Torel Avantgarde – Bold interior design meets stellar river views high up in Miragaia.
Set back from the busy Rua da Restauraçao, this striking boutique design hotel overlooks the Douro river from its lofty perch. Room decor focuses heavily on the arts: each individually-styled room aims to reflect the work and personality of a famous artist, designer, musician, or painter. All rooms also feature generous marble bathrooms with rain showers. The common areas, such as the enchanted-garden-style bar/lounge, are equally striking, and the elegant restaurant with river views is more understated and elegant. Though a little removed from downtown Porto, the hotel is within easy walking distance from many attractions and restaurants, and the young, enthusiastic staff is on hand to help with recommendations.
Torel Avantgarde – Location
- Address: Rua da Restauraçao, 336.
- Area: The hotel is located on a fairly busy street on the edge of Miragaia, high above the Douro River and just a short walk from downtown Porto. While there are no dining options in the hotel’s immediate vicinity, there’s an outdoor bar overlooking the river, along with several restaurants, cafes, and bars a short walk northeast, especially on Rua de Cedofeita, Rua das Oliveiras, and Rua do Almada. The majority of the city’s attractions are within 4-20 minutes’ walk, and the winding lanes of Ribeira are a 10-minute stroll away, as is the São Bento train station.
- How to Get There: From the airport, the 602 bus (€2.70) runs directly to the Hospital Santo Antonio stop, a block (300m, 4-minute walk) from the hotel, and takes around 45 minutes. Alternatively, take the metro (purple line E) and ride for 15 stops to the Trindade stop. Then change to yellow line D and ride for 2 stops in the Santo Ovídio direction and disembark at the São Bento stop (1.5 km, 17-minute walk). The journey costs €2.45. If coming by long-distance intercity train, from the main Campanhã train station take the local train to São Bento station in downtown Porto. From here, the hotel is around 17 minutes’ walk (1 km) west (or a short taxi ride). Alternatively, take the 100 Rumos airport shuttle door-to-door from the airport (from €12 one way), or a taxi (15 km, 25-minute drive).
- Handy to: Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, Livraria Lello, Jardins do Palácio de Cristal.
Torel Avantgarde – The Basics
- Ages: The hotel has an adult feel to it, and many of its guests tend to be couples on a romantic vacation or travelers on a city break. That said, families with children are welcome, though there are limited child-friendly amenities.
- View: Views vary depending on the room/suite. Classic Doubles, Executive Doubles, Suites, Executive Superior Rooms, and Superior Suites offer city views, while the rest of the room and suite categories look out over the Douro River.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools/jacuzzis.
- Laundry: In-room laundry service available at extra charge.
- Parking: On-site parking costs €18 per day; reserve in advance.
- Extras: Turn-down service, guest lounge/library, 24-hour reception, airport transfers on request, personal yoga sessions on request, lots of local recommendations from the knowledgeable staff.
- Activities: Wine tours of the Douro Valley and port wine tastings arranged on request.
- When to Book: Reserve around 6 months in advance for the high season (May-July & September) as well Christmas/New Year. For the rest of the year, it’s still a good idea to book a couple of months in advance.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +351 226 001 966
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: torelboutiques.com
Torel Avantgarde – Amenities
- Pool: Unheated outdoor pool overlooking the Douro River. Hot tub right next to it.
- Spa: There’s an on-site spa in the basement offering a full range of massages and other treatments.
- Fitness Center: There’s a well-equipped fitness center in the basement as well as a steam room.
- For Disabled Guests: One room is specially adapted for guests with disabilities.
- For Families: Cots available free of charge for children under the age of 3; extra beds for older children cost €65. Babysitting, kids’ meals, and kids’ books and DVDs provided on request.
Torel Avantgarde – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: Digby – The on-site restaurant specializes in Portuguese slow-cooking, with an extensive wine menu to boot; choose between the tasting menu or a la carte. There’s a set menu at lunchtime. Open 12.30-3pm for lunch, 7.30-11pm for dinner, and 3.30-7pm for high tea (€12.50 per person). $$$.
- Lounge/Bar: The bar, which looks like an enchanted garden, serves classic and original cocktails, wine, and an array of light bites. Open 11.30am-midnight.
- Breakfast: Complimentary. The buffet includes homemade cakes, cereals, fruits, and egg dishes cooked to individual specifications. Served from 7.30-11am daily in the restaurant area or on the outdoor terrace.
