Where To Stay in Porto? 4 Best Areas & Places to Stay + Avoid! ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น

If you need help determining where to stay in Porto, this guide is for you. I'm highlighting the 4 best areas and sharing some of the best hotels in the Portuguese city.

where to stay in porto

Are you going on a Porto trip and unsure where to stay? In this guide, I go in-depth with the best areas in Porto and make recommendations for hotels in different price ranges.

Porto, or Oporto as the city is also called in Portuguese, is a charming city in northwestern Portugal.

With its 2.1 million inhabitants, Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city after Lisbon.

Douro river in Porto, Portugal.
The Douro river in Porto.

It is located right on the Douro River and stretches out towards the Atlantic Ocean, so even if there are no beaches inside the city (as we otherwise know it from cities like Nice, Barcelona and Naples), there are good opportunities to combine a city break with beach trips.

Let’s get started with the guide: where to stay in Porto?

Best Areas in Porto

If you’re in a hurry or just want a quick overview, here it is:

  • Ribeira โ€“ best area for first-time travellers & families with children
  • Baixa โ€“ the city centre with lots of life & bars
  • Bonfim โ€“ stay close to the locals without so many tourists
  • Cais de Gaia โ€“ quiet surroundings & luxury hotels with a view

Click on the name of the area and see the best hotels.

The guide on where to stay in Porto continues below with a walk-through of the areas and the hotels I recommend.

1. Ribeira โ€“ historic & cozy area in the center โญ๏ธ

Ribeira is the heart of Porto and the best place to stay for most tourists, especially first-time travellers and families with children.

Ribeira, best area to stay in Porto for most tourists

Located along the Douro River, the historic quarter offers colourful buildings, charming cobbled streets and a great atmosphere.

The area is full of small cafes, restaurants and shops where you can enjoy local specialities and find souvenirs.

See the best hotels in Ribeira here.

One of the biggest advantages of staying in Ribeira is its central location.

You can easily walk to many of the city’s main attractions, such as the Dom Luรญs I Bridge, the Sรฉ Cathedral and the famous Port Wine Museum.

There are also plenty of options for boat trips on the river, which the kids will love.

Ribeira, the old town of Porto

On the downside, Ribeira can be pretty touristy and a bit more expensive than other Porto areas.

In the evening, there can also be a bit of noise from the many restaurants and bars, which may not be ideal for everyone.

But if you want to stay in the city centre and experience the Porto atmosphere, Ribeira is undoubtedly the best place to stay in Porto.

Places to stay in Ribeira

With its perfect location right down to the river and with the centre itself just behind, it is clear that it is not here in Ribeira that you will find the cheapest hotels in Porto.

On the other hand, there are some excellent hotels – let me show you a few places in different price ranges.

Exmo Hotel by Olivia is a gem on the Douro River in Porto.

The hotel offers modern, stylishly furnished rooms, several of which have spectacular views over the water โ€“ perfect for enjoying a quiet morning or a romantic evening.

Exmo Hotel by Olivia, good hotel in Porto by the river

Previous guests highlight the friendly and welcoming service that makes them feel at home.

The hotel also has an excellent location that makes it easy to explore the city’s attractions, restaurants and shops.

See more photos & book here.

Located in the heart of Ribeira, Porto River offers a unique blend of comfort and historic charm.

The hotel has tastefully decorated rooms and apartments, many with magnificent views of the Douro River.

Porto River Hotel, nice hotel in old town of porto

Past guests especially praise the friendly and helpful staff, as well as the fantastic location that makes it easy to explore Porto’s most iconic sights.

Breakfast is served in a cozy atmosphere with fresh, local products.

See more photos & book here.

Oca Ribeira do Porto Hotel is an excellent choice for travellers on a budget without compromising quality. This hotel is affordable and is praised for its clean and comfortable rooms.

Oca Ribeira do Porto Hotel, cheap hotel in Porto city centre

Guests highlight the central location in Ribeira, close to the Douro River and the city’s main attractions, making it easy to explore Porto on foot.

The staff are known for their friendly and welcoming service, contributing to a pleasant experience.

See more photos & book here.

2. Baixa โ€“ best area for Cafes and Bars

Baixa (also called Sรฉ) is the vibrant centre of Porto and a mecca for those who love cafes and bars.

Baixa means city centre/downtown in Portuguese.

Baixa in Porto, downtown

The area is packed with beautiful squares, historic buildings and an energetic atmosphere that makes it perfect for those who want to be in the middle of city life.

See the best hotels in Baixa here.

Baixa is home to some of Porto’s most iconic cafes, such as the famous Cafรฉ Majestic, where you can enjoy coffee in elegant surroundings.

There is also a large selection of bars, from cozy pubs to trendy cocktail bars that stay open until late at night.

