Porto - Where to Stay for first time travelers

Where to Stay in Porto for a first time visit? An insider’s guide 2024

Porto is one of the coolest and most popular places to visit in Portugal. It’s a blend of the past and the present, offering visitors a peek into its historic past and young and lively present. Like most European cities, Porto sprawls along the banks of the Rio Douro which has been the city’s soul for centuries.

One can never be bored in Porto. Wander the narrow, cobblestone alleys and streets and enjoy the unique architecture you can only find here. The typical blue and white azulejos (traditional Portuguese tiles) create the most stunning facades that will leave you breathless. Furthermore, you can also explore the food and wine scene and give your senses the utmost gastronomic experience.

As we give you more details on Porto, we’ll also use this guide to help you decide where to stay in Porto.

We know that different types of people require different advice on travel accommodations. In this guide include the best areas for

  • the first time visitor
  • Families
  • Couples
  • Luxury & Design
  • Solo-Traveler
  • on a budget

Are you more of a visual learner/travel planner?

Lucky for you, we’ve included a map with all of our favorite neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for all of your travel needs.

Check it out below to get a better idea of where you should stay for your first or next visit to the Porto.

This is the extension of our guide to 7 days in Porto.

(This guide is always up to date, the last updated June 2024.)

But, first things first:

Here is the question: Where to stay in Porto for a first-time visit?

The answer is simple: Ribeira!

Some of the must-see landmarks in Ribeira are the following:

  • Douro River – Extending from Spain’s interior to the Atlantic Ocean close to Porto, it’s famous for its terraced vineyards and river cruises.
  • Ribeira Square – A small historic square in the heart of Porto, overlooking the river and packed with restaurants and bars.
  • São Bento Train Station – One of Portugal’s oldest and most beautiful train stations, built in 1904 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Dom Luís I Bridge – Designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel, this bridge connects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

Why do we recommend these areas?

A fairly small and compact city, Porto has so much to offer. Tourists like that the attractions are all located close to each other, not having to bother travelling from one end of the city to another.
You can also explore the charming central neighbourhoods, each with its own distinctive vibe.

One such neighbourhood is Ribeira, a charming and magical place that transports you back in time. It’s the top choice of where to stay in Porto for first-time visitors because it is centrally located and features many attractions, bars, and restaurants.

Ribeira is suitable for all types of travellers. Families and couples can enjoy strolls on the banks of the Douro River, while the Dom Luís I Bridge is an excellent spot for people-watchers who enjoy observing life happening along the riverbanks. Nightlife-seekers can pick a club to dance the night away, while luxury and design travellers can go on a shopping spree and indulge in private tastings.

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

Please note: those might not be the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

📍Best Area:Ribeira
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Best for Families:Vila na Praia Foz Luxury Apartments
👩‍❤️‍👨 Best for Couples:Panorama Apartments Ribeira Porto
💎 Best Luxury HotelCondes de Azevedo Palace Apartments
🤩 Best Design Hotel:Armazem Luxury Housing
😎 Best for Groups:Morar Apartments Porto
🦸 Best for Solo-Traveller:Morar Apartments Porto
💃 Best Hotel for Nightlife:Galerias Nightlife Fashion Flats
🤑 Cheapest Place to stay:Lusitana Hotel
👌 Safest Area: Ribeira

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Porto

Planning a trip to Porto will require a lot of dedication from your side, considering there is so much to see and do. To help you prepare well for your trip, we prepared a list of accommodations for where to stay in Porto. We handpicked the best places to suit your travelling style and preferences.

Continue scrolling or pick your group and travel type on the menu:

1.1 Families
1.2 Couples
1.3 Luxury Traveler
1.4 Design Traveler
1.5 Groups
1.6 Solo-Traveler
1.7 Nightlife-seeking traveler
1.8 Budget Traveler

1.1 Families

If you’re planning a family trip, these are the two places to stay in Porto, Portugal that would be the best fit:

Foz do Douro

  • Quick access to numerous beaches and a relaxed atmosphere;
  • Peaceful, quiet, and family-friendly neighbourhood;
  • A variety of family housings near the beach.

Boavista

  • A quiet neighbourhood away from the busy parts of the city;
  • Modern and well-connected;
  • Home to many beautiful parks.

