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Wunderman Thompson's City Guide to Inspiration in Nature: Porto, Portugal


Software engineer at Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology Portugal Luiz Bezerra on the city's beautiful coast and stunning beaches

Wunderman Thompson's City Guide to Inspiration in Nature: Porto, Portugal

As the world’s leading researcher on inspiration, Wunderman Thompson knows a thing or two about the psychological link between people’s value systems and their sources of inspiration to predict how humanity will be inspired. In Wunderman Thompson’s Inspire InFocus report, being outdoors in nature ranked number one as the top of source of inspiration globally. Even though life is starting to “get back to normal”, many of our new habits formed during the pandemic, such as taking walks during work breaks or exploring nature in our own backyard, have endured. 

As we yearn to move, connect, and get off a plane and stretch our legs, out of a conference hall into fresh air, leave the confines of a hotel room, or even take a walking meeting or lunch in a park vs. a restaurant, here are some ideas for the next time you find yourself in some of the most inspirational cities around the world, for business or pleasure.


Name: Luiz Bezerra

Title: Software Engineer 

City: Porto, Portugal

I am a software engineer at Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology Portugal and I’m currently working on Commerce Cloud. I like to keep my work-life balance equal by working but also having time for myself, my family, and friends. My favorite hobbies are working out at the gym, cooking, and cycling. I love nature, sunsets on the beach inspire me the most. It is so peaceful and serene, watching the sun set reminds me of all my day’s blessings and the new possibilities a sunrise can bring.

Q> When do you find you crave inspiration in nature and where do you find it?

Luiz> In Porto, there are many places where one can find inspiration in nature. The city is located in a beautiful coastal region with stunning beaches and cliffs, as well as lush green spaces like City Park (Parque da Cidade) and the botanical gardens at the Fundação de Serralves. Additionally, the Douro River provides a picturesque backdrop for outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, or simply relaxing on the banks. Overall, there are many opportunities to connect with nature and find inspiration in Porto and its surrounding areas. My office is located on The Praia de Matosinhos Beach, which is where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean. With the scenic view of the sandy beaches and stunning sea promenades I am blessed not to have to look far to be inspired by nature. 

Q> Where is the best place to people watch in Porto? 

Luiz> One of the best places to people watch in Porto is Jardim do Morro, located on the south bank of the Douro River. This park offers stunning views of the Porto skyline, the river, and the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge. It's a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, with plenty of benches and green space to relax and take in the sights. You can watch the boats that used to carry Porto wine up and down the river, observe locals going about their daily routines, or simply enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Another great option for people watching is the Praça da Ribeira, a lively square located in the heart of Porto's historic center, with plenty of outdoor cafes and restaurants perfect for observing the local scene.

Q> What’s your favourite hike or walk?  

Luiz> My favourite hike or walk in Porto would have to be a stroll along the coastal path that runs through the Parque Natural da Arrábida, which is the only national park in Portugal that connects directly to the ocean. The path is around eight kilometers long and offers stunning views of the coastline, with plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the scenery. Along the way, you'll pass by secluded beaches, rocky coves, and dramatic cliffs. The trail is not too difficult and is suitable for hikers of all levels, and it's a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature. I am lucky enough to visit here very often as my office building has a pathway from inside our building that leads directly to this beautiful park.

Q> What are some interesting natural attractions near your city that are worth checking out?

Luiz> There are many interesting natural attractions near Porto that are worth checking out. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Douro Valley: The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world. The valley is characterized by its terraced vineyards, which have been cultivated for over 2,000 years. Visitors can take a scenic cruise on the Douro River or explore the vineyards on foot or by bike.

2. Serra do Gerês: Serra do Gerês is a mountain range located in the north of Portugal, home to waterfalls, lakes, and hiking trails, and it's a great place to explore the natural beauty of the region.

3. Serra da Estrela: Serra da Estrela is a beautiful mountain range located in central Portugal. It is the highest point in mainland Portugal, with the highest peak reaching an elevation of 1,993 meters (6,539 feet). The natural park surrounding the mountain range is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as hiking, skiing, and mountaineering.

