Harbour Inn Story Tale

Matosinhos city is in the northern Porto district of Portugal, bordered in the south by the city of Porto only 8 km away from Porto downtown city centre, it was once a fishing village.

The necessity to have a safe port for big ships serving the city of Porto led to the construction of this harbour at the end of the century XIX, the “Leixões” Harbour. It was the beginning of a clear transformation process in the entire urban and industrial development of Matosinhos, where sardine fishing and the canning industry were the main development engine until the 28th of May from 1984 when Matosinhos was elevated and transformed in a city.

Conveniently located facing the passenger's cruise terminal of Leixões and the sea, rises a beautiful 120-year-old house, Harbour Inn Design Townhouse. Built in 1902 as a private home, its ground floor later housed the first restaurant in Matosinhos downtown.

Although it was deeply run down, its present owners had this vision of taking such a valuable building and making it go through a serious and complete restoration that would bring back its dignity and give it a trendy and new life. They now share their dream and vision with visitors from all around the world at the townhouse.

“Here we don’t welcome tourists...
Instead, we make new friends!”

In the middle of 2017, they contracted the interior design company ShiStudio to develop a design concept and an architecture project to implement their dream.
This process gave birth to this beautiful and extremely comfortable design townhouse, where even the Portuguese tiles that cover the entire facade were manufactured according to ancient techniques and were hand-painted one by one like the original building. Inside we can feel the coziness of a modern house, inside a historical building where items and amenities of today are now added.

Involved in an inspired interior design concept having the sea and the voyages as the main theme, the Harbour Inn Design Townhouse takes its name from its privileged location, facing the passenger’s terminal cruise entrance and the beach of Matosinhos, a privileged location for visitors and friends.

One of the oldest photos of the building is dated from 1950, where we can see all the industrial activity from this place. Next to this historic building, we have a monument classified as National Monument since 1971, named “Senhor do Padrão”.

“Senhor do Padrão” history in Matosinhos

The "Senhor do Padrão" marks the place where, according to local legend, washed up to the shore, at the beginning of May, the statue of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos.

A place that has certainly been marked since ancient times, however, it was later than 1758 that the current dome was built. This monument is also known as "Senhor da Areia" or “Senhor do Espinheiro”, since until the beginning of the 20th century was completely isolated in the middle of a vast beach having a strong visual impact. The emergence of a fresh water source at the site in 1733, then known as "miraculous", was the main reason for a small building site construction that can be seen next to the dome. This building has been classified as a National Monument since 1971 and remains an important reference for the city and for the fishing community.

The religious devotion of the fishermen of Matosinhos and their families materializes next to this monument, on the 1st of November when the monument is surrounded by thousands of candles that burn in memory of the fishermen killed at sea.

However, it is between May and June, that traditional celebrations of “Senhor de Matosinhos” take place, being one of the biggest and most important from the entire region, enchanting all tourists.