When deciding where to stay in Porto, consider how you want to get around. I like being able to walk to the main sites and fortunately, Porto’s historical centre is compact enough to facilitate that. If you venture out of the centre, you’ll need to factor public transport journeys into your itinerary.

The best areas to stay in Porto for sightseeing are near the riverfront in Ribeira and around Avenida dos Aliados. As well as providing a brief description of these neighbourhoods and a few alternatives, I’ve saved you the time and trouble of searching for Porto accommodation options in each area.

There are several gorgeous boutique hotels and guesthouses in Porto and an ever-increasing number of apartments. My criteria for selecting suitable accommodation in Porto are their value for money, levels of comfort and service, sense of style and charm. I’ve ignored modern chain hotels in favour of places with character or history.

Here are my suggestions for the best locations to stay in Porto city centre as well as in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the opposite side of the Douro River.

Jump to:
What Ribeira has to offer as a Porto base
Best places to stay in Porto’s Ribeira district
São Bento and Avenida dos Aliados
Where to stay around São Bento and Aliados
Why Batalha makes a good base in Porto
Where to stay in Batalha, Porto
Porto’s Arts District and around Clérigos
Great guesthouses in Clérigos and the Arts District
Why stay in Vila Nova de Gaia instead of Porto?
Best accommodation options in Vila Nova de Gaia

Note: I’ve written similar accommodation guides for the Douro ValleyLisbon and the Algarve.

See all my Portugal accommodation guides

What Ribeira has to offer as a base in Porto

One of the liveliest and most attractive places to stay in Porto is the riverside Ribeira district, dominated by the iron Dom Luís I bridge and rows of colourful houses. There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the waterfront and in the main square, although this could be a problem for light sleepers.

It’s a great place to simply sit at a café with a glass of port tonic and watch the boats come and go or stroll along the water’s edge.

Other Porto attractions in this area include the short river cruises, weekly craft fair, Casa do Infante Museum, the golden Gothic church of St. Francis and its catacombs and the Palácio da Bolsa Stock Exchange building.

Note: For more info on these and other Porto sights, see my self-guided Porto walking tour.

Ribeira district, Porto
Ribeira district, Porto

Where to stay in Porto: Ribeira district

Pestana Vintage Porto 5-star hotel is in prime position overlooking the river and the square from its 16th century building. Try to get a room with a river view and check room sizes before booking as some can be a bit small. Find a room with a view.

The architecture and interior design of the 4-star Descobertas Boutique Hotel Porto are impressive to say the least. Located on the back street that runs parallel to the river, this may be quieter in the evenings than hotels near the main square. Check availability and prices.

Another 4-star option that’s on the banks of the river but set apart from the hubbub is Eurostars Douro. Tasteful decor with character, comfortable rooms and excellent service make for a very pleasant stay, especially if you get a river view. Check availability and prices

Ribeira do Porto Hotel is good 3-star option. Again, housed within a tall, historical building, some of the rooms are small so check measurements if this is important to you. Click to check prices.

Porto Sense Ribeira is a great example of a renovated 18th century building converted into comfortable, modern studios and apartments alongside the river. See photos and reviews

São Bento and Avenida dos Aliados

In terms of public transport, you couldn’t be much better placed. The most central and most famous train station in Porto is São Bento. Even if you’re not using it to go anywhere, you should pop in to see the stunning azulejo panels that decorate this historical building.

From São Bento, it’s easy to get to the cathedral and the main shopping streets leading down to the river, such as the trendy Rua das Flores, or Avenida dos Aliados, the central avenue that leads up to the City Hall.

Avenida dos Aliados, Porto
Avenida dos Aliados, Porto

Best places to stay in Porto around São Bento and Aliados

For a 5-star luxury hotel in Porto city centre, InterContinental’s Palacio das Cardosas is your best option. Not only is the location ideal for exploring Porto on foot, the 18th century palace-turned-hotel is gorgeous, especially if you appreciate inlaid marble floors and the convenience of an onsite spa and restaurant. Check prices and availability.