4. Peneda-Gerês National Park: Peneda-Gerês National Park is another national park located in the north of Portugal. The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, as well as several hiking trails, waterfalls, and lakes.

5. Costa Nova Beach: Costa Nova Beach is located just outside of Aveiro and is known for its colorful striped houses. The beach is a popular spot for surfing and other water sports and is a great place to relax and soak up the sun.

Q> Which season inspires you the most in your part of the world and why? 

Luiz> In Porto, the seasons that inspire the most are spring and fall. During spring, the weather is mild and the city comes alive with colorful flowers and blooming trees, creating a beautiful atmosphere for outdoor activities. Fall is also a great time to visit Porto because the temperature is still comfortable, and the city's landscape turns into a golden and reddish hue, which is a sight to behold. In addition, both seasons are less crowded than summer and offer a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors without the crowds.


Q> What kind of weather do you get that’s unique to your area and when does it inspire you?

Luiz> In Porto, we often have foggy mornings that give way to sunny afternoons, especially in the spring and early summer. This type of weather is unique to our area and can be quite inspiring, particularly for photography or simply enjoying the city's beautiful architecture and landscapes. The contrast between the misty, ethereal atmosphere of the morning and the bright, clear skies of the afternoon creates a sense of transformation and renewal that can be quite invigorating. Additionally, the milder temperatures of spring and early summer can make outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and exploring the city much more enjoyable.

Q> What’s your favorite park/botanical garden/body of water and why? 

Luiz> One of my favorite parks is the Serralves Foundation, a cultural institution with a park, villa, and contemporary art museum. The park is one of the largest green areas in Porto and has a diverse range of plants and trees, making it a popular spot for nature lovers. It also has several walking trails, a lake, and a garden, providing a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

In terms of bodies of water, the Douro River is a must-see for visitors to Porto, and the beaches along the Atlantic coast, such as Matosinhos and Foz do Douro, are popular for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. 

The office located in Edifício Transparente offers stunning views of the Douro River and the Atlantic Ocean, making it a great spot to take in the beautiful scenery.

Q> Anything else to add that might involve wildlife, especially critters or birds or a specific example of when you were inspired by nature?

Luiz> SeaLife, located just 100 meters from our office, is a fantastic place to explore marine life and discover the wonders of the ocean. It's a great opportunity to learn more about the environment and find inspiration in the beauty of the underwater world.

Q> And how about quick day trip or weekend trip to somewhere near your location? 

Luiz> If you have some extra time to spare, I would recommend taking a day trip to the beautiful Douro Valley, which is located just a short drive from Porto. The Douro Valley is famous for its stunning scenery, picturesque villages, and, of course, its wine. You can take a scenic train ride through the valley or drive along winding roads that offer spectacular views of the vineyards and river. There are also many wineries and tasting rooms where you can sample the local wine and learn more about the winemaking process. Another option for a day trip is the charming seaside town of Aveiro, which is often referred to as the "Venice of Portugal" due to its network of canals and colorful boats called "moliceiros." Aveiro is famous for its beautiful architecture, delicious seafood, and laid-back atmosphere, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind. 

Q> Best place for a run/swim or other form of exercise outside?

Luiz> One of the best places for a run or exercise outside in Porto is along the Foz do Douro waterfront. The paved promenade runs along the Atlantic Ocean and the mouth of the Douro River, providing a scenic view of the ocean and the Arrábida Bridge. Another option is to run or bike along the Matosinhos beachfront, which stretches for several kilometers and is a popular spot for surfing and kite surfing. For a more natural setting, Parque da Cidade, the largest urban park in Portugal, offers trails for walking, running, and cycling through woodlands, meadows, and lakes. Finally, for those interested in swimming, there are several beaches and tidal pools along the coastline, including Praia do Carneiro, Praia de Matosinhos, and Piscina das Marés, which offer refreshing saltwater swims.

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Wunderman Thompson Europe, Tue, 25 Apr 2023 07:45:00 GMT