Address: Gallery Hostel, Rua de Miguel Bombarda 222, 4050-377 Porto, Portugal
I’ve stayed in many hostels over the years, and these days I’m at the age where I tend to stay in hotels more. Porto’s Gallery hostel isn’t your typical hostel, though. It’s more of an affordable boutique hotel with hostel features like a shared kitchen. Considering Gallery Hostel has almost perfect reviews on Tripadvisor, and it’s around half the price of a normal boutique hotel, I couldn’t resist seeing if it lived up to expectations.
There are two areas where Gallery Hostel really stands out: decor and friendliness.
Firstly, the decor. The recently restored century year old building is decorated with beautiful azulejos (tiles), in a style that’s modern yet still retains the original character of the building. As well as being a hostel, the Gallery Hostel is also an art gallery and so the hostel is decorated with paintings and artwork from the latest exhibition.
The staff are very friendly, helpful, and always on hand if you need to ask them anything. At check-in, they take the time to give you information about Porto, including their own recommendations about where to go, what to see, and where to eat and drink in the city.
Gallery Hostel has beautifully-decorated rooms; both individual private rooms and also dorm rooms. I stayed in one of the private rooms and really liked it. The room was nicely decorated, there was a great shower, and the bed was very comfortable.
Note: some reviews on TripAdvisor said the beds weren’t very comfortable. I don’t know if things have changed, or I just managed to get the comfy bed, but I definitely didn’t have any problems.
Gallery Hostel’s Location
Porto is a very easy city to get around on foot and, even though the hostel isn’t in the heart of the action, it doesn’t take long to get from Gallery Hostel to the main sites (10-15 minutes). Walking to the attractions is usually easier than walking back from them, as the walk back is uphill, but I never found the distance from the city centre taking its toll on me.
For example, here’s the distance from Gallery Hostel to some of the main sites in Porto:
- Nearest metro station (Aliados): 13 minutes’ walk
- Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace): 10 minutes’ walk
- Torre dos Clérigos (Clerigos Tower): 12 minutes’ walk
- Port houses: 35 minutes’ walk
As well as the above, we also stumbled upon a few places nearby that are worth knowing about.
- Minipreço Supermarket: Located just 1-minutes’ walk from the hostel on the same street (Rua de Miguel Bombarda), this is a handy little supermarket for picking up bottled water and other small snacks for the room.
- Flow restaurant: We treated ourselves to a €20 per person lunch menu here, and it was worth every cent. Located about 5-minutes’ walk from the hostel.
- Sabores do Sebouth Sirian Food: A good cheap kebab shop nearby, if you’re just looking for something cheap but tasty to fill a hole. Just a minute or two from the hostel.
- Taberna dos Esquecidos: A quiet little bar and restaurant. Ideal for a romantic drink or two.
Atmosphere & Other Guests
The Gallery Hostel tends to attract travellers in their late twenties to mid thirties; people who want to stay in a hostel, but don’t want to spend the night playing spin the bottle. Although that was the main demographic at the hotel, I think most age groups (younger or older) would feel comfortable here as would families.
If you’re travelling alone and want to meet other people, there isn’t much of a communal vibe. Your best chance of meeting people is to do the daily free walking tour and sign up for the daily €10 evening meal.
Gallery Hostel offers a lot of amenities, including breakfast.
- Breakfast: The breakfast was good, but nothing to write home about. It was mainly toast and cornflakes, which is fine if you just want something to fill your belly. I saw some other people bring pastries in from nearby. I would probably just eat them in the nearby café, though, as the coffee in the hostel was fairly average and a bica in a local café will probably cost less than €1.
- €10 Evening Meal: We didn’t have the evening meal, but if we’d had more time we would have. With three courses of traditional Portuguese food, including plenty of wine, it’s very budget-friendly and a great way to meet other travellers as well.
- Walking Tour: Gallery Hostel offers a daily free walking tour although it wasn’t on the first day we were there. A couple of other companies offer free walking tours in Porto (such as Panco, City Lovers, and Porto Walkers). We went with City Lovers and had a great walking tour.
- Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is available in the hostel. It doesn’t extend properly to all of the rooms, but the reading room has Wi-Fi as well as computers that you can use.
- Smoking Room: If you need somewhere to puff and don’t want to do it on the street, there’s a covered smoking room.
- Cinema Room: A place where you can chill out and watch DVDs.
- Bike hire: We found the city easy to get around on foot. The hills in Porto are quite steep, so it may not be the easiest place to cycle around.
- Shared Kitchen: There’s a shared well-equipped kitchen that you can use as well as a shared fridge.
- Bar: The hostel has a nice-looking bar which has its own happy hour. There was a sign up saying to ring the bell if you wanted served (the staff are mainly in the reception), but we never really saw anyone ring it.
Consensus & Booking Tips
Next time I visit in Porto, I will definitely consider staying at Gallery Hostel. Some of the reviews on TripAdvisor say it’s the best hostel in Porto, and they may be right. But, even though I liked it, I wasn’t completely blown away. For my review of Gallery Hostel, I’m giving it a 4 out of 5.
For those on a budget, there are obviously cheaper hostels and cheaper hotels. But I highly doubt you’d find a boutique hotel in the same price range that offers the same decor and service.
Gallery Hostel can be booked through most accommodation websites including booking.com and hostel booking sites like HostelWorld and HostelBookers. At the time of writing, the prices were slightly cheaper on booking.com.