Where To Stay in Porto, Portugal - Guide of Best Areas and Hotels

Porto ([‘pɔrtu]) is the second large and significant city of Portugal, considered also Capital do Norte (Capital of the North). Historically known as the Invincible City (Cidade Invicta), today it is one of the oldest centres in Europe, home to almost 2 million people. First known settlements here date back to the end of the 3rd century, the area being then inhabited by Celtic people. During the Roman occupation, Porto served as an outpost and as an important commercial port, starting to develop and grow as a powerful trading and strategic location. The combined Celtic-Latin name it got back then - Portus Cale - is believed to have become the origin of the name of Portugal.

Today, Porto’s medieval streets, centuries-old settings featuring different architectural styles, riverside walks, plentiful hidden gems the city is packed with, combined with varied and rich food culture, diverse art scene, authentic port wine and vibrant nightlife all together form a truly unique experience hard to forget for anyone visiting the Invincible City.

Accommodation-wise, Porto welcomes you with a plethora of boutique-style and ritzy hotels, wonderful homey guest houses, fun hostels and a continuously growing number of apartments for rent, ranging from luxurious to very affordable. However, please note that many rentals are hosted in centuries-old settings, and do not have elevators. Moreover, as a hilly street, Porto may become a challenge if you have any difficulties walking, because either to or from your rental you’d have to go uphill.

Table of Content

Part 1. A quick glance at Porto’s recommended neighbourhoods

Ribeira & São Nicolau - lively and charismatic, it’s the most touristy area of Porto with an average offer of differently priced rentals

Miragaia - fascinating and tranquil, it’s the perfect area for a romantic vacation, featuring fewer accommodation options

Baixa - busy and happening, it’s Porto’s humming downtown with rentals aplenty

- genuine and reserved, it’s the oldest part of the city welcoming you with lower rents

Cedofeita - hip and engaging, it welcomes you with a lot of fun spots and activities to explore with or without children, and offers a wide range of rentals to choose from

Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos - youthful and diverse, is the place to experience the life of a local, boasting higher-quality rentals for lower prices

Foz do Douro - residential and plushy, it’s the perfect neighbourhood for a beach vacation combined with discoveries, and expensive rentals on offer

Part 2. Recommended neighbourhoods and hotels to stay in Porto

Ribeira & São Nicolau

Pronounced: [,ʁɪ’beirʌ], [‘səu ,nɪkɔ’lau]

- Overview

The historic centre of the city, Ribeira & São Nicolau form one of the most tourist attracting areas in Porto. But it’s much more than just centuries-old buildings. Traditional settings carrying cultural wealth, rows of colorful postcard perfect houses, narrow cobblestone streets all lined with restaurants and cafes, hole-in-the-wall taverns, bars offering gorgeous views of the Douro river, colorful wine boats - will all make you immerse yourself in the city’s heritage. Crowded as it gets, it never loses its charm, especially after dark when all the lights turn on and people from all around the city gather in the area for a nice talk. Hence, noisy streets till late at night. Given the proximity to one of the highest concentrations of alcohol in the world - the port wine hub right across the river, added to the multitude of restaurants in Ribeira, be sure that every evening that you’ll spend here, you’ll head back to your rental well dined and, especially, wined.

Accommodation-wise, Ribeira & São Nicolau features averagely priced rentals, but you’ll find a few cheap ones too. It would be the perfect area to stay in for the elderly, couples looking forward for a romantic yet lively escape, families traveling with toddlers or those who have any difficulties walking, as it’s the flat part of the otherwise hilly city of Porto. Beware though that if you are a light sleeper, better avoid renting here.

