Porto-North-Portugal.com

The best independent guide to Porto

Porto-North-Portugal.com

The best independent guide to Porto

Where to stay in Porto? The best areas and districts for your holiday

Porto is a fantastic destination for a city break or as a part of a tour of Portugal. The city boasts a rich history, fascinating tourist attractions and buzzing nightlife.

On a map, Porto appears as a large and sprawling city, but the actual historic centre is relatively compact. This historic centre is where the majority of tourists are based, and this is where you will probably want to be based for your first trip to Porto.
This article will provide a guide to the best neighbourhoods and districts of Porto, and help you choose the best area for your trip to this wonderful city.
Related articles: Introduction to Porto48 hours in Porto

Where to stay in Porto – an overview

Porto sits along the northern banks of the Douro River, and the city extends westwards to the Atlantic Ocean. To the south of the river is the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, but for tourism, it is usually considered part of Porto.

If this is your first trip to Porto, the best districts and neighbourhoods to be based in are: 1) Ribeira 2) Vitória 3) Vila Nova de Gaia riverfront 4) Se 5) Baixa 6) Bolhão and Ildefonso

If you are travelling to Porto for business, the Avenida da Boavista neighbourhood would be the best area to be based.

The map shows the central area of Porto and highlights the popular tourist districts of the city.

porto where to stay area district holiday

Key: 1) Ribeira 2) Vitória 3) Se 4) Baixa 5) Bolhão and Ildefonso 6) Miragaia 7) Cedofeita 8) Vila Nova de Gaia riverfront 9) South Massarelos 10) Avenida da Boavista 11) Bonfim

Other areas of Porto to consider, which are outside of the historic centre, include the Foz district, the Avenida da Boavista with its many high-end hotels, or the area around Matosinhos beach. The dotted square marks the area of the first map.

porto where to stay area district holiday

Key: 1) The historic centre 2) The main tourism area 3) Vila Nova de Gaia riverfront 4) Avenida da Boavista 5) Foz district 6) Matosinhos

Porto is a popular destination for a city break, and there is always high demand for accommodation at the weekend. This means that the best hotels and rental rooms sell out fast, leaving budget and last-minute visitors forced to look further out from the historic centre. We strongly recommend that you book your accommodation as early as possible, to secure the best location and prices.

The map below shows the location of hotels and rental rooms in central Porto. By altering the dates to your trip, the map will display current prices and availability.

Booking.com

The best districts and neighbourhoods in Porto

Ribeira – The original medieval harbour and riverfront, which is today one of the most characterful districts of Porto. This delightful district is filled with narrow alleyways and colourful buildings, along with numerous restaurants and bars that overlook the Douro River. This is the area of the city where you will spend many of your evenings here.

Vitória – The old commercial heart of Porto, which is centred around the university. By day the district offers bustling shopping streets and a lively atmosphere, while at night, it transforms into the nightlife centre of the city. The ‘Galerias de Paris’ and ‘Rua do Almada’ are the two main bar and nightlife streets in Porto, and this is a good location if you want to be based right in the centre of all of the action.

Se – This is the oldest neighbourhood of Porto, which historically was encircled by the city walls. The neighbourhood is named after the gothic Se cathedral, while its central location makes it convenient for sightseeing.

Baixa – The grand centre of Porto, with much of it being rebuilt during the early 20th century. Many of Porto’s classic hotels are found in Baixa, and the southern side of the district is a highly recommended area to be based in.

Bolhão and Ildefonso – This is the shopping neighbourhood of Porto. The streets are lined with a mix of traditional shops, designer stores and numerous restaurants.

Cedofeita – Centred along the Rua de Cedofeita, a district for a more authentic Portuguese experience, but can feel distant from many of the main tourist attractions.

Miragaia – This is a medieval maze of a neighbourhood that is charming, authentic and offers many rental rooms. This is ideal for a less touristy location, but be warned, there are many steep hills in this neighbourhood!

Vila Nova de Gaia – A major city on the southern side of the Douro River, but only the riverside should be considered for visitors new to Porto. Within Vila Nova de Gaia are the huge cellars that store the Port-wine as it matures, and this area close to the river is great for visitors.

South Massarelos – An interesting and alternative area centred around the Palácio de Cristal Park. This is a good alternative location if accommodation options are running low. Do not be based further west than the Arrábida Bridge, as this moves into Bairro Aleixo, one of the most deprived areas of the city.

Boavista and the Avenida da Boavista – The Avenida da Boavista is a grand boulevard and the setting for many of Porto’s upmarket hotels. This area is ideal for a business trip and a touch of class, but is a little way out for sightseeing. Often the hotels in the Boavista neighbourhood will have car parking (unlike the hotels in the cramped historic centre), and are a good choice if you plan to have a car.

Bonfim – An up and coming area of Porto which offers cheaper accommodation and is a popular student area. The district has a non-touristy atmosphere and an emerging artisan scene. Bonfim is a little way out for most tourists, but great if you want to go beyond conventional tourism locations.

Choose your location before looking for accommodation!

Always choose the location in Porto you want to be based in, before looking for accommodation. This may sound obvious, but it is all too easy to be sucked in by an amazing discounts or outstanding reviews, without really considering which area of the city you will be staying in.

Where to stay in Porto? A bit further out

Foz do Douro, is a calm and pleasant district at the mouth of the Douro River. The district has a distinctly Portuguese atmosphere, with traditional houses, many excellent restaurants, and scenic walks along the river or seafront. Foz is an ideal location if you want a more relaxed trip to Porto.
Insight: There is a regular bus service (route 500) and delightful tram (Linha 1) which connect Foz to central Porto and this pretty route follows the Douro River.

Matosinhos is a busy fishing town and has the best sandy beach close to Porto. The town is famed for its seafood restaurants and is extremely popular in the summer as the whole of Porto heads to the beach. The 500 bus route connects Matosinhos to central Porto, so it is very easy to travel into the city centre.

Vila Nova de Gaia is the twin city of Porto, which lies on the southern side of the Douro River. This city offers much better value accommodation, but the compromise will be the endless walking into central Porto. There is surprisingly poor public transport from Vila Nova de Gaia to Porto, with only four metro stations and a handful of bus services.

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Porto-North-Portugal.com

The best guide to Porto

porto portugal guide
porto top 10
porto where to stay which area district
when to visit porto and weather
Cost of trip to porto
1 week in porto
48 hours 2 days porto
porto 1 day walking tour
porto beaches
porto day trips
Douro valley
Braga portugal
Guimarães portugal
Aveiro portugal
Porto Airport to city centre
Matosinhos
Viana do Castelo portugal
Douro by car
porto trams
porto portugal guide
porto top 10
porto where to stay which area district
when to visit porto and weather
Cost of trip to porto
1 week in porto
48 hours 2 days porto
porto 1 day walking tour
porto beaches
porto day trips
Douro valley
Braga portugal
Guimarães portugal
Aveiro portugal
Porto Airport to city centre
Matosinhos
Viana do Castelo portugal
Douro by car
porto trams