Deciding where to stay in Porto is much easier with a little insight into its layout. It’s always been a favourite city of mine and one that I return to again and again, even after 16+ years of living in Portugal!

During that time, I’ve stayed in several different neighbourhoods that are within walking distance of the historical centre, and visited many others. This extensive personal experience has given me a good sense of the different attributes of each area and enabled me to share them with you in this guide so that you can choose the right place for your specific needs.

The best and most central neighbourhoods to stay in Porto for easy access to important sights, restaurants and atmosphere are Ribeira; São Bento and Aliados; Batalha and Belas Artes; Clérigos and Cedofeita.

Luckily, Porto’s historical centre is compact enough to facilitate walking between most major sights as long as you’re based in one of these areas, although they all have a slightly different look and feel to them. Some are hillier than others, too!

If you opt for accommodation away from the city centre, you’ll need to factor the time and cost of public transport or car journeys into your itinerary. Speaking of itineraries, if you want to take the guesswork out of how to organise your time in Porto and the Douro Valley, take a look at this 3-day itinerary.

If you don’t want to read the full article, here are my favourite Porto hotels and guesthouses

Best 5 star hotel in Porto = Torel Palace Porto

Best 4 star hotel in Porto = Porto A.S. 1829 Hotel

Best 3 star hotel in Porto = Ribeira do Porto Hotel

Best boutique guest house in Porto = 1872 River House

For longer stays in Porto = Flatio

In this insider’s guide to finding the best place to stay in Porto, I offer you a brief overview of each of the best, most central neighbourhoods as well as in Vila Nova de Gaia, which is on the opposite side of the Douro River, and Foz do Douro, at the mouth of the river. Then, for each location, you’ll find my suggestions for Porto accommodation options to save you the time and trouble of searching.

My criteria for selecting accommodation in Porto are: value for money, levels of comfort and service, sustainability, sense of style and charm.

NOTE: I have separate articles dedicated to boutique hotels and guesthouses in Porto and the ever-increasing number of holiday apartments if you have a strong preference for either type of lodging.

And, if you’re trying to decide where to stay before an early morning flight, I’ve included a section on the best Porto Airport hotels at the end of this guide.

PORTUGAL TRIP PLANNING TIP: I’ve written similar accommodation guides for the Douro ValleyLisbon and the Algarve to name but a few.

The best areas to stay in Porto for sightseeing: Ribeira 

Colourful buildings around Praça da Ribeira, Porto
Praça da Ribeira, 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 above the sturdy medieval walls. There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the waterfront and in the main square, although this could be a problem for light sleepers.

Ribeira is 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. It’s flat, and you can either walk across the bridge or take the river taxi to the port wine lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia.

To visit other sights, you do need to make your way uphill but if you don’t want to walk, you can take the Guindais Funicular to Batalha, or a taxi /Uber to wherever you want to go. The Hop On Hop Off bus stops in Ribeira too.

Other Porto attractions in this area include:

  • 6 Bridges Douro river cruises
  • a weekly riverside craft fair
  • Casa do Infante Museum
  • the golden Gothic church of St. Francis
  • Palácio da Bolsa Stock Exchange building

Where to stay in Porto: Accommodation in Ribeira 

Wherever possible, I choose accommodations that follow sustainable practices, as indicated by the number of leaves (3 is the top score). No leaf simply means that I can’t verify their current efforts regarding sustainable travel but I love the property.

This 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.

A 4-star option that’s on the banks of the river but set apart from the hubbub. 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

For a boutique guesthouse situated right in front of the river, this is fabulous. There are eight rooms to choose from either facing the river or the city. The decor is thoughtfully done from the lovely stone walls to the tasteful reclaimed furniture. Which room would you choose?

Mo House

With a stunning view over the river Douro, Mo House combines bohemian style with luxury comfort. Rooms are bright and spacious and a fabulous breakfast is served daily. There is a relaxing outside patio area, and an elevator.  Check for availability.

