The 10 Best Neighborhoods in Porto
Coming up in this guide: seaside strolls, massive churches, getting your mouth around some tasty sardines, and the 10 best neighborhoods in Porto.
The second-biggest city in Portugal, lovely ol’ Porto is currently having a bit of a boom.
Some things you might know about the place: it’s coastal, quaint and hilly, it’s famous for producing everyone’s favorite fortified wine, the year-round weather is great, and relocating here is a hugely popular choice for digital nomads.
… and some things you might not: it’s a little more ‘real’ than Lisbon, more foreigners are moving to the city each year, it has a cozily-small population of around 250,000 people, and it’s surprisingly affordable (especially considering it’s a major western-European city).
So, in short, there are plenty of perks of living in Porto. And because lots of other non-native are making the move, it’s easy to feel at home here.
But with loads of perks comes loads of choices. And when you’re moving to Porto, you have loads of lovely neighborhoods to choose between. Do you want to live in a quiet place? A busy one? A nightlife hub? A perfect-for-families enclave? Or somewhere that offers a bit of all four?
Well, in this guide, we’ve helped you make your choice—today, your relocation-loving friends at Homelike have brought you the 10 best neighborhoods in Porto. We’ve broken down where they are, what they offer, and exactly who’ll like living in each one.
We’ve covered the following 10 places:
- Vila Nova De Gaia
- Foz do Douro
Coming up, the 10 best neighborhoods in Porto. Slip into your walking shoes, and come join the fun!
The 10 Best Neighborhoods to Live or Stay in Porto
Best for: short-term stays, getting quaint and cozy, and feeling like you live in a postcard
If you’ve ever flicked through Google’s romantic, clichéd, cobbled-streets photos of Porto, this is (probably) the area you’ve been looking at.
Sitting right on the northern banks of the city’s Douro River, it’s a small and scenic district—and it’s where many of the city’s visitors spend most of their time. It’s central, it’s popular, it’s well-known, and it’s packed with things to do.
You can expect many well-known tourist attractions here, like Porto Cathedral, the outrageously-ornate Igreja de Santa Clara, and the Fernandina Walls. Other perks of the neighborhood include hidden-away places to eat and drink, heaps of the city’s classic grilled sardines, rows of narrow colorful houses, endless wine, beautiful views, and some of the city’s busiest nightlife.
In short, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Porto for people who like tourist vibes. You’ll always find something to do, and you’ll always find someone to do it with.
If you do decide to live here (like many short-term-stayers do!), you’ll probably struggle to find a nice apartment. Newcomers move to the district every day, and those who don’t speak the local language are often left with only the subpar places.
… so in the short term, it’s usually easiest to find a serviced apartment or a serviced flat in this part of Porto (especially as these places are fully-furnished, negotiation-free, and ready to move into today).
Best for: a wide variety of vibes in a local-yet-touristy neighborhood
Much bigger than Ribeira, Cedofeita borders its nearby neighbor to the north (and some would argue Ribeira is actually just a little part of Cedofeita).
Whatever the case, Cedofeita is in many ways like a bigger version of Ribeira. Though Cedofeita is bigger, less dense, and less tourist-heavy, it also offers great food, great nightlife, many galleries, and lots of tourist attractions.
So if you want a combo of local vibes and things to do, it’s a good place to start your search.
… and if you’re staying for a few months, this is a perfect location (many remote workers staying in Porto for 3-12 months choose to base themselves in Cedofeita).
But it’s not just for remote workers:
Head to the southern part of the district, and you’ll be surrounded by tourists and day-trippers. In the eastern part of the district, you’ll find yourself surrounded by students and older people. And in its northern stretches, you’ll find large residential areas, with many affordable homes.
In short, whoever you are, Cedofeita is a great place to start your new-home search. You’ll find big houses, small apartments, and everything in between.
Best for: finding a home, finding a job, and a central location without too much bustle
Also sitting inside of Cedofeita, Boavista is one of the most well-known residential districts in Porto’s city center. Classy and upmarket, it’s safe, relatively quiet, and pretty pricey.
