The second-largest city in Portugal, Porto was once a hidden gem in the country’s north! Whilst it is becoming increasingly popular with tourists, it still maintains a unique charm that gives a more authentic vibe than other parts of the country. With picturesque buildings and unique culinary delights, it really is a must-see when visiting Portugal.
The city can be quite confusing to navigate, with winding streets traversing hills and the riverfront. It is important to get a feel for what is in each neighborhood before planning your stay in the city.
That’s why we built this guide! We’ve figured out the seven best areas to stay in Porto, as well as who they are best for.
So without further adieu, vamos!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Porto
- Baixa – Best neighborhood in Porto for your first time
- Bolhão – Where to stay in Porto close to everything
- Ribeira – Where to stay in Porto for nightlife
- Matosinhos – Best neighborhood in Porto for families
- Boavista – Where to stay in Porto on a budget
- Vila Nova de Gaia – Best neighborhood in Porto for couples
- Cedofeita – Best neighborhood in Porto for culture
Where to Stay in Porto
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Porto.
Best Hostel in Porto
Right in the heart of Porto’s most creative neighborhood, this hostel oozes hipster cool and comes with some fantastic social facilities! The interior is decorated with interesting artwork from local artists, and they run regular activities including city tours and pub nights.
Best Budget Hotel in Porto
Located in Baixa, this is the best budget option if you want to easily get around all of the main attractions in the city centre! The hotel itself is situated within a historic building, allowing you to experience a little piece of Porto’s past. Rooms are fully soundproofed to protect you from the noise.
Best Splurge Hotel in Porto
Despite being one of the newest five star hotels in the city, Torel Avantgarde already comes with fantastic guest reviews! With a gorgeous garden, a huge outdoor pool and roof terrace overlooking the city, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best luxury hotels in the city.
Porto 7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the seven best neighbourhoods in Porto. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
(Best neighborhood in Porto for your first time!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Baixa – climb the Torre dos Clérigos and admire the gorgeous views across the city
- BEST place to visit in Baixa – Livraria Lello, a gorgeous bookshop, is said to be the inspiration behind some Harry Potter locations
Baixa is the main neighborhood in Porto and where you will find most of the life during the day! This central area contains many of the most iconic attractions in the city centre and is well connected to some of the other excellent neighborhoods in the city. Baixa is Portuguese for low, and the relatively flat nature of this neighborhood is a great break away from the infamous hills surrounding it.
This is also where you will find many of the city’s major culinary attractions – from the locally famous francesinha, to international cuisines inspired by Asian, Brazilian and African food, there’s something for everyone in Baixa!
- Visit the Centro Portugues de Fotografia – the largest permanent photography gallery in the country with a great mix of exhibits
- Galerias Lumière is a major shopping centre in the city featuring brands from across Portugal, Spain and the rest of the world
- The city is packed with gorgeous churches just waiting to be explored, and Chafariz da Porta do Olival is no exception
- Cândido dos Reis is a great spot to sample the local nightlife – with a great selection of popular and traditional music on offer
- It’s not often that McDonald’s is a major tourist attraction, but their central Porto location is one of the most beautiful in the world thanks to art nouveau architecture
Best Hostel Baixa
Located right in the heart of Porto, this is the perfect hostel for those visiting the city for a short period of time! Rooms are spacious and all guests are provided with a complimentary security locker under the beds. The social spaces are relaxed, and the hostel also provide free walking tours.
Heading to Porto? Save some money with our guide to the coolest hostels in Porto!
Best Budget Hotel in Baixa
Despite being a budget accommodation, Hotel da Bolsa comes with some fantastic additional extras to truly elevate your experience! Rooms are fully soundproofed – ideal for getting a good night’s sleep in this central location. A continental buffet breakfast is provided every morning, and allergies are catered for.
Best Splurge Hotel in Baixa
This magnificent five star hotel is perfect for those that want to splurge on a central location! There is a fitness centre on-site, as well as a spa and wellness centre with hammam. A buffet breakfast – featuring Portuguese favourites such as pasteis de nata – is provided every morning.
Have some time? Get out of the city with these epic day trips from Porto!
(Where to stay in Porto close to everything!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Bolhão – shop along Rua Santa Catarina, as well as admire the regular street performers
- BEST place to visit in Bolhão – Capela das Almas is a major landmark in the city, decorated with gorgeous azulejos (Portuguese tiles)
Though officially part of Baixa, Bolhão is the most central part of the neighborhood and the best connected by public transport! The metro through this area connects the airport with the riverfront, and São Bento railway station is just to the south. It is also where you will find Porto’s main shopping street and the famous Capela das Almas.