Bedroom with river views at Mo House boutique hotel in Porto
Bedroom with river views at Mo House boutique hotel in Porto

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.

PortoSense Ribeira

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

If you’re more interested in luxury apartments and homes then check out Plum Guide. Everything is meticulously checked and independently vetted before being accepted.

Porto Avenida dos Aliados. Photo credit Smirre
Porto Avenida dos Aliados. Photo credit Smirre

Best places to stay in Porto around São Bento and Aliados

5-star hotels near São Bento station in Porto

For 5-star luxury in Porto city centre, this hotel 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.

A Brasileira is among the newest 5-star hotels in Porto. Built in the historic A Brasileira Café, the decor is inspired by the role of spices and other products imported during the Portuguese maritime expansion of the 15th and 16th centuries. Try to get a room overlooking the city rooftops. Take a look at the photos.

Other options near São Bento and Aliados

You can treat yourself to elegance and relaxation at this stunning 5-star hotel. There’s a lovely indoor pool and sauna and you can choose from a range of beautifully designed rooms or even a spacious suite. The staff are incredibly helpful and breakfast is excellent. Select your dates.

As the name suggests, this 4-star hotel is in a 19th century building at the end of the revitalised Rua das Flores, mid-way between Ribeira and Aliados. There’s a swish restaurant beneath the comfortable, spacious rooms.  Choose a room and check prices.

B The Guest Downtown

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.

The studios and apartments at this 4-star condi hotel are modern, bright and colourful. Literally just a few steps from São Bento train station it’s an ideal location to base yourself. Although in the heart of the city the sound insulation is first class and you can witness the bustling city from a balcony. See dates.

Area overview: Bolhão and Santo Ildefonso

Majestic Café, Porto
Majestic Café, Rua Santa Catarina, Porto

The main church (and other name) for this neighbourhood is the beautifully tiled Santo Ildefonso.

If you walk uphill from Praça da Batalha, you’ll find yourself in an up and coming neighbourhood with all the services you could need and still just a 10-15 minute walk to the centre of the city.

It’s close enough to Porto city centre to walk to the shopping street of Rua Santa Catarina and the beautiful Majestic Café. 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.

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

If you really want to experience a brand new 5-star hotel, then take a look at Saboaria. A building which was once a noble residence in the 18th century (and later a soap factory!) has, as the name sugests, a garden for a theme. It boasts a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and a restaurant. Book your room now.

Santa Catarina FLH Suites

For a stylish bed and breakfast in this area, consider Santa Catarina FLH Suites, which are at one end of this very long shopping street. Try to get a room with a terrace.

Area overview: Batalha and Belas Artes (Sé)

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

Insider tip: 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.

Best places to stay in Porto’s Batalha and Belas Artes (Sé)

Note: this area might also show up on maps as Santo Ildefonso.

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

I love this 5-star hotel, located in the center but in a quiet neighborhood. All rooms are modern, stylish and spacious and there’s beautiful architectural features throughout. Breakfasts are excellent. The walk to São Bento train station and the cathedral is fairly flat from here, and there are restaurants that don’t involve a climb. See availability.

NH Collection Porto Batalha

This 4-star hotel has elegant rooms-some with views of Batalha square-and an indoor pool where you can relax after a days sightseeing. Breakfast is delicious and the staff go out of their way to make your stay special. Choose the room for you.

Cocorico Luxury House – Porto

A gorgeous collection of unique rooms, many of which have original stucco ceilings and touches of old world glamour mixed with modern comforts. A very nice 4-star guesthouse indeed. Fall in love with the photos

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

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

Area overview: Porto’s Arts District and around Clérigos and Cedofeita

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

Armazém Luxury Housing- Architectural & Design Hotel

A beautiful guesthouse located in an old iron warehouse offering a range of fully equipped rooms and a lovely terrace that overlooks the city. The decor of stone and wood works well throughout and there are lovely communal areas to relax in. Check out the photos. 