Handpicked accommodations for families

Vila na Praia Foz Luxury Apartments, Foz do Douro

The simple and historic exterior of Vila na Praia Foz Luxury Apartments boasts an elegant, modern, and colourful interior. Rent one of their family rooms and enjoy the stunning sea view. Families love spending their days at the Carneiro, Ingleses, Lavadores, and other beautiful beaches within walking distance.

Families wanting to explore the wider Porto area can walk to the nearby train station. There is also the option of spending the day at the nearby City Park.

Book Vila na Praia Foz Luxury Apartments here

Private room at Vila na Praia Foz Luxury Apartments

Enjoy your stay at Vila na Praia Foz Luxury Apartments

Blau 1911, Boavista

Blau 1911 is a charming house for a family seeking a comfortable and cozy stay. The classic and timeless design fits right in the Boavista neighbourhood. You can spend a day with your children visiting the many museums within walking distance and the other attractions in Boavista. For families who like having fun in the sun, you can try the Matosinhosa, Molhe, Ingleses, and other beautiful beaches in the neighbourhood.

This place to stay in Porto, Portugal also has a spacious backyard which is ideal for a glass of wine in the evening while you watch your children enter their imaginary world of play.

Book Blau 1911 here

Personal space at Blau 1911

Have a great time at Blau 1911

 1.2 Couples

Portugal is the perfect place for couples. You can stroll down breathtaking alleys with tiny cafes scattered around them or enjoy the many landmarks around, holding hands. The best areas for these travellers are surely these two:

Ribeira

  • Scenic spots and awesome views;
  • Close to numerous sights and landmarks;
  • Ideal for a special or romantic weekend getaway.

Baixa (Downtown)

  • Offers excellent wine tasting and lunch cruises;
  • Romantic sunset or daytime sailboat cruises on the Douro River;
  • Visit the romantic gardens of Palácio de Cristal.

Handpicked accommodations for couples

Panorama Apartments Ribeira Porto, Ribeira

A small and intimate accommodation, Panorama Apartments Ribeira Porto is ideal for couples looking for some quiet time alone. Located in Rua Cimo do Muro, one of Ribeira’s most iconic streets, it’s close to some of the most popular attractions. The Fernandina Walls, Cristal Palace Garden, Palacio da Bolsa, and Ribeira Square are just a few attractions within walking distance.

Couples have noted Panorama Apartments as one of the best places to stay in Porto because it’s situated just next to the D. Luis Bridge and the Douro River. Lock hands and take romantic strolls down the river’s waterfront – the perfect way to spend a day.

Book Panorama Apartments Ribeira Porto here

Relax and unwind at Panorama Apartments Ribeira Porto

Own bedroom at Panorama Apartments Ribeira Porto

Lemago Porto Apartments – Poveiros, Downtown

Couples can choose one of the modern and comfortable Lemago Porto Apartments – Poveiros situated in the heart of historic Porto. The hosts make sure couples feel comfortable by tastefully incorporating details into the decor to spike the romance.

Couples can take a walk and see the Oporto Coliseum, Cardosas Square, and other main attractions during the day. And if you’re a pair that loves to dance, visit one of the clubs at night.

Book Lemago Porto Apartments – Poveiros here

Single bedroom at Lemago Porto Apartments

Have a pleasant stay at Lemago Porto Apartments

1.3 Luxury traveler

When you want to truly immerse yourself in style and extravagance, Porto is a great choice! Although every part of this city is a sight for sore eyes, we think that luxury travellers will prefer the following spots:

Ribeira

  • Luxury hotel accommodation with stunning views;
  • Exceptional gastronomic experiences;
  • Exclusive shops for jewelry and clothes.

Baixa (Downtown)

  • Extravagant and classy 5-star hotels;
  • Offers a rich nightlife and fine dining;
  • Private tours of the area with a personal chauffeur.

Handpicked accommodations for the luxury traveler

Condes de Azevedo Palace Apartments, Ribeira

Condes de Azevedo Palace Apartments are part of a 13th-century building renovated to meet the needs of every luxury traveller. Surrounded by the top attractions in the scenic Ribeira area, visitors can feel the blend of Porto’s famous history portrayed on the exterior and the modern and thoughtfully decorated interiors of the apartments. The spacious apartments equipped with nice furniture and lighting contribute to the posh yet warm atmosphere.

