Where To Stay In Porto: A Comprehensive Guide For Travelers

aerial photo of houses
Porto. Photo: Matt Roskovec

Editorial Note: Earth Curious contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

When organizing a journey to the captivating city of Porto, one of the most important choices you’ll make is where to stay in this incredible Portuguese city. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture, this Portuguese gem offers a variety of accommodation options catering to every travel style and budget.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various Porto accommodation options such as hotels, hostels, and Airbnb rentals. We’ll delve into budget considerations including average prices and cost-saving tips while highlighting some splurge-worthy experiences that are worth indulging in during your visit.

Furthermore, we will discuss popular areas to stay in Porto like Downtown Porto, Ribeira District, and Boavista District for easy access to all of Porto’s top attractions. To ensure seamless exploration throughout your journey around the city center or nearby Vila Nova de Gaia with its famous port wine cellars; transportation options such as public transport systems (metro), taxis/ride-sharing services, or car rental companies are also covered.

aerial view of city buildings near body of water during daytime
A tram crossing the main bridge in Porto. Photo: Alex Vasey

Safety should always be paramount when traveling; hence our guide provides valuable information on local laws/regulations along with common scams/pickpocketing practices you may encounter during your time exploring Porto. Last but not least – immerse yourself in Portugal’s nightlife scene by discovering bars/clubs/live music venues/cultural events waiting for you after dark!

Let’s get started!

1. Accommodation Options

When organizing your Porto excursion, it’s critical to pick the ideal spot that fits your prerequisites and financial plan. Porto provides various choices of lodging for visitors, including hotels, hostels, and Airbnb rentals.

Hotels

Porto has numerous hotels, ranging from luxury five-star establishments to more affordable mid-range options. Many visitors choose to stay in boutique hotels or charming guesthouses that offer unique experiences and personalized service. When booking a hotel in Porto, consider factors such as location (more on this below), amenities offered, and customer reviews. Below are some of the best hotels: 

  • Hotel Infante Sagres: This hotel is one of the most popular in Porto and for good reason. It offers a luxurious stay with modern amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and air conditioning
  • Pestana Vintage Porto: Located right on the banks of the Douro River, you can enjoy stunning views from its rooftop terrace while taking advantage of its excellent facilities including a pool area with sun loungers and a spa center offering massages and beauty treatments.
  • Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa: This five-star property boasts spacious guestrooms complete with plush bedding and private balconies overlooking either the river or garden areas – ideal for relaxing after a long day sightseeing around town!

Hostels

If you’re traveling on a tight budget or looking for an opportunity to meet fellow travelers during your visit to Porto, staying at one of the city’s many hostels may be the ideal choice for you. Hostels typically offer dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities but can also provide private rooms at lower prices than most hotels. Below are some of the best hostels: 

  • Tattva Design Hostel: Known for its modern design elements and social atmosphere.
  • Pilot Design Hostel & Bar: A stylish hostel located near Clerigos Tower offering both dorms and private rooms.
  • The Passenger Hostel: Housed within Sao Bento Train Station featuring elegant interiors inspired by train travel history.

Airbnb

man walking on roadside near building
Stay in a traditional building thanks to airbnb! Photo: Jure Tufekcic

Renting an apartment or room through Airbnb can provide a more authentic and immersive experience during your stay in Porto. This option allows you to live like a local, with access to cooking facilities and the opportunity to explore residential neighborhoods. Airbnb rentals vary greatly in terms of price, size, location, and style – from modern city-center apartments to traditional houses in historic districts.

An overview of accomodation options in Porto:

Accommodation options in Porto range from luxury hotels to more budget-friendly hostels and Airbnb rentals, offering something for every traveler.

Visitors can choose from luxury five-star establishments to more affordable mid-range options or opt for dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities in one of the city’s many hostels.

Renting an apartment or room through Airbnb provides a more authentic experience during your stay in Porto by allowing you to live like a local.

