Where to Stay in Porto in Our Particular Opinion
We’ve assembled the most comprehensive guide to the best areas to stay in Porto. You can thank us later.
Just because Porto isn’t the capital of Portugal, doesn’t mean it’s second best. Located at the mouth of the Rio Douro, one of the country’s major rivers, its atmosphere and history are second to none. But we all know what you're really going for, to drink as much port wine as possible of course. (There’s no point denying it, and we support you 100%.) With its beautiful buildings,
Instagrammable intricate tile work, rich history and cobblestoned streets, Porto is an all-round people pleaser. Read on for Plum Guide's expert advice on where to stay in Porto.
One of the city’s most recognisable areas, Ribeira is home to Porto’s famous coloured houses which tumble all the way down to the waters of the Douro. Right in the centre, it’s busy and filled with bars, restaurants and cafes, so might be one to avoid if your idea of a crazy night is listening to the shipping forecast before going to sleep. Away from the bustling harbour, the winding back streets house buildings that are some of the oldest in town. In fact, the whole area is a UNESCO world heritage site, so take that into account when you’re looking for where to stay in Porto.
Home to the city’s university, Baixa is downtown and is everything you might expect from the student-y area of town - lively, fun and with plenty of shops, clubs and bars. Baixa is one of the best areas to stay in Porto. Top attractions include the towering Torre dos Clérigos, the city’s best vantage point, and impressive bookshop Livraria Lello, complete with arched ceilings and a staircase that allegedly inspired JK Rowling’s vision of Hogwarts.
Vila Nova de Gaia
Located a little way from the centre of the city, Vila Nova de Gaia is where to stay in Porto if you’re one of those
wine nerds useful people who always know what bottle to order with dinner. Vila Nova de Gaia is the birthplace of port wine, which is made in lodges scattered throughout the area. This riverside suburb has incredible views of Porto - if you’re not too scared of heights, a trip in the waterfront cable car is not an activity to miss. If you don’t want to stay here, it’s well worth taking a day trip to partake in a wine tour and tasting regardless.
If you want to feel trendy and gain some clout with your cool younger colleague who wears limited-edition trainers to work, then up-and-coming Cedofeita is sure to impress. Known for its hip, laid-back vibe, art lovers will be thrilled with its many contemporary art galleries, as well as amply-stocked vintage shops and the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, an 18th-century palace showcasing 16th-20th century paintings, sculpture, jewellery and ceramics. Just because an area has some grit doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice luxury where you’re staying, though.
If you’re looking to be where the locals are when you’re finding the best area to stay in Porto, search no further than Mirigaia. Filled with more of Porto’s famous coloured houses, it was once home to significant Armenian and Jewish communities. Removed from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, it’s home to the Museu do Carro Eléctrico which displays 19th- and 20th-century trams…if that's your thing.