Despite being so well located, Bolhão is one of the most peaceful neighborhoods in the city centre. All of the other tourist hotspots are located closer to the riverfront – so this is the place to stay if you want to kick back and relax after a day of exploring! You will also find some budget-friendly dining options.
- Cervejaria Brasão is a popular bar in the city, not least because it is famed as one of the best places to try francesinha – a local delicacy
- Grab some fresh produce and mingle with locals at Mercado do Bolhão, the last truly local market in the city
- Catch a show from local and international acts at the Teatro Municipal do Porto – a major cultural hub in the city
- Liberdade Square is one of the main gathering points in the city – bursting with life in the evenings, it is also home to some of the most important historic monuments
- Lisbon might be the capital for pastel de nata, but Porto makes a great effort nevertheless – we suggest trying the famous tarts at Nata Lisboa
Best Hostel Bolhão
As a top five hotel two years in a row, Rivoli Cinema Hostel certainly doesn’t disappoint for backpackers wanting to stay centrally! It comes with rooms decorated with famous movie iconography and artwork, and the large communal areas have a social atmosphere. There is a roof terrace with a swimming pool.
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Best Budget Hotel in Bolhão
Claimed to be one of the oldest hotels in Porto, Hotel do Norte is a little piece of the city’s history – and still comes in at a surprisingly budget-friendly price! Rooms come with private terraces – including some with views over the Capela das Almas. They also come with contemporary and stylish décor.
Best Splurge Hotel in Bolhão
Another piece of Porto history, A Brasileira has changed hands many times over the years but consistently remains the pinnacle of luxury in the city! Rooms are spacious and come with air conditioning that can be controlled at will by the occupant. An American style buffet breakfast is provided every morning.
(Where to stay in Porto for nightlife!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Ribeira – catch a traditional music performance and sample local cuisine at O Fado
- BEST place to visit in Ribeira – built by Gustav Eiffel, the Dom Luíz Bridge is a must-see attraction in Porto
With a UNESCO World Heritage Site sprawling along the waterfront, Porto’s Ribeira neighborhood is an area of outstanding beauty! The colourful buildings are popular with photographers, and the magnificent Ponte Dom Luíz has become an icon of the city. Walk along the top section for excellent views across the area.
In the evenings, Ribeira comes alive with restaurants, bars and nightclubs lining the Rio Douro! It is one of the pricier neighborhoods in the city but is well worth it thanks to the iconic setting and infectious atmosphere. Whether you want to catch a local performance or head to something a bit more mainstream, there’s something for all tastes.
- Hotfive Blues is an incredibly popular club with locals that specialises in jazz and blues music, as well as decently priced booze
- For something a bit more upmarket, Bar Ponte de Pensil overlooks one of the city’s bridges as well as the beautiful riverfront
- Head down to the riverfront during the day and catch one of the many boat tours that take you across the city
- Casa do Infante used to be a princely home for whenever the Portuguese royals visited the north, and now is a major museum
- Adega São Nicolau offers some fantastic food – the francesinha is great for beating hangovers, and the pasteis de bacalhau make for tasty snacks
Best Hostel Ribeira
This traditional hostel features blue tiles on the outside and exposed beams on the inside, allowing guests to experience a little piece of Porto history! Despite the lively location, it comes with a peaceful atmosphere where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of Ribeira. Breakfast is provided for a small fee.
Editor’s Recommendation! These are the staff pick for the top hostels in Lisbon (for all budgets!)
Best Budget Hotel in Ribeira
Overlooking the river, this is one of the best budget picks in the city if you want mesmerising views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site! Rooms come with large en-suites and safes where you can store your valuables. There is a restaurant on the top floor providing breakfast every morning.
Best Splurge Hotel in Ribeira
Straddling the boundary between Baixa and Ribeira, this is a great option for easily getting around the city centre’s two most iconic neighborhoods! Rated five stars, it comes with balconies overlooking the city and decorated with gorgeous flower arrangements. Rooms are spacious and air conditioned.
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(Best neighborhood in Porto for families!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Matosinhos – head down to Praia de Matosinhos and try out the surfing facilities in the summer
- BEST place to visit in Matosinhos – learn about the history of architecture in the area at the Casa de Arquitetura
Though often regarded as a separate town, Matosinhos is officially a suburb to the west of Porto located along the Atlantic Ocean! With unbeatable views across the sea and only a short tram ride from the city centre, this is the perfect location for families visiting the area that want somewhere a bit quieter.
