I just love photography! If you like it too, in Porto you go to Jail.
Well, the Portuguese Centre of Photography is located in an old prison in the city centre, that’s why! It’s a huge dark stone building, a magnificent location for this “museum”, always with several very good simultaneous temporary exhibitions, as well as permanent ones, such as the history of cameras since “the beginning of time”.
Close to Clérigos Tower, the “Cadeia da Relação” is an 18th century building, active as prison until the 1974 revolution in Portugal that ended the dictatorship. After extensive restoration, it’s one of the most dynamic museums in Portugal, and one of the ones most worth visiting. In fact, Porto has a pioneering tradition in Portuguese photography, with at least two of the most important early photographers in Portugal, Emilio Biel and Domingos Alvão (whose family still runs a small photography business in Rua de Santa Catarina, close to Café Majestic, more than 100 years after his work).
Along the visits (guided or on your own), you will also have the chance to go across the main areas of the former prison, which jailed famous prisoners, like an important 19th century writer, Camilo Castelo Branco.
Extra: go all the way down the street at the left-side of the building (when facing it) and end up in one of the best sightseeing spots in Porto. (Although usually safe, it’s a bit lonely.)
Additionally, “Edificio AXA” (Aliados Av.) also presents good photo exhibitions.