Lovers of high-end dining and shopping can walk to Santa Catarina Street, offering a whole range of traditional cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Book Condes de Azevedo Palace Apartments here

Make yourself at home at Condes de Azevedo Palace Apartments

Enjoy your time at Condes de Azevedo Palace Apartments

Eurostars Aliados, Downtown

Eurostars Aliados is the choice of many luxury travellers looking for where to stay in Porto. The very central location offers easy access to numerous historic places you can visit after grabbing a bite from the abundant breakfast buffet. Despite the central location, the hotel offers quiet rooms where you can rest after a day of shopping or a night of partying.

Book Eurostars Aliados here

Experience comfort at Eurostars Aliados

Have a wonderful stay at Eurostars Aliados

1.4 Design-lovers

Portugal is filled with many art galleries and wonderful rustic architecture, making it the perfect place to visit for those who appreciate aesthetics. We suggest design travellers stay in these parts:

Baixa (Downtown)

  • Home to architectural masterpieces (baroque facades, Art Nouveau finishings);
  • A dense network of streets packed with jewelry and art stores;
  • Accommodation in historic buildings.

Nevogilde

  • Accommodation with classic to modern interior design;
  • Designer jewelry and art shops;
  • Discover remains of Roman, Gothic, Baroque, and contemporary art.

Handpicked accommodations for the design lover

Armazem Luxury Housing, Baixa

If you are looking for a place to stay in Porto, Portugal to satisfy your thirst for design, Armazem Luxury Housing is the one. It is nestled in a 19th-century iron warehouse in the historic center of Porto.

Design travellers will know to appreciate the combination of stone walls and modern furniture, which give the rooms a specific charm. Just as you step outside from one of the best hotels in Porto, Portugal, you enter a world of shops, restaurants, cafes, and places of interest that will make your stay here unforgettable.

Book Armazém Luxury Housing- Architectural & Design Hotel here

Private room at Armazém Luxury Housing

Enjoy your stay at Armazém Luxury Housing

Vila Foz Hotel & Spa, Nevogilde

Vila Foz Hotel & Spa is a dream come true for design travellers. This member of Design Hotels is a 5-star fantasyland – a historic building on the beachfront equipped with carefully picked ultra-modern furniture. And if this is not enough, maybe the fabulous spa and wellness center will do the trick. Guests can also choose one of the rooms and enjoy a private moment on the balcony, enjoying the sensational view.

Book Vila Foz Hotel & SPA – member of Design Hotels here

Personal space at Vila Foz Hotel & SPA

Have a great time at Vila Foz Hotel & SPA

1.5 Groups

Traveling in groups can be a bit difficult when it comes to finding a place to stay. However, the Portuguese city has plenty of accommodations that are great for groups of three and up. Try these areas first if you’re wondering where to stay in Porto:

Bolhao

  • The travel hub of Porto, offering amazing group trips;
  • Busy, popular area with sociable crowds;
  • A buzzing area offering clubs with live performances;

Cedofeita

  • Trendiest district, full of bars and restaurants;
  • Central location for easy access to everything;
  • A wide selection of group-friendly accommodations;

Handpicked accommodations for groups

Morar Apartments Porto, Bolhao

Morar Apartments Porto offers spacious and modern apartments suitable for group travellers. With spacious rooms, equipped with modern amenities, the apartments are close to some of the top attractions, including the metro and train stations. The property’s central location allows group travellers to easily move around and take advantage of the tours offered by the local tourist agencies.

Book Morar Apartments Porto here

Own bedroom at Morar Apartments Porto

Relax and unwind at Morar Apartments Porto

Casa Carolina, Cedofeita

Casa Carolina may not be famous for having a lobby bar, but it surely has an unmissable character. Group travellers will love the spacious rooms equipped with modern furniture and offering views of the city. If you love picnics, gather the group and spend a sunny day in the picnic area the guest house has. If the gang is more into swimming, visit a nearby beach.

