Porto Family Vacation: The Best Places to Stay with Kids

Estimated read time 12 min read

If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Porto with kids, you’ve come to the right place. Porto is Portugal’s second largest city and is known for its stunning architecture, delicious food, and friendly people. Here are our top picks for where to stay in Porto with kids.

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Families visiting Porto will find plenty of attractions and activities to keep everyone entertained. UNESCO has designated the Porto’s historic center as a World Heritage Site, so it’s full of interesting buildings and streets to explore.  After a long journey, calm dinners in the city’s many parks and green spaces are a great option.

porto street art

From family-friendly hostels to apartments and upscale hotels, there’s something for everyone.  You can stay in either the historic town center or the calm beach districts.     You’ll even find options on both sides of the Douro River. 

You’ll never be too far away from iconic landmarks like the Ponte Dom Luis I bridge that spans the Douro River where you can cross along the upper deck.  

The Palacia da Bolsa is a beautiful centrally located museum with an impressive neoclassical style.  In the Golden room, take in the intricate details of the stucco ceiling and don’t miss the Arabian room (inspired by the Alhambra Palace) with its exquisite woods of mahogany, jacaranda, Aspidosperma Olivaceum, and rosewood.  Adult entry  is 12 Euros with children under 12 free.  

arc carris apartments

Our Top Pick for A Family-Friendly Hotel During Your Porto Family Vacation

1. The Arc Carris Apartments

The first place on our list is The Arc Carris Apartments. This apartment hotel is part of Carris Hotels.  It is located in the historic old town,  a block away from the Douro River and is a great option for families. There are apartments to accommodate 2, 4, and 6 guests.  There are also duplex options including a panoramic duplex with the best views.   

One of the best parts about staying here (or worst parts depending on how frustrated you get) is finding the entrance.  First, you’ll have to check-in at the Carris Hotel across the street.  Not to worry though, because since you’ve read these instructions, you’ll understand exactly what to do.  You’ll receive a warm greeting and be instructed on all the amenities and how to get into the apartment.

There is a store on the corner, I avoided it because of the numerous bad reviews so I didn’t want to take a chance.  Almost unnoticeable, lies a door in between the store and restaurant that looks like it is just another very large window.  You’ll notice the keypad next to it which is how you will enter it.  It may take a moment to properly do it the first time but once in, you’ll feel like you just snuck into a secret entrance.

Inside the signature blue hues feel pretty swanky as you make your way to the elevator (yes, there’s an elevator!).  When you get to your apartment door, there will be another secured electronic keypad to your private haven in the heart of Porto.

What I loved about Arc Carris Apartments:

  • The city street views from the large windows that open onto the terrace.
  • The security of the building and its fabulous location.
  • The cleanliness and excellent cleaning crew that came in and tidied up even while the rain held us hostage for a little while.
  • The style felt very mid-century mad men with deep rich jewel tones.
  • The interior stone wall also gave old world vibes that really made you feel settled inside.
  • The location – don’t get me wrong, there will be uphill adventures! Meanwhile though, there’s something awesome in every direction.  The Douro River is only a block away.  Historic cathedrals nearby and the oldest street is right behind it (it’s also sort of a red light district type of street at night but I’m told it is subtle.)

What I didn’t love:

OK, I only have one thing and it is so minor that I could easily overlook it and return anytime.  It was the tiny feel of the bathrooms.  It probably is similar to most bathrooms but I just have a desire for a little more space. And the peek-a-boo skeleton keyhole on the bathroom door. Easy to cover it up but quite shocking when you realize it while sitting on the potty and a kid is being silly on the other side.  But, it is a gorgeous bathroom and has a POWERFUL, rainfall shower head for a feel good shower. At the end of the day, that’s all I really want from a bathroom anyway.

The best part of a stay is when everything winds up exactly as it should be.  No surprises, hidden costs, or strange barriers to quiet enjoyment.  These apartments will serve you well if you desire a central stay in the historic old town of Porto.  

The hotel offers a breakfast option or you can opt to spend locally at some of the quaint restaurants or shops like Nata Sweet Nata. If you happen to travel on a Portuguese national holiday, don’t expect anything to be open very early for breakfast or coffee.  We can typically go get a coffee at 6 or 7 AM in the U.S. but in Porto, you may need to wait until 8 or 9 AM.

If you happen to be on a road trip through Portugal, then you will be looking for parking when you get to Porto. Although, traveling during a national holiday got us a lucky win on the street parking.  Typically, there is no parking made available by the hotel, you are at the luck of finding a spot on the street and then paying the street parking prices.  It just so happens that as we drove up, someone pulled out and we were able to get a spot just steps from the entrance.  

On top of that, we arrived on a weekend evening going into a holiday so the little I paid at the kiosk covered all weekend until Tuesday morning.  I even went back into the hotel to ask them if I was reading my receipt right, haha.  Needless to say, we never moved the car during that time.

Porto family vacation - parking receipt
Parking receipt

Having said that, this location is best when not driving or by being prepared to search for a spot, walk far to a garage, and pay $10 – 20 per day. We knew this and just wound up really lucky.