The advantage of staying in Baixa is that you have everything close at hand. It’s easy to walk to most of the city’s attractions, and there’s always something to do no matter the time of day.

On the other hand, the area can be quite busy and noisy, especially in the evenings and on weekends.

If you thrive in a lively environment and love to have many options for entertainment, Baixa is the perfect place to stay in Porto.

Places to stay in Porto city centre

As the centre of Porto, there are naturally many good hotels to choose from in Baixa. Let me introduce some of my favourites โ€“ we’ll start with a proper luxury hotel in the heart of Porto.

Wine & Books Porto Hotel is a first-class luxury hotel located in the heart of Baixa.

Wine & Books Porto Hotel pool

The hotel offers a range of luxurious facilities, including an indoor pool and an elegant rooftop bar where you can enjoy a drink overlooking the city.

Wine & Books Porto Hotel rooftop

The rooms are beautifully decorated with modern comfort and classic style, creating a genuinely lovely atmosphere.

Previous guests often emphasise the hotel’s high level of service and the many amenities that make their stay extra unique.

Wine & Books Porto Hotel is the perfect place to stay in Porto for those looking for a luxurious experience in the middle of Porto’s vibrant centre.

See more photos & book here.

Mercure Porto Centro Aliados is a beautiful 4-star hotel in the centre of Porto.

The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, which is ideal for cooling off in the hot summer months โ€“ and that’s actually hard to find here in the centre of town.

Mercure Porto Centro Aliados, swimming pool hotel in Porto downtown

The rooms are modern and comfortable, and the hotel is praised for its friendly service and good facilities.

Guests often mention the excellent location, which makes it easy to explore the city’s many attractions on foot.

Although the Mercure Porto Centro Aliados is a luxury hotel, it is surprisingly affordable, making it an excellent choice for travellers who want quality without breaking the bank.

See more photos & book here.

Decanting Porto House is an excellent choice for budget-conscious travellers looking for a simple and comfortable place to stay in the centre of Porto.

Decanting Porto House, cheap hotel in Porto city centre

This hotel offers clean and functional rooms without too much luxury but with everything you need for a comfortable stay.

Previous guests especially praise the super helpful staff who go to great lengths to ensure you have a good stay.

The hotel’s central location makes it easy to explore the city’s many sights on foot.

A really good hotel in the centre of Porto for those who don’t need a lot of luxury but want to stay close to everything.

See more photos & book here.

3. Bonfim โ€“ stay with the locals without that many tourists

Bonfim is the perfect area for those who want to experience authentic Porto without being overwhelmed by tourists.

This neighbourhood is a little more secluded and offers an authentic local atmosphere with lots of charm.

Bonfim is known for its beautiful, old buildings and cozy streets.

Here, you will find local markets, small shops and authentic cafes where you can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and taste daily life in Porto.

See the best hotels in Bonfim here.

The area also has several green areas and parks where you can relax and enjoy a quiet moment away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

A significant advantage of staying in Bonfim is that the prices, both in hotels and restaurants, are generally lower here than in the more touristy areas such as Ribeira and Baixa.

On the downside, Bonfim is a bit further away from some of the main tourist attractions, so be prepared to take public transport or walk a bit further to reach them.

But if you are looking for an authentic stay with the opportunity to mingle with the locals, Bonfim is an excellent choice.

Places to stay in Bonfim

Bonfim is not an area with a hotel on every street corner. On the other hand, some charming small hotels are perhaps a little nicer than the larger places in the centre.

At least I have a few pretty cute favourites.

Outsite Porto Mouco is, for example, a rather wonderful boutique hotel.

The hotel is known for its unique decor and cosy atmosphere. One of the highlights is the small but lovely pool where guests can relax after exploring Porto.

Outsite Porto Mouco, trendy hotel with an outdoor pool

The rooms are tastefully decorated with a focus on comfort and style, and many guests praise the hotel’s intimate atmosphere and excellent service.

If you are looking for a unique and cosy place to stay that combines luxury with a homely feel, Outsite Porto Mouco is a perfect choice.

See more photos & book here.

Acta The Avenue is a slightly larger hotel known for its fine details and modern facilities.

The hotel has a really lovely rooftop with an impressive view of Porto, perfect for enjoying a drink and relaxing.

Acta The Avenue, hotel with rooftop

The rooms are spacious and stylishly furnished with a focus on comfort.

Guests often highlight the high standard of service and the cosy atmosphere.

See more photos and book here.

Palรกcio Fenizia Lux Apartments is the place to stay in Porto for those who would like to have a bit of a homely environment or perhaps need to be in Porto for a more extended period – here, there is a fully equipped kitchen in each holiday apartment.