Not as touristy as the more central locations, Matosinhos has a more local atmosphere and is the perfect spot for discovering Portuguese culture! It is known for its fantastic local cafes that specialise in typical cuisine as well as more innovative dishes using locally sourced ingredients.
- The Cruise Terminal at the Port of Leixões is an architectural marvel on the coast that also hosts the university’s aquarium
- Piscina das Marés is a small collection of pools that are filled with natural seawater – perfect if you don’t want the kids jumping straight into the ocean
- Mercado de Matosinhos is a local fruit market – and the neighbouring Mercado de Angeiras is where you can pick up fresh fish
- Farol de Leça is a coastal lighthouse – you can climb up it for free and enjoy spectacular views of the coastline
- Modì is a popular Italian gelateria right on the waterfront – the perfect stop during a day at the beach
Best Hostel Matosinhos
Aside from the usual hostel dorm-style accommodation, Fishtail Sea House also offer private rooms and even apartments! This makes it one of the few hostels that can effectively cater to families in the area. They offer regular tours of the Matosinhos area, as well as discounted surfing hire.
Editor’s Note: You can have a great time in Lagos staying at one of the top party hostels!
Best Budget Hotel in Matosinhos
Located in neighbouring Amadeos, Urban Hotel is only a short walk away from Matosinhos Beach, and is even closer to the city centre by tram! A light breakfast will be provided every morning to set you up for the day ahead, and there is a cosy bar on-site where you can enjoy discounted drinks.
Best Splurge Hotel in Matosinhos
This elegant boutique hotel is a little bit further out from Matosinhos – but is nevertheless the perfect choice for families in the city that want to enjoy the height of luxury! It is a five star hotel, and there is an expansive spa and wellness centre on-site. An American style buffet breakfast is included.
Lisbon is alive! And you’ll find these party hostels have some of the best events around!
(Where to stay in Porto on a budget!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Boavista – sample local cuisine and mingle with locals at Mercado Bom Sucesso
- BEST place to visit in Boavista – head to the coast and check out the Castelo do Queijo and it’s magnificent sea views
Boavista is a huge area that stretches from the city centre right to the Atlantic coast of the city! For budget travellers, Boavista offers plenty of well-priced accommodation options as well as cheap food and drink options. It also offers a more authentic side of Porto’s culture, allowing you to mingle with locals and learn about their way of life.
The closer to the coast you get, the more relaxed the atmosphere of the area gets! This means it is also a great option for those that want to explore the city without all of the chaos of the city centre.
- Parque da Cidade do Porto is the largest park in the city – with gorgeous gardens and great facilities, it is ideal for a relaxing walk
- Casa da Música is known for its gorgeous architecture and often hosts regular live performances from Portuguese acts
- Casa de Serralves, on the other hand, has a more art deco style and hosts a museum dedicated to local culture
- Vegetarians need to head to Essência where you can sample typical Portuguese cuisine without the meat products – even francesinha!
- Península Boutique Centre is the largest shopping centre in the area and has a good blend of budget and splurge options
Best Hostel Boavista
Though a fairly basic hostel, this is one of the best priced in the city! They offer privates, as well as typical dorm-style accommodation. Communal areas are spacious, and the kitchen is well equipped with everything you need to self-cater during your stay in Porto. Free WiFi is also provided.
Will you be in Lagos a while? Here’s your guide to the top day trips from Lagos for exploring the area!
Best Budget Hotel in Boavista
Just off the Boavista Rotunda, Hotel Douro is right in the heart of the area! The rooms are offered at some of the best rates in the city for privates, and there are some great facilities to compliment this. There is a free buffet breakfast, or guests can have breakfast delivered to their room.
Best Splurge Hotel in Boavista
This five star hotel might be a little far out from the city centre, but it is a great option if you want to experience luxury at a fraction of the cost! There is a magnificent roof terrace where you can enjoy views across the city and as far as the Atlantic Ocean.
(Best neighborhood in Porto for couples!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Vila Nova de Gaia – take a bike trip along the Douro River to the Atlantic Coast
- BEST place to visit in Vila Nova de Gaia – visit the Porto Wine Cellars and sample the world-famous beverage
Vila Nova de Gaia is officially a separate city, but is located just across the river from the Ribeira neighborhood in Porto! This area is best known for the Porto Wine Cellars, where you can sample many different varieties of port from the area. The laid back atmosphere, easy-going attractions and abundance of wine makes this a great neighborhood for couples.
