Where to stay in Porto?

Porto is one of our favourite cities in Portugal and so we at Secretplaces have had great fun putting together the most beautiful hotels and accommodation in Porto for you. We have found real gems! Whether a luxury hotel or a cosy bed & breakfast in the historic old town of Porto, a World Heritage Site. The city is truly diverse and has the right accommodation for every need and traveller. Trendy self-catering apartments and beautiful holiday homes for your family holiday or small, beautiful boutique hotel with charm and character will make your city trip or short break a unique experience.

Boutique hotels in Porto have been proliferating in recent times, we have chosen the most beautiful and each with its own style but all with a lot of charm. To help you find the perfect place to stay in Porto, please view our collections that divide our accommodations by themes:

Further down we have put together a small guide in what to do in Porto and to get to know a little more about this beautiful city. If you are looking for where to stay please follow the link where you will find our selection of the best boutique hotels in Porto and vacation rentals. In the guide below you will find the following:

  • Where to go and what to do in Porto
  • What Porto is like - beauty, tradition and Porto wine
  • Porto's gastronomy: finger licking goodness

Porto - beauty, tradition and port wine

Porto, also known as the secret capital of Portugal is definitely worth a visit, and not only because it gave the name to the country and is the place where one of the world’s most famous wine is produced. With its strategic location at the mouth of the Rio Douro and its position close to the Atlantic Ocean, there are a lot of landscapes and sights waiting to be explored and discovered.

Porto is the country's most important industrial location and, together with Lisbon, an important economic and cultural centre. The city centre of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers many sights worth seeing. The city's nightlife, which is concentrated near the river, is also well-known. As the namesake of the famous Port wine, Porto naturally also has a great culinary heritage. About 100 km upstream, the vineyards of the scenic Douro region begin, full of small villages and breathtakingly beautiful hills that slope green and steeply down to the water. This is where the world-famous Port wine is grown. Signs of this can be found everywhere in the stretched valleys, such as. on the large company signs bearing such famous names as Cockburns, Taylors and Sandeman.

Porto - what to do?

Porto, the most important city in northern Portugal, has some very characteristic monuments, such as the Romanesque-Gothic Santa Sé (the city's Cathedral) and the Clérigos Tower, built by the Italian Nasoni. If you don't have vertigo and are willing to climb its 240 steps you will be able to enjoy the best views of the city.

The architecture here is admirable. The Dom Luis Bridge - built by Eiffel, the same man who built the famous tower in Paris - is impressive. Other highlights include the neoclassical Palacio da Bolsa, the Church of São Francisco - with its mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque elements - or the Estação de Porto - São Bento and its beautiful atrium covered with 20,000 tiles. And for those who appreciate a more modern style, the Casa da Música, a concert hall of world-acclaimed design, stands out.

Travellers visiting the area should spend some time getting to know the Douro riverbank on the opposite side, full of wineries where you can taste some typical products of the region as well as enjoy Port wine tastings and learn some interesting particularities about the production process. Truly, an excellent place for wine lovers.

On the Porto side of the river is the Ribeirinha area, a World Heritage Site and a beautiful and elegant neighbourhood full of life. Here you can marvel at the typical hustle and bustle and eat in excellent restaurants. From here, one can also take the boat for an unforgettable ride along the fascinating river.

The city of Porto has some museums of great cultural interest such as the Soares dos Reis Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. It is no coincidence that in 2001 Porto was awarded the title of Capital of Culture. In fact, over the last two decades Porto has shown an eclectic, sometimes avant-garde and extremely up-to-date interest in the interest, support and visibility of contemporary culture. This can be seen both in the Plastic Arts with new emerging galleries, and in the performing arts, as well as in the Seventh Art. A good example of current and cultural Porto is Fantasporto, Porto's international festival of independent cinema, from year to year increasingly known and valued internationally for its originality and diversity.

Gastronomy in Porto

Typical of Portugal’s northern regions, the gastronomy of the  Douro is a simple and hearty affair. One famous dish that qualifies as such is Tripas à moda do Porto (Tripe Porto style) a popular dish made of veal tripe, sausage, smoked ham, dried beans, onions, smoked pork sausage, herbs and spices. A full meal and you are liable to take a deserved siesta. The people of Porto are, in fact, endearingly known as the Tripe eaters. Other favourite dishes include the delicious kid (cabrito) or the suckling lamb (borrego), either stewed (ensopado) or marinated in spices and then baked.

Also worth mentioning is Francesinhas, a dish that will certainly not fit into any self-respecting diet: a sandwich of ham, cheese, sausage, beef fillet and fried egg, covered with melted cheese and served in a deep dish filled with sauce. Soups are also very common, as in the rest of Portugal, made from many different ingredients.

As for desserts, the confectionery in this area is fantastic. The monastic tradition in the elaboration of sweets is very evident. Highlights include Natas, cream cakes similar to the famous Pastéis de Belem, and Pão de Ló, a type of sponge cake.

The Douro wine to wash all this down is second to none. There are vast vineyards on slopes, between Pinhão and Alijó in the valley of Alto Douro. The valley of the Douro River itself, stretching both north and south through various longitudes and altitudes produce the delicious Port wine, though the robust reds are also worthy of note.