Porto is everything that you would want from a European holiday. An enticing historic center, beautiful lookout points (miradouros), breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and wine. It’s no wonder that Portugal’s second city sees a heavy footfall of tourists. Many tourists mean that there are more than enough hotels in Porto, Portugal to suit every budget. However, the best hotels in the city are usually a beautiful blend of history and opulence that’s so evident in the city.
History stares you in the face along the medieval streets of the alluring district of Ribeira. It’s laden with architectural treasures as are many parts of the city. Quite obviously, some of the top things to do in Porto are to lose yourself in these historic edifices. Apart from its rich history, another standout of the city is its thriving art scene. Public art is on display everywhere, from the hand-painted tiles to blazing street art. Just 2.5 hours away from Porto, there’s Covão dos Conchos. What Makes This Huge Hole In Portugal? You have to find out yourself!
Where To Stay In Porto
Porto rises vertically from the banks of the River Douro and appears as a compact city on the map. However, some of the places are quite spread out though they may appear to be close on the map. The main tourist attractions are concentrated in a few pockets, so if you’re looking for hotels in Porto, Portugal a good idea would be to stay close to the historic center. The hotels in this area sell out quite fast though.
Ribeira is the most popular area because of its rich history. It’s also the most atmospheric district of the city with its narrow alleyways and great views over the Douro River. After you’ve explored the iconic buildings and other historic sights in this area there are plenty of restaurants and bars along its riverbanks to spend a relaxed evening.
History is also evident in Se, the oldest district below the cathedral. Some of the most impressive churches in Porto are found in the area as well as the beautiful São Bento train station. Baixa is another bustling district with some of the most interesting sights of the city. Many of Porto’s classic hotels lie in this district. Baixa is also where the city’s university is, so the vibe is definitely more youthful.
Another popular area is Vitoria which is the old commercial heart of Porto. If you’re looking to feel the pulse of the city, it’s a good idea to base yourself here. The riverside suburb Vila Nova de Gaia is where you can enjoy some of the best port wines. Its riverside is an energetic hub of bars and restaurants.
The affluent seaside suburb of Foz do Douro is a short trip from Porto along the river. It’s where people who want a beachfront break head to. The attractive old town is also quite charming.
Pestana Vintage Porto
If you’re looking for historic five-star hotels in Porto, Portugal, the Pestana Vintage Porto is one of the best. Set within historic buildings that date back to the 16th century, it’s not just the hotel’s history but also the excellent location that draws visitors here. The hotel sits on the central riverfront Ribeiro Square, providing excellent views over the Douro River and the Port wine houses. For those wanting to be close to historical Porto, it doesn’t get better than this.
Glass passages connect the separate buildings, making it a unified whole. The hotel blends old and new with glass and wooden furnishings merging with the original stone. The Deluxe Rooms come with large windows that look out onto the river. All rooms are well-equipped with modern amenities and all bathrooms have bathtubs and hair dryers.
Begin your day here with a leisurely breakfast at the Restaurant Água d’Ouro which has charming views of the riverside area. It has a small outdoor terrace which is open in the summer. Bar Heritage serves fresh and toasted sandwiches throughout the day as well as a selection of port wines.
NH Collection Porto Batalha
Porto’s central Batalha district is where you can get a feel of the local vibe. One of the best hotels in this area is the NH Collection Porto that is surrounded by restaurants and shops. It’s just five minutes to the Se Cathedral and Sao Bento train station from here. Other attractions of the city are also within easy reach from here.
You’ll find many hotels in Porto, Portugal housed in historic buildings and this one is no different. What was once Porto’s beautiful post office is now the NH Hotel. The hotel’s decor is a firm nod to its past with carpets patterned with postage stamps and stamp prints on the walls. Even the room numbers are marked on old postcards. Spacious rooms are stylish and cozy with a red and beige color scheme and light wooden flooring.