Like Porto’s Ribeira, the riverfront neighborhood of Vila Nova de Gaia comes with a romantic atmosphere – and arguably has better views as you get to look onwards to the colourful buildings of the city.
- For nightlife and dining options, head to Cais de Gaia in the evenings where you can enjoy the laid-back, yet vibrant, atmosphere
- The nearby village of Afurada offers a typical fishing village atmosphere – perfect for a romantic day trip out of the city
- There is a cable car running from Cais de Gaia up to Serra do Pilar where you can admire the views across the city
- Offline offer the best prego no pão in the city – a traditional steak sandwich that is popular across Portugal
Best Hostel Vila Nova de Gaia
Located in a historic building, the House of Sandeman Hostel is right above a popular wine cellar – perfect for sampling the city’s famous port! They operate as both a hostel and hotel, so couples can also enjoy a little extra privacy whilst saving on accommodation expenses. Regular social activities are also arranged.
Lisbon has tons to do! But don’t forget you can take day trips around Lisbon too!
Best Budget Hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia
Located within walking distance of the train station, ClipHotel is a great option for easily getting into central Porto, as well as further afield in Portugal! Car and bike rentals are available from the front desk, and a buffet breakfast is provided every morning. Rooms are fully air conditioned and come with WiFi.
Best Splurge Hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia
As the only five star hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia, the Yeatman has to take our pick for best splurge option in the area! Rooms are stylishly decorated in a traditional style, and there is a huge roof terrace where you can sunbathe and admire the views of the city. A buffet breakfast is included.
Will you also visit Lisbon? Check out where we like to stay in Lisbon!
(Best neighborhood in Porto for culture!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Cedofeita – wander around the art galleries of Rua Miguel Bombarda and soak up the creative vibes
- BEST place to visit in Cedofeita – Palácio de Cristal is home to some gorgeous gardens where you can enjoy a romantic stroll
Cedofeita is, simply put, one of the trendiest parts of the city and a popular choice with the young hipster crowd visiting Porto! It is home to independent art galleries, creative boutiques and modern restaurants offering innovative cuisine. Thanks to this, it is the best neighborhood in the city to experience modern culture.
In the evenings, Cedofeita also bursts into life as a major clubbing and bar hopping hotspot! If you want something a bit more local, and certainly cheaper, than Ribeira then this is a good choice. Despite its trendy reputation, Cedofeita is still one of the cheapest neighborhoods in the city centre.
- Head to Rua Tapas & Music Bar – a popular tapas restaurant in the evenings, it transforms into a live music venue later in the night
- Catraio is another great nightlife option offering great prices on craft beer to sit in with or take home to enjoy
- The Church of Cedofeita is the oldest church in Porto – dating back to the 9th century, it is a major historic attraction
- Carlos Alberto Square is the hub of hipster cool in Porto and is lined with quirky cafes and magnificent bars
Best Hostel Cedofeita
Named the Gallery Hostel for a reason, this gorgeous building is decorated with artwork from local creatives – truly showcasing the artistic soul of Cedofeita! There is a large summer terrace where you can enjoy vistas of the city, and a complimentary breakfast is provided to all guests every morning.
Best Budget Hotel in Cedofeita
Housed within a historic mansion, this elegant hotel comes in at a surprisingly budget-friendly rate despite its beauty! They offer a continental breakfast every morning, as well as free high speed WiFi access. Rooms are spacious, and the en-suite bathrooms feature walk-in rain showers.
Best Splurge Hotel in Cedofeita
This gorgeous five star hotel is located on the boundary between Cedofeita and Baixa, giving you easy access to both neighborhoods! The massive rooms are well equipped with modern furnishings, high ceilings and elegant finishing touches. The complimentary breakfast comes with vegan and gluten-free options.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Porto?
Filled with vibrant culture, gorgeous architecture and delectable wine, Porto is a must-visit on any itinerary to Portugal! It is one of the most budget-friendly cities in Europe, and has an infectious charm that will have you wanting to return time and time again.
For the best neighborhood, we have to go with Ribeira! This is the city’s iconic waterfront and has great links to all of the other neighborhoods mentioned in this list.
That being said, the city is seemingly never-ending when it comes to beauty and every area mentioned in this guide has its charms. We hope we have helped you narrow down your options.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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