- Room Service: Available around the clock.
Torel Avantgarde – Rooms
- Room Types: Classic Double/Twin • Classic Deluxe Double • Executive Double/Twin • Executive Deluxe Double/Twin • Executive Superior • Deluxe Junior Suite • Suite • Superior Suite • Deluxe Suite • Royal Suite
- Smoking Rooms: Torel Avantgarde is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: Of the suites, the 2 Deluxe Suites are individually themed (Coco Chanel or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) and are particularly spacious. Both have private balconies overlooking the river, as well as deep soaking tubs with river views in the bathrooms. If looking for something more wallet-friendly without compromising on the view, the Executive Deluxe Doubles overlooking the river are particularly popular; they come with private balconies and generous marble bathrooms.
- For Families: No family rooms per se, but each of the rooms can accommodate an extra bed and/or baby cot. Some interconnecting rooms are also available.
Torel Avantgarde – Local Transport
- Walking: Central Porto is wonderfully walkable (and likely to strengthen calf muscles after walking up and down the hilly streets of Ribeira, Miragaia, and Baixa/Sé neighborhoods). Many of Porto’s attractions are within a 4 to 20-minute walking radius from the hotel, as are numerous restaurants, bars, and port wine lodges. Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis is a 7-minute walk (500m) from the hotel, while the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal is a 8-minute walk (600m) uphill, and the historic Lello bookstore is an 11-minute walk (800m). Attractions further out can be reached by metro and tram.
- Taxis, Uber: Taxis from the airport cost around €20-29. Taxi prices around town are high (around €6-8 for a short ride), and most visitors won’t use them much as the city is very walkable. Tipping is not required. It’s worth downloading the handy Taxi-Link, Bolt, or Free Now apps if using taxis. Uber is also available in Porto and is slightly cheaper than official taxis.
- Metro: Porto is well-covered by a network of 6 metro lines. It’s a cheap and handy way of getting to/from the airport (€2.45 one way) and from downtown Porto to some attractions further out – from São Bento (1.5 km, 17-minute walk) to Casa do Música, or from São Bento to Jardim do Morro (for the south bank of the Douro and port wine lodges), for example.
- Tram: There are 3 tram lines. The scenic Tram Linha 1 (Infante–Passeio Alegre) runs from Ribeira in downtown Porto to the beaches and parks of Foz de Douro along the waterfront. Tram Linha 18 runs from Museo do Carro Eléctrico on the waterfront, through Miragaia, right past the hotel, and up to the Universidade do Porto in Baixa, where it intersects with Tram Linha 22, looping through the historic center from the top of the funicular. Tram rides cost €3.50 one-way and €6 return.
- Cable car: The Teleférico de Gaia swoops up from the Vila Nova da Gaia waterfront on the south bank of the Douro to the south end of Luís I bridge that connects to Ribeira in downtown Porto. It costs €6 one-way and €9 return. 25 minutes by public transport (2.5 km).
- Funicular: The Funicular dos Guindais (€2.50 one-way) runs from the base of the Luís I bridge in Ribeira up the steep hill to Batalha, from where it is possible to cross the very top of the bridge to Vila Nova da Gaia. Helps avoid the thorough workout of climbing up. 22-minute walk (1.5 km).
Torel Avantgarde – What’s Nearby?
Recommended Nearby Tours
- Taste Porto – Long-established downtown Porto food tours, ranging from craft beer and food to vintage food tours with sampling of Porto’s specialties. They also do an engaging 3.5-hour walking tour of downtown that takes in the popular landmarks. Starting points vary, depending on the tour.
- The Worst Tours – Don’t be put off by the name. These are offbeat walking tours run by a trio of local architects who love to share Porto’s secrets, politics, traditional trades, and much more. Tours last 3-4 hours and the guides can tailor them according to individual interests. Price and starting points vary.
- The Other Side – Knowledgeable guides arrange a range of local experiences, from taking a Six Bridges cruise on the Douro followed by port wine tasting, to catching a fado show, and full-day trips out into the Douro Valley to visit vineyards and taste local wines. Walking tours of the historic center also available. Starting points vary.
- Be My Guest in Porto – Wonderful private and small group tours run by 2 passionate local guides. Choose from gastronomy workshops, wine drinking, themed walking tours dedicated to belle époque architecture and urban art, and much more. Starting points vary.
