Porto seems to have gazillion hostels, even more than Lisbon. You have so much to choose from that your head hurts. That’s why I decided to leave you a piece of advice. I spent three amazing days wandering aimlessly around the city, getting lost and found while photographing Porto’s facades, narrow streets, and funky street art pieces. I stayed at Porto Alive Hostel, which might be a great base for a budget traveler who likes walking through new cities and staying in the center of things.
The hostel’s location is pure perfection. It is situated in an old building on Rua das Flores, just a step away from the majestic Aliados. Rua das Flores is one of the most charming streets of old Porto. Pedestrian only, filled with artisan jewelry stores and street musicians. What I loved about Porto is walkability of the city’s old districts. If you settle in Porto Alive hostel, you won’t have a need to use public transportation. You can comfortably and easily walk everywhere from Ribeira to all the museums to Crystal Palace. The only time I used a bus was when I wanted to get to the Matosinhos beach, but, well, that’s just a long way, and the bus stop is right outside the place. The Sao Bento train station is a minute walk from your hostel bed; the bus station is also in a walking distance. You are in the middle of Porto’s hustle and bustle, but the street calms down at night letting you get the rest you need to walk, photograph and eat your way through Portugal. The strategical location makes it up for any disadvantages the hostel might have. Trust me on that one.
Inside the hostel
Porto Alive hostel offers shared dormitories and private rooms. The restrooms and showers are situated in the hall, right outside the room’s door. They are always neat and clean. I stayed in a shared room for six people. It was spacious enough, clean and comfortable. The rooms are equipped with bunk beds, lockers and a set of shelves. There is also a mirror. All the rooms have balconies. My dorm had a view on my favorite Rua das Flores. As a guest you will get bed sheet without a deposit. Each bed has a little lamp for all the night owls like me to use, when other guests are asleep. There are also numerous power points for computer addicts. Unfortunately, the internet could be better in the rooms. It works much faster in the reception, but if you are a fan of working in your bed, you might get in a slight trouble. There is an internet point with accessible notebooks downstairs though, so I guess I’m not really in a position to complain too much. The hostel offers also a tiny multilanguage library, where you can find a book to read. Nice, especially if you are a bookworm traveling with a carry on only.
Let me show you around. The rooms aren’t everything. The hostel occupies an entire century old building. The guests can use a fully equipped kitchen in the basement and a common room. There is also a patio in the back. The backyard space has a great potential to be a fantastic hangout, but, unfortunately, that would require a thorough cleaning. Any volunteers?
While talking about the kitchen, I should mention that there is a complimentary breakfast served in the mornings. It’s very basic, but it’s always something. You get coffee, tea, orange juice, toast bread, and jam. Not much, but it’s always nice. Many hostels won’t feed you at all, so that’s always an advantage.
I had a pleasure to meet three receptionists. All of them proved to be knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. They helped me to find my way around the city, and to dig out all the information I needed to plan my stay. Thank you for your assistance!
There is also information about the events in Porto at the reception. The staff can sign you up for various walking tours, pub crawls, and other activities a social visitor might fancy to be part of. I didn’t have a chance to participate in any of these events, but I believe it’s a great opportunity of meeting new people and getting to see Porto through local’s eyes.
Is it worth it?
Yes. Porto Alive Hostel makes a great base for a frugal traveler thanks to its perfect location and affordable prices. It’s a great point to start an exploration of the pearl of Porto. It certainly has a great value for money. Even if there are a few little things that I think could be improved, I fully recommend Porto Alive Hostel to all frugal travelers out there.
Source of all the photos of the hostel’s interior: Porto Alive Hostel
Porto Alive Hostel generously offered us a discounted stay. As always, all opinions are mine.