- Main Attractions

* Igreja de São Francisco (must see)
* Estátua do Infante D.Henrique
* Palacio da Bolsa (must see)
* Casa do Infante (must see)
* Cais da Ribeira (must see)
* Ponte Dom Luis (must see)

- Recommended Walks

With this self-guided walking tour of Ribeira, you’ll easily find your way around:

* City Orientation Walk

- Pros of Staying Here

- Authentic atmosphere
- Varied rentals on offer
- Romantic area
- Many eateries and bars
- Many historical attractions are here

- Cons of Staying Here

- So crowded that it might get confusing
- No good for light sleepers

- Recommended Hotels

1872 River House - a small yet gorgeous rental with boutique-style interiors, light rooms offering amazing views, knowledgeable and helpful staff, many useful services provided on-site and good value for the money
Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel & World Heritage Site (5*) - a surprisingly funky 5-star hotel hosted in a 16th-century building, offering good location, on-site restaurant with wonderful views and helpful staff
BelomonteGH Guest House - a very elegant and tastefully decorated solemn rental with a character to it, some of the rooms offering nice views, all very quiet, helpful staff; well suitable for a solo or family stay
Mo House - a stylish rental hosted in a recently renovated setting, offering a great location, gorgeous river views from some of the rooms, on-site elevator: good for a family stay
Bluesock Hostels Porto - a wonderful mix between a historical building and modern amenities, offering private rooms and shared dorms, up-to-date design and fun shared areas: good value for the money

Other hotels worth mentioning: Gran Cruz House, Descobertas Boutique Hotel Porto (4*), Ribeira do Porto Hotel (3*), The House Ribeira Porto Hotel (4*)


Pronounced: [,mɪrʌ’gʌɪə]

- Overview

Visually similar to the charming Ribeira, Miragaia will add up to the atmosphere with its quiet streets and even more amazing views. Obviously, to get some nice perspectives of Douro, you can sit back and relax in one of the riverside restaurants or cafes. However, if you head to the uphill part of this neighbourhood, you’ll be rewarded with truly unforgettable sightseeing. The part of Miragaia displaying the riverside, Vila Nova de Gaia and Foz, it is the place to make some unexcelled panoramic pictures with both your camera and mind, especially after dark when all the houses, restaurants and cafes light up. It is also home to several centuries-old settings and a series of stores. On holidays, Miragaia is the last neighbourhood to go to sleep, or does not do so at all. Regardless, it’s the perfect area to stay in for a romantic vacation, and for a quiet time off either on your own or with a family. With a limited accommodation offer, it will welcome you with some gorgeous villas, suites, guest houses and hotels, averagely priced.

- Main Attractions

* Hospital Geral de S.to Antonio
* Estatua de Antonio Nobre
* Museu dos Transportes e Comunicações
* Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis (must see)

- Pros of Staying Here

- Serene area presenting marvelous sightseeing
- Higher quality accommodation
- Home to several historical settings
- Perfect for a romantic or family vacation
- Many eateries and cafes
- Well connected to other areas

- Cons of Staying Here

- Fewer rentals
- Might be noisy on holidays

- Recommended Hotels

Private Villa Porto - a gorgeous private rental with a wonderful host, offering a quiet location, clean rooms with comfy beds, enchanting garden, very good continental breakfasts, yummies available all day long, and many other pleasant treats: great value for the money
República House - a very homey rental available by stairs, with bright and spacious suites, helpful staff, and nice views

Other hotels worth mentioning: Torel Avantgarde (5*), Miragaia House


Pronounced: [‘bʌɪʃə]

- Overview

Porto’s beating heart and generally considered the city’s downtown, Baixa has got something in its sleeves for every visitor. History and architecture buffs will need some time to study the neighbourhood’s settings. Art enthusiasts will gladly wander its gallery-like streets, featuring many buildings decorated with azulejos, the traditional painted ceramic tilework, all worth exploring. The multitude of eateries and gourmet spots will satisfy any taste and budget, making Baixa one of the foodies’ preferred areas. Ever heard of an ‘imperial’ fast food restaurant? You’ll find it here. Among all, Baixa is also a great place for shopaholics. Pay attention to the local brands and designers outlets, and you’ll find really cool stuff. Accommodation-wise, Baixa offers a huge variety of rentals, most on the average and cheaper side, as per Porto’s price standards. However, here you’d have to pay more for the same accommodation and service than in some other neighbourhoods.