Alternatively, the 5-star Infante Sagres Luxury Historic Hotel has just been renovated and combines the incredible beauty of a historical building with spacious rooms, some with decorated ceilings. See the photos and be charmed

Flores Village is a highly sought after luxury complex of rooms and self-catering apartments within a beautifully restored 18th century historical building. A blend of contemporary and historical features adds to the charm and the onsite wellness centre with hammam and indoor pool will soothe away the strains of a full day’s sightseeing or long journey. Grab a room if you can.

As the name suggests, the 4-star Porto A.S. 1829 is in a 19th century building at the end of the revitalised Rua das Flores. There’s a swish restaurant beneath the comfortable, spacious rooms. Some of them have a bathtub in the room – a feature that always bemuses me but seems popular these days. In terms of location, it’s mid-way between Ribeira and Aliados. Choose a room and check prices.

B The Guest is a 10-bedroomed boutique guest house near Bolhão market (and metro station) where you’ll be made to feel exceptionally welcome. There’s no elevator so be prepared to climb some stairs. Otherwise, it’s hard to find fault. Check availability for your stay.

Why Batalha makes a good base in Porto

What was a rather run down area has changed dramatically in recent years, as has much of Porto. The city’s emblematic theatre, Teatro Nacional São João, is in Batalha, as are the main bus stations.

It’s close enough to Porto city centre to walk to the shopping street of Rua Santa Catarina and the beautiful Majestic Café via the attractive Igreja São Ildefonso. The Coliseu do Porto hosts international concerts and there are plenty of restaurants nearby.

You can walk to places like Clérigos on the other side of Aliados (I do) but it would be less tiring to take the tram or a taxi. If you’re coming to Batalha from the Ribeira area, take the Guindais funicular up the hill to save your legs and enjoy the view.

Majestic Café, Porto
Majestic Café, Porto

Where to stay in Porto’s Batalha district

On the road between the funicular stop and the cathedral, Design Palácio Flats offer bright, spacious and modern self-catering accommodation in a 13th century building with great views and access to a garden. Check prices and availability.

Just around the corner from Praça da Batalha is the modern 4-star Mercure Hotel. I like the tapestries and sculptures of fat ladies! The views from the restaurant are great too. Check availability and current prices

For a clean, comfortable 3-star hotel that’s themed around the theatre and performing arts, take a look at Porto Coliseum Hotel. It has a rooftop terrace with enviable views. Porto Coliseum Hotel

A little further away from the centre but worth a mention because it’s a delightful and affordable place to stay is Duke’s Corner Guesthouse. It’s in a typical traditional townhouse with the added bonus of a garden and terrace. See photos and prices.

Porto’s Arts District and around Clérigos

Rua Miguel Bombarda and the surrounding streets have been given a new lease of life in recent years as the city’s arts district. You’ll find concept stores, designers, vintage shops, independent art galleries and cute cafés and bars around here.

Clérigos Tower, to the west of Avenida dos Aliados, is a Porto icon and one of the places to go for the best views of the city.

It’s also where the nightlife district spreads away from and is home to the Photography Museum, the famously beautiful Lello bookstore, the university and Natural History Museum and my favourite sculptures in the Jardim das Cordoaria.

Sculptures, students and weird trees in Jardim do Cordoaria, Porto
Sculptures, art students and weird trees in Jardim do Cordoaria, Porto

Great guesthouses in Clérigos and the Arts District

Pensão Favorita is on Rua Miguel Bombarda itself and offers spacious rooms with seating areas. There’s a garden area at the back of the building and some rooms have a little terrace. Choose a room and check prices.

Rosa et al Townhouse is another cosy but beautifully stylish guesthouse that offers rooms and suites, some with garden views. Service is excellent as is the food. Check availability and prices.

For cosy, well run apartments with simple cooking facilities near Clérigos, try Liiiving in Porto Historic Clérigos Studios. I love the door headboards! Some rooms have private balconies so grab one if you can.

Why stay in Vila Nova de Gaia instead of Porto?

The other side of the Douro River is not Porto, it’s Vila Nova de Gaia, home to the port wine cellars. Staying here offers, among other things:

  • easy access to the wine
  • a pleasant riverside promenade
  • fabulous views of Porto
  • access to the smaller river cruise ships
  • Serra do Pilar Monastery

And, as you head out towards the ocean:

  • nature reserve and nudist beach
  • traditional fishing village
  • marina
  • boat maker’s yard

See more in this post.