Palรกcio Fenizia Lux Apartments, holiday apartments in Porto

I love staying in vacation apartments on city breaks, but honestly, I’m tired of all the hassle of booking an Airbnb. A place like this in Porto is the perfect middle ground.

The rooms are tastefully decorated with modern facilities and plenty of space to relax.

Guests appreciate the personal service and the homely atmosphere that makes it easy to feel at home.

See more photos and book here.

4. Cais de Gaia โ€“ quiet surroundings & luxury hotels with a view

Cais de Gaia offers some of the most spectacular views, especially at sunset.

Here, you will also find the beautiful park, Jardim do Morro, where you can relax and enjoy the panoramic view of Porto.

Cais de Gaia, best area for luxury hotels and river views

The area is known for its cosy cafes and restaurants, which are mainly frequented by locals, and provide an authentic experience away from the large tourist crowds.

See the best hotels in Cais de Gaia here.

I always think this is incredible to experience on city-breaks – when you find these little pockets outside the centre, where it’s cosy and not so much English is spoken at the neighbouring tables.

On the downside, it may require some transportation to get to some of the major attractions in Porto. You don’t stay right there where it all happens.

Places to stay in Cais de Gaia

Over on this side of the river, there are some charming luxury hotels!

And my research shows that you get significantly more value for money on this side of the river than in the centre, so if you want to stay at a luxury hotel in Porto, consider one of the following.

Vincci Ponte de Ferro is a fantastic hotel by the Douro River.

Vincci Ponte de Ferro, hotel right by the river in Porto

The hotel offers an impressive rooftop pool to enjoy a breathtaking view of the river and Porto.

The rooms are modern and stylish, and guests often praise the hotel’s high level of service and comfortable facilities.

See more photos & book here.

The Lodge Hotel is another luxury hotel in Cais de Gaia that impresses with its outdoor pool and charming rooms.

The Lodge Hotel restaurant

The hotel offers an exclusive experience with first-class service and tastefully decorated rooms that ensure maximum comfort.

Guests love the tranquil atmosphere and excellent facilities that make it easy to relax and enjoy their stay.

See more photos & book here.

Hilton Porto Gaia is a slightly cheaper alternative, but still a 5-star hotel with many great facilities.

Hilton Porto Gaia

Guests appreciate the hotel’s combination of price and quality, making it an excellent choice for those who want luxury without breaking the budget.

See more photos & book here.

Where not to stay in Porto? โ—๏ธ

Porto City

Although Porto is generally a safe city, there are some areas that it may be best to avoid as a tourist.

One of these areas is Bairro do Aleixo, which has a history of drug dealing and crime.

Although much has been done to improve the situation, it is still an area that should be avoided, especially at night.

Another area that can be problematic is the Cerco do Porto.

This neighbourhood also has a history of crime and drug dealing, and although crime has decreased, it is still recommended to avoid the inner streets here, especially after dark.

Finally, Lagarteiro is also an area where it can be unsafe to walk around, especially at night.

The area has been known for drug-related violence in the past, and although improvements have been made, caution should still be exercised here.

However, it must be said that these areas are not exactly places where the average tourist will pass by by accident.

Overall, Porto is a city full of charm, history and variety, making it an excellent destination for all travellers.

Whether you are a first-time visitor, a food and wine connoisseur, or want to experience local life, Porto has something to offer you.

I hope you could use this guide on where to stay in Porto and are now ready for your trip to Portugal.

Frequently asked questions:

Which area is best for first time travelers?

Ribeira is the ideal area for first-time travellers. Located on the banks of the Douro River, this historic neighbourhood is known for its colourful buildings and cobbled streets. Ribeira is close to Porto’s main attractions, such as the Dom Luรญs I Bridge and the Sรฉ Cathedral. It is a lively area with many cafes and restaurants, but it can also be more touristy and expensive than other areas.

Where should I stay if I love cafes and bars?

Baixa is perfect for those who love cafes and bars. Baixa is the centre of Porto and full of life, so there is also a large selection of places to eat.

Which area has the best views of Porto?

Jardim do Morro, especially the northern part close to the river, offers some of the best views of Porto. Located just south of the Douro River, this area has a tranquil atmosphere with stunning panoramic city views, especially at sunset. It is also close to the cable car, providing easy access to Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

Websites I use to book my trips ๐Ÿ‘‡

โ€ข Booking.com has the best offers on hotels and unique places to stay
โ€ข GetYourGuide is the best place to book tours & activities with free cancellation
โ€ข This power bank is the one thing I never travel without
โ€ข Welcome Pickups is the best & safest place to pre-book airport transfers

Psst ๐Ÿ‘€ Have you subscribed to my Youtube channel and my Instagram where I provide more useful travel tips?