Related: The 5 Best Places To Watch Sunset In Porto

2. Budget Considerations

When planning your trip to Porto, it’s essential to consider your budget and how it will affect your accommodation choices. By understanding the average prices of various lodging options and utilizing cost-saving tips, you can make the most out of your stay in this beautiful city without breaking the bank.

Average Prices

The cost of accommodations in Porto varies depending on factors such as location, type of lodging, and time of year. On average, hotel rooms range from €50-150 per night for a standard double room. Hostels offer a budget-friendly choice, with dorms costing an average of €15-30 per night and private rooms around €30-60 per night. Airbnb rentals vary greatly but expect to pay anywhere from €40-300 per night for a private apartment or home.

Cost Saving Tips

  • Book early: Accommodation prices tend to increase closer to the travel date; booking several months in advance may help secure lower rates.
  • Avoid peak season: Traveling during off-season periods (November-March) often results in cheaper accommodation rates due to decreased demand.
  • Sleep outside the city center: Staying further away from popular tourist areas may lead to more affordable lodgings; just ensure easy access via public transportation or within walking distance.
  • Leverage discounts: Many hotels offer discounted rates for longer stays or when booked directly through their website rather than third-party platforms like Booking.com or Expedia.

Splurge-Worthy Experiences

While it’s essential to be mindful of your budget, don’t forget to allocate some funds for unique and memorable experiences in Porto. Consider splurging on a Douro River cruise, indulging in the local cuisine at a highly-rated restaurant like Cantinho do Avillez, or treating yourself to an upscale stay at a luxury hotel such as Pestana Palacio do Freixo.

Overall, budget considerations are key when planning a trip to Porto. Next up is exploring the popular areas of this beautiful city where you can stay during your visit.

Key Takeaway: 

Prices in Porto: When planning a trip to Porto, it’s important to consider your budget for accommodation.

Accommodation in Porto can range from €50-150 for a hotel room, or you may find more economical options such as hostel dorm beds at €15-30 per night.

To save money, book early and avoid peak season, or stay outside the city center for more affordable lodgings.

Don’t forget to allocate funds for unique experiences like a Douro River cruise or indulging in local cuisine at highly-rated restaurants such as Cantinho do Avillez.

3. Popular Areas to Stay in Porto

When arranging your journey to Porto, selecting the ideal area for accommodation is crucial. The city offers a variety of neighborhoods with distinct atmospheres and attractions. Here are three popular areas that cater to different tastes and preferences:

Downtown Porto

Downtown Porto, is the heart of the city where you’ll find most tourist attractions within walking distance. This bustling area boasts historical landmarks such as Clerigos Tower and Lello Bookstore. Staying here means easy access to shopping streets like Rua de Santa Catarina and Rua das Flores, making it an ideal location for first-time visitors.

city buildings near body of water during daytime
Looking over the Riberia District. Photo: K. Mitch Hodge

Ribeira District

The picturesque Ribeira District is located along the Douro River waterfront and features narrow cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site packed with charming cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops selling local crafts. Accommodation options range from boutique hotels to guesthouses offering stunning river views – perfect for those seeking a romantic getaway or an authentic Portuguese experience.

Boavista District

If you prefer modern surroundings combined with green spaces, consider staying in the upscale Boavista District. This area is home to the iconic Casa da Musica concert hall and the lush Serralves Park, which houses the contemporary art museum. Boavista offers a more relaxed atmosphere with easy access to public transportation for exploring other parts of Porto.

No matter which neighborhood you choose, each has its unique charm and attractions that will make your stay in Porto memorable. Investigate the districts before committing to your lodgings in order to experience this captivating city.

Porto is a great city to explore and offers many areas for travelers to stay. From the downtown area, Ribeira District, and Boavista District, there are plenty of options available for those looking for an enjoyable place to stay in Porto. Let’s shift focus and explore the various ways to get around Porto.

4. Transportation Options

Considering the transportation options available in Porto is essential to maximize one’s exploration of the city. This piece will outline the different means of transportation in Porto, including public transit, cabs, and ride-sharing apps, as well as vehicle rental services.

