Where to Stay in Porto, Portugal - The Best Areas
Distinguished for its fresh seafood, renowned regional port and wines, and wealth of Blue Flag beaches, Porto is a top destination for lazing under the Iberian sun and exploring the Portuguese culinary landscape. Porto’s historic city center, intricately woven into a network of narrow alleyways, and romantic waterfront beckons a range of eager travelers to experience its vibrant districts.
With neighbourhoods dedicated to the thriving contemporary art scene, highly sought after wine region, and sandy beaches, here’s a guide on the variety of lodging options and where to stay in Porto, Portugal’s second city.
A nest of spiralling Medieval streets and narrow cobblestone alleyways lead downwards to the Douro River, peacefully situated beneath a towering entanglement of vibrant-hued two storied homes. Rightfully, picturesque Ribeira is Porto’s most popular neighbourhood when it comes to where to stay in Porto.
People watch, witness boats carrying barrels of the region’s esteemed port across the river, and observe golden sunsets with a backdrop of Porto’s iconic wrought iron Ponte Luis I bridge, all from Ribeira’s riverside cafes. Though teeming with visitors, this lively area still manages to exude an air of calm due to its riverside locale and is an ideal base for travellers who wish to be in close proximity to Porto’s most popular attractions.
BUDGET | Hotel Carris Porto Ribeira
This innovative four-star hotel is set in a recently renovated historic building, blending rustic sophistication with modern charm. The property’s shared spaces transport its guests to a bygone era, as Romanesque stone arches span the common area, and intricate stonework infiltrates the onsite restaurant and tapas bar for an old-world vibe. In contrast, the property’s rooms are furnished with polished wood flooring and modern decor.
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MID-RANGE | Descobertas Boutique Hotel Porto
Alluding to its name of Descobertas, the rooms in this casual boutique hotel pays homage to a number of destinations founded by Portuguese explorers in the age of the Discoveries. Its simple rooms in muted hues and earthy tones are individually personalised with treasures from afar, like Indian silks and tea sachets. For a unique stay and rundown of Portuguese history, stay at the Descobertas Boutique Hotel Porto.
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LUXURY | Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel & World Heritage Site
Situated on a UNESCO deemed world heritage site, this five star hotel encompasses a number of 16th-century buildings along the waterfront, where cruises for the Douro River depart at the steps of the hotel. A portion of the city’s old Medieval walls run through the property for a touch of history among its vintage luxury. Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel houses the city’s highly popular RIB Beef and Wine Restaurant, offering sophisticated diners divine beef cuts and a menu of fine wines.
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At the heart of the city lies Baixa, a neighbourhood well connected to all corners of Porto, as well as national and international destinations by public transport. The French beaux arts São Bento railway station serves as the main attraction in this district, its walls graced by some 20,000 blue and white hand painted ceramic tiles that depict Porto’s notable battles and transportation history. If you don’t fancy venturing too far from the transport hub, consider Baxia when choosing where to stay in Porto.
Baixa’s main thoroughfare of Avenida dos Aliados is flanked by roadside cafes and tasteful boutiques, all unsuspectingly housed in grand centuries old buildings that reflect a range of styles. The foot of Avenida dos Aliados opens up to the lively square of Praça da Liberdade.
Porto’s trendy Baixa also doubles as the city’s favourite party district, making this one of the best areas to stay in Porto for visitors who are keen to be in the center of the action.
BUDGET | Moov Hotel Porto Centro
Built on the site of the former Águia D’ouro Cinema, which was erected in 1839, modern day Moov Hotel Porto Centro preserves the spirit of the cinema by showcasing stills from classic films in each minimalist bedroom. Complemented by subdued colours and parquet flooring in this art deco building, Moov Hotel Porto Centro is an affordable accommodation option in a lively district.
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MID-RANGE | Teatro Hotel
Formerly the Baquet Theatre in 1859, this present day four star accommodation known as Teatre Hotel boasts a refined and vintage atmosphere. Its heavy copper doors inscribed with the work of local romantic poet Garrett welcomes visitors into its chic theatrical interiors, where the hotel’s reception is a ticket office, and Restaurant Palco and Bar Plateia represent the stage and audience seating areas. Its dramatic interiors are also accentuated by costume cabinets for a design hotel that’s full of character.
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LUXURY | Infante Sagres
Tasteful artwork, elegant antiques and dazzling crystal chandeliers radiate opulence at Infante Sagres, Porto’s prestigious five star accommodation that has become the hotel of choice for celebrities. Newly renovated and reopened in 2018, the heritage interiors of plushy antique chairs and colourful stained glass panels seamlessly blend with the modern day luxuries of flat screen TVs and air conditioning for a memorable stay in the city.
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Vila Nova de Gaia
Where to stay in Porto for wine lovers? Travel across Porto’s iconic Ponte Luis I bridge to the other side of the Douro River and discover a wealth of wine estates, port wine lodges and tasting rooms.
Situated across from Porto, swap city tours for cellar tours here, and explore more than a dozen sandy Blue Flag beaches, noted for their pure waters and clean coastlines.