Gharb is a guest house featuring a selection of clean and comfortable studios all with a private bathroom. Beds are super comfy and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Book your accommodation now.

Apartments in Clérigos

Very comfortable, spacious apartments with their own catering facilities (or you could try the onsite bbgourmet restaurant when you feel like a change). If you are using a car whilst in Porto onsite parking is provided for an extra fee. Take a look at the photos.

Rua de Trás Apartments

You can choose from a wide range of immaculate apartments, some with a terrace or little balcony, at this well-renovated accommodation. Check-in is straightforward and the hosts are very welcoming. Select your apartment.

Clean and modern self-catering studios just a stone throw away from Clérigos Tower. The kitchenettes are well equipped and if possible try and get a room with a balcony for lovely views of the tower and gardens. Book now.

Area overview: Miragaia

Located near the Ribeira is the old historic neighbourhood of Miragaia with its colourful traditional buildings. It’s origins are medieval, once home to the Jewish and Armenian communties and the area was once where the ships were built for the Discoveries era.

Other Miragaia attractions include:

  • The gardens at Palacio de Cristal
  • The Romantic museum of Quinta da Maceirinha
  • Art at Soares dos Reis National Museum
  • World of Discoveries interactive
  • Antiques at Armazém
  • Museum of Transport and Communication
  • Living Van Gogh Porto Immersive Gallery

Where to stay in Miragaia

Because of the historic nature of this area, apartments would be your best choice if you’d like to make this your base.

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

This recently renovated condo-hotel boasts a rooftop pool and garden alongside elegant apartments. You can also take advantage of a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and elevator. Some apartments come with a balcony and there’s lots of lovely exposed stonework. Check dates now.

Every time we’d take a river cruise we’d pass by this location wondering when these apartments would finally be finished. Well, it was worth the wait. The range of apartments is extensive, all finished to a high standard with river views and a patio. There’s an elevator, excellent breakfast and private parking (at an extra cost). Choose you favourite apartment now.

Monchique´s Balcony

For a bright and well-designed apartment with a variety of views this place is ideal. The kitchen comes fully equipped with lots of space and the host is very communicative. See the lovely photos.

Area overview: Vila Nova de Gaia

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

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 port wine cellars
  • 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 (Afurada)
  • marina
  • boat maker’s yard

See more in this post.

Best accommodation options in Vila Nova de Gaia

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

One of Porto’s most famous luxury hotels, the 5-star The Yeatman, is over here. The wine theme runs throughout with barrel-framed beds and a decanter-shaped pool. You can even take in the panoramic views of the city from a hot-tub.  Check availability and prices.

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

This awesome 4-star hotel is bright and beautifully designed with some great views, particularly from the rooftop terrace. It is literally right next to the bridge. The colour scheme throughout is bold and, after a day of sightseeing, you can relax in the seasonal outdoor pool. There’s private car parking but you do have to pay. See photos.

296 Heritage Apartments

These gorgeous apartments have a modern yet classy-minimal look with granite walls, offering a range of rooms to make your stay in Vila Nova de Gaia special. The views are stunning and the rooms are super comfy with a very good continental breakfast delivered each morning. Check out the rooms and availability.

If you’re looking for a luxury villa around Porto, the North or elsewhere in Portugal, take a look at my The Best Luxury Villas In Portugal post for some great ideas.

Area overview: Foz do Douro

Foz do Douro is a seafront area known for its sandy beaches, like Praia da Luz and Praia Carneiro and for its overall quality of life. It’s a great place to go for a stroll or a bike ride and although there isn’t any particularly tourist spots to aim for it’s ideally placed if you want to stay outside of the city but within easy access. (The tram takes 12 mins, the bus 15.)

There are loads of high quality restaurants and if you fancy a dip in the ocean you can be assured by the blue-flags proudly standing on the beaches.

