Top Luxury Hotels in Porto 2017

Porto, founded in the 12th century, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the most sought after by travellers. Its historic centre has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO making it the favourite city for those who enjoy learning about history while appreciating culture, food and of course the wine. This inspiring city, bathed by the Atlantic and river Douro, is home to Porto wine and it’s the best place to be if you want to learn about the process that goes into making it and even try different kinds of this special fortified wine.

Start planning your trip with the selection of luxury hotels I’ve carefully chosen for you. Bear in mind that at these hotels you will be so pampered and taken care of, it will be difficult to leave and actually go out and explore Porto. Read it at your own risk.

  1. The Yeatman

The award-winning hotel Yeatman is in Vila Nova de Gaia, a city that rests in the margins of the Douro River, connected to Porto by the São Luís bridge and only 15 minutes away by taxi (there are also trams, trains, buses and the hotel also has a shuttle). It’s in Gaia, this is how most people call it, that you will find all the famous Porto wine cellars. Usually described as a luxury wine hotel, the decoration is classical and elegant, you can have your own terrace with breathtaking views of the city of Porto and the Douro River.

All rooms have a fabulous river view. This hotel is part of the Relais & Châteaux collection of hotels and its restaurant The Restaurant has been distinguished with two Michelin Star. There’s a wine spa inside and an infinity pool.

Average rate for a standard room: $298 | £238 | €279

Book it here

2. Pestana Palácio do Freixo

Staying here is experiencing living like royalty if only for a few days. This 18th-century palace where the hotel now lays offers the tranquillity and comfort to guests who want to visit Porto in style. The hotel offers free shuttles to the area of Ribeira, three times a day. If you prefer to stay in the hotel, there’s a gym, a spa, Turkish baths and sauna. There’s also an infinity pool overlooking the river, for those hot summer days, and an indoor pool. If you would like to go golf, hire a boat for a trip along the Douro river, among many other activities the hotel can help you book them.

Price per night in the following dates: £156 | $195 | €184

Book it here.

3. InterContinental Porto Palácio das Cardosas

Located in the heart of the city, close to all the main Porto sights and next to the train station. And, as if it couldn’t get any better, this luxury 5-star hotel has been renewed, it used to be an 18th-century palace, but the comfort and the luxury is still all there.

The staff is impeccable, the food marvellous and the rooms so cozy you won’t want to leave.

Average price per night: €209 | $222 | 177

Book it here.

4. Flores Village Hotel & Spa

Great location, right in the historic centre of Porto, a few minute’s walk to the Douro river bank, outstanding service, comfortable beds. This hotel has family-friendly rooms and even provides a rent-a-car service, you just have to choose the car and the key will be delivered to your door.

Average price per night: €179 | £150 | $192

Book it here.

5. Hotel NH Collection Porto Batalha

The NH Colection Porto Batalha hotel, in the heart of Porto, is another beautifully renovated palace, also from the 18th century. It used to be the home of a prominent wine makers family and later it even became the main post office quarters in Porto until it was finally reconverted into this beautiful hotel, overlooking the Batalha Square and in front of the National Theatre.

The staff at the hotel is absolutely incredible and the breakfast one of the best you will have in Porto. You’ll love it here.

Average price per night: €132 | £111 | $142

Book it here.

One Day In Guimarães

Following my stay in Guimarães, I had a few days to discover the city and see why it’s so special. Here are my suggestions of places to visit, eat and hang out.

One Day In Guimarães

The historic centre

In The Morning – Start your day with a visit to the historical center, classified by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Lose yourself in the narrow cobbled streets and you’ll feel like you’re back in medieval times. While walking around the center I ended up at a leather tannery from the XIX century. There were no tourists and no English explanation of what it was but it was great to make guesses of what it could be while walking around and taking pictures of the area.

Rua dos Couros

In the meantime, I made a little research and it was interesting to find out that all the tanks belonged to a factory called Mirandas, Ferreira & Carvalho, Lda that stopped working in the XX century. It started with a small conglomerate of small industries which got together and formed the company. They would also rent the space to individuals who wanted to treat their own animal skins and produce leather. If you want to know more about the process used to transform animal skin into leather you can go here but let’s just say it involved having the animals’ skin dipped in urine and then soaking it in animal feces, in particular dog and pigeon feces, also called dung.

In the afternoon – Right, after this lovely description and if you are still up for lunch head up to O Histórico, it’s one of the most known restaurants in the city. Here you’ll be able to sample some of the flavors of Minho.

Tradicional cuisine

After a big meal which I am sure they will serve you, it’s time for a sesta, portuguese for nap, at least that’s what I would do. But if you still have some strength to keep going, I would suggest you head to the palace of the Dukes of Bragança. At the front desk, you will be able to buy a ticket for the three of the attractions in the area. For 8 euros you will get an entry to this palace, the Castle and the Alberto Sampaio Museum (they offer discounts for children). Starting at the Palace of the Dukes de Bragança, here you will see Decorative Arts from the 17th and 18th centuries, armors and weapons, tapestry and porcelain from the Portuguese East India Company. What struck me about this palace was the fact that it was built around 1420. The palace was also used as a military building during Napoleon Invasions and it was the official residence of the Portuguese dictator Salazar. And this is just a brief glimpse of what you can discover inside.