Before we go into the different transport options, it’s important to know that most of the city can be explored on foot, so pack a good pair of walking shoes. Then, as a backup, you can use the following transport options below:

man standing near traffic lights
Porto is best explored by foot. Photo: Dominik Kuhn

Public Transport

Porto’s public transportation system is efficient and affordable, making it a popular choice among tourists. The network consists of buses, trams (streetcars), and the Metro do Porto light rail system. A single ticket can be used across all modes of transport within a designated time frame, allowing you to travel seamlessly throughout the city.

  • Buses: Operated by STCP (Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto), they cover most areas in Porto with frequent service during daytime hours.
  • Metro: With six lines covering over 80 km of track, Metro do Porto connects key points in the city center with suburban areas and even reaches Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport.
  • Trams: Although limited in coverage compared to buses or metro trains, trams offer a charming way to explore some parts of downtown Porto at a leisurely pace.

Taxis and Ride Sharing Services

If you prefer private transportation or need to get somewhere quickly without waiting for public transit schedules, taxis are readily available throughout Porto. You can hail one on the street or book through local taxi companies’ apps like MyTaxi Portugal or TaxiCaller Nordic AB. Additionally, Uber and Bolt operate in Porto, providing another convenient option for travelers who prefer using ride-sharing services. In our opinion, the prices of Uber and Bolt are cheaper and more reliable than taxis, so would recommend those. 

Car Rental Services

Renting a car can be an excellent choice if you plan to explore the surrounding areas of Porto or want more flexibility during your stay. Several international and local car rental companies operate in the city, offering various vehicle options at competitive prices. However, keep in mind that driving in Porto’s narrow streets and finding parking can be challenging, especially for those unfamiliar with European road rules.

With that being said, we would recommend the car park called Estacionamento Palácio de Cristal, upon entering, collect your paper ticket then park up and GO TO THE COUNTER, to exchange it for a multi-day ticket. You must do this right away, if not the parking price is high. As of March 2023, the price is €20 for 3 days, and the car park is a 10-minute walk into the city center. Lastly, to drive from the airport to this car park, you will avoid all the narrow roads.  

Getting around Porto overview:

Walking is best, but:

When visiting Porto, tourists have various transportation options to explore the city’s attractions. The public transport system is efficient and affordable, including buses, trams (streetcars), and the Metro do Porto light rail system. Taxis, ride-sharing services like Uber, and car rental companies are also available for those who prefer private transportation or want more flexibility during their stay.

5. Safety Considerations

Be aware of potential risks while traveling to Porto, such as scams and pickpocketing, as well as having emergency contact information on hand.

four wine glasses
What is the drinking age in Portugal? (Important if you’re wanting to taste Port). Photo: Maksym Kaharlytskyi

Local Laws and Regulations

In order to ensure a smooth trip without any legal issues or misunderstandings with locals, familiarize yourself with Porto’s local laws and regulations. Some important points include:

  • In Portugal, the legal age for drinking alcoholic beverages is 18.
  • Smoking is prohibited in enclosed public spaces such as restaurants, bars, shops, and public transportation.
  • You must carry identification at all times (passport or national ID card).

Common Scams and Pickpocketing

Luckily, Porto has relatively low crime rates compared to other European cities. However, petty crimes like pickpocketing can still occur around popular tourist areas. To avoid falling victim to these incidents:

  1. Avoid displaying expensive items such as jewelry or electronics openly.
  2. Keep your belongings secure by using bags with zippers or locks.
  3. If you’re approached by someone offering unsolicited help (e.g., directions), be cautious – they may have ulterior motives. 
  4. Beware of street vendors selling counterfeit goods; not only are their products likely low-quality but purchasing them could also result in fines from authorities.

