The biggest problem that people come across when trying to figure out where to stay in Porto is the vast array of things to do in the city. There are many hotels, attractions, and landmarks, so if this is your first visit, you might be a bit overwhelmed. That’s exactly why we’re here to help.
Where to Stay in Porto, Portugal
There are two things that you can find everywhere in Porto — churches and wineries. The wine industry is pretty big in this town, so you’ll easily be able to find a factory that you can tour regardless of which part of the city you’re staying in.
As for the churches, there are both grandiose cathedrals with colorful murals and humble places of worship that don’t stand out much. However, all of them have a history, and you can easily find a tour that can take you past the most notable ones.
However, Porto’s biggest draw is the summer season, thanks to the beaches and riverside walkways. To support that popularity and the tourists it draws, there are also plenty of bars and restaurants.
There’s always a live gig somewhere, and the drinks aren’t all that expensive (as long as you stay out of the City Center), which means a good time is guaranteed. There are also plenty of other attractions, but we’ll get a bit more into those when we tell you where to stay in Porto, Portugal.
The 5 Best Parts of Porto
Porto is a pretty big city, so picking just five areas was kind of tough. That being said, we’re confident that the ones on our list are the best spots for any first-time visitors.
- Santo Ildefonso: There’s a little bit of everything in this part of town
- Bonfim: Full of old buildings with a lot of history behind them
- City Center: For the biggest and most bombastic bars and nightclubs
- West Side: Great beaches and great seafood restaurants
- Matosinhos: Where you go if you want to take a tour of a winery
Porto, Portugal’s Best Areas and Hotels
All of the areas that we’ll go over have quite a few hotels in them. If you’ve never been to the city before and never stayed in any of the hotels, then you don’t really know what to expect.
To make things easier on you, we’ve chosen what we think are the best hotels in each area and divided them into categories based on price range.
Some prefer to spend their vacation in luxury, while others want to save some cash on the room so that they can spend it when they’re out on the town. Regardless of which group you belong to, we’re confident that there’s a hotel that meets your requirements on our list.
1. Santo Ildefonso
Santo Ildefonso is a particularly beautiful part of Porto, due in no small part to the Cais da Ribeira. The riverside area of this part of town is lovely at night when you can see the city lights reflected in the water under the iconic Luís I Bridge.
The area is also known for having restaurants and bars on pretty much every street corner. You’ll also find plenty of food stalls that sell local cuisine and traditional dishes. In addition to that, there are also a lot of clothing boutiques that you can check out and tons of different shops that sell everything from souvenirs to toys.
This is also where you’ll find the Porto Cathedral, one of the largest and most impressive churches in the city. A bit further to the north, you’ll also come across the 250-foot tall Baroque Church called the Igreja dos Clérigos and the grandiose Bolsa Palace.
In addition to these famous landmarks, this area is also littered with smaller churches, all of which have their own story to tell. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a tour of the area and have a guide tell you all of the most important things that you might like to know.
Santo Ildefonso is a pretty popular spot in town, so there are usually quite a few people walking around. The crowds aren’t all that bad most days, but it might be tricky to find a room or make a restaurant reservation sometimes.
Things to Do
- Visit the Cais da Ribeira and check out the view of the famous Luís I Bridge, as well as all of the different shops and bars that you can find here.
- You’ll come across quite a few historic buildings in this area that you can visit, like the Igreja dos Clérigos or the Porto Cathedral.
- The Bolsa Palace is a massive building with plenty of places to explore and sights to see, so it’s definitely worth taking the tour.
Where to Eat
- Santo Pizzaria & Steakhouse is where you go if you want a slice or some BBQ.
- Restaurante Roma has a great selection of different dishes on the menu.
- Gondarem Baixa – Prato do dia is a small restaurant where you can grab some breakfast in the morning.
Santo Ildefonso Budget Hotels
- Vera Cruz Porto Downtown Hotel has rooms that come with an AC unit and a satellite TV, and a continental breakfast is served every morning.
