Visiting Porto warrants at least a 2 to 3 days stay to explore the picturesque city without rushing. Porto has its own charms and characteristics and a day trip might not be enough. Porto is home to the famous port wine as well as good food, nightlife, and its booming specialty coffee scene.
Porto has different neighborhoods that you can stay in but if you are a first-timer in Porto, definitely stay in the Ribeira or Baixa neighborhood. These two neighborhoods are where some of Porto’s iconic landmarks are and these neighborhoods have a lot of restaurants, cafés, and bars.
You can find a lot of accommodations in these two areas but since they are the most known places for tourists, expect a lot of people as well. You might also want to book your accommodations early to secure hotel rooms or guesthouses in Ribeira and Baixa.
But, Ribeira and Baixa are not the only neighborhoods in Porto. In this article, we will be giving you four other neighborhoods to choose from if you want to stay outside Ribeira and Baixa. These neighborhoods have their own charms and you might just find the area that suits you best!
These are neighborhood guides, but if you’re looking for hotels in Porto, check out our favorites here.
Where To Stay In Porto, Portugal
Porto, sitting on the northern banks of the Douro River, is the second-largest city in Portugal. You will find that Porto is rich in history and is becoming a city that has a flourishing nightlife, art scene, and booming specialty coffee scene.
Porto is also known for its port wine and on the other side of the river is where the port wine cellars are. So, if you are a wine lover, visiting Porto should be included in your itinerary.
Porto’s different neighborhoods have their own charms and you may find one district will suit your travel needs better than others. Porto is usually a destination that tourists visit after coming from Lisbon and is typically squeezed in as a day trip. But, Porto is worth at least a weekend getaway to be able to explore the city without the feeling of being rushed. It is best if you take 2 to 3 days in Porto especially if it will be your first time visiting.
Here are some of the neighborhoods where you can stay in Porto:
For first-timer tourists in Porto, the Ribeira district is one of the places where you can stay to experience Porto’s historic old town. Ribeira is one of Porto’s oldest neighborhoods and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city of Ribeira is located in the lower town and is sat along the banks of the Douro river. Ribeira is considered a lively and beautiful district in Porto. Ribeira’s riverbanks are lined with traditional restaurants, bars, and coffee shops where you can have a bite of Portuguese cuisine while having the greatest views of the river.
One of Porto’s specialty coffee shops, My Coffee Porto, is a small café but offers good food, coffee, and stunning views of the Douro river and the iconic Dom Luis Bridge. Do note that this is a small coffee shop and it does get busy so you will have to be patient if you want to get a cup of joe.
Some attractions in the Ribeira district are:
– São Bento Train Station
– Dom Luis Bridge
– Palácio da Bolsa
– Church of São Francisco
Porto’s downtown, Baixa, considered the grand center of Porto is home to some of Porto’s iconic landmarks such as the Clérigos Tower and the Livraria Lello. The library is one of the world’s oldest bookstores and is considered a tourist destination in Porto. These two landmarks are in one of the two hills of Baixa. On the other hill is where you will see Porto’s cathedral.
Like the Ribeira district, there are a lot of restaurants, cafés, and bars in Baixa. Most people stay here for the hustle and bustle of the city during the daytime but Baixa’s nightlife is also very lively. So for party-goers, you should consider staying in this neighborhood.
Baixa is also primarily known for the Praça da Liberdade, which is the city’s square. Going to other parts of Porto is very accessible if you go to the city’s square. Baixa and Ribeira are neighboring cities so you will also be able to go to São Bento Station from Baixa.
Some of the main attractions in the Baixa district are:
– Teatro Nacional São João
– Rua das Flores (Flower Street)
– Church of Misericórdia
For those who want to stay in a city with an artsy vibe but still have Porto’s traditional architecture, the neighborhood of Cedofeita is a good place to stay.
Cedofeita is home to new cafés, bars, and restaurants apart from the local and more traditional offers. Rua Miguel Bombarda is where some of Porto’s art galleries are and if you are in Cedofeita on a Saturday, you can head on to Praça Carlos Alberto to find handcrafted souvenirs that you can bring home. You can also go shopping in Centro Comercial Bombarda, an organic market in the neighborhood.
