Gran Cruz House – Intimate riverside hotel catering to wine buffs.
Elegant and refined, this seventeenth-century townhouse in Ribeira, owned by the Porto Cruz port wine lodge, has been beautifully restored and turned into a seven-room boutique hotel. The individually-styled rooms retain original features such as granite lintels and heavy wooden beams in the loft, and the river-facing rooms offer unrivaled panoramic views of the Douro River. The excellent on-site restaurant and well-stocked bar aside, the hotel is exceptionally well-placed to explore the dining and nightlife scene just steps away, as well as attractions in Porto’s historic center and the port wine lodges across the river. The multilingual service is unobtrusive and efficient.
Gran Cruz House – Location
- Address: Praça da Ribeira, Viela do Buraco 19.
- Area: The hotel is located right on the riverbank in charming Ribeira, the super-central, historic, riverside neighborhood overlooking the Douro River and the pedestrian walkway running along the riverbank. It’s a wonderfully strollable part of town, with the starting point of the scenic Infante-Passeio Allegre tram route just across the street, and dozens of restaurants, cafes, and bars right on the doorstep. The majority of the city’s attractions are within a 5 to 20-minute walk, including many of the port wineries on the opposite side of the Douro River, across the Luís I bridge. The São Bento train station is nearby.
- How to Get There: From the airport, 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 (700m, 11-minute walk). The journey costs €2.45. If coming by a long-distance intercity train, from the main Campanhã train station take the local train to São Bento station in downtown Porto, right beside the São Bento metro stop. From here, the hotel is around 12 minutes’ walk (750m) southwest along the Rua de Mouzinho da Silveira, followed by Rua do Infante D. Henrique, and a short stroll east along the waterfront in the direction of the Luís I bridge. Alternatively, take the 100 Rumos airport shuttle door to door from the airport (from €12 one way), or a taxi (18 km, 25-minute drive).
- Handy to: Palácio da Bolsa, Porto cathedral, port wine lodges.
Gran Cruz House – The Basics
- Ages: This is very much an adult place, being a wine-themed hotel. Most guests tend to be city breakers – either couples or solo travelers. Babies can be accommodated on request.
- View: Of the 7 rooms, 4 (Tawny, Pink, Vintage, and White) face the river, while the 3 smaller rooms (Ruby, Reserve, and LBV) look out over the lively, historic Praça da Ribeira square and have partial views of the river.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools/jacuzzis.
- Laundry: In-room laundry service available at extra charge.
- Parking: No parking on-site, but there’s a parking garage nearby (€24 per day).
- Extras: Complimentary bottle of port (Porto Cruz Ruby) in the room; wine tastings arranged on request.
- When to Book: Reserve around 6 months in advance for the high season (May-July & September) as well as Christmas/New Year. For the rest of the year, it’s still a good idea to book a few weeks in advance.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +351 22 766 2270
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: grancruzhouse.pt
Gran Cruz House – Amenities
- Pool: No pool.
- Spa: No spa.
- Fitness Center: No fitness center.
- For Disabled Guests: Not suitable for disabled guests.
- For Families: Baby cots provided at no extra cost.
Gran Cruz House – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: Casario – Intimate on-site restaurant serving modern reinterpretations of traditional Portuguese dishes. Splurge on the 5-course tasting menu or opt for a la carte. Reservations essential. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 5-11pm. $$$.
- Lounge/Bar: There’s an on-site bar, well-stocked with a wealth of wines, particularly from the Douro valley region, including an extensive selection of Porto Cruz port wines. Open all day.
- Breakfast: Generous, complimentary a la carte breakfast. Includes pastries, local breads, cold cuts, cheese, pancakes, and eggs prepared according to your preferences. Served 8-11am in the river-facing dining area.
- Room Service: No official room service, though occasional requests can be accommodated.
Gran Cruz House – Rooms
- Room Types: Deluxe Double or Twin with City View • Deluxe Double or Twin with River View • Deluxe Double or Twin with River View and Balcony
- Smoking Rooms: Gran Cruz House is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: Each of the rooms is slightly different, so it depends on personal choice. The front-facing rooms are more spacious than the side-facing ones; of the river-facing room, Pink (4th floor) is our pick because of the private terrace. White is a cozy loft room on the 6th floor, also facing the river.
- For Families: No family rooms per se, but all rooms can accommodate a baby cot if necessary.
Gran Cruz House – Local Transport
- Walking: Central Porto is wonderfully walkable (and likely to strengthen calf muscles after walking up and down the hilly streets of Ribeira, Mirigaia, and Baixa/Sé neighborhoods). Many of Porto’s attractions are within a 5 to 20-minute walking radius from the hotel, as are numerous restaurants, bars, and port wine lodges. Bolsa Palace is a 6-minute walk (400m) from the hotel, while the cathedral is a 10-minute stroll (500m), and the Lello bookstore is a 16-minute walk (900m). 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 (700m, 11-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, 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. 14-minute walk (1 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. 4-minute walk (300m)
Gran Cruz House – 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 outside the hotel. 2-minute walk (200m).