- Moov Hotel Porto Centro comes with a buffet breakfast every morning, free wifi throughout the property, and private parking spots for all of the guests.
Santo Ildefonso Mid-Range Hotels
- Pao de Acucar Hotel provides all of the guests with access to an in-house bar, as well as rooms that have satellite TV, a minibar, and an AC unit.
- Costa do Sol B&B has 24-hour room service that you can use, a buffet breakfast every morning, and a reception desk that’s always available for anything that you might need.
Santo Ildefonso Luxury Hotels
- BessaHotel Baixa comes with fully-equipped fitness and business centers, an in-house restaurant and bar, an outdoor swimming pool, and rooms that have a flat-screen TV and a coffee maker.
- YOTEL Porto offers guests a choice between a continental or buffet breakfast, a fully-equipped fitness center, and rooms that come with a flat-screen TV, an AC unit, and free wifi.
The Igreja de Nosso Senhor do Bonfim and the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso are pretty famous churches that can both be found in this part of the city.
The former is a place of worship constructed back in the 19th century and still sees plenty of visitors every day, while the latter is famous for having more than 11,000 painted tiles that give it a unique look. The Casa Sao Roque is another famous landmark that can be found in the area.
It’s an old mansion that was built back in the 1700s and now serves as a tour house. The notable thing about Casa Sao Roque is its architecture and art collection. The photography exhibitions held here are also very unique, comprising works focused on the likes of Andy Warhol.
Bonfim doesn’t have all that many bars or restaurants, but it does have quite a few cafes where you can sit down and take a break from exploring the city. O Porto dos Gatos is one of these cafes, but what makes it unique is that animal lovers can sit down for a coffee and be joined by a tiny four-legged feline friend.
This is a pretty remote area of the city. If you’re interested in any of the attractions that we mentioned, then this is a great spot to stay. However, if you’re looking for something more fun or some nightclubs, then you might want to pick another part of town.
Things to Do
- Visit the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso and check out all of the colored tiles that give this church such a unique appearance.
- Take one of the guided tours that take you through the Casa Sao Rogue and check out the interior of this 18th-century mansion.
- Go for a walk down Jardim das Virtudes or maybe put a picnic basket together and have a bite to eat while lounging on the grass.
Where to Eat
- Mesa 365 is a great spot where you can relax and grab a cup of coffee.
- Dona Mira is where you go if you want to get a nice pastry in the morning.
- Aquela Kombucha has quite a selection of drinks on the menu that you can try.
Bonfim Budget Hotels
- Costa do Sol B&B has a reception desk that’s available 24/7, a buffet breakfast that’s served in the dining hall every morning, and free wifi throughout the property.
- Porto Domus Hotel comes with a cable TV in every room, a private parking spot for every guest, and a complimentary breakfast every morning.
Bonfim Mid-Range Hotels
- Oca Oriental Porto Hotel provides all of the guests with a complimentary buffet breakfast every morning, rooms that come with an AC unit and a flat-screen TV, and free wifi throughout the property.
- Mouco Hotel has a swimming pool and a lounge area on the roof, rooms that have a flat-screen cable TV, and all of the guests get a choice of either a continental or an a la carte breakfast.
Bonfim Luxury Hotels
- The Editory Artist Baixa Porto Hotel comes with cable TV, a minibar, an AC unit in every room, a front desk that’s always available, and an in-house bar where you can grab a drink at the end of the day.
- Eurostars Heroismo provides all of the guests with a complimentary breakfast every morning, and you also get round-the-clock room service, an in-house bar, and free wifi throughout the property.
3. City Center
The center of the city has an abundance of entertainment venues that you can visit. While there are plenty of bars and nightclubs scattered throughout the city, this is where you’ll find some of the biggest and most vibrant ones.
There’s hardly a street that you can walk down in the city center without coming across a party, and since there are so many places, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste in music and drink preference.
The most interesting attraction in this area would probably be the Casa da Música. This is a concert hall where you can go if you want a night out on the town, but there’s another reason why people come here as well.