Emergency Contact Information

man standing in the middle of street
A police officer in Lisbon (file photo). Photo: Yuri Catalano
  1. In case of an emergency, it’s important to know who to contact. Here are some essential numbers and resources for travelers in Porto:
  2. General Emergency Number: Dial 112 for police, ambulance, or fire services.
  3. Tourist Police Station: Located at Rua Clube dos Fenianos, nº11 (near Avenida dos Aliados), the tourist police station can assist with lost passports and other issues specific to visitors. Phone: +351 222 081 833

It is important to keep safety considerations in mind when traveling, so be sure to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations before you go. For those seeking some entertainment in the evening, Porto provides a range of options, from bars and nightclubs to live music events and cultural activities.

Key Takeaway: 

When planning a trip to Porto, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations, such as the legal drinking age of 18, smoking restrictions, carrying identification at all times, and being aware of common scams to avoid pickpocketing risks.

Be cautious of common scams and pickpocketing risks by avoiding displaying expensive items openly, keeping your belongings secure, and being wary of unsolicited help or street vendors selling counterfeit goods.

In case of an emergency, know who to contact including the general emergency number (112), tourist police station (+351 222 081 833), and your country’s embassy/consulate in Portugal for legal trouble, or emergencies involving citizens from their respective countries.

6. The Nightlife Scene in Porto

After dark, the Portuguese city of Porto comes alive with a vibrant and diverse range of nightlife options for visitors to explore. From lively bars and clubs to more relaxed live music venues and cultural events, there’s something for everyone in this bustling city.

woman in black shirt standing beside brown wooden table and chairs
A typical bar/restaurant in Porto. Photo: J Paulo Mag

Bars and Clubs

Porto has a wide range of bars and clubs that can satisfy any preference, from fashionable cocktail lounges to classic Portuguese taverns. One popular area for nightlife is Galerias de Paris Street, where you’ll find numerous establishments packed into a small area. Some notable spots include Plano B, known for its eclectic mix of music genres, and Base, an outdoor bar with stunning views of Clerigos Tower.

Live Music Venues

For a wide range of musical experiences, Porto offers an impressive selection of live music venues. The city has many venues hosting local bands as well as international acts across different genres like jazz, rock, fado (traditional Portuguese folk music), and electronic dance music (EDM). Check out places such as Casa da Musica, which hosts concerts ranging from classical orchestras to contemporary artists; or visit intimate spaces like Hot Five Jazz & Blues Club for a cozy atmosphere and great tunes.

Cultural Events

Beyond the bars and music venues, Porto also offers a rich calendar of cultural events that contribute to its lively nightlife. From film festivals like Fantasporto to art exhibitions at Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, there’s always something happening in this dynamic city. Additionally, you can catch live performances such as theatre plays or dance shows at various locations including the iconic Teatro Nacional Sao Joao.

In summary, Porto’s nightlife scene is diverse and exciting, offering visitors plenty of options for entertainment after dark. Whether you prefer dancing the night away in trendy clubs or enjoying more relaxed evenings with live music and cultural events, there’s no shortage of ways to experience the vibrant energy of this captivating city.

The nightlife scene in Porto is vibrant and varied, with plenty of options for entertainment. For those looking for activities, Porto has a wealth of choices to keep travelers occupied during their stay.

An overview of the nightlife scene: From lively bars and clubs to more relaxed live music venues and cultural events, Porto’s nightlife scene offers a wide range of exciting options. Galerias de Paris Street is a popular area for nightlife with numerous establishments such as Plano B or Base, while Casa da Musica hosts concerts ranging from classical orchestras to contemporary artists. Additionally, Porto offers a rich calendar of cultural events including film festivals like Fantasporto and art exhibitions at Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.

7. Things to Do in Porto

Porto, the vibrant coastal city of Portugal, offers a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors to explore. From sightseeing tours that take you through the city’s rich history and architecture to outdoor adventures along its stunning coastline, there is something for everyone in this charming destination.

a red and yellow boat floating on top of a body of water
There is plenty to do in Porto! Photo: Georgy Trofimov

Sightseeing Tours

A great way to explore Porto is by taking a sightseeing tour, offering an introduction to the city’s iconic landmarks and its renowned wine industry. Whether you prefer walking tours or guided bus excursions, these informative trips will introduce you to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks such as the Clerigos Tower, Livraria Lello bookstore, and Sao Bento Railway Station. For those interested in learning about Porto’s wine industry, consider joining a Port Wine tasting tour, where you can sample various types of Port while visiting local cellars.