Aside from these two marketplaces, Cedofeita is also where the most popular shopping street in Porto. Cedofeita Street is where you can buy traditional Portuguese products as well as known brands all over Europe.
Some of the attractions in Cedofeita are:
– Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis
– Crystal Palace Gardens
Vila Nova de Gaia
For wine lovers, Vila Nova de Gaia, or just Gaia, is the best place to stay in Porto.
While this city is technically not in Porto, most tourists stay in Gaia for its port wine and port wine cellars. Vila Nova Gaia is on the southern end of the Dom Luis Bridge and the city has the most stunning views of the river and Ribeira district. Head on to Jardim do Morro to get a beautiful view of the Douro river and Porto’s old town.
If you are worried about how to get to Porto, Gaia has a good transit system connecting the two cities, both by metro or by river taxi.
Gaia, being home to Porto’s World of Wine Experience, you can visit several port wine cellars and partake in wine-tasting events.
Aside from wine, tourists will also be able to enjoy the city’s wonderful beaches. Gaia is where you will find Praia da Granja, one of the many beaches you can find in the city. Praia da Granja has a Blue Flag status which meant that it received an award for being a clean and sustainable beach.
If you are very interested in Portuguese art, head on to Casa-Museu Teixeira Lopes. This museum is home to sculptures made by António Soares dos Resi and José Sousa Caldes, as well as other paintings by several Portuguese artists.
For coffee lovers, you’ll find that Gaia does not only have wine but good coffee as well. Vila Nova de Gaia is also home to 7g Roasters, one of the city’s known specialty coffee houses.
Other attractions/activities to do in Gaia are:
– Douro River Trip
– Teleférico de Gaia (a 5-minute cable car ride atop the Douro river)
– Zoo Santo Inácio
Located in the east of Porto is the neighborhood of Bonfim, a quiet city where you can expect a tranquil stay as it is away from the livelier Ribeira and Baixa.
While you won’t see many attractions in Bonfim, you will find mid-range hotels and guesthouses in this city if you are traveling on a budget.
Bonfim is also slowly becoming a place of specialty coffee houses in Porto. Combi Coffee Roasters and Mesa 325 are some of Porto’s best specialty cafés and they are worth a visit if you ever decide to stay in Bonfim.
Boavista is considered the business hub of Porto but, it is also home to some of Porto’s iconic landmarks. You will find in Boavista the Serralves Contemporary Art Museum, an art-deco building home to modern and contemporary art, and the Casa da Musicá where there is no shortage of live musical performances.
Since the neighborhood of Boavista is not considered a tourist spot in Porto, accommodations can be much cheaper here than if you stayed in Ribeira or Baixa. Since Porto has a good transit system, you can still go to the touristy area while staying a little farther from the city center.
Luxury And Boutique Hotels In Porto
All of the neighborhoods in our list have hotels that you can book a room in during your stay in Porto.
Porto has different kinds of hotels. From luxury hotels, boutique hotels, and even a newly-opened modern hotel right in the city center. Some of these hotels are within walking distance to some of Porto’s main tourist attractions like the Porto Cathedral and the picturesque Douro River. One of Porto’s luxury hotels, Torel 1884 is located in a central location where tourist attractions are easily accessible. Most of the hotels in central Porto have spacious rooms and offer great views of the city. You will mostly find the best boutique hotels and the best luxury hotels in the heart of Porto but, there are also other hotels that are farther out but still within a manageable distance to the historic city center and other attractions in Porto. Some of the best hotels in Porto are beautifully decorated and you’ll find the rooms relaxing after a tiring day of exploring Porto.
Porto is a wonderful city to visit and there are different neighborhoods that you can stay in. If you want a lively and touristy vibe, Ribeira and Baixa are two neighborhoods to choose from. These two areas have iconic landmarks, coffee shops, and a bustling nightlife.
But, there are other neighborhoods if you want to experience Porto more as a local rather than a tourist. If you’ve visited Porto before, it might be good to try out other neighborhoods aside.
We have 6 neighborhoods you can choose from in this article and we hope this helped make planning your Porto trip a little easier. Happy travels!