… and if you want to stay in a residential area close to famous sights and scenes, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Porto.
The district of Boavista sits at the eastern end of Avenue da Boavista (fun fact: the biggest street in the city, it stretches in at a massive 5.5km/3.5 miles). The busiest part of the neighborhood is centered around a large roundabout (the Rotunda of Boavista), which also doubles up as a city park. It’s popular with picnickers, families, fit folk, and groups of young friends, and it’s one of Porto’s most well-known green spaces.
Other highlights of Boavista include Synagogue Kadoorie, the city’s botanical garden, the funky and futuristic Casa da Música, and Bom Sucesso Market (a hefty indoor market place with regional and international food, lots of locally-sourced goods, and some unique and unusual stalls).
… and in addition to all that, Boavista is also home to high-end shops and boutiques, some pricey restaurants, and lots of high-spenders.
Many people also come here for the neighborhood’s great cafes—you’ll find loads of excellent coffee here, and some equally-good people-watching spots. Top choices include Apartamento (great brunches, and even better coffee), Boémia Café (known for its croissants, this place offers a huge glass-fronted cabinet of tasty treats), and Café Orfeuzinho (retro, rugged and old-school, this canteen-style joint is great for chowing down on big portions of no-frills local dishes).
Lots of young professionals choose to live in Boavista: because it’s a well-known business district, it’s a good choice for job-hunters, work-lovers, and networking-embracers. Living in Boavista is also a good choice for families—it’s safe and central, and it’s home to Deutsche Schule zu Porto, one of the city’s most well-respected international schools.
Best for: riverside views, munching on traditional food, and exploring cobbled streets
Yet another part of Cedofeita(!), Miragaia sits south of Boavista, and west of Ribeira.
Small and charming, it’s another quaint and cozy district… and in many ways, it’s like a smaller (and even cuter) version of Ribeira.
Expect maze-like streets, hilltop riverside views, old-school trams, wrinkled faces, touristy restaurants, and orange-topped townhouses.
Because the neighborhood once sat outside of Porto’s city walls, it still has many little pockets of rugged and retro vibes… and many locals have lived here for years. But because it’s also close to lots of the well-known sights, it offers a nice combo between local spots and touristy zones (great for mixing vacation vibes with authentic ones!).
Living here is a particularly good choice for families. Because Miragaia is central, you get close proximity to all the city-center fun and action. But you also get all the green spaces, a slightly quieter atmosphere, the fun-packed family-friendly World of Discoveries, a safe vibe, and a central location between all the city’s best international schools.
But it’s not all good news: because this district is both small and popular, it can be tough to find a nice home here. So if you’re looking for some help, check out the serviced apartments and serviced flats on our site (whether you’re moving with family or not!)
Best for: cheap drinking, all-night dancing, and making friends with young people
West of both Cedofeita and Ribeira (and south of—or perhaps even part of!—Boavista), Massarelos is one of the best neighborhoods in Porto for young people.
Dominated by many University of Porto buildings, it serves up cut-price food and drink, lots of happening bars, and a whole load of young people. You won’t find many tourist attractions here, but you will find plenty of places to party.
Some of the area’s best drinking dens include Beer Kingdom, Bulas Wine House, Pixote Karaoke Bar, and a bunch of student-led house parties. And if you head north towards the Rotunda of Boavista (and Bom Sucesso Market), you’ll find loads more places to drink and dance.
Other perks of Massarelos excellent public transport, walking distance to the very center of the city, non-touristy local eateries, and lots of trendy cafes. And because so many young people live here, it’s possible (but not always easy) to find a low-price home in the neighborhood.
In short, if you’re moving to Porto to study, this is probably where you want to live. And even if you’re not studying, it’s an excellent choice for any under-30s.
Best for: many conveniences, finding a budget home, and living away from (but not too far from) the bustle of the center
North of all the other districts we’ve brought you, Paranhos is one of the best neighborhoods in Porto for finding an affordable place to live. And because it’s residential and welcoming, it’s also a good choice for long-term stays.