- Main Attractions

* Capela de São José das Taipas
* Igreja da Misericórdia (must see)
* Centro Portugues De Fotografia (must see)
* Estátua Antonio Ferreira Gomes
* Torre dos Clerigos (must see)
* Estátua de Ramalho Ortigão
* Clerigos Church (must see)
* Igreja do Carmo (must see)
* Fonte dos Leoes
* Museu de Historia Natural
* Reitoria da Universidade do Porto
* Praca Guilherme Gomes Fernandes
* Praça da Liberdade
* Estatua Ecuestre de D. Pedro IV
* Igreja de Santo Antônio Congregados
* Batalha Square
* Santo Ildefonso Church
* Praca de Carlos Alberto
* Rua de Cedofeita
* Avenida dos Aliados (must see)
* Igreja da Trindade
* Capela das Almas (must see)

- Recommended Walks

Discover some of the most interesting spots, religious sites and shopping options when following these walking tours of Porto:

* Tour of Porto’s Landmarks
* Tour of Porto’s Places of Worship
* Tour of Porto’s Fashion Shops
* Tour of Porto’s Specialty Shops

- Pros of Staying Here

- Lively area
- Wealth of accommodation options
- Many attractions for any taste
- Wine bars, cafes and eateries galore
- Most nightclubs are here
- Well connected to other neighbourhoods

- Cons of Staying Here

- Higher prices for similar service

- Recommended Hotels

Infante Sagres - Luxury Historic Hotel (5*) - a luxury hotel hosted in a renovated historical building featuring impressive characteristic design in the common areas and spacious rooms, on-site plunge pool, sundeck, restaurant and bar
Garden House Hostel - a very affordable yet nice hostel featuring varied rooms and dorms, pleasant terrace with seats to relax and meet interesting people - all added to a convenient location, good value for the money
Feels Like Home Santa Catarina Prime Suites - a perfectly-located rental boasting good in-room breakfasts, well-appointed rooms and approachable staff
Porta 110 - a centrally-located guest house with thoughtfully decorated rooms and well-appointed bathrooms, hard-to-beat breakfasts and amazing hosts - great value for the money

Other hotels worth mentioning: Eurostars Porto Centro (4*), Porto Suites do Marquês, Hotel Spot Family Suites, Pestana Porto - A Brasileira, City Center & Heritage Building (5*), Yours GuestHouse Porto

Pronounced: [sæ]

- Overview

Narrow lanes, historical settings, old taverns, clothes drying on wires - all suggest that Sé is the true soul of Porto. It’s the oldest part of the city, hosting medieval houses most inhabited by locals and expats. Even the streets bear inherited names. Eateries here serve traditional snacks and drinks. If historical and authentic is what you are looking for, here is the ideal neighbourhood for you to stay in. It’s not the case, though, if you are visiting by car. Given the narrow steep streets, driving becomes very difficult. If you want to challenge yourself, try to explore it on a bicycle. Having said that, Sé is perfect for those traveling by a motorcycle. With accommodation ranging from affordable upscale hotels to cheap hostels, the area is well suitable for a longer stay.

- Main Attractions

* Porto Cathedral (must see)
* Igreja de Santa Clara (must see)
* Sao Joao National Theater

- Pros of Staying Here

- Authentic atmosphere
- Affordable accommodation
- Eateries serving international cuisine
- Home to Porto’s historic train station
- Well connected to other neighbourhoods

- Cons of Staying Here

- Gets empty by night
- Easy to get lost in the medieval maze
- Not suitable for those traveling by car
- No nightlife

- Recommended Hotels

Armazém Luxury Housing - a unique and exquisite rental where historical meets modern, offering an uphill yet very good location, quaint rooms with high ceilings and helpful staff: perfect for a romantic and quiet stay
Eurostars Porto Douro (4*) - a peaceful homey hotel located close to the tourist attractions yet far enough to be quiet, with well-appointed rooms some of them offering gorgeous views of Douro: perfect for a romantic and anniversary getaway or family vacation
The Passenger Hostel, Porto - a gorgeous hostel with a bit of a luxury feel to it, featuring spacious rooms with secure lockers, clean bathrooms and a super cool social area: great value for the money
Maria Muralha Historic House - a quiet well-located rental offering modern yet cozy experience in an older setting, small but very comfortable rooms, many pleasant touches and amazing hosts: good value for the money
Casa dos Lóios by Shiadu - a boutique-style rental offering great location, creative rooms, friendly staff, pleasant terrace: good for a family stay