Vila Nova de Gaia, affectionately known as Gaia by its locals, also boasts the neighbourhood’s crowning landmark of Monastery Serra do Pilar, a 17th century hilltop monastery for unrivalled panoramic views over Porto and its historic center.
BUDGET | Park Hotel Porto Gaia
Park Hotel Porto Gaia offers budget travelers an ideal base due to its convenient location. Coimbroes train station is a mere four minute walk away, and also within close proximity are a number of restaurants offering both Portuguese and international dishes. Dressed in neutral colours, the property’s casual and simple rooms offer comfort for good value.
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MID-RANGE | Holiday Inn Porto Gaia
This internationally recognised chain brings four star treatment to its guests in Porto. Its wellness center offers an assortment of pampering options, as guests can unwind in the sauna with a variety of beauty treatments, or relax in the hydrotherapy pool or Turkish bath after a day at the nearby beaches. Their onsite restaurant, Food & Friends, offers classic Portuguese dishes, allowing guests a traditional taste without having to wander far from the comforts of their home abroad.
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LUXURY | The Yeatman
With a heavy emphasis on indulgent gastronomic experiences, this five star luxury hotel boasts its very own Michelin star restaurant, under the guidance of chef Ricardo Costa. Pair the restaurant’s regional specialities and refined menu of fish dishes with a regional wine from the on site cellar. At the Yeatman, surrender to celebrity-style treatment by reveling in a luxury spa and admire a panoramic view of Porto from the property’s rooftop pool.
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Foz do Douro
If you’re looking for where to stay in Porto outside of the city’s centre then this is the area to be. Translating to “mouth of the Douro,” Foz do Douro is the affluent seafront neighbourhood where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean in Porto’s western tip. This area hums with activity as locals frequent cool beach bars, sunbathe on its sandy beaches, and enjoy a leisurely stroll or run along the palm tree lined waterfront.
Perhaps the most frequented attraction in Foz do Douro is the Pérgola da Foz, a shaded promenade inspired by the Promenade des Anglais in Nice for a romantic walk along the waters. Though situated away from city center, Foz do Douro remains a busy summertime district of Porto, due to its beaches. I
n this upscale neighbourhood, traditional hotels are replaced by options of vacation and beachfront homes.
BUDGET | Foz Loft by the River
This property’s tasteful use of earthy tones and wood panelling in its interior creates a relaxed atmosphere for its guests. A mere ten minutes away from the beach by foot, Foz Loft by the River is also an ideal base for cycling, and makes for a top budget place to stay in this relatively expensive neighbourhood.
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MID-RANGE | Casa das Laranjas
This charming 19th century home was renovated in 2014 to incorporate some fresh designs along its cozy fireplace and intimate patio for outdoor dining. A collection of family antiques litter the bedrooms for a personal touch in this mid-range property.
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LUXURY | Casa da Belavista
In a beautifully restored 18th century home lies Casa da Belavista, a property less than 10 minutes to the beach on foot, and enveloped by a network of quaint cobbled streets that lead to a myriad of regional and international dining options. Connected by tram to Ribeira, guests can easily move to and from Porto’s center.
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The collection of contemporary art galleries gathered along Rua Miguel Bombarda in Porto’s district of Cedofeita forms the city’s cultural hub and a favourite hangout for artists, art investors and admirers. National and international artists are featured on a rotating basis, as gallery openings occur regularly throughout the year. Populated by a number of studios, vintage shops, and alternative fashion and furniture stores, Cedofeita is where to stay in Porto for the young and trendy crowd.
BUDGET | Lusitana Hotel
Serving as a cozy budget hotel for more than two decades now, Lusitana Hotel was recently remodeled in 2017 to include more facilities to provide further comfort to their guests. This property is situated among a walkable set of attractions including the Soares dos Reis National Museum, Cristal Palace Gardens and the Boavista Roundabout, a central square with green spaces amidst the city’s busy traffic.
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MID-RANGE | Art Senses| Suites and Rooms
Art Senses is a mid-range hotel dedicated to celebrating four different branches of art- theatre, literature, music and dance. The property’s rooms are decorated accordingly, and its minimalistic chic sleeping chambers feature clean and simple designs with white bedding and jewel-toned furniture for a pop of colour. For a quiet afternoon retreat, lounge on the cushioned wicker chairs on the rooftop garden.
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LUXURY | Hotel Cristal Porto
Draped in hues of royal blue, this property’s plushy seats and velvety cushions contrast its silver furniture and white and blue rugs for an air of timeless sophistication. The four star Hotel Cristal Porto also features a tranquil garden for an evening of unwinding after a hectic day of sightseeing.
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We hope we’ve helped you decide where to stay in Porto, Portugal! It’s quite a large city, so it’s important to pick the best area to stay in Porto for you.
Also, consider a night or two in the nearby wine region of The Douro Valley! We’ve also written a complete guide on where to stay in the Douro Valley so make sure to check it out!