view across abandoned rooftops to a river
© Ellie Seymour

Does anyone fancy doing the worst guided tour of Porto? I’m being serious! The Worst Tours is the name of an actual tour guide company in Portugal’s second city. They offer tours aimed at travellers curious about the side of Porto officials don’t want you to discover, which I imagine if you’re the kind of traveller who only wants to see picture-perfect Porto, will be the worst tours you could find.

neon sign on concrete building
Florida Flowers, Porto’s smallest florist © Ellie Seymour

Who’s behind The Worst Tours? Three architects who enjoy helping tourists find the hidden history behind the city streets and have a real discussion about the city of Porto: “the big picture, good and bad: architecture, history, politics, urbanism, slow food, and hearsay.”

Tours, or as they prefer to call them, ‘promenades urbanistique’, typically last from two to three hours and are not just confined to the city centre and its majestic cathedrals. There are several different tours to choose from, including a quaint-sounding romantic tour. And while you’re at it, you can get to know some of the most interesting public participation housing projects made after the 1974 carnation revolution.

car park behind a church
Bizarre Porto: a concrete carpark behind an ancient church, Porto © Ellie Seymour

As for the “free” part? Yes, all tours are free because the team felt they “couldn’t put a price tag on love and that you should be able to enjoy ‘the worst tours in the world’ even if you didn’t have any money”. Having said that, tipping is welcome. If you’re unsure of how much, the website states: “Just throw in the equivalent to a cleaning person’s earnings in your country, for the equivalent of the time of the tour, and it’ll be ok – especially if you’re Norwegian.”

If you’re heading to Porto and want to turn over some of the city’s rocks, discover The Worst Tours.

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