Other hotels worth mentioning: InterContinental Porto - Palacio das Cardosas (5*), Best Guest Porto Hostel, Villa Mouzinho Apartments & Suites, Cocorico Luxury Guest House


Pronounced: [,sdu’fʌɪtə]

- Overview

Cedofeita is the hip and trendy neighbourhood of Porto, displaying what its modern culture is about. Fun and entertaining, it is not as busy as other districts, yet close to many attractions. Home to various galleries and hip spots, this neighbourhood is popular with students and, especially, art buffs. Combine that with urban cafes, jam sessions, quiz nights and stylish shopping and you’ll get a pleasant and entertaining area. You won’t find many clubs here, but you won’t get bored at night, as oftentimes people take the party to the streets. If you are a young couple looking for a romantic and fun escape, stay in Cedofeita. This is also the area for you to rent in when visiting with kids and willing to escape the noise and busyness yet be close to the main tourist spots. Price-wise, here you get to choose between some of the cheapest hostels to the most expensive hotels.

- Main Attractions

* Casa da Musica (must see)
* Estatua Guerra Peninsular

- Pros of Staying Here

- A wide choice of rentals for any taste and wallet
- Positive and fun environment
- Good for families
- Plenty of hip places to visit or sit back and relax
- Well connected with other areas

- Cons of Staying Here

- Some areas might feel a bit remote

- Recommended Hotels

Eurostars Das Artes (4*) - an elegant hotel featuring rotating art exhibitions, nice rooms with comfy beds, on-site bar and garden: good when visiting Porto by car and well-suitable for a business stay
Rosa Et Al Townhouse - a beautifully decorated rental located in an interesting area, welcoming you with comfortable beds, amazing breakfasts, very attentive hosts, and a lovely cute on-site garden
Porto Persona Guesthouse - a wonderful beautifully decorated boutique-style guest house, featuring period furniture and soft furnishings, with a luxury feel to it, and great hosts: unbeatable value for the money
Oporto Music Hostel, Porto - an affordable hostel, offering varied rooms and dorms, more privacy than usual hostels, a nice garden and friendly staff
Art Senses | Suites & Rooms - a wonderful rental located away from the touristy areas, featuring beautiful spacious rooms, lovely hosts and a gorgeous common lounge area: great value for the money
Douro Dreams - a quietly located bed & breakfast, boasting clean and modern rooms, secure free parking and helpful staff: great value for the money
Gallery Hostel - a boutique style hostel(!), with modern yet homey shared and private rooms, good facilities, and an adorable mini on-site garden

Other hotels worth mentioning: Sunny Studio, Porto, Casa do Conto, MATER50 - Deluxe Suites @ Art District, Casa Carolina, MyStay Porto Centro, Mercador Guesthouse

Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos

Pronounced: [lur’dælu du ‘ɔ:uʁu ɛ ,mʌsʌ’ʁæluʃ]

- Overview

The part of the city where fishermen and sailors used to live, Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos is the district to stay in if you want to get a taste of a local’s life. The neighbourhood features many contrasts: there are Victorian mansions, aristocratic palaces and gardens, industrial buildings and hip spots to name just a few. If you go uphill, you’ll find narrow streets and one or two-storey buildings bringing in a traditional Portuguese village feel. Its northern side lined with Avenida de Boavista is arguably the most upscale part of Porto, featuring modern buildings and several ritzy stores and cafes. Home to many educational institutions, Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos is a youthful area where you’ll meet many students. Hosting a range of hipster bars, it’s the place where the bohemian youth hangs out. Generally, there are not too many eateries, you’ll spot cafes here and there and find a series of groceries and markets. Given the green areas and quiet, it is well suitable for a family stay or retirement vacation. As more of a residential neighbourhood, it has many high-quality accommodation options at reasonable prices, making it a good choice to set base on a longer stay in Porto.

