Anyone who says Porto isn't a romantic city simply hasn't looked closely enough. The colourful buildings and waterside location make it the perfect place for lovers to stroll hand-in-hand. Plus, if you book one of the best romantic hotels in Porto – carefully selected by yours truly – you won't fail to have a wonderfully dreamy vacation.
Best romantic hotels in Porto
If you’re a wine aficionado with five-star tastes, The Yeatman has got your name on it. The hotel is set on the hillside of Vila Nova de Gaia, directly across the Douro from Porto, meaning that the views from all 83 rooms, plus the pools, bars and restaurants are spectacular. The Yeatman serves as an ambassador for Portuguese wines and works in partnership with 78 producers.
If you fancy feeling like a prince or princess on your trip to Porto, book yourself into an eighteenth-century palace. The Palácio do Freixo’s baroque architecture is stunning (not to mention super-Insta-worthy) and it overlooks the Douro with stellar river views. Inside, sky-high frescoed ceilings and gilt detailing steal the show, while the Nasoni Bar and Palatium Restaurant offer regional drink and food. Front-facing rooms have views over the river, as do the hotel’s outdoor terrace, infinity pool and jetty, which is lined with sun loungers. There’s a spa, a heated indoor pool, a steam room, gym and sauna. Unless you’re up for a 45-minute walk along the river to the historical centre you’ll need to catch the hotel’s free shuttle bus, which departs every 30 minutes.
With a name that translates as 'Charm Palace', you'd expect nothing less than romance at this beautiful hotel. Surprisingly – given the intricate stucco work, wood panels and glittering chandeliers – this was once home to a butchers' association, but thanks to Italian designer Gianfranco Fenizia, it now effuses sheer opulence. Each room varies by design, but all come with a seating area on the patio/balcony. The blue room is especially glamorous, with a freestanding bath that's perfect to enjoy a glass of wine or two in – conveniently purchasable from reception. Out the back of the house you’ll find a peaceful garden, including a glass-panelled lounge, which is the perfect spot to relax with a little something from the 24-hour kitchen.
You can’t get a better location than Porto River, because, true to its name, it’s located on … Porto’s river (that would be the Douro). This is the place to stay if you want to be smack bang in Porto’s tourist-centric Ribeira district and is where you’ll find alfresco dining aplenty, street stalls, buskers, and basically, everyone having a good time. The rooms are big, bright and airy and you can choose from a studio, one or two-bedroom apartment, or suite. Naturally, the river-facing rooms let you see all the riverside action, but light sleepers might prefer a quieter room at the back.
If you want swank and style on your trip to Porto, you can’t go wrong with the InterContinental. The former monastery and palace is conveniently positioned at the end of Porto’s main square, Praça da Liberdade. Step out the door and you’ll see Porto’s iconic Clérigos Tower on your left, then nip around the corner to your right and run straight into the equally iconic São Bento Train Station. As well as having a top location, the hotel has five-star class with an opulent foyer adorned with marble and Swarovski chandeliers. There’s also a swish shopping arcade inside should you care to casually pick up a new Rolex. The elegance continues in the rooms upstairs, where you’ll find heavy curtains, studded ottomans and silky bedspreads. Take a relaxing bath in the marble bathroom before choosing from eight types of pillows at bedtime, and be sure to book a massage or facial in the hotel spa.
This heritage-listed building has been lovingly converted from professor Carolina Michaelis's home into a guesthouse with heaps of Portuguese character. Casa Carolina’s eight rooms vary in size, with some offering bathtubs and/or a balcony, and the top floor suite is fitted out with a fully equipped kitchen. One of the highlights of this place is the breakfast, which goes beyond your usual continental spread with thoughtful extras like balls of avocado, plus fresh ginger and mint to make tea. When dinnertime rolls around you have plenty of food options on the doorstep, which happens to be the pedestrianised shopping street, Rua de Cedofeita.
Flores Village has the facilities of a hotel, the convenience of an apartment and the personalised service of a guesthouse, and therefore offers a good all-round accommodation option in Porto. The hotel also happens to be located on one of the city’s liveliest streets, Rua das Flores, which is lined with shops, cafés and restaurants. Furthermore, the hotel’s own wine and tapas bar, Pateo das Flores, serves quality food in a trendy enclosed courtyard. Other onsite facilities include a spa, sauna, steam room, gym and an underground Roman bath.
To fall (a little more) in love
Porto’s already a super-romantic city, full of intimate parks, swoonsome art and chic bars. But if you’re looking for somewhere to take a date, celebrate an anniversary or even pop the question, these are its most romantic restaurants
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They say size doesn’t matter – and these boutique hotels prove it. Whether you’re in search of a chilled atmosphere, historic location or just a generally welcoming vibe, book one of these small Porto hotels for a stay with character.