One of the biggest areas in Porto, it offers lots of accommodation options, homes for all budgets, and many large family houses.
It isn’t the most exciting district in the world, but it’s safe and friendly, and it has all the conveniences you could need (including gyms, supermarkets, household stores, and great schools). Other perks include college campuses (perfect for students), São João Universitary Hospital (ideal for regular and reliable healthcare), and lots of chain stores and restaurants.
… but, don’t fret; Paranhos isn’t too far from all the action: you’re around a 45-minute walk from what most people consider the center of the city (or around 20 minutes by public transport from the same area).
If you want a steady residential life on a budget, come here. If you want something a little more exciting, don’t.
7. Vila Nova De Gaia
Best for: riverside eating and drinking, living away from the tourists, and embracing local vibes
The overlooked Vila Nova De Gaia is a massive district on the southern banks of the city’s river (all the other Porto districts we’ve brought you sit on the northern side).
For long-term stays, this is among the best neighborhoods in Porto. It’s huge, it’s not too touristy, you’ll find lots of local people to make friends with, you get endless homes and apartments to choose between, and it offers a much more ‘authentic’ slice of life.
But because the district is massive, you’ll get a different life depending on which area you choose to live in.
If you stay on the far-northern side of Vila Nova De Gaia, you’re right on the banks of the river… so you get fresh seafood, riverside cafe terraces, lots of port-serving bars and cafes, and even a few little beaches.
Tourist attractions in this part of the district include Jardim do Morro (a popular viewpoint-packed park with picnic spots, cozy vibes, and a cable car), Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar (a former monastery), and Caves Cálem (you can take tours here, and learn all about port production).
Must-visit venues in the riverside part of the district include Restaurante Casa Dias (a hyper-local no-frills hangout, some people think it offers the best food in the city), and Churchill’s 1982 Garden Bar (serving up wine tastings, beautiful views, and a beautiful garden).
… but, as we said, the neighborhood is very varied. And if you stay in the very-southern edge of Vila Nova De Gaia, you’re barely even in Porto at all. So we don’t recommend doing so unless you speak Portuguese, want to learn Portuguese, or are seeking a really rural life.
Whichever part of the district you live in, it’s possible to find a comfy, large, affordable home here (though, of course, the more south you go, the more true this becomes). So it’s another good choice for families!
Best for: hanging with students and older people, finding an affordable home, and exploring what’s (surprisingly) one of the coolest neighborhoods in Portugal
Sitting east of all the other areas we’ve brought you, Bonfim is another of the best neighborhoods in Porto for finding an affordable place to live.
A little quieter than Porto’s other central districts, it sits beside Porto Campanha, the biggest and busiest train station in the city (perfect for regular travel!).
It’s largely home to families, older people, and budget-conscious students, who’ve all moved here for the affordable rents.
It has a sleepy, local vibe, with age-old eateries, lifelong residents, retro homes, little chapels and churches, and basic-but-popular cafes. If you want local vibes without heading to the outskirts, Bonfim is a great place to live.
… but get this: despite all the old-school stuff, many parts of Bonfim are surprisingly hip and happening. In 2020, UK newspaper The Guardian voted the district one of the 10 coolest neighborhoods in Europe (and other sites have included the place in similar lists).
These trendy highlights include thrift stores, independent venues, laid-back informal eateries, craft beers and cocktails, and many vegan hangouts.
Popular cafes in Bonfim include Café Passaporte (minimalistic and trendy, it offers great coffee and bagels), Combi Coffee Roasters (effortlessly cool, it attracts a constant turnover of coffee aficionados), and Mesa 325 (where you’ll find bagels, fruit bowls, and a cute cafe dog).
… and top drinking dens include Meridians & Parallels (a cozy cocktail bar), and Pedra Nova (a beautifully-dingy joint, offering cut-price food and drink, and a real local atmosphere).
