Soooo. You’ve already booked your flight to Porto, and maybe even a couple of really cool activities like watching a Fado show at a Port wine cellar or the ticket to the Hop On Hop off bus tour + 6 bridges cruise + Port wine cellar, both for very reasonable prices.
But you are still missing the accommodation part – and this is where I come in, with this article about the best neighbourhoods to stay in Porto.
As an inspiration, I used this map where the neighborhoods in Porto are clearly marked. I am going to write about my top four neighborhoods to stay in Porto: I – Ribeira (light blue); II – Baixa/Sé (orange), III – Cedofeita (yellow) and IV – Boavista (red).
Whether you are on a romantic getaway in Porto or on a party weekend with friends, on this guide you can find useful info on main attractions, where to stay and where to eat at each of these top neighborhoods to stay in Porto. I hope you like it!
#1 Best neighborhood in Porto: Ribeira
Overview: Ribeira is a picturesque neighborhood in Porto by the riverside, with tiny houses painted in colourful tones. Ribeira is always packed with people, as it has many souvenir shops, restaurants and bars with a view towards the Douro river.
At Ribeira you will be close to D. Luís bridge, the famous iron bridge of Porto. You will also have a premium location to visit the Stock Exchange Palace and St Francis Church (a stunning example of Gothic architecture in Porto). If you don’t feel like visiting monuments, you can simply relax while on board the 6 Bridges Cruise. Or, wether you’re accompanied by children or not, you can make a quick visit (I’m lying – you’ll never want to leave) to the theme park World of Discoveries – you can get a skip-the-line entry ticket here.
It is also a beautiful place to go on a tram ride – check my detailed guide on tram lines in Porto.
Ribeira is the best neighborhood in Porto for: elder travellers (as it is a flat area); travellers who don’t mind crowds and confusion.
Where to Stay in Porto – Ribeira:
There’s plenty of accommodation at this neighborhood in Porto. If you are looking for a superior experience I strongly recommend you Pestana Vintage Hotel. It has spacious rooms with a fabulous view of the Douro river and the Port wine cellars.
Another great place for you to stay in Porto is 1872 River House, one of the best boutique hotels in Porto. This guesthouse combines the traditional granite stones of Porto with elegant decor. It’s 500m away from D. Luis bridge, so it is very peaceful at night. 1872 River House is ideal for couples on a romantic getaway in Porto 🙂
Recently I fell in love with an amazing guesthouse called Mo House. It has fantastic double bedrooms but also family bedrooms and despite its amazing location and overall quality it is rather affordable!
If you’d rather stay in an apartment, I suggest you Porto River as it has the most charming and romantic atmosphere you can imagine. Each bedroom has its own kitchenette so that you can prepare your meals if you want to. It’s simply perfect!
One of the best places to stay in Porto for solo travellers is the Bluesocks Hostel – it is certainly the best hostel in the city and a great place to make new friends.
Places to eat in Porto – Ribeira: Ribeira is very touristic, so in my opinion, it is not the best neighborhood in Porto when it comes to eating out. Nonetheless, I have a few suggestions for you.
I love the restaurant inside Mercado Ferreira Borges, one of the oldest markets in Porto. There you’ll find plenty of petiscos as well as good pizzas, and the atmosphere is great.
A great for wine is Prova, one of the few wine bars in Porto. For more information on this bar, check my list of best bars in the city.
#2 Best neighborhood in Porto: Baixa/Sé
Overview: Baixa/Sé is a neighborhood just above Ribeira. At this neighborhood in Porto you’ll find plenty of monuments, such as Mercado do Bolhão (the last traditional market of Porto), São Bento train station and Lello bookshop.
Baixa/Sé is the best neighborhood in Porto for: solo travellers; young couples; group of friends travelling together.
Where to Stay in Porto – Baixa/Sé:
There are many options at this neighborhood in Porto, so I will name the ones that I enjoy the most.
Starting with the hotels: Intercontinental Porto – Palácio das Cardosas is magnificent! This five star hotel, located at an eighteenth century building, is 5 minutes walking distant from the nightlife district and the main attractions of Porto. It has two subway stations just across the street, as well as São Bento train station. Besides the spacious rooms, it has a fitness centre, a spa and a trendy bar.
If you are looking for a romantic hotel in Porto, my suggestion is Flores Village & Spa. It is located at Rua das Flores, the trendiest street in Porto. It has both bedrooms and independent apartments. It has a peaceful garden on the back as well as a-ma-zing spa & sauna facilities, which include an indoor pool. It is ideal for a romantic getaway in Porto and for families with kids.
If you are looking for an accommodation for the best value, I suggest B The Guest Downtown. The decor is very elegant and the location is quite convenient.
Places to eat: This is one of the best neighborhoods in Porto for eating and drinking. Here you can find the best restaurants to eat Portuguese food on a low budget in Porto, as well as the best restaurants to eat francesinha, the most famous dish of the city.
Moreover, it is a great neighborhood in Porto to do some shopping at the traditional grocery shops of Porto, where you can find the best Portuguese food products.
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#3 Best neighborhood in Porto: Cedofeita
Overview: Cedofeita is the trendiest neighborhood in Porto as it has an art district at Rua Miguel Bombarda, full of art galleries and concept stores. At this neighborhood in Porto you can go for a romantic walk at the Crystal Palace Gardens, located in front of Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, one of the best museums of Porto. You can also enjoy a Fado show accompanied by a glass of Port wine at Casa da Guitarra.
Another interesting spot is Igreja de S. Martinho de Cedofeita, the oldest church of Porto. Usually tourists never stop there, but it is worth to take a look!
