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Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Porto Portugal

Porto is the second biggest city in Portugal and one of the best cities to visit in the country. With plenty of cheap flights from European countries and overseas destinations, Porto is great for a weekend getaway or a stopover during a longer Portugal trip. This Porto travel guide covers everything about what to do in Porto, traveling around Porto, and the best area to stay in Porto Portugal.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Top Things to Do in Porto

Many of the best things to do in Porto are located in the historic center. If it’s your first time visiting, you can spend several days walking around and discovering the many epic sights and activities Porto has to offer. This is also the best area to stay in Porto Portugal for convenience.

porto travel blog porto airport to city center

Visit Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral)

The Cathedral do Porto is the most important religious building in Porto and a must-see in the city. Built in the 12th century, this architectural masterpiece is gorgeous from the outside and even more stunning inside. The cathedral is free to visit, while the abbey has a 3€ entrance fee.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Porto ToursClick here to check out the top Porto tours
Best Porto Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Porto
Best Porto Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Porto

Watch the Sunrise at Dom Luís I Bridge

porto airport to city center

After being built in 1886, the Dom Luís I Bridge was once the longest double-deck bridge in the world. It’s since lost its title but is still an imposing and iconic bridge. Spanning the Douro River, this bridge offers beautiful 360° town views.

If you’re an early bird, you’ll love visiting the bridge to watch the sunrise over the city. Even better, you can visit a nearby “miradouro” (viewpoint) to see the sunrise over the bridge. The best viewpoints in the area are the Miradouro da Serra do Pilar and the top of the Lift Lada Ribeira.

Hop On a Tram

While Porto isn’t as famous as Lisbon for its trams, you’ll still find old classic trams in the city. Trams are one of my favorite subjects to photograph in Porto, and you’ll love seeing them, too. After taking a few photos, you can even hop on a tram and tour the city.

There are three main tram lines in Porto: lines 18 and 22 will take you through Porto’s city center, while line 1 goes from downtown to the western part of the city, along the river banks.

Climb the Clérigos Tower

The Clérigos Tower, or Torre dos Clérigos, is a 75-meter-high tower built in the 18th century. You can’t miss it, since it towers above other local buildings. You can even walk to the top of the tower and enjoy one of the best views of Porto!

See the Famous Livraria Lello

The Solo Guide to Porto | Best Place to stay Porto

You’ve probably heard of this famous bookshop in Porto, as Livraria Lello is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling to write about the Harry Potvter library. Once you step inside, it’s easy to see why—the stunning central staircase will undoubtedly remind you of the movies.

To avoid all the crowds (since it’s pretty popular), visit in the evening vvvaround 30 minutes before the shop closes. 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. is a great time to go.

Relax On the Beach

Take a break from exploring the city and relax at one of the many local beaches in and around Porto. One of the pros of visiting Porto is the warm weather year-round. Whether you’re going to the beach to swim, relax, or enjoy the ocean views, you’ll love the beaches in Porto.

The Solo Guide to Porto | What To Do And Where To Stay Porto

Here are some of the best Porto beaches:

  • The beach of Homem do Leme
  • The beach of Canido Sul
  • Matosinhos Beach
  • Praia do Senhor da Pedra (my favorite)

Explore the Ribeira Neighborhood

Ribeira is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Porto and a must-see area. From the colorful houses to the riverfront views, Ribeira is a stunning Porto neighborhood. Stroll through the narrow streets and wander the shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Go for a River Cruise

The last activity on this Porto travel guide I recommend is a river cruise, perfect if you’re tired from walking around all day. Hop on a boat and cruise down the Douro River to see Porto from a different angle. As a bonus, most cruises include a local wine tasting.

Porto Travel Guide: Nightlife

If you still have energy left after exploring the city during the day, you may want to check out Porto’s bustling nightlife scene. The city center is the best place to stay in Porto Portugal for nice, popular bars. You can also head to the Praça de Gomes Teixeira, where many incredible bars are located. Fancy a calmer night? See a live Fado musical experience!

Quick Tip: View my full Europe packing guide here.

How to Get From Porto Airport to the City Center

The Porto Airport, Aeroporto Francisco Sá Carneiro, is located north of the city. When you land in Porto, you’ll have a bit of a commute to the city center.

There are four main ways to get from Porto Airport to the city center:

  • Rent a car
  • Take a taxi or Uber
  • Ride the bus
  • Hop on the train

Car Rental

I don’t recommend renting a car in Porto unless you plan to explore the surrounding areas, as traffic is a pain downtown. However, it’s a great option if you want to take day trips from Porto (Douro Valley, for example).

Cost: 32€ per day

Time: 25 minutes

Taxi or Uber

There isn’t much difference between taking a taxi or an Uber regarding fares, so go with whatever you feel more comfortable with. The only exception is that Uber will be cheaper if you’re landing at night and have oversized luggage.

Cost: +/- 45€

Time: 25 minutes


You can take one of the two lines from the airport to Porto city center (the 601 or the 602).

Cost: 2€

Time: 1 hour


Finally, you can also reach the city by train—take line E to Trindade, then line D to São Bento.

Cost: 2€

Time: 40 minutes

Getting Around Porto

Once you’re in the city center, many top things to do are within walking distance. On the rare occasion that you have to travel further, use the local trains or buses. Purchase a reusable train card and top it off as needed.

Where to Stay in Porto Portugal

If it’s your first time visiting and you’re wondering what the best place to stay in Porto Portugal is, I recommend the city center. Downtown is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Porto Portugal for fun activities and excellent hotels.

Below are my recommendations for where to stay in Porto Portugal!

Local Favorite: Downtown Residence by Apartments2Enjoy

This lovely apartment feels like a home away from home. It’s located in the best neighborhood to stay in Porto, next to the famous Igreja de Santo Ildefonso. The host is happy to share recommendations on Porto’s best things to do.

Budget-Friendly: Best Guest Porto Hostel

The Best Guest Porto Hostel is the best place to stay in Porto Portugal on a budget. At around 15€ per night, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better hotel in such a great location. With more than 2,400 positive ratings, you can’t go wrong with this hostel.

Luxury: Infante Sagres – Luxury Historic Hotel

If you’re interested in luxury travel, you’ll love the Infante Sagres 5-star hotel. This luxury historic hotel feels more like a royal palace!

You can also read my Where To Stay In Porto Portugal guide here.

Porto Travel Guide Planning

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m traveling?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Porto Travel Guide: Safety Tips

The crime rate in Portugal is pretty low compared to other cities in Western Europe, and Porto is considered safer than Lisbon. It’s best to stay in well-lit areas at night and avoid small, narrow streets and alleys after dark.

The Solo Guide to Porto

Porto Travel Guide and the Best Neighborhood to Stay in Porto: Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this solo Porto travel guide and recommendations for where to stay in Porto Portugal! I can’t recommend this European city enough, so plan a visit. Safe travels, and have fun!

Guide to Porto,porto travel guide,where to stay in porto portugalAuthor Bio

Kevin is a French travel photographer based in Paris. He started traveling with friends and soon became addicted to discovering new places. Soon after, he caught the photography bug and has since been documenting his travels through photography on his travel blog,, along with travel guides & travel itineraries.

You can follow Kevin on Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest