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Majestic Café Porto – Was Harry Potter Written Here?

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No visit to Porto would be complete without a visit to the famous Majestic Café on Rua Santa Catarina. 

It opened in 1922 and looks like it has been frozen in time with its Parisian Art Nouveau interiors reminiscent of La Belle-Epoque

It’s been voted as one of the most beautiful cafes in the world and you’ll often see huge queues of patrons waiting to take a seat for a coffee, afternoon tea or French toast. 

Many people also visit this café as it was an early inspiration for the Harry Potter series. 

J. K. Rowling confirmed that she visited this café whilst living in the city and wrote some of her early drafts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone here.

Here is a complete guide for Café Majestic and why you must plan a visit while in Porto!

Harry Potter Majestic Cafe Porto

Top Porto Travel Resources

  • Don’t forget travel insurance, I always use World Nomads

Majestic Café history 

The story of this famous coffee house starts in 1921 when a group of merchants from Oporto founded a company called Café Elite.

They bought this space on Rua Santa Catarina to open a café and beer house. But, at first, it was a private club. It then opened its doors to the public as the Majestic Café 1922. 

Constructed by José Pinto de Oliveira in a dazzling Art Nouveau Parisian style reminiscent of “La Belle Epoque”, it was an instant hit with Oporto’s bourgeoisie. 

Ladies of society would drink coffee here before shopping, bohemian artists would discuss ideas and the political elite would hold business meetings here.

Famous literary figures like José Régio, Teixeira de Pascoaes and Leonardo Coimbra all visited here for debate and libation.

Majestic Cafe Porto

It became one of the most famous cafés in all of Porto with famous figures travelling from around the country to visit.

Unfortunately, in the 1960s it fell into decline and by the 1980s it was at risk of closure. So, the government declared the café a building of public interest in order to protect it. 

It was fully renovated in the early 1990s and has since been given a new lease of life. Majestic Café still retains its Art Nouveau style today so any visit is like stepping back in time to a bygone era! 

Majestic Cafe Porto

Why is Majestic Café Porto famous?

Today, Majestic Café is the most famous café in Oporto that is well-loved by locals, tourists and famous figures alike. 

Every day, you’ll see long lines down the street with eager visitors waiting for a table to order coffee or sample some of their famous ‘Majestic’ dishes. 

The reason why it’s so popular is because it has retained its original Art Nouveau charm. Stepping inside feels like you have been transported back in time to the 1920s. 

It’s been voted as one of the most beautiful cafés in the world and this attracts lots of camera-wielding tourists.

Also, many people visit this café as it’s thought to be an inspiration for the Harry Potter series!

Majestic Cafe Porto
Majestic Cafe Porto

Café Majestic Harry Potter connection 

There has long been an association with Harry Potter and Porto. J. K. Rowling used to teach English in the city and lived there from 1991 to 1993.

A popular fan theory was that she used the magical Livraria Lello bookstore to inspire the Hogwarts staircases and/or Flourish & Blotts from the Wizarding World shopping street of Diagon Alley. 

Livraria Lello Porto

But, she has since dispelled this claim and said that she never stepped foot inside the bookshop. 

Rowling did, however, say that she used to write some of the early drafts of Harry Potter inside the beautiful Café Majestic in Rua Santa Catarina! 

Cafe Majestic J K Rowling

In Sean’s Smith biography of J. K. Rowling, he writes that she spent time here working on her first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and scribbled some on a napkin.

So, Potterheads will love to visit this beautiful café as it is most likely an inspiration for her Harry Potter series.

Majestic Cafe Porto

Why you must visit Café Majestic in Porto!

Beyond the Harry Potter connection, you must visit the Majestic Café whilst in Porto. It’s long been a famous coffee house in the city and is now an institution which is a delight to experience.

Yes, it is very expensive compared to other cafés in Portugal and you’ll be paying quite a premium for a coffee. The food is also ridiculously pricey.

But, I think it’s worth paying for as the decor and service are spectacular. The staff are dressed to the nines and it really feels like you’re dining in a museum.

You’ll find gorgeous chandeliers and statues of Diana, Bacchus (the god of wine) and cherubs on the walls. Even the embossed leather seats and benches were luxurious. 

It’s a bucket list activity that you have to experience in Oporto at least once! 

Cafe Majestic Porto
Majestic Cafe Porto

What should you order at Majestic Café?

The Majestic Café is open from 9 am until 11 pm and so they serve a diverse range of items on their menu.

From their Majestic breakfasts, artisan coffees, afternoon teas, French toast, port wine and the famous Francesinha.

Here is what I recommend ordering at Café Majestic on your visit. 

Majestic Cafe Porto


Like most European cities, coffee culture in Porto is a big thing and you’ll find that local residents, or Tripeiros, love nothing more than a chat over a brew!

The café has won multiple awards for their coffee over time so you’ll find a large menu to choose from. 

You can order espresso, cappuccino, ‘bom-bom’ coffee, Irish coffee and coffee with whipped cream.

If you’d prefer they also offer a rich and luxurious hot chocolate which goes well with any of their sweet pastries.

If you’re on a budget, or just don’t fancy spending a lot on food, this is the option I’d go for. 

Majestic Cafe Porto

Majestic French Toast & Port 

The Majestic Café have a couple of speciality sweets on the menu and a popular choice is their Majestic French Toast.

As this café has a Parisian flair, it makes sense to try this signature dish that comes with a healthy dose of raisins, walnuts, almonds and sweet custard on top.

Majestic French Toast

They often serve up their French toast with coffee or you can choose a classic glass of Port wine, which is what Porto is known for! 

Port is one of my favourite drinks and so I loved sampling all the different types that they had on offer by the Douro River.

I’d recommend ordering a glass of the ‘Porto Majestic Tawny 10 years’ to pair with the toast. It is a fruity red and was delicious. 

Majestic Port Tawny

Francesinha – Porto’s famous dish

You really cannot leave Porto without trying the famous Francesinha! 

Although most locals are adamant that this dish is not a sandwich, it’s the best way to describe it to tourists. 

Francesinha is Portuguese steak, spicy sausage and ham served between two slices of bread that is covered in slices of cheese and covered in a tomato-based beer sauce that you can dip fries in.

Although I probably paid double the amount of a normal Francesinha here, I really enjoyed mine at the café. It was so comforting after a day spent wandering around in torrential rain.

Fair warning, this dish is really filling and heavy so you may want to have it for lunch as opposed to dinner. It will be easier to burn off with all the steep hills and steps in this city!

Majestic Francesinha
Majestic Francesinha

How to visit Café Majestic in Porto

You can find this famous café on Rua Santa Catarina which is Porto’s main shopping street.

This is on the same street as the famous Chapel of Souls with its blue and white Azulejo tiles and the Instagrammable A Pérola do Bolhão.

You really can’t miss this coffee house as there is usually a large queue outside during the day. 

It’s open from Monday to Saturday from morning until late but is completely closed on Sundays. 

To avoid queueing for too long, I would recommend reserving a table. Or, for a quieter experience, I would suggest visiting early in the morning or later in the evening.

Majestic Cafe Rua Santa Catarina
Rua Santa Catarina

I visited twice on my visit to Porto. The first time was around 6 pm on a Saturday for dinner and it was absolutely packed out.

The second time I visited was around 9 pm on a Monday and there were just a few people inside when I arrived. It cleared out pretty quickly after that. That’s how I was able to get all these lovely empty photos.

Porto is easy to explore on foot and you can walk to this café in just under 10 minutes from São Bento Station. 

If you’re a Harry Potter fan exploring Porto, this coffee house is only a 15-minute walk to Livraria Lello but be prepared for some uphill streets. 

Majestic Café address is 112 Rua de Santa Catarina. Click here for a Google Pin!

Majestic Cafe Porto

Is visiting the Majestic Café worth it?

I think it’s worth visiting as it is a gorgeous café with stunning interiors and has been consistently voted as one of the most beautiful cafés in the world!

On the other hand, there are long queues, it’s quite cramped inside and it’s very expensive for food and drinks.

I loved my experience at this café and thought it was totally worth the time and money spent as it was like travelling back in time!

As a lover of history, nothing makes me happier than spending time in a classic café when I travel. But, I know it won’t be the same for everyone.

Whether you think it’s worth visiting will entirely depend on your interests and, more importantly, your budget.

I think it’s something you should experience at least once in Porto, even if it’s just for a cup of coffee!

