Updated: May 9, 2024

 

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Planning to move to Portugal with your family? The northern gem of the country, Porto, is bursting with attitude and has become the city of the moment. There are many different places in the city, each with its own unique character. However, where are the best neighborhoods in Porto for families?

Filled with charm and unique history, Porto is one of the oldest European cities that you can stroll around with ease. The city overlooks six bridges – including the famous Maria Pia bridge, designed by Don Gustave Eiffel – spanning the Douro River. On the other side, you can make out the 300-year-old port wine houses lighting up the river in the evenings.

A city steeped in historical significance and port wine lodges, Porto pushes the boundaries of modernity, with trendy gin bars and bistros popping up across the city. Also, a short distance from the city, you will find some of the most beautiful beaches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean near the famous neighborhood of Foz do Douro and other neighborhoods in Porto.

In this article, we’ll provide you with an overview of the best neighborhoods in Porto for families. It’s essential to know which neighborhood is best suited to your needs to make an informed decision.

Exploring the Best Neighborhoods in Porto for Families

From the city center to downtown Porto, the picturesque cobblestone streets of Portugal’s second largest city offers historic architecture, charming riverside restaurants, and an art district close at hand creating a peaceful, yet vibrant city. The northern Portuguese local people are also known to be some of the friendliest in the country. They are very welcoming and always happy to help anyone visiting Porto find their way around.

Porto’s neighborhoods offer an experience for every member of the family. In Cedofeita, within easy walking distance of São Bento Railway Station, you will find Livraria Lello, one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. The iconic Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto is a great neighborhood for a romantic getaway where parents can enjoy boutique hotels and port wine lodges.

Porto’s city center is also home to incredible markets and shopping streets. These main attractions include Rua de Santa Catarina, one of the most famous streets in Porto, Bom Sucesso Market (Mercado Bom Sucesso), and the vibrant Rua Miguel de Bombarda street which features some of the best art galleries in downtown Porto’s art district.

You will also find the historic center of Porto, which is an urban landscape with a 2,000-year history and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located along the hills overlooking the mouth of the Douro River. All these main attractions reflect the authenticity of the local lifestyle in Porto.

Here we provide an overview of some of the best neighborhoods in Porto for families, whether you are looking for a central location or to buy real estate in Porto a little further out. You can also visit our guide to the best neighborhoods in Portugal to discover more about the best places to live in Portugal as an expat.

Foz do Douro

popular destination resorts in foz do arelhoFoz do Douro is Porto’s westernmost neighborhood where the River Douro meets the ocean. Here you have endless views of the Atlantic from waterfront restaurants and private rooms, with the famous Felgueiras lighthouse welcoming boats back to shore. The remains of the famed Fortress São João Baptista da Foz provide history lovers with the chance to look back to the 16th Century.

Once a small fishing village that was transferred to cater for the upper class, Foz do Douro is now home to all sorts of people most of whom consider it the best neighborhood to stay in Porto. Many houses along the shore provide stunning sea views and the neighborhood offers all the amenities that you need. Some of the best schools can be found in Foz do Douro, such as Oporto British school. This area is particularly appealing, as it has all the amenities that you could need.

Just 20 minutes from Porto’s city center, Foz do Douro could be a good port of call. The beaches provide children with a ready-made play area, where you can while away the long summer days together.

You can also rent bikes for your family to cruise along the coast with views of the glimmering sea. Home to some of the best seafood in the country, and with a neoclassical Pérgola da Foz promenade to wander up and down, Foz is a treat for locals and expats alike. If you are other looking for beach properties near Porto, there are also many other options to consider.

Baixa

portugal golden visaThe center of Porto, the lively downtown neighborhood of Baixa has some of the city’s best-known landmarks. If you think of where to live in Porto, there are beautiful hotels and apartment complexes bordering the Avenida dos Aliados, which is a work of art in architecture. This popular area of downtown Porto also it serves as a key gathering spot for important occasions like the São João Festival or the New Year’s Eve party.

For one of the best views of the city, walk to the top of the nearby 18th-century Torre dos Clérigos (Clergy). Visit the Porto Romanesque Cathedral, ascend the 240 steps to the top of the Clérigos Tower for breathtaking city views, and explore the labyrinthine Lello Bookstore, which served as the primary influence for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter world. If you are out of town and want to see one of Portugal’s most picturesque locations, don’t miss a chance to visit the São Bento train station with the trains whistling in and out, decorated with traditional Portuguese glazed tiles.

There are also a lot of lively bars and cafes. Most of them are concentrated along Avenida dos Aliados, particularly Rua Galeria de Paris, which is one of Porto’s greatest nightlife locations. The bustle is dispersed throughout the adjacent streets and squares on weekends. There are also small coffee shops, bookstores, and a range of cafes for every taste and price. The variety of lodging alternatives is equal; there are the best luxury hotels and low-cost lodgings available.

