The city centre of Porto, for the most part, is more than 150 years old and some parts of Oporto; the original name of the main city of Northern Portugal, date back more than 500 years.

With this graceful age, it is not surprising that the charming city centre of Porto does not cope very well with the increasing number of car owners.

No parking on the narrow streets of Porto

No parking on many one way streets of Porto.

In fact, the only way to bring some flow into the traffic of Porto has been to turn a lot of inner city streets into one way streets. It works well for the locals who know their way round town – and for the tourists in Northern portugal, GPS navigation has become a true time saver when driving in Porto inner city.

Parking in Porto – don’t bring your limo to town

Before undertaking driving in the very centre of Porto, it is worth to know that parking places are far and few apart unless you venture underground or into one of the, sometimes, rather expensive and often overcrowded parking houses.

Some Porto hotels have their own parking for guests, but many tourist class hotels in Porto centre rely on cooperation with local parking houses which are found on any major street of central old Porto. Prices for having your car stay for the night range from 6 to 15 euros and for that amount you may get a full 24 hour pass.

If the hotel does not have its own parking, ask at the reception desk anyway. Chances are that the reception can arrange for a hotel guest discount. This is for instance the case at Ibis Porto Centre Hotel.

Entry and exit to parking sometimes proves to be sligtly more difficult than expected as modern cars are larger end especially quite a bit wider than the cars in Portugal of the 1940’s and 1950’s when some of the buildings in Porto were converted to parking for the first time.

Parking facility in Porto city centre

Parking facility in Porto.

Where to park in Porto? (Oporto)

Usually, it presents no problem to navigate your slightly oversize vehicle into place, and the more stars your hotel in Porto is quipped with, the more space in the hotel garage. If you chose a budget hotel in Porto, however, any car over VW Golf size might best fit in one of the more contemporary underground car parks.

You will find one of these fairly modern underground car parks in various places in Porto city centre – for instance at Praca Dom João 1 where the parking spaces are of decent if not exactly generous size, located on 4 different floors underground and managed by the company Empark.

Porto Hotel parking when space is a tight fit

Any 4-WD Range Rover size vehicle or 5 meter American style vehicle might be a handful to park in most city centre hotel parking spaces in Porto, but you will find hotel staff, usually, to be very helpful and on request they will gently put your car into place – and take it out again for you when needed.

In fact sometimes, you are asked to leave the key to your car at the reception in Porto hotels in order for the parking attendant to ‘stack’ the cars as much as possible. This is the case, for instance, at the Mercure Porto city centra hotel at Praca de Batalha.