Portugal’s second city, Porto, is home to the Unesco-protected medieval Ribeira, art nouveau cafes and, of course, the sweet fortified wine, port. It’s the perfect destination for a European weekend city break.
One of the perks of visiting Porto is that you don’t need to spend much money to enjoy it. Not only are most restaurants and attractions fairly priced, but the city is an open-air museum in itself. We’ve compiled this list of accommodations that are both budget-friendly and comfortable.
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As the name suggests, Hotel Spot Family Suites is a great option for those travelling in larger groups. Rooms are chic, with neutral tones and pine details – some come with balconies overlooking the terracotta rooftops – and most sleep between three and six. When you do want to explore, the Bolhão marketplace is just around the corner and the picturesque Porto waterfront a short walk away.
Wedged between tiled buildings in a quieter part of Porto, Métier Boutique Hotel is one of the more modern offerings in Portugal’s second city. Rooms are individually decorated, some with marble-clad bathrooms and others with private terraces. With only glass separating the rooms from the en-suites, it’s probably a better option for couples (but there is a curtain to pull across for the more modest guest).
Quite unlike anything you’ve stayed in before, Zero Box Lodge does what it says on the tin: you’re staying in a (albeit large) wooden box. There are no windows, no TV, no tub and no mini-bar. Zero. Nada. None. There is, however, a private bathroom behind a door in the wall. Meat lovers will delight in the on-site restaurant o Carniceiro – the menu is peppered with gems such as pork cheek doughnuts and dry aged beef and miso mayo.
A short walk from the centre of Porto, The Avenue offers some of the best views in the city from the sixth-floor terrace. By day, lounge in the hammocks overlooking the city skyline and, come nightfall, make the most of the snack bar while watching the sunset. When it’s time to hit the hay, the rooms are large, some with floor-to-ceiling windows and all with walk-in rainfall showers.
Perched on a hilltop, with views down to the Douro River, this Mecure outpost is a smart option for a no-frills, upmarket stay. The aforementioned vistas are best seen from the restaurant, A Bicicleta, which serves traditional Portuguese cuisine – expect cheese boards and plenty of fish-based dishes. If you have room for dessert, opt for the port wine ice cream. When in Porto…
Behind the old-world (and photo-worthy) facade, Porto Charming Hotel neatly mixes heritage with a more modern aesthetic. Rooms are cosy and unpretentious, with neutral-hued palettes, cloud-like beds and modern en-suites. There’s a hint of history in the dining room, where a buffet breakfast is served to a backdrop of old stone walls and the ever-friendly staff will give you the insider knowledge of where to eat and what to do in the area.
Relax just outside the city centre at Moov Hotel Porto Norte. This contemporary hotel was designed with two primary objectives in mind: comfort and green living. Expect ecological showers and LED lightbulbs, in addition to free WiFi and daily cleaning services, but not an all-inclusive experience (this is a bargain hotel, after all). Daily breakfast comes at an extra cost. This is a fairly large hotel, with 7 floors and 129 rooms, and it’s conveniently close to the metro.
Moov Hotel Porto Norte isn’t the only “smart moov” in Porto; there is another branch in the centre with a unique historical flair. Built near the location where the Cinema Águia D’Ouro once resided – one of the city’s most notable cinema-theatres – the building is a century-old landmark in addition to a budget-friendly accommodation. Decorated with black and white photography and art deco influences, the Moov Hotel Porto Centro is certainly a stylish spot. It’s also well situated, just a couple of blocks from key landmarks including the Sé Cathedral, the Majestic Café, and the Ribeira district.
The Ibis name is known for good-quality budget hotels, and its Porto outpost is no different. It’s located in Porto’s old town – you can walk to the beautiful Sé Cathedral in under 10 minutes or one of the city’s main wine cellars in 15 minutes. 77 modern, clean rooms include free WiFi and a 24-hour snack bar, plus you can tuck into the daily breakfast buffet for an extra fee. Another perk of the Ibis Hotel Centro is that pets are allowed too.
It’s hard to believe that this beautiful hotel, set in a 19th-century mansion, offers such reasonable room rates – but it does. Rooms are decked out in neutral tones with modern furnishings – with semi-basement rooms being the cheapest and brighter Superior rooms as the next price-bracket up. A delicious breakfast buffet is served daily and it’s also pet-friendly. They also offer private covered parking for an extra fee.
Nina Santos contributed additional reporting to this article.
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