Dating back to Roman times, Porto is anything but antiquated. Nightlife doesn’t start until morning, tourism is booming, and Port wine is flowing. At the heart of this effervescent coastal metropolis—with its crooked cobblestones, baroque architecture and renowned historic center, the Ribeira—is an empowered female citizenry.
Portugal began to see significant developments in equality, particularly for women, after the nonviolent Carnation Revolution, which marked its 45th anniversary this year. Before that, society strictly adhered to traditional gender roles. Now, women comprise almost half of the country’s workforce and are accelerating in fields typically saturated by men.
Portugal—and Porto especially—is one of the best places in the world to be if you’re a woman in tech. Women winemakers, or oenologists, continue to emerge in the Porto-adjacent Douro wine valley. And each spring, institutions and businesses across the city unite to participate in the month-long Feminist Festival of Porto.
Often compared to Portugal’s larger, capital city of Lisbon, Porto might not top the to-see lists of travelers bound for the Iberian Peninsula. If it’s on yours, though, you’ll immediately discover—due in no small part to the many women-run businesses and initiatives there—why Portugal’s second city is actually second to none.
Sustainable women-run shops like Coração Alecrim provide opportunities to both support women in business and local artisans. Women-founded initiatives like the Os Azulejos do Porto, preserve Porto’s signature azulejos that tile the buildings. The local chapter of Ladies, Wine & Design creates a female-founded salon for creatives. Porto is a hub for female entrepreneurs and women-run organizations that continue to influence and shape the city.