- Xtreme Jet Boat River Safari – Speed and adrenalin-filled rides on the Douro River – a high-octane take on the Six Bridges cruise. Start location: waterfront off Cais de Estiva. 20-minute walk (1.5 km).
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Oficina – This former mechanic’s garage has been transformed into a minimalist restaurant that presents diners with playful, contemporary takes on traditional Portuguese dishes. Elegant ambience; bring a date. Book ahead. 10-minute walk (700m).
- Frida – Head for this authentic Mexican place for tacos al pastor, pozole (hearty soup), quesadillas with cuitlacoche (corn fungus), ceviche and more, and wash them down with margaritas and daiquiris as big as a person’s head. Popular with groups, wallet-friendly. 11-minute walk (800m).
- DOP – One of Porto’s top fine dining options, with a superb wine list. Choose between the elegant dining room and the terrace, and opt for creative, seasonal dishes made from local ingredients – either the tasting menus or a la carte. Dishes may include veal cheek with mushrooms, octopus carpaccio, and seafood rice for 2; well-priced (€27) weekday lunch menu also available. One for special occasions; reservations essential. 13-minute walk (1 km).
- Museu d’Avo – ‘Grandmother’s Museum’ is a treasure trove of a bar/late night restaurant, filled with all sorts of fascinating knick-knacks and feeding night owls bowls of caldo verde (potato and collard green soup) and bifana (chunky pork sandwiches) to help absorb the drinks. 14-minute walk (1 km).
- Taberna do Largo – Run by 2 friends, this compact, charming taberna lit up by wine-bottle lights is a great spot for a glass of local wine from an inspired wine list, plus a selection of tapas such as smoked tuna, cheeses from the Azores, morcela (black pudding), and bacalao (salted cod) salad. Evenings only. 14-minute walk (1 km).
- Cantina 32 – Choose between people-watching on Porto’s most popular pedestrian street or the knick-knack-filled interior, and order a selection of fusion tapas (tuna tataki, Portuguese black pudding with apples), along with some great local wines by the glass. Heartier dishes include a moreish seafood stew. Inexpensive and busy in the evenings. 14-minute walk (1 km).
- A Sandeira do Porto – Arguably Porto’s best sandwich place, this tiny informal café puts together fresh, original sandwiches such as sardines with tomato and peppers; chicken, goat cheese, and apple; and smoked ham with brie and mango. Have it with soup and salad or grab it to go. 15-minute walk (1 km).
- Cozinha dos Lóios – Tiny, cave-like restaurant specializing in Mediterranean flavors. Order duck rice, crab risotto, cod carpaccio, or the chef’s signature tagliatelle with Portuguese sausage, and have it inside or on the tiny outdoor terrace. Wallet-friendly and busy. 15-minute walk (1 km).
- MUU – Outstanding cuts of Black Angus beef seared to personal specifications and served against a backdrop of pared-down industrial decor. Some of the steaks are big enough for 2 people, and there are some robust red wines on the menu to help wash them down. 15-minute walk (1 km).
- Elemento – One of Porto’s most creative fine dining venues, with the menu changing daily or weekly depending on ingredients available from small local producers. Everything – bone marrow, octopus, sea bass, etc. – is cooked over coals or on a customized grill. Perch at the marble counter and watch the chefs at work or opt for more intimate dining. Well worth a splurge; prepare to be wowed. 15-minute walk (1 km).
- Hamburgueria DeGema – One of Porto’s best gourmet hamburger joints with quirky decor and some inspired topping combos. The Chimichurri and the Ganda Morfes are classics, plus there’s a couple of vegan options and even artisanal ice cream. 16-minute walk (1 km).
- ODE Porto Wine House – With exposed stone walls and heavy wooden beams, this traditional restaurant overlooking the river is all about recipes inspired by the chef’s grandmother’s cooking such as steak with port wine reduction and octopus with sweet potato. Romantic ambience, extensive wine and port wine selection. Reserve ahead and bring a date. 16-minute walk (1.5 km).
Best Nearby Cafes
- Época Café – All light Scandi-wood and glass, this hip café is a local favorite for morning coffee as well as hearty vegetarian dishes, from poached eggs with kale to superlative French toast. 7-minute walk (500m).
- Hungry Biker – Super-popular brunch spot serving wholegrain toast piled high with various toppings, as well as waffles, coffee, smoothies, porridge, and epic “royal brunch sets”. Look for the bicycle by the entrance. 10-minute walk (800m).