After the palace, head up to the Guimarães Castle. Built in the 10th century, it was intended to protect a monastery from the Moors and Norsemen (scandinavian vikings) and eventually was the birthplace of Portugal’s first king Afonso I.

Very close by, is the Alberto Sampaio Museum. This museum features classical religious art and inside you can find a beautiful garden.

If you’re anything like me, at this time you will be tired of so much history. If you want to take a break, and experience history in a different way, visit the Pastelaria Clarinha. Nothing beats the quintessential Portuguese experience of stopping at a bakery and enjoying an expresso or a meia de leite (half a cup of coffee and milk) with a delicious cake. You can stop by at any bakery, most of the ones I tried were great, but this one was highly recommended by everyone.

Nighttime – I know I’ve just mentioned stopping to get some food but here we go again. I would start the night with dinner at the Real Plazza, which is a no-frills restaurant with endless choices of francesinhas.

Northern cuisine at it’s best

The francesinha, which in English means “the frenchie”, is a sandwich made with bread, cured ham, chorizo, roast meat, fresh sausage, melted cheese and covered in hot tomato and beer sauce, which is usually a secret, served with french fries. It’s a dish originally from Porto but if you try it here you won’t be disappointed.

Guimaraes by night

End the night at the Largo do Toural, trying some drinks in some of the bars in this area. I did kind of a pub crawl around here and I had a lot of fun.


What to Put on your phone GPS

The Tanneries

Rua de Couros or Largo da Cidade for the Leather Tannery (Zona dos Couros in Portuguese)

For Lunch

Restaurant O Histórico

R. de Valdonas 4, Guimarães

Palace of the Dukes of Braganza – R. Conde Dom Henrique, 4810-245 Guimarães

Alberto Sampaio Museum – Rua de Alfredo Guimarães, 4800-407 Guimarães

For a snack

Pastelaria Clarinha (The Bakery) – Largo do Toural 86-88, Guimarães 4810-427, Portugal

For Dinner

Real Plazza  Rua Fernando Pessoa 101, Guimaraes 4800-176

Night out 

Tour the several bars in the square – Largo do Toural

 

 

The Best Hotels In Guimarães

I needed some rest, so nothing like a few days in Minho, the most northern region of Portugal, the land of green wine and of great people to relax and de-stress. When looking in the map, Guimarães seemed to be the best spot where to stay since it has a lot of history and places to visit and it’s quite close to all the other cities I wanted to visit. So, here I am and since I have some free time, here’s a list of my carefully selected hotels in Guimarães. Enjoy!

  1. Santa Luzia ArtHotel 
Swimming Pool
Santa Luzia ArtHotel Swimming Pool

I’m writing this as I’m sitting down at the nice hotel living room, with a warming fireplace in front of me. I am going to be biased on this one since this is the hotel where I’m staying on this trip. The Santa Luzia ArtHotel is a 4-star hotel with a 5-star treatment. I got an upgrade, luckely enough, which meant a bigger room in the first floor, with a robe and slippers waiting for me, a big bathroom and a large bed. If you like spending some time with a book by the swimming pool like me then you can’t fail with this hotel. The swimming pool is an amazing alternative for those days when you just want to take a break. There’s also a Turkish bath, a sauna and a steam room to release all those toxins of city life.

Explore it here.

Average Price: £69 | $113

Address: Rua Francisco Agra, 100, 4500-157 Guimarães

 

2. Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães

This is the only 5-star hotel in Guimarães and even if you don’t stay here this is a place that it’s really worth a visit. The Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães is part of a group of historic landmarks around the country that were transformed into hotels. This hotel, in particular, is located inside a 12th-century convent and the rooms are set in what used to be the cloisters where the monks used to stay. The Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães is not right in the center of the historic old town but at the top of a mountain overlooking the city. If you want peace and quiet while staying in a luxurious setting this is the place to be.

Average Price: $100 | £81

Address: Largo Domingos Leite de Castro, 4810-011 Guimarães

Explore it here.

3. Hotel da Oliveira

Hotel Oliveira
Located in the old town

This hotel is located in the historic center of Guimarães, a city considered UNESCO World Heritage. From the Hotel da Oliveira, you can visit all the hot spots in this city by foot or even with a bicycle which you can rent at the hotels’ front desk. For those lazy rainy days, when you just want to sit with a good book, this hotel has a library, so you can just pick a book and sit by the bar with the latest novel.

Average Price: $78 | £51

Address: Rua de Santa Maria, Largo da Oliveira4800-300 Guimarães

Explore it here.

4. Hotel Toural

Toural Hotel

Again, another little gem in the heart of Guimarães. Located in a square where the cattle fair used to take place in the 17th century, hotel Toural is surrounded by history. This hotel is a walk away from all the touristic spots in Guimarães and only 150 meters from the famous medieval castle built in the 10th century. As for the hotel, the rooms here are big but cozy and the breakfast absolutely delicious.

Average Price: $60 | £49

Address: Largo A L Carvalho, 4800-153 Guimarães

Explore it here.

5. Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Club

Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Club
Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Club

Two swimming pools, a luxurious spa and tennis courts, make up for the fact that this hotel is a bit further away from the city center. The Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Hotel Club, has free parking as well, and at the restaurant, you can try the best of what Portuguese cuisine has to offer.

Average Price: $57 | £44

Address: Travessa da Ribeira 629, Mesão Frio, 4810-235 Guimarães, Portugal

Explore it here.