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Jimão – An excellent tapas spot off a very touristy riverside plaza. No-nonsense flavors: sardine toasts, garlicky shrimp, bacalao (salted cod) salad, and more, accompanied by an excellent wine list. 1-minute walk (50m).
- Taberna Dos Mercadores – Inexpensive, traditional Portuguese restaurant specializing in regional dishes such as arouquesa meat stew and shrimp açorda bread soup. Regulars place an advance order for roast kid goat and cod tongue rice. Popular with locals. 2-minute walk (100m).
- 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. 3-minute walk (200m).
- Cantinho do Avillez – Perch on the outdoor terrace of this sleek bistro and order from a changing seasonal menu of Portuguese dishes with global touches such as wild mushroom risotto with scallops or giant red shrimp from the Algarve with a kick of Thai spice. Buzzy, informal, wallet-friendly weekday lunch set menu. 6-minute walk (350m).
- 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. 6-minute walk (350m).
- 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. 7-minute walk (400m).
- 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. 8-minute walk (500m).
- 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. 10-minute walk (600m).
- 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. 13-minute walk (800m).
- 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. 18-minute walk (1 km).
Best Nearby Cafes
- My Coffee Porto – High up above the Douro on a tiny lane overlooking the Luis I bridge, this specialty coffee shop is a great place to grab a cup of brew with a view or a sandwich. 6-minute walk (350m).
- Mercearia das Flores – Rustic deli selling regional products and doubling as a small café, with several tables parked outside for people-watching over coffee and light bites. 8-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 (600m).
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.
- The Wine Box – Hip, dark wine bar lined with wine crates gets hopping in the evenings, with customers ordering from a menu of over 450 wines, along with some petiscos (nibbles) to go with them. Buzzy vibe. 2-minute walk (100m).
- Wine Quay Bar – There are few better bars in Porto for watching the sunset than this riverside wine bar. Choose from a good range of local wines and platters of Portuguese cheeses and cold cuts. 2-minute walk (150m).
- 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. 7-minute walk (400m).
- 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. 8-minute walk (700m).
- Espaço Porto Cruz – One of several waterfront port wine visitor centers in Vila Nova da Gaia, this 4-story place comes with a terrific rooftop terrace as well as ground floor bar, plus an excellent restaurant and media space. Choose from several different tastings. 11-minute walk (900m).
- 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. 15-minute walk (900m).
- 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. 15-minute walk (900m).
- Cockburn’s Port Lodge – In a hilly location away from the Vila Nova da Gaia waterfront, this is one of the more intimate port wine lodges, featuring a museum on-site and the largest cellar in the area, with huge wooden vats and several rows of oak barrels. Great port wine, too. 22-minute walk (1.5 km).
- Churchill’s Port Lodge – Elegant port lodge, accessible via prior booking only. Apart from a tour of the cellars, visitors can tailor their own wine tasting (including rare vintage ones) in the modern tasting room overlooking the river. 22-minute walk (1.5 km).
- Graham’s Port Lodge – If visiting only one port lodge, make it Graham’s. One of the original British-founded lodges, it dates back to 1820; guided visits are by prior appointment only, with the choice of a range of tastings, including some fine vintage ports. 27-minute walk (2 km).
Nearby Shopping and Cool Shops
- Chaminé da Mota (Rua das Flores) – Decked out with antique typewriters and jukeboxes, this is part treasure cave and part venerable old bookstore to pick up some rare volumes (in Portuguese and English) as well as vintage prints. 8-minute walk (500m).
- 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. 8-minute walk (500m).
- 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. 9-minute walk (500m).
- 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. 10-minute walk (600m).
- Loja Tradições – If looking for a unique gift from Portugal, the owner can tell stories of all the items in this great gift shop, from hand-harvested sea salt from the Algarve to items made from traditional tiles and purses made from cork. 10-minute walk (600m).
- 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. 12-minute walk (700m).
- 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. 12-minute walk (700m).
- 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. 14-minute walk (900m).
- Prometeu Artesanato (Rua Alexandre Herculano 355) – This large store showcases a huge range of azulejos (traditional ceramic tiles), ceramic dishes (both functional and decorative), and jewelry by a collective of artisans from all over Portugal. 15-minute walk (1 km).
- Casa do Infante – Established in 1325, this beautifully restored building was the 1394 birthplace of Prince Henry the Navigator who led expeditions of discovery to West Africa. Now it’s a museum of the city’s history, with some wonderful Roman floor mosaics. 3-minute walk (200m).
- Ponte de Dom Luís I – The impressive iron bridge across the river was completed in 1886 by a student of Gustave Eiffel and has pedestrian walkways both on the lower and upper levels that offer fantastic views of the city and the river. Reach the upper level via funicular on the north bank or the cable car on the south bank. Local daredevils jump into the water near the bridge-side restaurant on the north bank. 4-minute walk (300m).
- 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. 5-minute walk (300m).
- 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. 5-minute walk (400m).
- 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. 6-minute walk (400m).
- 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. 10-minute walk (500m).
- World of Discoveries – Interactive museum and theme park that charts the journeys of Portuguese navigators. Popular with families. 11-minute walk (900m).
- 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. 13-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. 15-minute walk (800m).
- 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. 16-minute walk (900m).