- Zenith – One of Porto’s most famous all-day brunch cafes, particularly renowned for its Zenith Toast. Pair eggs Benedict, eggs Zenith, or pancake stack with one of many elaborate cocktails from their extensive menu. Informal, bustling. 11-minute walk (800m).
Best Nearby Bars and Port Wine Lodges
Porto is the home of port wine, the sweet fortified dessert wine that’s been produced in the region for centuries. The hilly streets of Vila Nova da Gaia are dotted with port wine lodges that visitors can tour to learn the difference between white, ruby, tawny, vintage, and late-bottle harvest ports, complete with attached tasting rooms and shops selling their full range of beverages.
- Bonaparte Downtown – A good place to watch football (soccer) and other sports on the big screen, this cozy, wood-paneled Irish pub is popular with locals and expats alike for a leisurely pint of beer. 11-minute walk (800m).
- Taberna Aduela – Formerly a sewing machine warehouse, retro Aduela is a hip wine bar where locals exchange gossip over petiscos (nibbles) and glasses of wine. Outdoor seating too. 12-minute walk (900m).
- The Royal Cocktail Club – Inside a bankers’ union building, this upmarket, elegant cocktail bar’s award-winning mixologists mix elaborate original creations as well as classics. Attracts the after-work crowd. 12-minute walk (900m).
- Original Bar – Dark and mellow, this bar is popular with local students for its contemporary soundtrack, inexpensive beer, sparkling sangria, and platters of cold cuts. Doesn’t really get going until late in the evening. 13-minute walk (1 km).
- The Gin House – One for gin lovers, this sleek bar mixes many original gin cocktails as well as classic G&Ts with their excellent range of gins from around the world and some rare tonics. The outdoor terrace fills up quickly in good weather. 13-minute walk (1 km).
- Galeria de Paris – One of many bars along Rua Galeria de Paris, this neighborhood fixture is known for its cocktails, whimsical decor, and candle-lit ambience – a great place to kick off the night over a few tapas. 13-minute walk (1 km).
- La Bohème – All light Scandi-wood and minimalist aesthetic, this bar is a firm fixture on the nightlife circuit. It’s a great all-round place: good for morning coffee, light bites at lunchtime, and fine wines and tapas come night. 13-minute walk (1 km).
- Baixa Bar – All dark wood, chrome, and sinuous leather seating, this is one of many bars lining Rua de Cândido dos Reis. Expect a mixed age crowd, decent cocktails and wine by the glass, and retro hits from the 80s and 90s. 14-minute walk (1 km).
- Wines of Portugal Tasting Room (Rua das Flores 8-12) – Less of a bar and more a wine lovers’ visitor space, this tasting room showcases a huge range of Portuguese wines from all the wine-producing regions and offers 30 different regional wines to sample for free. Order from one of the many wines by the glass and take it out onto the people-watching outdoor terrace. 14-minute walk (1 km).
- Caves Cálem – These award-winning cellars are amongst Porto’s most visited. Tours are held in several languages, the presentation is very slick, and apart from post-tour tastings (usually a ruby and a white port), they also hold traditional fado concerts. 20 minutes by public transport (2 km).
Nearby Shopping and Cool Shops
- Müsa – Women’s fashion accessories and shoes designed by Portuguese designers. 8-minute walk (600m).
- CRU – This gallery space and concept store sells regularly changing offerings, from ceramics and art to handcrafted jewelry, accessories, and fashion. 10-minute walk (700m).
- CC Bombarda – Small, arty shopping mall dedicated to organic cosmetics and edibles, locally designed threads and jewelry and more. Good café on the premises, too. 10-minute walk (700m).
- Copo D’Uva – Excellent specialty wine store with an extensive range of Portuguese wines from all over the country. Wine tasting sessions also arranged. 11-minute walk (750m).
- The Portuguese Cock – Handmade Portuguese ceramic roosters in all manner of styles and designs, from traditional to the Virgin Mary and Donald Trump. Craftsman Alex also designs T-shirts and can make a custom cock to specifications. 13-minute walk (1 km).
- Livraria Poetria – The only bookstore in Portugal dedicated entirely to poetry and theatre. 13-minute walk (1 km).
- Cork Solutions – Amazing collection of things made out of cork: purses, backpacks, bowls, shoes, hats, and much more. These are all Portuguese-made, functional, and trendy. 14-minute walk (1 km).
