Would You Pay the “Harry Potter Premium” at the Majestic Café?
I was wondering this as we were drinking $6.50 coffees and eating $3 natas (custard tarts) at the Majestic Café in Porto. In other Porto cafés, you can easily get coffee for under $2, while natas go for a little over $1. So, why the premium?
The Majestic Café has become one of Porto’s main tourist attractions. I’d read about it and wanted to see it. The guidebooks tout the Majestic’s history and architecture, but I have a feeling that many people come here for a completely different reason.
Majestic Café is 1920’s Paris in Porto
Built in 1921 and first known as the Elite Café, the Majestic Café is a spectacular example of Art Nouveau in the Belle Époque style of Paris. When it opened, it immediately attracted Porto’s writers, artists and intellectuals.
A Parisian-style café in Porto makes sense, since France and Portugal have always had cultural exchanges, especially in architecture. For example, Gustave Eiffel, after building the tower in Paris, had numerous commissions in Portugal including a landmark bridge over the Douro River in Porto.
The Majestic Café is the birthplace of Harry Potter
Even for those who know nothing of architectural styles, the Majestic Café is now more famous for its association with J.K. Rowling. It is here where Rowling spent many hours working on the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with an outline for the whole series of Harry Potter books.
Rowling lived in Porto for 18 months between 1991 and 1993 teaching English before returning to Edinburgh to continue work on her book. (The capes in Harry Potter? Porto university students wear black capes when they attend class.)
For Harry Potter fans from around the world, the Majestic Café has become a mecca with line-ups throughout the day. All for privilege of paying over $6 for a coffee. By the way, the coffee is very good, so there’s that…
Choosing a Guidebook? Lonely Planet is our Favourite.
Along with the websites and other travel planning tools, we still like to have one guide book handy. We’ve tried them all, and these days we prefer Lonely Planet books. Although we love paper books, we’ve started buying the digital versions to read on our iPads, which we take with us anyway.
Hotel Accommodation in Porto
For hotel accommodation, we like Booking.com where we find a great selection, current prices and pages that make booking easy. We are also big fans of Airbnb. The links below are affiliate links. If you click on them and book, we receive a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. This helps with the cost of operating this site.
There is a good selection of accommodation in and around Porto. Get the most up-to-date hotel prices for Porto here.
First Time For Airbnb? Click Our Link to Save!
We’re renting Airbnb throughout Portugal. There’s a wonderful selection of apartments in Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra and Faro. If it’s your first time renting Airbnb, click here to get the equivalent of $50 CDN off your first booking.
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