Where to stay in Porto, an expert guide

written by Amanda Tomlin
updated 7/26/2022
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Wondering where to stay in Porto ? Not only is the city home to number 3 in our list of 9 of the best pousadas in Portugal , it has some of the country's finest hotels. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Portugal , your essential guide for visiting Portugal .

Portugal was a new addition to the most beautiful countries in the world – voted by you in 2022 and its atmospheric second city, which sits on the Rio Douro , is well worth a few days or more to explore Vila Nova de Gaia wine lodges and wander the narrow streets and alleys.

Porto's centre is all about broad squares, neoclassical buildings and Baroque churches, but not all about history. You'll find hip cafés and restaurants and a thriving art scene. Much of the city has been restored so you can take your pick of good hotels in Porto.

But if you're wondering Porto versus Lisbon: which city to see first ? Take a look at the best area to stay in Lisbon guide too.

Stay central near the Sé and Aliados

Porto’s oldest streets lie below the Sé cathedral in the Sé district which is home to the Paço Episcopal. Igreja de Santa Clara and Igreja de Santo Ildefonso. It's also the area for São Bento station and if you want an eyeful of grand civic buildings, Aliados is the place for those.

Where to stay near the Sé and Aliados

  • For vintage stays: Pão de Açúcar Hotel is a 1930s survivor, expect glossy parquet floors and plenty of space. Book a room at the top for a private terrace overlooking the town hall.
  • For budget stays: Rivoli Cinema Hostel fills a bright and airy townhouse with film-themed four-bed dorms and double rooms. It's funky and sociable and comes with a roof terrace.
  • For luxury stays: Infante Sagres Historic Hotel houses a five-star contemporary design hotel in a heritage building. It has an open-air patio, good restaurant and an Asian-style spa.

Find more accommodation options near Sé and Aliados

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample Portugal Itineraries for inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Portugal expert.

Ribeira is where to stay in Porto for heritage

Ribeira is Porto's medieval heart where tall, colourful houses tumble down to the Douro and everything is designated a World Heritage site. Exploring is one of the best things to do in Portugal and the district has enormous appeal from its restaurants lining the riverbank to winding backstreets concealing historic buildings.

If you're looking for iconic photo opps head to double-decker Ponte Dom Luís I. The lower level is reserved for traffic, the Metro runs 60m above the River Douro on the upper level and pedestrians can walk either level to Vila Nova de Gaia .

Where to stay in Ribeira

  • For riverfront stays: The 1872 River House offers quaintly designed rooms with views, monsoon showers and chandeliers, on the River Douro in the heart of Ribeira.
  • For good value stays: InPatio Guest House is a bargain for the location and sense of style. It sits close to Porto Cathedral in the oldest part of the Ribeira district.
  • For boutique stays: Pestana Vintage Porto is the four-star hotel on Porto's medieval walls. Its restaurant sits on a raised terrace above the river lit in the evening by the wall's candles.

Find more accommodation options in Ribeira

Ribeira is where to stay in Porto for medieval heritage © Michal Ludwiczak/Shutterstock

Where to stay in the Baixa

Porto's lively Baixa (downtown) district is where you'll find many of the city's most famous sights. You can't miss the magnificent tiled facade of Baroque Igreja do Carmo, Torre dos Clérigos and Porto University are here too.

Baixa is also the district for legendary Livraria Lello. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds at this now world famous bookshop, and if you want more useful advice take a look at our 20 essential Portugal travel tips for year round trips .

Best for location and indulgence? PortoBay Flores

  • For relaxed stays: PortoBay Flores sits on Rua das Flores in the heart of Baixa. It features a hammam and indoor swimming pool with views over Porto's downtown district.
  • For boutique stays: Cale Guest House has a good central location and offers beautifully designed rooms with large windows and balconies overlooking incredible city views.
  • For smart stays: YOTEL Porto features sleek rooms with intuitive lighting, great views, services supplied by robots and guests control their stay via the YOTEL app.

