Porto Hotels

Porto's hotels can be anything from a grotty and rather insalubrious place near the station to a lavishly furnished palace in the centre. If you are on a shoestring budget, hotels south and east of São Bento station represent the cheapest options but choose carefully as they are not always in the nicest areas. It is recommended in winter that you pay more than you might otherwise for a room to ensure that you don't freeze in your sleep. The bargain rooms don't come with much central heating! Help is at hand, however, as the turismos (tourist offices) hold lists of those hotels with central heating. At the upper end of the scale, Porto hotels offer comfort and luxury, and the areas to the east or west of Avenida dos Aliados are probably where you should start looking.

Another option when looking for a hotel in Porto is the range of pensões (pensions), such as the welcoming Pensão Sao Marino, Praça Carlos Alberto 59 (223 325 499), near the Torre dos Clérigos, with showers in every room. Slightly cheaper is the Pensão Belo Sonho, Rua de Passos Manuel 186 (222 012 850) opposite the Coliseu, where if you pay more you get an ensuite bathroom. Even cheaper are quartos or dormidas, which are rooms in private houses that are rented out to tourists. Again, the turismo will have a list of those in the local area, and they are more common near the sea than inland.

The finest hotel in Porto is the Hotel Infante de Sagres, Praca Dona Filipa de Lencastre 62 (222 008 101). Liveried doormen welcome you into this five-star hotel steeped in history and style with chandeliers, marble, Persian carpets, antique furniture and stained glass windows. There is also a splendid restaurant, as you would expect from such an establishment. A room will set you back several hundred euros so make sure it's a special occasion.

There are several chains of hotels in Porto and these offer mid-range accommodation that is not too expensive or particularly suitable for a tight budget. They are often well placed for the airport or for those on a business trip, so worth a look if you want something reliable and are not too worried about atmosphere.

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