Ribeira

Ribeira boasts stunning scenery and historical charm and is the ideal environment for families with older children and young people. Bordering downtown Porto, the narrow, cobbled streets offer a lively nightlife, particularly concentrated around Hard Club, and other main attractions in the Ribeira neighborhood include Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto). Praça da Ribeira Square offers a lovely spot for picnics, and the numerous excellent restaurants provide a chance to immerse yourselves in Portuguese cuisine. Plus, the proximity to the Douro River opens doors for scenic walks and boat tours, perfect for creating lasting family memories.

Miragaia

Miragaia, which once lay beyond the Porto suburbs’ city walls, is located to the west of the city center. With its brightly colored homes and winding alleyways the neighborhood gives the impression of being an expansion of the Ribeira.

A very picturesque part of the city. The colorful houses here were built below the level of the River Douro, where the beach served as a medieval shipyard where boats were built to discover the new world. Nowadays, houses are protected by a large wall and the upper floors are built over arches, giving this area of Porto a unique ambiance.

A former Medieval shipyard, Miragaia served as the center of Porto’s Jewish and Armenian communities. With its labyrinth and stairway alleys, Miragaia originally housed the medieval Jewish quarter. This part of town remains part of the historic past of Porto, including a portion of the city’s once-protective 14th-century walls. These steep streets are lined with both traditional tascas (typical Portuguese eateries) and creative gastropubs, but you’ll get good exercise while exploring them.

This district has a bohemian character with secret backyard cafes and breathtaking vistas where you can meet with locals for beers at sunset. Also, some affordable guesthouses and hostels provide themed rooms, and there is local artwork on exhibit highlighting the area’s uniqueness. With charming restaurants, the infamous Church of São Pedro is the centerpiece of the neighborhood. Less busy than Ribeira and Baixa, here could prove to be a great location for families. In short, Miragia is a neighborhood that allows you to take in the rich history of Porto.

Thinking of buying property in Portugal? Take a look at this guide for expats

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The Coolest Neighborhoods in Porto for Families

These are the best neighborhoods in Porto to consider living if you are in search of a vibrant cosmopolitan lifestyle in a central location and withing easy walking distance of the main attractions Porto has to offer.

Bonfim

Bonfim, one of the coolest neighborhoods in Porto, owes much of its character to its early 20th-century townhouses. With city center prices continually on the rise, this district has become the place for the young, creative crowds of the city, while still retaining its older generation of Portuguese residents. With a metro line close to the airport and the train station close by, there are great transport links to get around easily.

Make your way to Bonfim, which is connected to the riverbank by a funicular, if you want to escape the tourist crowds. This calm residential district, which is home to a mix of elderly people and students who enjoy less expensive accommodation, is located east of Porto’s liveliest neighborhoods, Ribeira and Baixa. This corner of the city has a very local vibe, although the district is gentrifying slowly. You’ll be able to find cozy craft beer taverns and hipster coffee shops are just starting to appear, providing a more modern trendy vibe to this part of town.

Bonfim could prove to be a great location for families. Parque de Nova Sintra offers splendid views of the Douro River and is a great place to spend time with your family at the weekend.

Campanhã

A traditional neighborhood close to the heart of the city, here you will find some cheaper properties. This part of Porto is becoming the latest modern fashion hub of the city, yet you can still recall memories from the past all around you. Take the architecture of the train station for example. From the 19th Century, you can step back in time as you take your morning café and pastel de nata (famous Portuguese custard tart).

Art galleries, cafes, and theatres are opening here, as you are a short distance from the historic center and the River Douro.

Cedofeita, Santo Ildefonso, Sé, São Nicolau and Vitória

Cobbled-stone streets, colorful houses, and restaurants galore serving traditional Portuguese fare, this is a neighborhood of tradition. Various civil parishes merged in 2013 to create the beating heart of the city, also including the aforementioned Miragaia. You can feel the excitement in the narrow streets, and it is also within walking distance from the riverfront.

As this is the center of Porto, bear in mind that house prices are a little more expensive. It can be busy in the summer months as tourists come to enjoy this part of the city.

Nonetheless, in less bustling, narrow streets, you may be able to find a more peaceful home for your family. What’s more, you will never be short of finding exceptional food and Douro wine. Nonetheless, some of the other neighborhoods may be more family-friendly than this beautiful centerpiece.

The center of the city has many key landmarks and monuments. Although perhaps not the most family-friendly because of the hustle and bustle, the cultural significance of this neighborhood is palatable. With the Romanesque Cathedral of Porto and the Lello Bookstore, where JK Rowling gained inspiration for her novels, even if you do not have a house here, you will no doubt spend many days exploring the cultural center.

Take a look at our complete guide to buying property in Porto, Portugal

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The Most Practical Neighborhoods in Porto for Families

If you are in search of a quiet neighborhood that offers luxury homes with family friendly amenities like a private garden and a swimming pool, plus the added benefit of being near the Porto city center, these are the best neighborhoods to consider.

Ramalde

One of the largest neighborhoods of the city, Ramalde is continually growing. The neighborhood matches normal residencies with luxury houses and condos. In the Pinheiro Manso area, properties tend to be more expensive. Nonetheless, you can find cheaper purchases in this neighborhood, so it is worth scouting this area. As a residential neighborhood, Ramalde is a neighborhood of practicality and necessities.