The modern hall was designed by the renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, and while the primary purpose of the shape is acoustics, it still gives the Casa da Musica a unique look. Jardins do Palácio de Cristal is a massive garden in the center of the city where you can walk around for hours and still not get to see everything.
There are whole fields of flowers, a few water fountains, and the opportunities for vacation snaps just present themselves. This part of town also has quite a few clothes boutiques and malls with tons of food courts and different shops.
However, the biggest problem with the City Center is that the prices are quite a bit higher than most other areas of the city. This includes everything from the drinks at the bar to the rooms in the hotels.
Things to Do
- The Casa de Musica is definitely worth visiting just to see the interesting architecture, but we’d definitely suggest going to a performance if you can as well.
- Check out the party scene and maybe go and grab a drink with your friends at one of the many bars in the area.
- Visit the shopping mall in the area and maybe renew your wardrobe from all of the different clothes boutiques that you can find there.
Where to Eat
- Praça Boavista is the best place to go if you want to get some breakfast in the morning.
- Luzzo Pizzaria has everything from the classic margarita to something a bit meatier.
- Restaurante Tokyo is a small place but great if you’re in the mood for some Asian food.
City Center Budget Hotels
- Portus Cale Hotel comes with free wifi throughout the property, a cable TV in every room, and an in-house bar.
- BessaHotel Boavista has a reception desk that’s available 24/7, a fitness center that’s pretty well equipped, and a coffee maker and flat-screen TV in every room.
City Center Mid-Range Hotels
- ABC Hotel Porto provides all of the guests with a buffet breakfast in the morning, rooms that come with free wifi and a flat-screen TV, and round-the-clock room service.
- Hotel da Música has a buffet-style breakfast spread every morning, an on-site restaurant and bar where guests can grab a bit and a drink, and private parking spots for everyone.
City Center Luxury Hotels
- HF Fenix Porto offers a buffet breakfast every morning, rooms that come with cable TV, free wifi, and a coffee maker, and there’s also an in-house bar where you can grab a stiff drink.
- Porto Palácio Hotel has an outside swimming pool with a lounge area, a fully decked-out fitness center, a full-service spa and wellness center, and rooms that come with a 26-inch TV with satellite channels.
4. West Side
The west side of Porto is divided into several areas, but most of them are too small and have too few attractions to dedicate an entire section to them, so we thought that the best idea would be to cover the entire west side of the city.
One of the more interesting spots in the area is the Serralves Museum & Villa. This is where you’ll find the largest collection of contemporary art in the city, including a few works from local artists as well. The interesting thing about the museum is that it’s almost an art piece in and of itself, thanks to the architectural design.
Since the museum is located in Seralves park, it makes a nice contrast since you’ll be able to see man-made beauty inside and natural beauty outside. Speaking of, the best place to go if you want to get a good view of the park and the city is the treetop walkways.
As the name suggests, these are tree-laden paths that take on top of the line and let you see it all from high above. The Foz do Douro is a coastal area that’s known for the fantastic beaches, the multiple fishing spots, and the promenade covered in palm trees, making it an ideal place to spend a romantic evening with your partner.
While this area does have some interesting attractions, they’re spread apart. This isn’t much of a downside, but you should be aware that you might need to do a bit of walking if you want to see everything on the west side.
Things to Do
- Go to the coast and just spend all day tanning on the beach, doing a bit of snorkeling, or playing a few matches of volleyball.
- Visit the Serralves Museum & Villa and peruse all of the different works of contemporary art.
- Take a walk on the Serralves Park treetop walkways and check out the view from above.
Where to Eat
- Restaurant Portarossa is a chic spot where you can grab some dinner after you’re done exploring the city.
- Terra Restaurant has a great sushi menu that you can pick from if you’re in the mood for some Asian food.
- Casa Vasco has everything from burgers to steak.
West Side Budget Hotels
- Hotel Porto Mar comes with free wifi throughout the hotel, a complimentary breakfast every morning, and rooms that come with a cable TV and an AC unit.
