If you have finally decided to visit Porto and are trying to figure out which is the best area to stay, this guide is for you.
First we will get to know the city better, we will see which are the most central areas of Porto and which is the most suitable neighborhood for your needs. We will then discover in detail each area and the surroundings of the city.
Where to sleep in Porto
Porto is not too big a city, getting around is very simple and the various areas are well connected by bus and metro.
The best area to stay in Porto is the center, where there are the main attractions that you can reach on foot. Staying between Aliados and La Ribeira you will be in the heart of the city and you will not need to take public transport to visit the points of interest in the historic center.
Porto is very close to the ocean and can also be a base for a trip to the sea and beaches. However, if the main goal is to visit the city, I suggest to always stay overnight in the center, the main beaches are easily accessible by subway.
So let's see in detail the best areas to sleep in Porto, from the central ones to the neighboring districts but convenient to get to the center quickly, thanks to the efficient public transport.
Centro Di Porto: Downtown – Avenida Aliados
The “center” of Porto is actually located south of the city towards the Douro River. The nerve center is the whole area around Allies and at the station Sao Bento up to the Ribeira.
Right next to the Avenida dos Aliados is the famous one Liberty Square reference point from where to explore the city and its attractions. In fact, from here you can go anywhere, either on foot or by public transport.
The neighborhood is full of churches, monuments and historic buildings: Sao Bento station, city hall, Bolhão market and Livraria Lello, just to name a few. Do not miss a walk to the famous Flowers Street, a splendid pedestrian boulevard that runs from Sao Bento station down to Ribeira.
In addition to this there is no shortage of cafes, restaurants and the famous shopping street Rua de Santa Catarina.
Rua de Santa Catarina
Rua de Santa Catarina is the shopping avenue of Porto, it is located in the central area, a few minutes away from the Avenida dos Aliados and therefore close to all the main attractions.
It is a pedestrian street full of shops, a shopping center, restaurants and clubs, such as the famous one Majestic Coffee.
The station Sao Bento it is one of the most famous buildings in Porto, a real attraction of the city, as well as being the starting point for visiting the surroundings of Porto.
If you are looking for a central area to stay in Porto, the Sao Bento area is the ideal solution, it is located in the center a few steps from the Cathedral and close to the characteristic Ribeira district.
The charming and historic Ribeira district develops alongside the north bank of the Douro River.
The location is perfect for visiting the city center but also convenient for reaching the Port wine cellars in the Villa Nova de Gaia area, crossing the iconic Dom Luís bridge.
It is an area that is always lively by day and by night, full of clubs, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops.
The neighborhood is also one of the best spots in the city for nightlife.
It must be said that Ribeira is very touristy, quite noisy and less authentic than the upper part of Porto.
In general, Ribeira is perfect for those who want a central, lively and comfortable area for long walks, as this area is flat.
Council: choose one of the many boutique hotels located in the historic buildings of the neighborhood.
The Cedofeita district is within walking distance of Porto's historic center. Cedofeita is known as the artistic district par excellence, with its main street Miguel Bombarda Street, a famous avenue full of art galleries. A quiet area where you will find a wide choice of cafes and restaurants and a discreet nightlife much appreciated especially by students.
The neighborhood offers a wide range of facilities for all tastes and budgets, from hostels to elegant boutique hotels equipped with all comforts.
If you are looking for a quiet and comfortable area to visit the city, a few steps from the historic center, Cedofeita is the best choice where to stay in Porto.
The residential area of Boavista is located just outside the center of Porto, in the northern part of the city. The neighborhood is crossed dall'Avenida de Boavista which connects the city to the coast. The boulevard is full of restaurants, shops and hotels.
The center is easily accessible by public transport. Among the places of greatest interest in the area we find the House of Music and the Serralves contemporary art museum.
Also this is where the Porto City Park, the largest park in the city.
The area is full of hotels with conference rooms and is ideal for those traveling for business purposes, or for anyone who wants a modern and quiet area within walking distance of the center and the beach.
Council: choose a structure near the subway or bus stop, to reach the central districts.
Foz do Douro
If you want to stay in a residential area and close to the beach, Foz do Douro is for you. It is a fraction of Porto, located on the coast west of the city. The area is particularly recommended during the summer months, when it comes alive with tourists and city dwellers.
It is located a bit far from the center of Porto, which can still be reached by bus.
Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia is a distinct municipality and is located on the other side of the Dom Luis bridge on the opposite bank to the Ribeira. It is here that the famous Port wine is produced and this is already a valid reason to visit the town.
The center of Porto can be reached in about 10 minutes thanks to the subway and the bridge that connects the two cities.
Vila Nova de Gaia can be a good solution to stay overnight for those who have a car, in fact it will be easier to find parking, which is more difficult for those who are in the center of Porto.
We have seen which are the neighborhoods and areas to prefer during a trip to Porto. Basically the center is ideal for enjoying the city and its attractions in particular the area of Aliados, Sao Bento and Rua de Santa Catarina are the most central and most authentic areas.
Riverside it is always in the center and is a charming and lively but more touristic neighborhood.
Then there are the areas not far from the center but well connected as Early and Boavista.
If you really want to stay a stone's throw from the ocean an option could be Foz do Douro.
For wine lovers and those traveling by car, the best choice is the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, 10 minutes from the center of Porto.
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