Lordelo do Ouro and Massarelos

Lordelo do Ouro (Lordship of Gold) gained its name from gold continuously arriving in ships from Africa and Brazil during the Portuguese Empire. Home to the chapel of Santa Catarina where you can see stunning views of the ocean, Lordelo do Ouro is a neighborhood of practical charm, which merged with Massarelos in 2013.

Located in between Foz do Douro and the historic center, Lordelo do Ouro is perfectly situated. This quaint neighborhood offers the best of both worlds, perfect for spending the day with your family by the beach and close enough to the bustling city center. Many locals live here because houses are generally cheaper than in Foz and the center. If this is not enough of a selling point, homebuyers have spectacular views of the Douro River.

Vila Nova de Gaia

On the other side of the River Douro you have Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto’s neighboring city. While many residents on the other side of the river (Porto city side) joke that the only good thing about the area is its incredible view of Porto, this is unfair. Nowadays, Vila Nova de Gaia has some of the most beautiful spots and you can find much cheaper properties on this side of the river. Additionally, Vila Nova de Gaia is still incredibly famous for its Port wine, where there are over 60 port wine cellars.

To visit different port wine lodges for tours and tastings, cross the Dom Luís I Bridge. Rabelo boats that were originally used to transport wine barrels bob on the water’s surface as the cable car goes by in the distance. The steep lanes of Vila Nova de Gaia wind up to the mountaintop Serra do Pilar church, which offers panoramic views of Porto at sunset.

Also close to vast stretches of beach and with trendy restaurants opening to cater for the increasing interest in houses here, this could be a great area for family life. Close to Porto city, not far from the best beaches in the north, such as Praia da Madalena, this could be a very viable option for you.

Porto Neighborhoods Map

Porto neighborhoods are divided into municipalities. Prices for real estate in Porto vary depending on the location. On the western north coast of Portugal, the northern city has the famous Douro River running through it.

Goldcrest: How We Can Help

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Frequently asked questions about Porto neighborhoods

Porto is one of the best locations to buy a house in Portugal. The best neighborhoods in Porto for families are Foz do Douro and up-and-coming areas, such as Campanhã and Bonfim. Vila Nova de Gaia is also an excellent alternative on the other side of the river.

Most real estate in Porto for foreigners is in the central neighborhoods and Foz do Douro, if expats want closer proximity to the sea.

There is a great selection of international schools in Porto. The Oporto British school is the oldest British school in Continental Europe and is in Foz do Douro. You also have CLIP Oporto International School which offers the English National Curriculum. There are also Lycée Francais International Porto and Deutsche Schule zu Porto, offering French and German schooling, respectively.

Whether you want seaside hangouts or urban nightlife hotspots, the list of the best areas to stay in Porto includes:

  • Ribeira
  • Cedofeita
  • Boavista
  • Vila Nova De Gaia
  • Aliados & Bolhao

The most expensive square meter prices in and around Porto are in the following areas:

  • Aldoar, Foz do Douro, and Nevogilde: €4,142 per square meter
  • Historic center of Porto: €3,406 per square meter
  • Lordelo do Ouro and Massarelos: €3,510 per square meter

Although those who like to live near the seaside do so in regions like Foz do Douro, many expats in Porto reside in Central Porto and other central areas of the city.

Since it features an art area on Rua Miguel Bombarda that is filled with a lively atmosphere, intriguing art galleries, and concept stores (especially on Rua do Rosário), the trendiest is the Cedofeita neighborhood. Porto’s Cedofeita is filled with many bars and cool street festivals, and you’ll find lots of things to do if you spend time in this area.

It is recommended that you avoid side streets like Rua Alijó and Rua Santa Marta de Penaguio, which are located between Rua Vila Nova de Foz Côa and Rua Peso da Régua.

Porto, Portugal, offers a variety of neighborhoods, each with its charm. Below, we list a few of the best neighborhoods within Porto’s city walls for most visitors to stay:

Sé, Aliados & Bolhão, Baixa: These areas are in the very center, filled with sights like Praça da Liberdade and Avenida dos Aliados squares. Packed with what will soon become your favorite hotels, shops, and restaurants serving traditional Portuguese food, they offer an ideal location to explore the city.

Ribeira: This historic area along the Douro River boasts a beautiful riverside promenade lined with colorful buildings. While it’s the busiest part with most visitors, it offers stunning views and a vibrant atmosphere.

Miragaia & São Nicolau: These neighborhoods on the Northern banks offer a more relaxed vibe with a mix of residential buildings and charming streets.

Vila Nova de Gaia: Across the river, Vila Nova de Gaia is a must-visit for port wine lovers. Here, you’ll find the renowned Port wine cellars for tastings and stunning views of Porto.

Boavista: This modern area features Avenida da Boavista with its high-end shops and Centro Comercial Bombarda shopping center. It’s also close to the beach.

Cedofeita: If you prefer a more local experience in a mostly residential neighborhood, Cedofeita is a great choice. With trendy shops, cool bars, and some nightlife, it offers a glimpse into Porto’s contemporary side.