Outdoor Activities

  • Douro River Cruise: Take a leisurely cruise down the Douro River and admire picturesque views of terraced vineyards and historic bridges like Dom Luis I Bridge. Some cruises even offer lunch or dinner options onboard.
  • Foz do Douro Beaches: Relax at one of Porto’s beautiful beaches located near Foz do Douro district – Praia da Luz or Praia de Gondarem are popular choices among locals and tourists alike.
  • Park Exploration: Enjoy nature by strolling through parks such as Jardins do Palacio de Cristal or Parque da Cidade, Porto’s largest urban park.

Shopping Destinations

Porto is a shopper’s paradise with numerous shopping districts and markets to explore. For high-end fashion brands and luxury boutiques, head over to Avenida da Boavista. If you’re looking for traditional Portuguese products such as azulejos (ceramic tiles), cork items, or handmade jewelry, visit the historic Rua das Flores or Bolhao Market. Don’t forget to bring home some delicious local treats like pasteis de nata (custard tarts) from one of the city’s renowned bakeries.

An overview of things to do: Porto offers a range of activities and attractions for visitors, including sightseeing tours to iconic landmarks like the Clerigos Tower and Sao Bento Railway Station. Outdoor adventures such as Douro River cruises, beach relaxation at Foz do Douro district, and park exploration are also available.

Additionally, Porto is a shopper’s paradise with numerous shopping districts and markets offering high-end fashion brands or traditional Portuguese products like azulejos (ceramic tiles) or handmade jewelry.

Frequently Asked Questions Where to Stay in Porto

gray bridge near building at sunset
Sunset in Porto. Photo: Everaldo Coelho

Which area of Porto is best to stay?

The best area to stay in Porto depends on your preferences. For a lively atmosphere and proximity to major attractions, consider staying in Downtown Porto or the Ribeira District. If you prefer a quieter, more upscale experience, the Boavista District may be more suitable.

Which side of the river is best to stay in Porto?

Staying on either side of the Douro River has its advantages. The north side offers easy access to most tourist attractions and vibrant nightlife, while Vila Nova de Gaia on the south bank provides stunning views and famous port wine cellars. Consider your priorities when choosing where to stay.

Is 7 days in Porto too much?

A 7-day trip can be ideal for exploring all that Porto has to offer at a leisurely pace. This allows time for sightseeing tours, visiting nearby cities like Guimaraes or Braga, trying local cuisine, and experiencing cultural events without feeling rushed.

Is it worth it to stay in Porto?

Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is definitely worth visiting due its rich history, beautiful architecture such as Livraria Lello bookstore and Clerigos Tower; delicious food including Francesinha sandwiches; world-renowned Port wines; friendly locals; picturesque landscapes along Douro River Valley; affordable prices compared with other European destinations make it an attractive option for travelers.

Conclusion

With options ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels and unique Airbnb accommodations, there is something for every traveler. Popular areas include downtown Porto, the Ribeira district, and the Boavista district.

a view of a city and a river at sunset
We hope you have a great trip in Porto. Photo: Tomás Evaristo

From budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels and unique Airbnb accommodations, travelers can get around Porto using public transport, taxis, ride-sharing services or car rental options; safety should also be taken into account when enjoying the city’s nightlife scene. Safety considerations should also be taken into account when traveling in Porto. Visitors can enjoy the city’s nightlife scene with bars and clubs or attend cultural events such as live music venues.

If you’re planning a trip to Portugal soon then check out Earth Curious. We have plenty of travel guides on Where To Stay In Porto along with other top destinations around the world!

Total
0
Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Share
Share
Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts