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Porto for under £100 a night: Sip and munch your way through the colourful streets of Portugal’s second city

Clustered by the north bank of the Douro River, Porto’s old town is a higgledy-piggledy warren of hilly cobbled streets, blue-tiled buildings and charming churches. 

The focal point here is Gustave Eiffel’s double-decker Dom Luis bridge.

Cross it to the south and you’ll find the historic port houses offering tastings of the tipple.

With good value restaurants and affordable hotels, Porto, Portugal’s second city, is perfect for a budget break 

Good value restaurants are all about, as are affordable hotels… perfect for a budget city break. 

Where to stay

Village by BOA

Behind an unassuming door on a quiet street on the edge of the Bolhão area, this collection of 40 rooms is centred around a pretty courtyard garden. Each comes with a fully equipped kitchen and living space.

The design is modern Nordic and minimal yet still warm and welcoming. A small gym and on-site deli are handy. One of the hotel’s touches is a welcome basket with Portuguese wine and local treats.

Doubles from £85,

Hotel Carrís Porto Ribeira

If you want to be in the heart of the old town with the Douro on your doorstep, Hotel Carrís Porto Ribeira’s location is hard to beat.

Housed in a set of historic buildings from the 14th century, the renovated rooms embrace original details such as exposed brick walls and stone arches yet are decorated in a contemporary style with a mostly monochrome palette.

There are two excellent restaurants, plus terraces with sweeping city views.

Doubles from £52,

If you want to be in the heart of the old town with the Douro on your doorstep, Elizabeth Bennett says Hotel Carrís Porto Ribeira’s location (above) is hard to beat

Casa Carolina

This tiled townhouse turned eight-room guesthouse comes with lovely original wood floors and whitewashed walls. Floor-to-ceiling doors with Juliet balconies open up to the bustling street below. It’s on a quiet street, but in a central position.

Doubles from £77,

Porto A.S. 1829 Hotel

Found at the end of the main pedestrian street, Rua das Flores, this hotel is housed in a historic stationery shop. The 41 rooms embrace its past and feature original typewriters and vintage furniture.

Doubles from £68,

Where to eat

Taberna Dos Mercadores

Taberna Dos Mercadores (pictured) serves dishes like flaming salt-crusted sea bass 

This cave-like restaurant seats 16 diners. Watch the collective gasp as dishes of flaming salt-crusted sea bass (£16.50) are whisked out of the tiny kitchen. Start with classic cod croquettes (£2.60), and finish with port-soaked pears (£3.45), while enjoying a glass or two of Branco, a Douro Valley white wine (£3.90).

36 Rua dos Mercadores,

Mercado do Bolhão

Mercado do Bolhão, Porto’s main market, benefited from a major makeover last year

Dating from 1914, Porto’s main market benefited from a major makeover last year. The ground floor functions as a produce market with 79 stalls while upstairs are sit-down restaurants. Pick up a plate of cheeses (£4.35) from Queijaria do Bolhão or swing by Bolhao Winehouse for a sardine and mackerel tasting (£5.20).

322 Rua Formosa, 

Manteigaria — Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata

No trip to Portugal is complete without trying a Pastéis de Nata. These crispy flaky tarts filled with thick custard — deliberately slightly burnt on top — are a mainstay for breakfast or as an afternoon treat. Buy to take away (£1.30) or enjoy in the adjoining coffee shop.

24 Rua de Alexandre Braga,

What to see and do

Pick up some port

Cross the Dom Luis bridge (pictured) to the south and you’ll find the historic port houses offering tastings of the tipple

At Cockburn’s Port Lodge, the largest wooden port cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia, you can see the centuries-old practice of making this fortified wine using the grapes from the Douro Valley. Watch the team of coopers making wooden barrels by hand, while learning about the history of Porto’s most popular export. At the end, you taste three different types. A 90‑minute tour and tasting is £17.50 pp (

Spot the azulejos

Above is the Chapel of Souls, which is covered in 16,000 hand-painted blue-and-white tiles

The churches in Porto are best viewed from the outside thanks to the stunning array of azulejos — hand-painted blue tiles — that adorn them. Start your free DIY walking tour at the Chapel of Souls, the jewel in the crown with an impressive 16,000 tiles, before moving on to Saint Ildefonso Church and Igreja do Carmo.

Not a church, but the Sao Bento train station, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a must-visit for its floor-to-ceiling tiling.

How to get there

Ryanair flies from Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Stansted and Manchester to Porto from £14.77 one way (

With three departures an hour the metro (purple line) links the airport with Trindade station in the city centre (journey takes 30-40 minutes, £1.75 one way). More information at

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