And in addition to all that, Bonfim is an ideal district for keeping fit. You’ll find a big indoor swimming pool, São Rock Climbing (one of Portugal’s best indoor climbing gyms), and many more great gyms and fitness studios. And head just a little south, and there are some great riverside stretches for running and cycling.
9. Foz do Douro
Best for: beaches and sunshine, peaceful family fun, and high-quality-of-life outskirt living
Next, we’re heading west, around 6 km (3.5 miles) from Porto’s very center.
If you want to live on the seaside, this is the place for you.
Coastal and cozy, Foz do Douro sits right on the beach (and is bordered by the sea to both the west and the south). Perks of living here include lots of sandy shores (Praia de Gondarém and Praia dos Ingleses are two top favorites), great seafood, pretty promenades for walking and cycling, and São João da Foz fortress.
Other plus points include the popular family-friendly garden of Jardim do Passeio Alegre, lots of traditional eats and treats, and Mercado da Foz (a hyper-local market offering seasonal snacks, age-old stores and stalls, and even live events).
As you’ve probably worked out by now, Foz do Douro is one of the best neighborhoods in Porto for families. You won’t find much drinking or nightlife here, but you’ll find outdoor fun, a safe vibe, and a surprising number of other expat families. You’ll also find Oporto British School (one of the city’s best international options, it’s the oldest British school in mainland Europe!).
… and although Foz do Douro feels pretty different to many other parts of Porto, you’re not far from the city center. Public transport will have you there within 20 minutes—and it’s easy to make the trip by bicycle in around the same time.
Yep, Foz do Douro can be a relatively pricey place to live. But it’s absolutely worth the money—for a high quality of life, you won’t find anywhere better in Porto.
Best for: a quiet life, escaping the bustle of Porto, and cheap beachside living
We’re rounding things off with a vaguely leftfield choice.
Although this place sits within the wider municipality of Porto, the ‘neighborhood’ of Matosinhos is actually a little city of its own. It’s around 4.5 km (3 miles) north of Foz do Douro, and has a small population of around 170,000 people.
If you want to live close to Porto without actually living in Porto, this is the place for you. And if you want to live coastally without paying Foz do Douro prices, this is also the place for you.
Matosinhos’ perks include great family-friendly fun (like SEA LIFE Centre Porto!), the massive Cidade do Porto park, many local stores, markets, and restaurants, and better beaches than Foz do Douro (Praia de Matosinhos and Praia de Leça da Palmeira are two of the best of them).
Overall, for a quiet but action-packed life, this is one of the best neighborhoods in Porto (even though, as we’ve covered, it’s not really in Porto). And it’s also great for local vibes—some parts of Porto are full of tourists; but here in Matosinhos, you feel like you’re *really* living in Portugal.
Because Matosinhos is a nice combo between affordable, friendly, and fun, it’s a great place to build a long-term life. If you’re only moving to Porto for a short while, you likely won’t want to stay here. But if you’re in it for the long haul, this might just be your perfect place.
The 10 Best Neighborhoods in Porto: Before You Go
Okay, we’re all done. They’re the 10 best neighborhoods in Porto!
Overall, Porto is friendly and affordable, it serves up both local vibes and international ones, and you get an appealing combo of beaches, hills, and ancient homes. You’ll fall in love with the place, like everyone else does.
But because it’s such a popular place to live, it can be hard to find a nice apartment in the city. Local landlords charge high prices, non-native speakers can struggle with bureaucracy and communication, and knowing whether or not you’re paying a fair price can be a horrible headache.
… so, in the short term, it’s often easier to move into a serviced apartment or a serviced flat. All of ours are comfy and cozy, they’re all ready to move into today, and they’re all perfect for both living and working. In short, they’re a stress-free way to move to Porto without any extra fuss or hassle (because, let’s be honest, you have enough to think about already).
For more on moving to Portugal, here’s our guide to relocating to Lisbon.
Thanks for reading, thanks for choosing Homelike, and enjoy your new life in Portugal. Tchau for now!