“Ancient, very noble, always loyal, undefeated city of Porto”. This is one of many adages that inhabitants will proudly repeat when an outsider talks about their city – and they want you to cherish their city in the same way. Their warmth is exemplified in the way that by simply asking for directions in the street, you may end up having dinner with whoever you approached, dancing late into the night or at the very least sharing some port.

Eating out in one of the many tavernas is nearly always cheap and very cheerful: everything from a cup of coffee to a sandwich is made with characteristic Portuense love and dedication. Perhaps it’s because Porto people have had to fight for what they want,  transforming, renewing and adapting in order to survive – most recently when they were badly hit by the economic crash of 2007. Take one of their most traditional dishes: tripas à moda do Porto. It is made with beans, carrots and, of course, tripe. Rumour has it that when Porto was preparing to take down Ceuta in North Africa, the city’s very best meat was reserved for sailors and soldiers, so only offal was left for city dwellers. To this day, locals are known as tripeiros (tripe-eaters), and it’s a badge they wear with pride, having taken one for the team. Stroll along the medieval Ribeira and get lost down winding cobbled streets lined with old-world merchants’ houses, 15th-century churches and bustling cafes. Then cross over the River Doura for a mandatory holiday snap on one of the city’s impressive bridges. The grandiose 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa, formerly a stock market, was built to impress potential European investors – just as Porto will not fail to impress you either.

TO STAY

Infante Sagres

After an extensive period of restoration, Infante Sagres is undeniably Porto’s hottest stay. Start your day exploring the city, but hurry back to the hotel’s resident bar and restaurant, Vogue Café, for sophisticated decor, exquisite food and innovative cocktails. Rooms are elegantly designed to ensure optimum comfort and tranquility, with spacious design, natural materials and soothing colour schemes.

  • +351 22 339 8500
  • Go to Website
  • Praça D. Filipa de Lencastre 62
    4050-259

Maison Particulière

Enter Maison Particulière for historic charm with a modern twist. Located inside a 16th-century house, each suite is individually styled to incorporate original features and contemporary design, from original woodcarving and lithographs by Dali, Miró and Picasso, to marble balconies and spacious terraces providing views across Porto. Sample traditional Portugese cuisine in the Dining Room, where hand-painted walls and towering ceilings provide the ultimate evening setting.

Armazém

Part hotel, part work of art; this renovated 19th century iron warehouse offers a pared-back retreat in the heart of historic Porto. Striking architecture from the building’s past life remains a prominent theme throughout the hotel, with aged metal, concrete floors and exposed stone walls adding to the industrial aesthetic. All rooms come with well-equipped kitchens and living rooms, so choose between cooking up a storm yourself or exploring the nearby restaurants and bars lining Rua das Flores, the charming pedestrianised square.

The Yeatman

Set atop a hill overlooking Porto, The Yeatman Hotel is a luxury wine hotel and spa. Spend days wandering through the hotel’s seven acres of land, dipping into the various indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and descending to the cellars for wine tastings, masterclasses and dinners. To sleep, opt for luxury with the Artist Suite, where the lounge, 12m-long terrace, double walk-in shower and bathtub offer dreamlike views over the city’s orange-roofed houses.

  • +351 220 133 100
  • Go to Website
  • Rua do Choupelo (Santa Marinha)
    Vila Nova de Gaia
    4400-088

1872 Riverhouse

As its name suggests, this four-star hotel is located on the riverfront in Ribeira in Porto’s old town. In the morning, head to the terrace for breakfast with views across the Douro, or in the evening to taste-test Portuguese wines before retiring to rooms filled with vintage furniture, traditional tiling and French doors leading to riverside balconies.

  • +351 96 117 2805
  • Go to Website
  • Rua do Infante D. Henrique 133
    4050-298

Rosa et Al

Before entering this original townhouse, take a moment to enjoy the beautiful façade. The owners preserved the typical Portuguese tiles, these ones coloured a striking shade of yellow. The rooms are decorated with mod 60s-inspired furniture, aged wooden beams and vintage Downton Abbey-style bathtubs. The guesthouse also has a hidden, bucolic back garden. There you can enjoy your breakfast, their magnificent brunch or perhaps five o’clock tea. The townhouse is located in the heart of the art district. Every six weeks the surrounding streets fill up with young people there to enjoy the art galleries opening, with music, food and drinks.

Casa do Conto

Casa do Conto means ‘House of Tales’. While the project was growing, six years ago, a fire destroyed the house and delayed the reconstruction of this 19th-century domestic architecture building. Fortunately, they dusted it off and finished the project. It’s a place that combines residence with culture. Casa do Conto is also very well located. If you choose to stay there, you are near downtown via Rua de Cedofeita – a long pedestrian street that has been growing with local businesses, charming restaurants and craft beer shops. It is also a 10-minute walk from Boavista and Casa da Música.

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