Find more accommodation options in Baixa Porto

Igreja do Carmo with traditional tiled façade, Baixa, Porto © leonori/Shutterstock

Vila Nova de Gaia, the birthplace of Port

Vila Nova de Gaia is Port's birthplace and where Porto's first wine lodges were established in the 12th century. Today the district still dominates the riverfront and if you want an overview take a cable car ride across the Douro.

Tours of the smaller lodges tend to be more personal, but they're all informative without exception so expect to know your Tawny from Ruby by the end of any one of them. Plus the lodges are lovely and another reason why Porto is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal to visit .

The riverfront faces Ribeira and its long docks lined with cafés and restaurants. Cruise boats moor on the esplanade and historic Barcos Rabelos still ply their trade on the water, transporting wine casks downriver from Douro estates as they've done for centuries.

Where to stay in Vila Nova de Gaia

  • For luxury stays: The Yeatman is the finest hotel in Porto, famous for spectacular city views it also features one of the best restaurants in Portugal right now.
  • For stylish stays: Charm by Yours Porto is just a few minutes walk from Vila Nova de Gaia lodges. Expect fresh, contemporary design and book a room with a balcony for river views.
  • For good value stays: ClipHotel is a good three-star hotel close to wine lodges and cable cars. Rooms are fresh, modern and minimalist, but comfortable.

Find more accommodation options in Vila Nova de Gaia

What to do in Vila Nova de Gaia

Visiting the birthplace of port and not taking a Vila Nova de Gaia lodge tour is a mistake. Try the Cockburn's Cellar tour with premium tasting and pairing.

Cable Cars across the River Douro, Porto, Portugal © Daliu/Shutterstock

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Masserelos, Porto's creative quarter

Masserelos is Porto's artistic district and home to Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis. Rua Miguel Bombarda is right at the heart of the area and if you want to see the city's creativity up close, this is where to browse excellent independent art galleries and visit craft workshops and ateliers.

Where to stay in Masserelos

  • For arty stays: Family run Gallery Hostel is set in a 1906 townhouse and offers dorms and double rooms. It also features a pretty courtyard garden and often hosts local art exhibitions.
  • For budget stays: Grande Hotel do Porto is the city's oldest hotel and very traditionally designed. Good location and well priced for a three-star in the city centre.
  • For boutique stays: Rosa et al Townhouse offers elegant suits in a townhouse near Soares dos Reis museum. All rooms have hardwood floors and bathrooms feature freestanding baths.

Get to know the creative heart of the city like a local on an easy-going guided walking tour of Porto with wine tasting and snacks.

Foz do Douro, Port by the seaside

Take a city tram to Foz do Douro, with its attractive old town and sandy beach, it makes a great day trip or indeed a good seaside base for exploring Porto.

Although you wont find it on our 10 best beaches in Portugal list , Matosinhos Beach is fun and where locals go for seafood and clubbing and you'll find even more beaches an easy walk away at Leça da Palmeira.

Best for self-catering with sea views? Flattered to be in Porto

  • For seaside stays: Flattered to be in Porto is a traditional seaside house offering light, airy apartments in a great location close to beaches and the Foz do Douro old town.
  • For budget stays: Hotel Boa-Vista features ocean and river view rooms which are basic but comfortable, the hotel also has a good rooftop pool, sun terraces, restaurant and bar.
  • For accessible stays: Hotel da Música sits in Bom Sucesso Market and offers several rooms with mobility access. There’s also a hotel restaurant attached to the marketplace too.

What do do in Porto

When you want a day by the sea and some learning thrown into the mix, take a Porto to the Ocean tuk-tuk tour with local guides.

Ready for a trip to Portugal ? Check out the Rough Guide to Portugal . If you travel further in Portugal read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit . For inspiration use our Portugal itineraries or speak to our local experts . A bit more hands on, learn about getting there , getting around the country and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this does not influence our editorial standards - we only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

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written by Amanda Tomlin
updated 7/26/2022
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