 2. Vacation Rentals in Porto for Families.

My Ribeira Guest House has 8 bedrooms and 1 small apartment available in a restored 1834 building. Experience soundproof rooms, free WiFi, and old world charm close to the river.

Porto River Aparthotel offers a window on the Douro RIver with 19 apartments available in a building that dates back to the 17th century. Free breakfast, soundproof rooms, and children’s television networks are additional bonus finds for families.

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3. Historic Luxury Suites & Apartments in Porto for Families

Torel 1884 Suites & Apartments offers 12 rooms and suites in a former palace as well as 11 unique apartments nearby.  The palace dates back to 1884 thus the name. 

Pestana Vintage Porto is best when you want to be right on the Douro River in a historic landmark with free breakfast, free WiFi, soundproof rooms, family rooms and suites available.  A modern vintage hotel formed from 18 buildings named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. An on-site spa and rooms service is also available.

pestana vintage porto

4. Budget-Friendly Accommodations in Porto for Families

If you’re looking to minimize shelter costs so you can maximize experiences, a hostel might be just the thing for you.  Some offer family rooms and a high experience stay including on-site coffee shop and entertainment (games & puzzles).  You won’t have to sacrifice having access to easy check-in/check-out or 24 hour front desk either.  You may even find baggage storage and laundry service available also.  

Supernova Hostel offers all of the above in a highly walkable area that’s close to the metro from $55/nt.

The Passenger Hostel is in the iconic Sao Bento train station which would definitely register on the cool meter with the kids along with the children’s activities offered.  There is a family room which has a shared bathroom versus the more expensive option of a family suite with a private bathroom that sleeps up to 4. One night for a family of 4 in the suite could run around $200 a night so be sure to carefully consider all of your options if privacy is what you desire.

Porto Family Vacation: The Best Places to Stay with Kids

Lobby Sitting area courtesy of Expedia

5. Things to Look For in Choosing Where to Stay in Porto (or anywhere)

You have to carefully consider location and transportation especially when traveling with kids. The wrong location could be more in transportation related costs than the better location with the higher price would’ve been.  

Consider the amenities as well, what are you getting included like breakfast, WiFi, activities, room service, local deliveries, concierge, and is it worth a few extra dollars?

Parking is going to be hard to find or an added cost so this should be calculated as well.  Think about how you’re going to get around and where you plan on going.  Some hotels offer airport shuttles for a fee but a rideshare may be more economical – use Bolt or Uber. Check the pricing before you make these decisions.

The most important thing is to have some sort of plans in place, maybe not a highly scheduled plan but you don’t want any surprises that could mess with your budget.

I recently watched a story unfold where a person visited Lisbon and their plan was to take a taxi to their hotel because they are comfortable and used to taking taxis.  Somehow, they wound up paying $190 for a ride that should’ve cost $25.  

You don’t need a strict schedule but you should arm yourself with a rough draft of how to get around and expected costs so you know to confirm first and turn down anything that doesn’t sound close to the pricing you expect.  The nice thing about pre-arranged shuttles and rideshares is that the pricing is upfront, we like “no surprises” when we’re traveling.

Don’t forget to travel culture smart by gaining insight to the values and customs of Portuguese people.  It helps to avoid cultural misunderstandings so you are not perceived as rude and you don’t see others as being rude either.

6. Prefer a Coastal Urban Beachhouse in Porto?

Porto Family Vacation: The Best Places to Stay with Kids
Photo Credit: Plum Guide

One great option is from Plum Guide when you prefer a handpicked, expert-vetted home.  This place is perfect when you want something close to the beach but still surrounded by cute shops and good dining options.  You can easily take a tram into the more vibrant center of Porto and enjoy the iconic architecture along the way.  

Porto Family Vacation: The Best Places to Stay with Kids
Photo Credit: Plum Guide

This home has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms for up to 6 people.  You’ll have a private entrance, free parking, and can dine on the terrace with plenty of space to relax after a day of exploring.

Porto Family Vacation: The Best Places to Stay with Kids
Photo Credit: Plum Guide

Pricing starts from $285/nt but plan well in advance because this one books up early.

Nearby:

  • Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
    Free Victorian garden with walking paths and scenic views.
  • Museum Soares dos Reis
    National Art Museum in an 18th century palace.

You can see the sights of Porto and save money with a Porto Card that is valid for 1-4 days. Take advantage of the public transportation system to get around, and get over 150 discounts and benefits, including free admission to six museums for as little as $14/day.

Happy Wandering in Porto’s Best Places to Stay

Porto is a wonderful family-friendly city with a plethora of kid-friendly hotels, apartments, and hostels to choose from. Some of our top picks include spots in the center and further out in the coastal quiet neighborhoods too. 

A budget friendly option like the Arc Carris Apartments will spoil you with its modern comforts, location, views, and amenities.  For a splurge in historical elegance, the Pestana Vintage Porto has everything you need.  For the careful spender, the Passenger Hostel is a creatively comfortable option.  No matter what you choose, you won’t be too far away from something interesting to explore and will have great transportation options within reach.

Read more about Portugal to help you plan your trip including:

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