View of Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto
View of Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto from Dom Luís bridge.

Best accommodation options in Vila Nova de Gaia

One of Porto’s most famous luxury hotels, The Yeatman, is over here. The wine theme runs throughout with barrel-framed beds and a decanter-shaped pool. Check availability and prices.

On the more affordable side of the accommodation scale, Reis de Gaia offer a range of apartments for those with strong legs (up to 4 flights of stairs and no elevator). Your reward is views, excellent service and a terrace. Check availability and prices.

See all my Portugal accommodation guides

Porto guide books

Aside from my self-guided walking tour of Porto, if you’re spending a long time in the city, you may find a dedicated Porto guidebook useful, and perhaps a city map. You can pick up free paper maps from the airport and tourist information offices but they won’t cover the outlying areas.

Click on any of these to get more details from Amazon:

Choose between the Lonely Planet Pocket Porto Travel Guide and

Pocket Rough Guide Porto for a city-specific guide book.

If you want something more robust than the free city maps, try thisPorto map

Pin this for later!

Where to stay in Porto. Best areas and neighbourhoods in Porto city centre. Best boutique hotels, guesthouses and apartments in Porto
Where to stay in Porto. Best boutique hotels, guesthouses and apartments in Porto city centre and Vila Nova de Gaia.

Disclosure: Most of the links in this article are affiliate links. All that means is that if you book through these links, I may receive a small commission that will help to keep this blog running for your benefit. The price you pay isn’t affected. Thanks for your support.

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  1. Thanks for the great post. My wife and 6 month old daughter will be in Porto with friend for 3 night in Sep. Which are would you recommend please? We like to be able to walk everywhere ideally and near restaurants, cafes and bars?

    1. Author

      Any of the places mentioned in this article then.

  2. Hi, Julie! We have an early flight out of Porto in September and I’m wondering if there is a good hotel/apartment option near the airport. We will have a car rental we need to drop off before the flight. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  3. Hello, thank you for this helpful article. My wife and I plan to fly into Porto the end of this month (June 2018). We will be staying for 3 nights. Can you recommend an ideal location for a couple who loves taking Instagram pictures and eating seafood? thank you!

    1. Author

      Hi Wil, try the Ribeira district

  4. We are looking for a “beach” stay at the end of our vacation in Portugal. From our stop in Evora we are trying to decide between Cascais area or Settubal/Arrabidos area. Can you comment on how those two areas compare?…quality of beach, crowd size, character?

    1. Author

      Cascais is more of a coastal resort town and has a range of beaches within easy reach of the town centre. Those closest to town will be quite busy in season. Arrábida is a natural park so, depending on the time of year, you may need a car (or use the buses) to access the beaches. They are backed by greenery and quite beautiful. Setúbal is a less touristy city than Cascais but still quite charming. You can take the ferry across to Troia for more beautiful sandy beaches with plenty of space for everyone.

  5. We would like to know of self catering apartmennts in Porto, some where central.

    1. Author

      Tony, there are several such places mentioned in this article.

  6. Hi My sister and I have a car and are spending 3 days in porto. is parking a hassel in Vila Nova de Gara? Can you recommend a hotel?

    1. Author

      Hi Maureen, you’ll find my suggestions for Vila Nova de Gaia at the end of this article.

  7. Do you have suggestions on areas to stay if you do have a car in Porto. We will be arriving in mid October but will need a place to park. We only have a short time to visit Porto so we want to make the most of our visit. Thanks!!

  8. e crazy to not have accomodations booked, other then in Porto and Lisbon?

    1. Author

      Depends on where and when you want to go and how fussy you are about where you stay. I prefer to book ahead but I know others who like being more flexible. July and August are best prebooked as is September for the Douro.

  9. An entire post about lodging and no mention of AirBnB.
    For us, coming in September 2017, the choice of using AirBnB was easy and obvious.

    1. Author

      Hi Dave, I’ve kind of gone off AirBnB after my last experience so I prefer to use Booking.com, which also has apartments. Some of them are also listed through AirBnB so whatever suits you best when it comes to booking.

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