Hotels and Guesthouses in Foz do Douro

Vila Foz Hotel & SPA – member of Design Hotels

This 5-star hotel faces the beachfront and boasts all the facilities you’d expect. The Manor House rooms are grand, conjuring the 19th-century atmosphere of the Palacete with sea-views that dominate. Choose the room for you.

Casa da Marechal – Boutique Hotel by Oporto Collection – Adults Only

This 4-star tranquil boutique hotel is close to Molhe Beach and has an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden and a bar. The rooms are light and nicely decorated and the breakfast is excellent. Check availability.

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

Hotel Boa – Vista

This 3-star hotel overlooks the mouth of the Douro River and the Atlantic Ocean, boasts an all year rooftop outdoor pool and has a panoramic outdoor café. Try and book one of the front sided rooms for ocean views.

Liiiving in Porto – Luxury Beachfront Apartments

These lovely apartments-some with sea and city views-are beautifully decorated and come with well-equipped kitchens. The beds are comfortable and check-in/out is straightforward. An elevator is also very useful. Book your accommodation now.

Overview: Matosinhos

Renowned for its seafood restaurants and beautiful coastline, Matasinhos has for years attracted ‘Tripeiros’ (the nickname for the people of Porto). It’s a working port and although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea the beautiful beaches and freshly caught seafood will continue to attract visitors for years to come.

Besides the beaches and coastal walks the Castelo de Queijo and Farol de Leça (the second tallest lighthouse in Portugal) are things to see.

Porto city center is less than 30 minutes away by bus or subway.

Where to stay in Matasinhos

This modern 4-star hotel has a range of smart clean rooms with decor inspired by the sea and local naval traditions. Breakfast is good and the staff are helpful. Try the superior suite with its balcony and full length windows. See prices.

O Valentim

This 3-star hotel has bright rooms with comfortable beds and is located close to the metro. There’s a rooftop bar and a good restaurant on the ground floor. Book your stay.

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

This guesthouse has a range of apartments and rooms some with kitchenette and garden views. The garden is sweet, ideal for breakfast or an evening drink. Check in is easy and the host very helpful. Check for your dates.

For longer stays in Porto

If you’re looking for longer-stay options in and around Porto, then try Flatio. They’re a rental housing platform, mostly deposit-free, that offers lawyer-verified, legally binding lease agreements that can be used as proof of address and for visa purposes.

Porto airport hotels

I must admit Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport or simply, Porto Airport, is one of my favourite airports. It’s small, easy to navigate, rarely crowded and has loads of great hotels just a stone throw away.

Usually, I just need a bed to rest my head in preparation for a morning flight. This hotel is merely a few minutes walk to the terminal and I’m always pleasantly surprised when staying there. It’s a modern hotel with all you need for a quiet night. The buffet-style breakfast is good value considering prices you pay at the airport. Check for dates.

Hotel Aeroporto is another favourite of mine. Again, it’s just a few minutes walk but can be a little tricky to find the first time if you miss the smallish sign. Perfect for an early flight although the breakfast is quite basic. See the photos.

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

If you’re looking for somewhere more cosy the sustainable Solar Antigo Porto Aeroporto would be ideal. It’s even closer to the airport than the others(!) and the suites there are very nice. If you have the time you can even enjoy the little garden! See here for availability.

Alternatively, check out these other Porto airport hotels.

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


Pocket Rough Guide Porto

for a city-specific guide book.

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

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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.


  1. hi i heard that the access to porto center by car is a very difficult these days .

  2. All the hotels in Porto are sold out June 7 – 9. Any suggestions on where to stay nearby?

    1. Author

      Quite likely – there’s a major football event on at that time. Have you looked into Matosinhos?

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!!

  10. 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.

  11. 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, which also has apartments. Some of them are also listed through AirBnB so whatever suits you best when it comes to booking.

Over to you. Please share your thoughts in a comment.