Though the hotel has several amenities these are relatively small for a hotel of this size. The sauna and steams rooms are quite compact as is the spa, gym, and pool. However, the Gastro Kitchen & Bar serves up excellent food. Breakfast is not included in the room rate but there’s a decent buffet spread each morning.
Vila Foz Hotel & Spa
One of the best hotels in Porto, Portugal that lies in the charming Foz district is the Vila Foz Hotel & Spa. Foz is a little removed from the historic area of Porto but it’s a good place to go if you want to unwind. The hotel has a beautiful location overlooking the Atlantic.
A 19th-century manor has been merged with a newer extension to create an intriguing space. You can choose from the rooms in the old house which feature stuccoed ceilings and wooden floors or the more modern options. All rooms are cozy and many come with balconies that look out over the ocean.
The five-star experience at this hotel is quite special beginning with a ride to and from the airport in a vintage Rolls Royce. For exploring the neighborhood, however, there’s a complimentary shuttle bus. A well-equipped spa with three treatment rooms, a Turkish bath, sauna, gym, and an indoor pool is ideal for those who prefer some activity. Breakfast is included but for other meals, there are two excellent restaurants to choose from.
The Artist Porto Hotel & Bistro
Managed by students of Porto’s hospitality school, The Artist Porto Hotel & Bistro is one of the more creative hotels in Porto, Portugal. It draws its inspiration from its art college heritage days with the corridor walls showcasing grades and art by former students. Located on a quiet street five minutes from Rua de Santa Catarina, a bustling shopping street in Porto, it’s also a five-minute walk from the Bolhão metro station.
Neither the exterior nor the interior of the hotel indicates the creativity that lies within. The 17 guest rooms also reflect the vintage old school look with antique desks and settees. Many of these are former classrooms. This quirky decor is complemented by large windows that flood the spacious rooms with plenty of light.
Art aficionados will love the cozy dining room which doubles as an art exhibition with its paintings and artwork. However, it’s not just the art that impresses about the restaurant but also the food. There’s a surprise degustation every evening for a fixed price followed by a main course and dessert. Despite being prepared by amateurs, it’s a delicious fare. The breakfast is reasonably priced and much better than a standard hotel buffet.
Moon & Sun
Moon & Sun is another well-located hotel in Porto that puts you close all the action. Its location on Rua Sá de Noronha means that you’re in proximity to Clérigos Tower, the Galerias de Paris street, and the University of Porto Rectory. You won’t only find history here but plenty of restaurants, bakeries, and cafes in the area and nightlife too!
In contrast to many of the historic hotels in Porto, Portugal, Moon & Sun is modern and sophisticated. Evocative paintings by Pedro Guimarães adorn the spaces of the hotel adding to the elegance of the hotel. The elegance spills over into the tastefully designed rooms. Whether you choose an Individual Room or a Premium Room, you’ll find a wide range of amenities for your comfort. Outside the room though there’s not much to keep you occupied in the hotel except a rooftop bar where you can indulge in a cocktail while enjoying the view. That being said, if you’re looking for a stylish, affordable option in Porto, this hotel is one of the best.
Maison Albar Le Monumental Palace
Sitting on one side of the Avenida dos Aliados in the civic center of Porto’s historic center, the Maison Albar Le Monumental Palace is a step back into Porto’s opulent past. Designed in 1923, the Art Deco hotel recaptures the glamour of the 1920s and 1930s, especially in its gilded public spaces.
The 76 rooms and suites at the hotel are spacious with a range of amenities. Bespoke furnishings, graphical motifs, and pastel fabrics add the luxe factor to the rooms. Les Suites Audacieuses spread over five floors are especially chic and luxurious with lacquered woodwork and furnishings with well-balanced lines.