Cedofeita is the best neighborhood in Porto for: Family with kids; travellers who want to be close to the main city attractions but on a quieter location; couples on a romantic getaway in Porto.
Where to Stay in Porto – Cedofeita:
Cedofeita is the best neighborhood in Porto for a romantic getaway as it has superb hotels for couples.
I recommend you to take a look at Rosa Et Al, a lovely guesthouse famous for its insaneously good brunch (so good you need to book in advance!). Rosa Et Al’s suites combine modern design with a vintage twist. It has a lovely dining room facing the backyard garden, as well a a little concept store.
Another beautiful place is Mercador Guesthouse. It has stylish bedrooms, with a vintage decor that will take you on a journey in time. The breakfast, absolutely delicious, is served on an old fashioned room that I find very romantic 🙂
A sophisticated hotel, which is a landmark of contemporary architecture in Porto, is Casa de Conto & Tipografia.
If you prefer to stay in an apartment, I suggest you Oporto Serviced Apartments bbgourmet. The apartments and studios are very large and can easily accommodate families with kids, or two couples. Below the apartments there is a nice restaurant with a terrace facing the street, where you can enjoy a drink after a day walking in Porto, as well as delicious brunch on the weekends.
Another suggestion for apartments at this neighborhood in Porto is bnapartments Carregal, a hole on the wall! These 16 apartments on a seventeenth century building have a perfect vintage decor and access to a large swimming pool. Bnapartments Carregal are superbly located on a tiny alley close to the nightlife district, but it is very quiet. It’s splendid!
If you want to stay in a trendy place, then choose Selina. It is not only one of the best hotels in Porto but also a very versatile place as it has wonderful rooms but also dormitories and a huge garden/lounge where they organize marketers, concerts, etc.
Places to eat: I recommend you Adega do Carregal, a typical Portuguese tavern that was featured on my post about best restaurants in Porto for large groups.
There is also a concept shopping mall called Centro Comercial Miguel Bombarda, where you’ll find two fabulous budget restaurants called Sabores & Açores and Pimenta Rosa. Also at Rua Miguel Bombarda, there is a great burger place called Bugo – Art Burgers with nice lunch menus. It’s worth to check it out!
#4 Best neighborhood in Porto: Bonfim
Overview: Bonfim will always hold a special place in my heart since it is was there that my grandparents first settled in Porto, and where I spent my childhood.
It is an interesting neighborhood as it combines hipster coffee shops and craft beer pubs with local businesses such as grocery stores, barbers, flower shops, etc. It is the neighborhood of Porto with the finest balance between locals and tourists and I love it for that.
Bonfim is not a touristic hot spot because none of the most important monuments of the city are located there. However, here you can find hidden gems like the first public garden in Porto and the first public cemetery, among other things.
Moreover, if you decide to stay in Porto – Bonfim you will be just 15min walking distance from the city centre but without all the noise and terrible traffic. It is perfect!
Bonfim is the best neighborhood in Porto for: everyone really, except for young people who want to party and meet new people.
Where to Stay in Porto – Bonfim:
Bonfim has some of the best hotels in Porto, such as Cocorico Luxury Guest House. What I love about this hotel is its particularly large and bright rooms. It also has a nice patio where you can enjoy a cocktail in the evenings. Right next to it is one of my favourite specialty coffee shops in town, The Bird of Passage.
If you prefer to stay in an apartment, Bonfim has plenty of great options such as B.Arts, Trait Houses (perfect for small groups of friends), The Gallery Studios (with an exquisite decoration), Your OWM Porto and Home Made Guest Studios.
If all of these are taken (you should book as early as possible as our city is becoming increasingly popular!), you can try one of this under the radar apartments in Porto: Oporto Guest Design Apartment, Nomad’s Boulevard Flats or Lusitania Garden Apartment.
#5 Best neighborhood in Porto: Boavista
Overview: Boavista is a more business oriented / posh residential neighborhood in Porto. Despite being a bit away from the city centre you can still find great places to visit in Boavista such as the modern Casa da Música and you can also get a ticket to the contemporary art museum Serralves (designed by the famous architect Siza Vieira). Another great spot is the Gallery of Biodiversity, the best museum for children in Porto.
From Boavista you have a subway connection to the city centre at Casa da Musica. There you’ll find also plenty of bus lines.
Boavista is the best neighborhood in Porto for: Senior travellers; travellers who want to be close to the main city attractions but on a quieter location; businessmen visiting Porto.
Where to Stay in Porto – Boavista:
Boavista is famous for having the best corporate hotels in town, such as the stunning Sheraton Porto – Hotel & Spa, the Crown Plaza Porto and the Porto Palácio – Congress, Hotel & Spa. And speaking of Boavista, this is where the only kosher hotel in Porto is located, called Hotel da Música.
If you prefer to stay in an apartment, I suggest you to try either LoftAbroad Premium Apartments (more suitable for families or for large groups) or BessApartments – beautifully decorated departments ideal for couples.
Places to eat: When I am in Boavista I really like to go to Mercado do Bom Sucesso, a recently renovated fish market as it has a lot of food stalls ranging from petiscos (the Portuguese word for tapas) to pizzas, risottos, vegetarian food and even sushi. It’s also a great place to grab a cocktail or a glass of wine before heading to your hotel.
Close to Casa da Música you have two of my favourite Sunday afternoon cafes, called Casinha Boutique Café (great for a lazy brunch) and Arcádia (it has an insaneously good hot chocolate!).