- Urban Hotel Amadeos has a front desk that’s always on-call for whatever you might need, an in-house bar with a pretty decent drink selection, and free wifi throughout the property.
West Side Mid-Range Hotels
- Four Points gives the guests a choice between a continental and a buffet breakfast, has a flat-screen TV and a coffee maker in every room, and comes with free wifi throughout the property.
- Novotel Porto Gaia has two outdoor swimming pools, a reception desk that’s always available, and free wifi in every room.
West Side Luxury Hotels
- Porto Palácio Hotel comes with a complimentary breakfast every morning, a pretty sizeable swimming pool, a spa and wellness center with plenty of health treatments, and a coffee maker in every room.
- HF Ipanema Park has a fully-equipped fitness center where guests can work up a sweat, a swimming pool with a lounge area, and both an in-house restaurant and room service for their dining needs.
Matosinhos is technically considered its own city, but despite that, it’s still part of Porto. Additionally, Matosinhos shares one of the most prominent features of Porto, and that’s the many wineries that can be found all over the place.
These give you a good excuse to drink wine in the middle of the day, and all you have to do is get through the tour of the facility. In the end, you’ll have a chance to try the local vintages.
Matosinhos also has quite a few beaches. Here you’ll be able to work on your tan, do a bit of swimming, or rent some gear and go diving off the coast.
There are also boat tours that you can go on that will take you around the city and show you all of the attractions that can be seen from the coast. Similarly, you can also book a romantic river trip at night just for you and your partner if you want to just enjoy the view of the city lights.
The biggest issue that you’ll come across if you’re staying in Matosinhos is that it’s a bit out of the way. As we’ve already mentioned, Matosinhos is still considered part of Porto, but it’s pretty far from most of the other areas that we’ve already gone over.
This means that if you‘re staying in this area, but still want to visit some of the other attractions, then you either have a lot of walking to do, or you’ll need to find a bus stop.
Things to Do
- Take a tour of one of the wineries in the area and learn a bit more about what goes into the wine-making process.
- Go to the coast and either spend some time on the beach or maybe book a boat tour that will show you the city from the water.
- Visit the Sea Life Aquarium and check out all of the exotic fish that are housed there.
Where to Eat
- Restaurante O Lusitano has tons of different fish dishes on the menu that you can try.
- Restaurante Tito I is a pretty chic place with quite a wine selection.
- Restaurante Os Lusíadas offers quite a selection on their catch-of-the-day menu.
Matosinhos Budget Hotels
- Oportocean Hostel comes with free wifi, a coffee maker in every room, and even an in-house bar.
- Hotel Porto Mar has an AC unit and a cable TV in every room, free wifi throughout the hotel, and a complimentary breakfast that’s served every morning.
Matosinhos Mid-Range Hotels
- Genius Loci Guesthouse offers a flat-screen TV, a coffee maker, a refrigerator, and a microwave in every room, as well as free wifi throughout the hotel.
- B&B Hotel Porto Expo Aeroporto comes with room service, a flat-screen TV in every room, and a choice of either a continental or a buffet breakfast every morning.
Matosinhos Luxury Hotels
- Sea Porto Hotel offers a flat-screen TV and free wifi in every room, a complimentary buffet breakfast that comes with gluten-free options, and an in-house bar where you can enjoy a nice stiff drink at night.
- Eurostars Matosinhos provides guests with a full-service spa with plenty of health treatments, a pretty sizeable indoor swimming pool, and a choice of a continental or buffet breakfast every morning.
So, Where Should You Stay in Porto, Portugal?
The City Center is the place for you if you’re looking for a party and want to spend your time in the city drinking and having some fun on the dance floor. The west side of the city is full of great beaches, great restaurants, and quite a few fun attractions that you can visit.
And finally, anyone that wants to learn a bit more about the history of the city can’t go wrong with visiting the Bonfim area. However, wherever you end up staying in Porto, you’re sure to find something the fits your budget and agenda. Happy travels!