- Main Attractions

* Museu do Vinho
* Museu do Carro Electrico (must see)
* Museu Romantico (must see)
* Pavilhao Rosa Mota
* Jardim do Palácio de Cristal (must see)
* Cemiterio de Agramonte
* Serralves Foundation (Serralves Museum) (must see)

- Recommended Walks

Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos is the district where you’ll find many museums, here is how you can optimize your time when exploring them all:

* Tour of Porto’s Museums

- Pros of Staying Here

- Wide range of accommodation options available
- Lower prices for 4* and 5* hotels
- Plenty of green areas to take a nice break
- Good for family vacations and quiet escapes

- Cons of Staying Here

- Rentals are mostly clustered in several areas of interest
- A bit remote

- Recommended Hotels

Duas Portas - a wonderful rental hosted in a renovated old property decorated with appreciation to detail and modernism, attentive hosts, spacious rooms, comfy beds, turning your visit to Porto into an exploration and beach vacation
Porto Music Guest House - a modern rental offering nicely-designed comfortable well-furnished rooms, lovely garden and shared lounge, and kind service-oriented staff: great value for the money
Predicados do Douro Palace - a cozy hotel with well-decorated bright and beautiful rooms, charming garden and shared lounge, and very accommodating staff: good value for the prices charged
A Casa das Margaridas - a conveniently-located guest house, welcoming you with clean and tidy rooms, lovely terrace and a friendly host

Other hotels worth mentioning: Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa (5*), Koolhouse Porto, Oporto Loft, Porta Azul

Foz do Douro

Pronounced: [‘fɔʒ ,du ‘dɔ:ru]

- Overview

Foz do Douro is the main target for those coming to Porto for a beach vacation. Unsurprisingly, this is the most expensive area of the city, accommodation, food and fun coming with a touristy price tag. The neighbourhood boasts gorgeous blue flag beaches, stylish high-end hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, historical landmarks, modern nightclubs, waterfront views and much more - what else could you possibly desire? After an exhausting day of enjoying the Ocean waters and sunbathing, just sit back at one of the sunset bars among the locals sipping their gin-based drinks, to get ready for another tiring day-off at the beach. Beach and river sidewalks are perfect for a nice walk, bike-rides or jogging, enjoyable for either families, couples or slower-walkers. Although the beachline part is more of a bustling area, the rest of Foz do Douro conveys a residential feel. You won’t find many hotels in this neighbourhood, apartments being mostly available for rent. Regardless of the property type, be sure that accommodation will be relatively expensive.

- Main Attractions

* Fortaleza de São João da Foz

- Pros of Staying Here

- Perfect for a beach vacation
- High-quality accommodation and eateries
- Plenty of spaces to stroll, cycle and jog
- Varied attractions
- Markets for fresh produce
- Waterfront bars and fancy nightclubs
- Connected to other neighbourhoods by tram

- Cons of Staying Here

- Everything comes at a higher price
- A bit remote

- Recommended Hotels

Casa das Laranjas - a wonderful accommodation that would add a relaxing village-like feel to your vacation, with quiet location in a lovely area, nicely decorated immaculate rooms, delightful staff: great value for the money
Suites Foz O Porto - a splendid rental, offering a convenient location, with one of the rooms offering a private swimming pool, great for solo travelers, romantic escapes and family vacations

Other hotels worth mentioning: Hotel Boa-Vista (3*)

Part 3. Getting from the airport to your hotel

Porto Airport (officially known as Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, OPO), is the second busy airport of Portugal, and is located 7 miles away from the city centre. Getting from the Airport to downtown is pretty easy as Porto’s public transport system is well developed, comprising metro, busses and trams. FYI, there are three tram lines (1, 18, and 22) that run old 1920s’ iconic Portuguese trams - these operate in the daytime only, have limited schedules, and do not go to the airport - while the ride is an attraction itself. Here are the ways to get from the Airport to Porto.


This is a relatively fast way to get to downtown. The trip from the Airport to city centre lasts about 40 minutes. Right after you pass customs, you’ll see many signs leading you to level -1, where you can take the metro. You’ll find vending machines, which take credit and debit cards, coins and banknotes, and give change. The Andante Azul ticket itself costs EUR 0.60 (~ USD 0.70), and it is rechargeable, so don’t throw it away. To get to downtown, you’d need a Z4 ticket which is EUR 2.00 (~ USD 2.30). You can use it 1 hour and 15 minutes from the moment of validation. Therefore, your trip will cost you overall about USD 3.00. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before you’re on the train, the fines are really high.