- Arcádia Casa do Chocolate – Going strong since 1933, Arcádia has been a purveyor of hand-crafted chocolates for generations. Whether it is chocolates filled with port wine, gift boxes of pralines, or almond liqueur drageés, they are all made from traditional recipes and beautifully presented. 15-minute walk (1 km).
- O Mundo Fantástico da Sarindha Portuguesa – This rather glitzy store pays homage to one of Porto’s most famous exports: the humble tinned sardine. The sardines come in a variety of flavors in colorful tins that make for great edible gifts. 15-minute walk (1 km).
- 43 Branco – Come to this concept store for one of a kind gifts from Porto, ranging from Lubo t-shirts with city-specific designs and jewelry by local designer Maria Branco, to pencil cases inspired by Porto’s iconic sardine tins, and Bonjardim soap. 15-minute walk (1 km).
- Toranja – The Rua das Flores branch of this gift shop specializes in items inspired by the city: prints, bags, mugs, cushions, and t-shirts emblazoned with Porto cityscapes, purses decorated with sardine tin designs, original art, and more. 16-minute walk (1 km).
- Flores Creative Store – This family-run gift store focuses exclusively on Portuguese fashion brands and design. Come here for funky streetwear: shoes, hats, jackets, as well as backpacks, purses, and other accessories. 16-minute walk (1 km).
- Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis – The impressive Palácio das Carrancas houses the best art museum in Porto. Its collection runs the gamut from Neolithic carvings to modernism. 7-minute walk (500m).
- Jardins do Palácio de Cristal – These beautifully landscaped blufftop gardens comprise a lake, sculptures, fountains, and numerous walking paths that wind their way around giant magnolias, olive trees, and cypress groves. They are also home to the Super Bock Arena where live music and other events are held. 8-minute walk (600m).
- Igreja do Carmo (Rua do Carmo) – One of two twin churches next to one another, the exterior of this 17th-century house of worship is decorated with a beautiful ensemble of blue-and-white azulejas (tiles). 9-minute walk (700m).
- Livraria Lello – On any given day, a long line of people is visible outside this beautiful 1906 neo-Gothic bookstore, waiting to be allowed inside. Its gorgeous spiral staircase allegedly inspired part of a Harry Potter book (JK Rowling lived in Porto when she wrote part of it), but that’s hotly disputed, and it’s still a beautiful old bookstore. 11-minute walk (800m).
- Torre dos Clérigos – The Clérigos Tower is Portugal’s tallest campanile (bell tower), and it’s well worth climbing the 200 steps to survey the city from a height of 76 meters. Look out for the carillon made up of 49 bells on the way up. 12-minute walk (900m).
- Palácio da Bolsa – This neoclassical 19th-century Stock Exchange Palace pays homage to the city’s merchants. Opt for a half-hour guided tour, or wander around and check out highlights such as the Moorish-style Arab Room, inspired by the Alhambra, and the Golden Room, plated with gold leaf. 14-minute walk (1 km).
- Igreja de São Francisco (Rua Infante Dom Henrique) – Established in 1245 and rebuilt after a fire in the 19th century, this church is one of the most prominent Gothic buildings in Porto, and features Baroque touches. Head inside for the carvings, coated in 300kg of gold dust, and admire the ossuary with human bones through a glass floor; the catacombs are the final resting place of Franciscan monks and members of Porto’s wealthiest families. 15-minute walk (1 km).
- Tram Linha 1 – An attraction in its own right as well as a mode of transport, this historic tram line runs from the Infante stop in Porto to the beaches of Foz do Douro, with great views of the river and its bridges along the way. 16-minute walk (1.5 km).
- Avenida dos Aliados – This grand avenue and central plaza in the heart of Porto is lined with beaux arts facades and features an equestrian statue of Dom Pedro IV. Walking tours of downtown Porto often assemble by the statue. 17-minute walk (1 km).
- Sé – Built on a hill in Baixa, Porto’s cathedral is the city’s most important religious building, located on the highest point in the city and next to Porto’s ancient defensive walls. Founded in the 12th century, it’s been rebuilt several times since, though one of its most impressive features, the original Romanesque nave and façade, is still intact. Don’t miss the beautiful cloister and the Casa de Cabildo, full of ecclesiastical treasures. 19-minute walk (1.5 km).