music and the smell of specialty coffee creating an extremely zen atmosphere.
C’alma felt like one of the most expensive cafés we visited in Porto, although, as with everything in the city, it was still reasonable. There’s a whole array of blends and weird and wonderful filtering methods available, including V60, aeropress and chemex. What sets it apart though is the elegance with which coffee is served. C’alma is a coffee lover’s dream, and while we are by no means coffee aficionados, the bold flavours and tasting flights were enough to keep us coming back for more!
The atmosphere in C’alma was exceptionally quiet and there were always a few remote workers tapping away. The wi-fi is strong, there is free water, lots of plugs and plenty of space for laptops on the tables.
Porto i/o (Coworking Space)
On our last trip to Porto, we got a coworking pass for Porto i/o. The wi-fi in our Airbnb was a bit dodgy for a few days, so we needed a backup. Plus, it was nice to have a change of scenery and a spacious desk.
We can thoroughly recommend Porto i/o. There are four locations. We tried the Downtown office located just down the road from the Clérigos Tower. We each paid €50 for a five-day pass, but there are plenty of other fixed and flexible packages on offer.
The manager was really welcoming and friendly, and the space was comfortable to work in with super-strong wi-fi. There was a small kitchen area and breakout spaces, plus a soundproof booth. The complimentary coffee was delicious!
Where NOT to Work From Your Laptop in Porto
It always makes us sad when café owners adopt an anti-laptop policy, as if all digital nomads are a nuisance and take up valuable money-making tables.
We always try to be conscious about our behaviour in public as remote workers, only staying in a café for an hour and a half max and ordering regularly. However, we always see that one digi-nom who has obviously been sitting in the middle of a busy café with their empty coffee cup for hours while a queue has formed at the door wanting a table for lunch. (Don’t be that person, please.)
If you think about it, there are numerous ways for café owners to prevent the above from happening. Set up a minimum spend or implement a time limit. Have laptop-free hours during busy eating times. Or dedicate a few tables to laptop users. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Remote workers (usually) spend a fair bit of money on sustenance, and if they want to eat a meal while working from their laptop, is there really any reason to ostracise them?
With that in mind, Manna is now a place NOT to work from your laptop in Porto. The management have outright banned laptop users. Also bear in mind that Fábrica Coffee Roasters has no wi-fi – but you might be able to hotspot if staff let you use your laptop.
We hope these suggestions are useful if you want to know where to work from your laptop in Porto. You may even stumble across another café that caters to digital nomads that we haven’t mentioned here, or try a different coworking space. If you do, pop the details in the comments section below!