If you’re wanting to get inked while traveling to this town of salt-spraying waves on the Atlantic and Azulejo-tiled churches from centuries gone by, then you’ve come to the right place. Yep – this guide will dive headlong into the range of parlors and workshops that specialize in skin designs in this corner of Western Europe to outline just a handful of what we think might be the crème-de-la-crème of the best tattoo shops in Porto, Portugal.
It’s not been an easy task. The second-largest city in the country has established itself as something of a hipster hub in recent years. As such, there are now more roastery coffee joints, more edgy live-music bars, more sleek brunch establishments, and – of course – more top-notch tattoo parlors than you can shake a pastel de nata pie at (don’t do that, though – they are better for eating!).
Anyway…our criteria in divining the best tattoo shops in Porto, Portugal, has been pretty simple. We’ve gone for a list of the places that have garnered a rep for excellent service, as showcased by reams of fantastic reviews and testimonials. We also looked for shops that have a global presence and unique artistic offerings, perhaps having worked with VIP names or with a unique style of design that’s hard to find elsewhere. Let’s begin…
Twin Freaks Tattoo Porto
Riding high at the very top of our list of the best tattoo shops in Porto, Portugal, is the revered name of Twin Freaks Tattoo. Run and co-owned by two of the town’s leading skin artists and designers, it’s the brainchild of Carlos Breakone and Kati Berinkey (AKA Rockin Rabbit). Together, they offer up some of the most eye-catching sleeves and murals going…
First: Carlos Breakone. His style is bold and boisterous. It’s heavily colored and draws on Sci-Fi and naturalistic motifs to fuse mystical and industrial elements throughout. Some of his finest works are full back panels depicting legendary demons and heroes – a Medusa writhed in snake hair here, a Hindu demigod roaring there. Rockin Rabbit is known for a more esoteric mix of work that blends astrological elements with folklore, working in both blackwork and full color. Both are remarkable artists working at the height of their trade.
Twin Freaks Tattoo Porto is on the first floor of a building to the north of the main tourist center of the city. Don’t worry – it’s not hard to reach. Just make your way to the Bolhao market, one of the main shopping districts in the town, and then walk from there. Alternatively, you can head over via the metro to Trindade, from where it’s about five minutes by foot.
Minimal-Ink is all about tattoos with a difference. The artists here work in some seriously variegated styles, from portraiture to sketch work, line art to geometric patterning. The result is a package of designs that bucks the trend a little, meaning you’re likely to emerge from this one with something very different to that run-of-the mill tat that most tourists choose to get.
The main in-house tattooists are Rui Pedro Esteves (also known as byrupe) and Sus-Boom. The first specializes in highly stylized collage art that mingles meshwork line painting with dashes of bold color. The latter is mainly about delicate linework artistry, although there are heavy influences from the natural world that come through in renditions of feathers, animals, blooming leaves, and more.
Highly rated Minimal-Ink is another of the best tattoo shops in Porto, Portugal, that sits just to the north of the main city center. It’s also within walking distance of the Trindade train station, but also near Aliados (another main transport interchange and gathering point) and the hip drinking and dining area of Vitória.
With more than 10 years’ experience to their back and nearly 200 reviews between four and five stars, Vulcan Tattoo surely deserves a spot among the best tattoo shops in Porto, Portugal. We also think it deserves a mention here on account of its central location – look for it on Praca da Batalha, which sits right behind the elegant, tiled facades of the Sao Bento Train Station in the very beating heart of the city. You should find it easy to get there from just about any hotel in the UNESCO downtown.
Versatility is the keyword to the art that happens at Vulcan. The people here can take care of a whole medley of different design types. They’ve done simple souvenir tats that involve Portuguese typography and Azulejo-esque designs. But they also do brand iconography inspired by Harley Davidson, football teams, national flags, and loads more.
The establishment itself doesn’t busy itself with the fancy hipster designs of some of the other top shops in Porto. It’s not got any elaborate barbershop looks and vintage furnishings. It’s simply painted, compact, and clean – doing the basics right. They also offer in-house piercings. Oh, and, just in case you plan on heading out to the surf beaches north of Porto, you can also find a Vulcan outlet in the beach town of Povoa de Varzim.
Bat Country Tattoo (Electric Tattoo Club)
There’s a real look to Bat Country Tattoo. Housed in a centuries-old building just a few steps from the babbling courses of the River Douro south of the Ribeira district, it’s bright, breezy, airy, and an all-round pleasant place to be. You’ll sit for your skin art while listening to the bustling sound of the wine bars out the window and the water gurgling around the river ferries. Very nice.
They do a wide variety of tattoo styles, too. That’s largely down to the number of in-house and visiting artists that come and go to Bat Country Tattoo. They include Lucas Ferreira, a seasoned color and blackwork tattooist who specializes in large sleeve designs. There’s also Jonathan Costa (also known as JOTA), who is all about calligraphy and largescale monochrome lettering. Then there’s Mariana Ruano, who does exquisite illustration designs and sketch work, but also a number of experimental styles to boot. And that’s just mentioning three!
Given the central location, it’s always wise to book at Bat Country Tattoo beforehand. In fact, that’s doubly important because you’ll need to ensure that the artist that you’re after is working on the day you’ll be in town. Afterwards, you can head to the Cais da Ribeira – one of Porto’s liveliest streets – for a post-tat celebration. It’s just a few steps to the north of the parlor itself and riddled with drinkeries.
Despite the insistence of the caps lock in their name, INKTOXICA TATTOO is actually an unassuming and subtle parlor that sits on the northern fringes of the Porto historic center. Look for it between the tile-fronted townhouses on uber-long Rua do Almada, which runs parallel to the grand municipal buildings and bustling station on Praca de Trindade. The doorway is small, tucked under a paint-peeling stone frame. It leads straight into a bijou reception area that’s graced with rough-stone walls and vintage lights, along with posters that recall the age of Jonny Cash and Elvis.
That’s the setting. What about the tattoos? The art here runs the gamut from the simple to the complex. The in-house artists are well-known for their ability to formulate pleasing designs in just a matter of hours, which makes the spot particularly loved among walk-in customers, which they typically accept in the off seasons and winter from Monday to Saturday.
There are a few unique styles that the folk at INKTOXICA TATTOO claim as their specialty. They include Asian anime and Far Eastern animation tattoos, cartoon-style pictorial murals, and Rockabilly mystic trends. They also regularly do Porto-themed souvenir tattoos for pass-through travelers and city breakers, something that’s spurred on by the accessibility of the spot – it’s just a few minutes’ walking from the large Trindade metro stop and less than 15 minutes’ walking from the heart of the UNESCO old town.
The best tattoo shops in Porto, Portugal
This guide runs through just five places that we think could make it among the best tattoo shops in Porto, Portugal. We’ve scouted them for their high reviews on major outlets and for their offering of unique artistic styles by leading artists in their trade. But we’ve also focused on trying to list options that are within easy reach of the Porto old center, making them convenient for fly-in, fly-out travelers eager to check off the city sights.
Of course, there are many, many more possible best tattoo shops in Porto, Portugal. In fact, the town has over 100 outlets for that skin-ink and reigns as one of the tattoo centers of the country, along with the capital of Lisbon. Despite the abundance of places, it’s always a good idea to book ahead for your tattoos and piercings, particularly if you plan on traveling in the peak summer season.