Where To Stay In Porto; The Best Neighborhoods And Things To Do

where to stay in porto

The moment I set foot on the cobblestone streets of Portugal’s Northwestern city, I understood why masses of tourists were drawn to the location. How could a destination be so perfectly quiet amidst the hustle and bustle of wary locals and eager travelers? Deciding where to stay in Porto can be difficult, due to its charming neighborhoods and winding streets.

I sat along the Douro River admiring the stacks of colorful buildings fighting one another to stand out across the way. The Portuguese city entices with its vibrant culture, historical center, and dynamic food and wine scene, and traveling to the city is now easier than ever. Numerous airlines fly via the US to Portugal, and TAP has varying routes through Lisbon to Porto.

Where To Stay In Porto; 3 Of The Best Neighborhoods To Visit

porto neighborhoods

Edgy yet humble, Porto is a charming city with a population of just over 1 million people. With its winding streets and historical sites at every turn, it’s challenging to decide where to stay in Porto. 

The city center is ideal for a short jaunt, but that’s not to say alternative neighborhoods shouldn’t be explored. I somehow managed to spend an entire day climbing hills and strolling along unfamiliar streets to find hidden gems across the city- it’s a destination that’s meant to be explored. 

Ribeira (Sightseeing Central)

One of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city for exploring. Narrow streets are found in plenty, and are lined with indie bookshops, quaint cafes, and delicious restaurants. When you think you’ve seen it all, you round a steephill into a colorful square with dramatic views of the Dom Luis I Bridge. 

There’s so much to do in this popular district. Browsing artisan shops, dining with a river-side view, or trying your hand at Port tasting- day and night Porto shines. Given its central locations and abundance of things to see, Ribiera is definitely one of the busiest neighborhoods in Porto (especially during peak months). 

What To Do In Ribeira

  • Watch people jump from the Dom Luis I Bridge
  • Take the Elevador da Lada
  • Explore Igreja de São Francisco Church
  • Admire Porto Cathedral
  • Clerigos Tower and Church
  • Stroll along the waterfront
  • Porto São Bento
  • Bolsa Palace

Where To Stay In Ribeira

If you’re wondering where to stay in Porto on a budget, look no further than OneFam Ribeira. A cozy hostel a short walk from Dom Luis bridge, it’s the place to be if you’re looking to meet fellow travelers, join a community, and spend under $80/night. The hostel organizes weekly activities from walking tours to bar crawls and there’s ample space inside; a kitchen/dining room area, outdoor patio, living room, and downstairs ‘cave.’

Situated proudly along the Douro River, Eurostars Porto Douro offers amazing views in a 4-star hotel setting. Etched into a cliffside, the hotel is steps from the lively Ribeira promenade but in a quieter setting. If you’re lucky enough to get a river-facing room, sunsets and sunrises are not to be missed. The restaurant serves an incredible breakfast buffet- an ideal way to start any morning. The selling point is the uncovered rooftop bar with comfortable couches and sprawling views of Porto. 

Vila Nova De Gaia

Situated on the far banks of the Douro River, Vila Nova de Gaia is a charming area in Porto. Peppered with cellars, restaurant terraces, and beautiful views of the city, Gaia is often an overlooked spot for those visiting the country. 

The narrow winding streets offer an almost solace away from the hustle and bustle of the main city area. It’s possible to stroll around for hours admiring the tiled-houses, in search of the best view of the Douro River. 

What To Do In Vila Nova De Gaia 

  • Take the Gaia Cable Car
  • Music and sunsets at Jardim De Morro
  • Explore World of Wine
  • Boat ride along the river
  • Mercado Beira Rio food hall
  • Pink Palace
  • Port tasting

Where To Stay In Vila Nova De Gaia

Portuguese charm meets luxury at Vincci Ponte de Ferro. Perched on a cliff next to Dom Luis Bridge, its doors open to Jardim de Morro and all of Porto’s main attractions. Between Vila Nova de Gaia and Ribeira, it’s really the ideal location for someone wanting to be central. I would explore the waterfront in the evening, listen to music at Jardim, and then get back to the hotel within 5 minutes or so- exactly what every solo traveler wants! 

The outdoor pool and rooftop bar sit just below the bridge. Watch the trains whizz on by as you indulge in a cocktail and take a dip. Pools in Porto are a rarity, and when there’s one with this type of view of the city- it’s not to be missed.

Several restaurants and bars on site make it extremely difficult to leave the hotel at all. Each offering their own flare, you’ll have your pick of a variety of dishes and drinks to accompany them. 

Hostels that aren’t so hostely do exist! The House of Sandeman sits proudly along the river amidst some of the best restaurants and bars in Porto. This is definitely where to stay in Porto if you want to stay on a budget, but want the luxuries of a hotel.

Though considered a hostel, House of Sandeman has an outdoor beer garden, modern spacious rooms, and a hidden port cellar for tastings. Centrally located, the rooms range from private rooms to 14-bed dorms. 

Baixa and Sé

The narrow steep streets of Baixa/Se are home to some of the city’s best gastronomy, historical sites, and nightlife. One of the liveliest areas of Porto, it’s easy to spend hours here just exploring the streets and storefronts. With its precipitous hills, these neighborhoods have the best focal points of the Douro River and Vila Nova De Gaia

What To Do In Baixa and Sé

  • Lello Bookstore
  • Clerigos Tower
  • São Bento Station
  • Old Bolhão Market
  • Palácio de Cristal

Where To Stay In Baixa and Sé

With its outdoor pool and patio area surrounded by lush greenery, Hotel Catalonia Porto somehow exudes relaxation in the center of the city. Cozy rooms, an on-site restaurant/bar, and spa area; guests are invited to choose their own type of vibe during their stay. 

The outdoor space in the hotel is by far the standout. Enclosed on all sides by buildings or greenery, you’ll feel as though you’re relaxing in your own secret garden. A large pool, hot tub, fountain, and couches- serenity found in Porto. 


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