The metro line passing the Airport is the E (purple) line, taking you to the Trindade station, in Baixa. From there, you can get pretty much everywhere around the city by taking either other metro lines, or one of the buses or trams. You can use the same ticket as long as it’s still valid. Otherwise, you’d have to recharge it. If you’re heading further to Baixa or Sé, you can alight 1 or 2 stations after Trindade.

However, if you are heading to Foz do Douro, it might be easier for you to change the route a bit. You’d need to take the same purple metro line, and hop off at Senhora (Sra) da Hora metro station, change to metro A (blue) line to Matosinhos Sul station, and there transfer to the Matosinhos-Praia bus station to take the bus line 500. A part of this bus trip will pass by the coast, so you’ll also get the to admire the Ocean a bit.

Similarly, you can take the E metro line till the Francos station, transfer from there in a minute’s walk to the Sidónio Pais bus station, and take the bus 202. It will also take you to the coast, but will cross the neighbourhood on its way.

You can use the metro between 6am and 1am.

Shuttle Bus

Terravision is running two lines of shuttle busses from the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport to Porto. One of them will take you to Aliados, and the other one will take you to Boavista. The shuttle busses operate between 4:45am and 12:35am. A one way trip will cost you EUR 5.00 (~ USD 5.75) and the journey will last 15-20 minutes, making it a convenient and fast way to get to the city. Just to make sure you have a spot on the shuttle bus, it might be better to pre-book it online.

Similar services are also provided by other companies, such as GOIN Shuttle, VMTransfers, 100 Rumos Shuttle and other companies. Their prices range from EUR 5 (~ USD 5.75) per person to more than EUR 20 (~ USD 23), so if a shuttle transfer from the Airport to your hotel is what you’d opt for, better make a small research before your trip and choose the most convenient service for you.


Bus line 602 will take you directly from the Airport to the city centre. It will pass on its way several stations bordering Cedofeita and Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos, and ending the trip at Baixa. You’d need the same Andante Azul ticket. The journey will last about 50 minutes up to an hour. If you’re staying in beach zone in Foz do Douro, you should take bus line 120 to the Matosinhos station, walk about two minutes to change stations to Matosinhos-Mercado. From that station you should take bus line 500 and enjoy the journey along the coastline. Don’t forget to alight at the station you need to get to your hotel!


As usually, taxis can be a very convenient way to get to the needed destination. If you’d like to take the cab from the Porto Airport to your hotel, you may either pre-book it online, or just take one of the taxis available right next to the exit doors. The price may vary from EUR 20 to EUR 30 (~ USD 23.00 - 34.50), however you should know that if your route passes motorways, the corresponding fares will be included in the price of your trip. Moreover, the total price may be higher with up to 20% for the late/night hours and holidays.

Car Hire

At the ground floor of the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, you’ll find information desks of a series of car rental companies. The prices per day per car start at EUR 17 (~ USD 19.5, at the moment when this article was written) and will vary according to the negotiated conditions and length of your stay or rental.

Part 4. A Few Tips to Choose the Right Neighbourhood for You

If you're still undecided on where to stay in in Porto, here are some quick tips.

When traveling with a family, the best neighbourhoods to stay in are Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos and Miragaia.

If you are visiting on a romantic vacation, or just a pleasant romantic stay is what you are looking for then choose Miragaia or Ribeira & São Nicolau.

When visiting Porto for just a day or two, choose rentals in Baixa or Ribeira & São Nicolau. If you’re going to stay here for a while, then set your base at Sé or Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos.

If traveling on a budget, you’ll find suitable accommodation options in Baixa, Cedofeita, Sé and Ribeira & São Nicolau. If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, though, you’ll find it in the northern (Boavista) part of Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos and in Foz do Douro.

Generally, Porto cannot boast a buoyant nightlife. But if you’d like to be closer to most clubs, stay in Foz do Douro or Baixa.

If shopping is your game, stay in Baixa. The latter, together with Foz do Douro, are also a good choice for foodies.

History buffs will find a lot to explore in Sé, Ribeira & São Nicolau and Baixa. Art enthusiasts will enjoy their stay in Cedofeita. Ribeira & São Nicolau and Sé might be the preferred areas for architecture fans.