Majestic Cafe Porto

My top tips for visiting 

  • Come in the evening – there are often long lines to enter this café in the morning and during the day. But, I found that the evenings were a lot calmer! My empty photos were taken around 10 pm.
  • Reserve a table – although not necessary, it may be easier to reserve a table in advance to avoid queuing. 
  • Leave lots of time – you’ll want to make sure you’re not rushing as the café is often extremely busy with long lines to sit down and service may take a while here. 
Cafe Majestic Gallery
Cafe Majestic Gallery
Cafe Majestic Porto
  • Check out the gallery – at the back of the café they have an outdoor gallery or winter garden which is very pretty. You’ll find outdoor tables, greco-roman statues and a vintage brass sink.
  • Piano music – there is a grand piano inside and sometimes they will play music. My waitress told me that this is usually on weekends.
  • It’s cosy – It’s a large café with plenty of seats but you may feel a little cramped if you sit in the middle as they pack you in like sardines.
  • Have your camera ready – this café is wall-to-wall opulence with lots of beautiful details so have your camera ready to take photos. 
Cafe Majestic Porto
Cafe Majestic Piano

Visit the magical Livraria Lello next!

Although J. K. Rowling denied setting foot in the store, this doesn’t stop Potterheads from queueing down the street to visit the magical Livraria Lello Bookstore.

It really does feel like you’ve stepped into the Wizarding World and are wandering around Flourish & Blotts in Diagon Alley. 

You can browse for books in their dark wood shelves and meander up the famous crimson staircase under a stained glass window skylight.

It’s a must-visit for reading lovers and one of the most beautiful bookshops I’ve ever visited. 

You do have to buy tickets to go inside but you get to use the cost of your ticket voucher towards any books purchased. 

There are often very long lines to go inside so make sure to read my guide that has ways to avoid them! 

Click here to read my complete guide for visiting Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello Porto

Looking for more magical places to visit in Porto?

Porto is a wonderful city that has a charm like no other. As you’re in the historical centre, there are many more incredible places to check out. 

Just nearby, you can visit the incredible Chapel of Souls with its gorgeous blue and white Azulejo tiles.

If you want to see more, I would recommend Ingreja do Carmo, São Bento Station and the Church of Saint Ildefonso.

Sé Porto Cathedral
Sé de Porto
Chapel of Souls Porto
Chapel of Souls

Porto Cathedral and its Gothic cloisters are also worth seeing and the staircase of Bishop’s Palace next door was spectacular.

A guided tour of Palacio da Bolsa is a must to see the stunning Arabian Room and I would highly recommend stopping by the Church of St Francis next door.

Palacio de Bolsa Porto
Palacio de Bolsa

There are plenty of Miradouros or viewpoints surrounding the iconic Luis I bridge. Jardim de Morro was a personal favourite.

Plus, you can visit the many gardens dotted around the city like Jardins do Palácio de Cristal and the secret Torre.

Or, why not head down the Duoro River to see either Cais de Ribeira or Gaia? You can try Port wine and codfish cakes or take a scenic Six Bridges River Cruise!

Dom Luis I bridge Porto
Luis I Bridge from Miradouro do teleférico

Where to stay in Porto

There are many amazing places to stay in Porto but if you want to stay somewhere really special I would recommend the majestic Palácio do Freixo.

It’s an 18th-century Baroque palace that has been restored and is now a luxurious 5-star property on the Douro River.

It has sumptuous interiors and a fine-dining restaurant to enjoy as well as fabulous planned grounds to explore.

It’s a little far from the centre of the city but they have shuttle buses that can take you to the historic centre daily. I loved my stay here and would go back in a heartbeat!

Click here to book your stay at Pestana Palacio do Freixo

Pestana Palacio de Freixo
Pestana Palacio do Freixo

Read more of my Portugal travel guides

Livraria Ler Devagar – LX Factory’s magical bookstore

Livraria Bertrand – the oldest bookshop in the world

Why you must visit Café A Brasileira do Chiado in Lisbon

Why you shouldn’t skip Monserrate Palace in Sintra

The mysterious Initiation Well in Quinta de Regaleira

Save Majestic Café Porto for later! 

Porto Majestic Cafe Harry Potter inspiration

Here are some Portugal travel resources

  • Flights: I use Skyscanner to look for flight deals. Try to be flexible with travel dates for the best prices.
  • Accommodation: is my go-to hotel platform and I’ve used them for years. 
  • Public transport: You can book trains through the CP website and I also used my favourite discount bus company Flixbus whilst I was here.
  • Car rental: Rental Cars is a great choice that compares all sorts of rental companies and gets you the best price.
  • Activities: I love GetYourGuide and use the platform all the time for booking group tours and attraction tickets.
  • e-Reader: I love to read Romantasy books and I always take my beloved Kindle Oasis with me. It has an orange light and is waterproof which is perfect for lounging by the pool.
  • Travel insurance: I always use World Nomads to book travel insurance. You never know when you’ll need cover!