Where to stay in Porto? Neighborhood by neighborhood, we tell you everything to help you find the best hotel to stay in Porto!
Porto, the second largest and most populous city in Portugal after Lisbon, has a number of qualifiers in it: romantic, attractive, popular, authentic and picturesque. As such, it is regularly named as the “Best European Destination of the Year”, and attracts 4 to 5 million tourists each year. With a population of 237,591 (2011), the “capital of the north” is world famous for port wine, but it enjoys many other charms. Its historic center has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996.
If you have planned to visit Porto, you will have to find a place to stay: accomodation for rent (Airbnb, Wimdu, etc.), hotels … But it will primarily target a neighborhood to stay that meets your expectations and to your budget. You may feel drowned in information when you have landed in an unknown city, so the editors have pre-ordered the work: here is a brief presentation of the neighborhoods where to stay in Porto.
Ribeira, the old town
Photo credit: Flickr – Turismo En Portugal
Ribeira is the historic heart of Porto. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this district is the one with the highest tourist numbers. And we will understand why: cobbled and brightly colored alleys that wind their way through the city center to the banks of the Douro, we gradually descend to a marvel of Porto: the famous Dom Luis Bridge, built in 1886 by a close engineer from Gustave Eiffel. On the banks of the Douro, many bars and musical evenings to start the evening open their doors.
While crisscrossing the streets of the old town, you will be ideally placed while being in total immersion in the History of Porto. Accommodation rates will be rather high, but for a memorable romantic getaway in Portugal, you don’t count!
Boavista, the new city
Photo credit: Wikimedia – António M.L. Cabral
This is truly the upscale neighborhood, with trendy hotels and bars and restaurants, great luxury shops. Located north-west of the city center, you will not be in a better position to shop upscale or to visit monuments of very refined architecture, like the Casa da Musica.
The nightly rates of the apartments are rather high, it is a fairly salty bill to stay in Porto but it is also THE neighborhood where to stay if you like the trendy nightlife and shopping.
Miragaia, a romantic stopover
Photo credit: Wikimedia – HombreDHojalata
Between the northern banks of the Douro and the Jardim do Carregal, glued to the historic heart of the city, is the Miragaia district. One will appreciate the much less effervescent and turbulent atmospheres of the Ribeira while walking in a stream of narrow streets where all the picturesque Porto is enjoyed with the eyes. A colorful district, again, ideal if you go in love.
If you decide to stay in this area of Porto, your accommodation offer will go from the rather cheap pensão to the hotel with more budget.
Massarelos, bohemian getaway
Photo credit: Wikimedia – michell zappa
Located west of the city center, from the banks of the Douro to the upscale Boavista district, the district – freguesia in Portuguese – of Massarelos offers a very good compromise to find accommodation – apartment or hotel – in Porto. It is the student district where the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto are located.
While strolling in this district, you will appreciate – besides the art galleries, the bars frequented by the hipster and bohemian youth – the garden of the Crystal Palace, a green space very resting on the heights of the city, with an impregnable view on the mouth of the Douro sailing towards the Atlantic Ocean. Choose Massarelos to stay in Porto if you are part of aficionados areas both quiet, rather “bobos” and trendy.
Aliados and Bolhão
Photo credit: Flickr – Tim Wang
Right in the heart of the city center and just a stone’s throw from the historic heart, lies a small, lively neighborhood, a sumptuous mix of historic buildings and majestic churches – a relic of the royal and Christian past – with the shopping and popular life of the area. The central market and the central station are nearby. A good place, finally, to enjoy a drink in an art deco cafe or terrace in the alleys adjacent to the main boulevards.
To find accommodation in this district of Porto, it is the place dreamed: close to everything, you will have the choice between the pensão and the hotel mid and high end.
Vila Nova of Gaia
Photo credit: Flickr – Roberto Maldeno
We cross the Douro to visit the south shore of Porto, a district formerly dedicated to the fluvial trade. You can access it by the Dom Luís Bridge, to visit (for the pleasure of the taste buds) the famous wine cellars of Porto. This district is especially frequented for its peace and the visit of the cellars and cellars. If you cross the Dom Luís Bridge, venture to the coast, and enjoy the great beaches of the Atlantic to sublimate your relaxing holiday.
Like other neighborhoods in Porto, the price range of apartments and hotels ranges from cheap to high budget, depending on whether you want a bed in dormitory, a homestay room or a double bed in a hotel. Small flat: do not expect to find such charming and lively streets as in the neighborhood of Ribeira or Miragaia.