Book Casa Carolina here

Single bedroom at Casa Carolina Have a pleasant stay at Casa Carolina

1.6 Solo-travelers

Deciding to travel the world on your own can be a wonderful experience. When you’re going through Porto, give these neighbourhoods a go:

Baixa (Downtown)

  • Central location for easy navigation;
  • Safety is guaranteed for solo travellers;
  • If you are a foodie, you have access to fresh produce.

Miragaia

  • A friendly neighbourhood where you can mingle with the locals;
  • Classic Portuguese fare in the cozy small eateries;
  • A typical picturesque Portuguese scenery to make you feel at home.

Handpicked accommodations for a solo traveler

Invictus Hostel, Downtown

Many solo travellers opt for hostels, but Invictus Hostel is a home away from home. It offers clean, affordable, and convenient accommodation at a prime location. You’ll find all you need just a few steps from the hostel. Use the common areas to socialize and meet new people. If you are here to unwind, read a book, or play a game of chess with your new roommate.

Book Invictus Hostel here

Make yourself at home at Invictus Hostel

Enjoy your time at Invictus Hostel

Porto Wine Hostel, Miragaia

Let’s talk about a hostel with a character providing Spacious, clean rooms, friendly staff, a central location, and a delicious breakfast. The Porto Wine Hostel decor is inspired by the colours of the famous Port Wine, with lots of natural daylight in the rooms. Use the common areas to meet new people and maybe go for a bike ride. You can also ask other solo travellers to join you on a tour of the main attractions.

Book Porto Wine Hostel here

Experience comfort at Porto Wine Hostel

Have a wonderful stay at Porto Wine Hostel

1.7 Nightlife Traveler

Portugal is known as a very vibrant place, and Porto, as the second biggest city, is there to show it. Go to these areas to book the perfect stay for nightlife-seeking travellers:

Galerias de Paris

  • A nightlife location with good vibes, loud music, and cheap drinks;
  • City’s historic artery that welcomes night owls looking for entertainment;
  • Outstanding fine restaurants.

Cedofeita

  • Very trendy and friendly neighborhood;
  • A variety of pavement cafes.

Handpicked accommodations for nightlife

Galerias Nightlife Fashion Flats, Galerias de Paris

Galerias Nightlife Fashion Flats is not just a modern flat with a city view you can enjoy every night gazing at the stars. It’s located in the heart of Porto, which means all partygoers can be right in the middle of the fun.

Book Galerias Nightlife Fashion Flats here

Private room at Galerias Nightlife Fashion Flats

Enjoy your stay at Galerias Nightlife Fashion Flats

Oporto Serviced Apartments – Alvares Cabral, Cedofeita

Oporto Serviced Apartments – Alvares Cabral is an apartment complex located in a top area. You will only need a few minutes to get to the metro, and from there, you can choose your next destination. Having close transportation means that you can party all night and be back in your bed to sleep it off quite fast.

Book Oporto Serviced Apartments – Alvares Cabral here

Personal space at Oporto Serviced Apartments

Have a great time at Oporto Serviced Apartments

1.8 For the Budget Traveler

Don’t wonder where to stay in Porto when on a budget—there are a lot of places that are offered for a good price. We recommend you check out these two areas for the cheapest and best stay:

Vitória

  • Plenty of open beaches you can visit without paying fees;
  • Noted as a World Heritage Site.

Bonfim

  • You can try delicious Portuguese food for a few bucks;
  • A blend of modern and old, with plenty of specialty or vegan cafes.

Handpicked accommodations for budget traveler

Lusitana Hotel, Vitoria

Have you ever wanted to have everything in one place? Lusitana Hotel offers just that! Not only is everything important within walking distance, but you can also book tours and rides through the front desk.

Book Lusitana Hotel here

Own bedroom at Lusitana Hotel

Relax and unwind at Lusitana Hotel

Poveira Hotel, Bonfim

Although not in the center, Poveira Hotel is a few minutes away from the train and metro station that will take you directly to the heart of Porto. The best part of this place to stay in Porto, Portugal is that you can enjoy the lovely cuisine of the nearby cafes for a very low price.

Book Poveira Hotel here

Single bedroom at Poveira Hotel

Have a pleasant stay at Poveira Hotel

2. Best Neighborhood to Stay in Porto

We’ve selected these few areas that we think would fit all travellers.