Dining options at the hotel range from a casual meal at the Monumental Cafe that has been in existence since the 1930s to a more formal gastronomic meal at Le Monument Restaurant. The American Bar is where you can enjoy a special American Martini plus light bites. If you’d prefer to work up an appetite before you head to the restaurant, the indoor swimming pool is a good place to do it. The Nuxe spa also features a sauna, a Turkish bath, and two treatment rooms.
About half a mile from the bustling Baixa downtown area is one of the most snazzy boutique hotels in Porto, Portugal – Torel Avantgarde. It’s all about art at this design hotel with rooms named after various creative folks such as writers, painters, designers, and musicians. Exploring many of Porto’s attractions on foot from here is pretty easy as the hotel sits high on a hill overlooking the river.
The hotel seeks to bring back the nostalgia of the Avantgarde years with designs that are reminiscent of the elegance of the 1930s/40s. However, it’s not all about the past here as there are many modern elements to bring you back to the present. Since each room is a nod to a different artist, all guest rooms are unique.
There’s an outdoor swimming pool which looks out over the river but it’s unheated so it may feel a bit too cold to swim in. Don’t despair though if you want to get into the water as there’s a hot tub just beside it. You’ll also find a gym and steam room plus a range of treatments.
While breakfast is included, for your other meals, head to the sleek Digby restaurant which also provides stunning views of the River Douro and Vila Nova de Gaia. You can also enjoy a cocktail in the quirky ‘Avant-Garden’ bar.
Flores Village Hotel & Spa
A short three-minute walk from Sao Bento train station and metro will bring you to Flores Village Hotel & Spa. Rua das Flores where the hotel sits is one of the liveliest streets in downtown Porto. It’s teeming with shops, bars, and restaurants and is also a short walk to the riverside precinct. A good part about the property is that it stretches towards the upper part of town. The hotel lift saves you a lot of climbing when exploring different areas of the vertical city.
Like many of the hotels in Porto, Portugal, this one is also housed in a restored 18th-century building. It was once home to members of Porto’s high society. While the grand wooden staircase, frescoed dining hall, and chapel are intact, the rest of the property has a modern look. Spacious guest rooms feel more like a condo, styled with contemporary furniture and light hardwood floors. You’ll find heated towels and fluffy wardrobes in the white marbled bathrooms.
Flores Village features an impressive wellness center complete with a small Roman bath. There’s also a spacious Turkish bath, sauna, and a small gym. Though there’s no full restaurant on-site you’ll find a chic wine and tapas bar, Pateo das Flores. Breakfast, which is included in the rate is a standard hot and cold buffet served in the restored dining room.
Intercontinental Porto has come a long way to becoming one of the top hotels in Porto, Portugal. From its humble beginnings as a monastery and then palace, the hotel oozes charm and character. It’s not difficult to locate the hotel at the end of Avenida dos Aliados, the central part of the city. Apart from its historic charm, the best part is the location bang in the middle of the historic center of Porto. All the attractions of the city are within walking distance from here.
Elegance and charm exude from every space of the hotel. Swarovski chandeliers in the marble foyer, velvet armchairs, and a grand piano all add that extra bit of luxe to the hotel. The spacious guest rooms also reflect this undeniable elegance in the decor and high-end amenities. The Duplex Suites and the Presidential Suite are bi-level.
Despite the compact size of the property, it does have quite a few extras. The wellness center has a 24-hour gym and sauna as well as a wide range of treatments. Bar das Cardosas is a classy space where you can enjoy live music while the Astoria Restaurant is where you can enjoy some delectable cuisine. However, the restaurant is more pricey than other dining venues in the area.
Pestana Palacio do Freixo
When you enter the Pestana Palacio do Freixo you know you’re in one of the best hotels in Porto, Portugal. A member of ‘The Leading Hotels of World,’ this gorgeous hotel is one of the best places to experience historic opulence. The location may not suit those who want to be in the midst of all the action as the suburb of Freixo is further away. However, the free bus shuttle from the hotel gives you a stress-free trip to the iconic sights. The nearest metro station is also a five-minute ride from the hotel.
While the distance to the main sights of Ribeira may be a little inconvenient, the setting and style of the hotel will want to make you linger. The public spaces of the hotel are in a restored and refurbished Portugues Baroque palace that dates back to 1742. Combined with a 19th-century flour mill, it’s an interesting mix of styles. The stunning ‘living room’ of the palace is adorned with a frescoed ceiling and gold-trimmed mirrors. It feels like a luxurious step back in time.
Unlike the public spaces, the guest rooms are modern with minimalist decor. Located in the old mill, they feature a range of amenities such as flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. En suite bathrooms are spacious with bidets and premium bath products. Outside the rooms, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.
Palacio do Freixo is one of the few hotels in Porto, Portugal that offers two swimming pools, an outdoor infinity pool, and a heated indoor pool. There’s also a small gym, sauna, and Turkish style steam room. At the pool, you can enjoy food and drink from the poolside bar. Palatium Restaurant spread across three rooms serves Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisine while the Bar Nasoni has a stylish cocktail lounge and international fare.
Although it’s a lot about the wine at The Yeatman, this luxury wine hotel and spa has plenty to offer. Spread out over seven acres of land on a hill amidst the Port wine lodges, it’s definitely one of the best hotels in Porto, Portugal. The hotel has an enviable position on the south bank of the River Douro. It’s a 15-minute walk to the Old Town from here.
The hotel makes the most of this great location with all the rooms and public spaces facing the front. Six levels of luxury greet you with each floor opening to the outdoors. Spacious guest rooms feature furnished private terraces or balconies that look out over the historic city of Porto. Each room is themed with artifacts and pictures by famous Portugues wine producers and equipped with a host of modern comforts. Though the rooms are bright and spacious, the suites are the standouts with their sophisticated decor. The Bacchus Suite takes luxury to a whole new level with its vaulted wooden ceiling, revolving bed, and a copper Jacuzzi.
The Yeatman restaurant holds two Michelin Stars and is a foodie destination. Another popular dining area is Dick’s Bar & Restaurant with its light dishes and a wide choice of cocktails and wines. For a more relaxed dining experience head to the pool lounge or The Orangerie. Besides the excellent dining options, another standout at the hotel is the Caudalie Vinothérapie® Spa. You’ll find several wellness and relaxation facilities within the spa including a Roman bath, hammam, and sauna as well as an indoor infinity pool. There’s even an infinity pool outdoors.
Recommended Restaurants/Bars in Porto:
- Yeatman – A top foodie destination in Porto is the two Michelin starred Yeatman restaurant. This fine-dining restaurant will not only excite your taste buds with its Portuense fare but is also a treat for the eyes with stunning views.
- Cafe Santiago – If you want to try the gut-busting ‘francesinha’ sandwich the best place for it is at this family-run cafe. The award-winning cafe specializes in this sandwich which is a meal in itself.
- Euskalduna Studio– Only 16 lucky gourmands get to feast on renowned Chef Vasco Coelho Santos’ 10-moment tasting menus every night. To be able to get a seat here is a trip to foodie paradise.
Recommended Activities in Porto:
- Douro Valley, Wine Tasting, and Cruise – Enjoy the majestic Douro Valley when you visit two different vineyards on this day trip from Porto. This trip is not only about the wine as you’ll also get to cruise along the Douro River, a must-do activity in the city.
- Tuk-Tuk Tour from the City to the Ocean – Explore Porto’s city center from the comfort of a Tuk-Tuk. You’ll visit the fishing village of São Pedro da Afurada and also pass under the iconic Ponte da Arrábida.
- Jardins do Palácio de Cristal – If you’re in Massarelos don’t miss this beautiful mosaic of gardens that dates back to 1865. Although the original Palacio Cristal was destroyed, the gardens have stood the test of time. They have a stunning location on a hilltop overlooking the River Douro.