Ribeira

This historic district along the Douro River is perfect for luxury travellers and couples. It’s characterized by vivid buildings and a breathtaking waterfront, perfect for late-night dining.

Baixa (Downtown)

The downtown heart of Porto is great if you’re looking for a mix of history, shopping streets, and luxury. The central location of this neighbourhood offers easy access to all major attractions, perfect for those who want to do some exploring.

Cedofeita

This trendy and bohemian neighbourhood is the best option for groups and nightlife-seekers who are looking for a more alternative vibe. It features a variety of unique shops, art galleries, and cafes, and night owls can dance the night away in the numerous clubs.

Miragaia

This picturesque area is known for the townhouses and small eateries lining the cobbled streets. It’s a friendly neighbourhood where solo travellers can mingle with the locals or attend historical exhibits with their new friends.

FAQs

What is the best neighborhood to stay in Porto?

For a first-time visit to Porto, the recommended neighborhood is Ribeira. This historic district along the Douro River offers a central location, charming alleys, and proximity to must-see landmarks like the Dom Luís I Bridge and São Bento Train Station. Ribeira caters to various types of travelers, including families, couples, solo travelers, and those seeking a vibrant nightlife.

Where should you not stay in Porto?

While Porto is generally a safe city, some areas might be less convenient for tourists. It's advisable to avoid staying in remote or poorly lit areas, especially late at night. Additionally, travelers may want to research neighborhoods with fewer accommodations or limited access to public transportation to ensure a more comfortable and convenient stay.

What should I avoid in Porto?

To make the most of your visit to Porto, it's advisable to avoid peak tourist seasons if you prefer a more relaxed experience. Also, be cautious of pickpocketing in crowded areas and keep an eye on your belongings. It's recommended to use reputable transportation options and avoid unofficial taxis. Lastly, be mindful of local customs, such as not tipping excessively in restaurants, to ensure a respectful and enjoyable stay.

Where should I stay in Porto for the first time?

For a first-time visit to Porto, Ribeira is the highly recommended neighborhood. Its central location, rich history, and proximity to iconic landmarks make it an ideal choice. Ribeira offers a blend of charm, historic architecture, and lively atmosphere, catering to various traveler preferences. Whether you're a family, couple, solo traveler, or someone seeking a vibrant nightlife, Ribeira provides a convenient base to explore Porto.

MAP + All Sights

Discover the heartbeat of Porto through our curated map guide, offering a glimpse into the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Each district has its unique charm, from the historic allure of Ribeira to the bustling energy of Downtown (Baixa) and the cultural vibe of Cedofeita.

Explore our recommendations to find the perfect place to stay, tailored to your preferences, ensuring a memorable and safe experience in this enchanting Portuguese city.

Summary where to stay in Porto

Porto is a favourite destination for every type of traveller. Since you now know where to stay in Porto, all it takes is to choose a place. Whatever your budget or preference, you’ll undoubtedly find places that reflect the desired standards.

For even more fantastic European destinations, check out the rest of my blogs!

Other European Destinations

Before you run off, here is a few more handwritten articles for you. These will help you to find more unique experiences and enjoy your holidays at fullest.

Any Questions?

There you have it. I hope you have no questions and found your home in my home town.

However, please remember: I am not perfect, and it is likely I missed a few things to point out.

Therefore: Do you have questions? Is anything not clear?

Please please please drop me a comment below with your email! I will reply to you ASAP via email and here in the comments.

In fact, your questions help me to make this article better. So I help you to help me.

Travel Europe Smarter in 2024

Safety: Travel Insurance
Hey Mondo and Safetywing are the best travel insurances.

Find better Flight Deals
Famous Skyscanner is the #1 tool to find great deals for flying to Europe.

Need a Guide?
Take Walks run small walking tours all over Europe. They offer high-quality walking tours with exceptional guides.

Need internet in Europe?
Unleash your mobile freedom in Europe with Airalo.com eSIM card with instant activation, comprehensive coverage, cost savings, and unmatched convenience, all in one tiny chip! More info and discount code here.

Reliable Car Rental
Discover Cars.com is a top website for renting cars. Read our full review.

More Money-Saving Travel websites

Check out our guide to the best 16 Travel Websites for Europe.
Bookmark this site; it will easily save you money using these recommended websites.

best Travel Sites for Europe