JUL 23,2014 - JUL 23,2014 (1 DAYS)
Walk along the Douro river - Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto - West of Ponte Luis I:
Start: Jardim do Morro Metro station (line 5, the yellow line), Vila Nova de Gaia (south bank of the Douro river).
End: Rua Infante Dom Henrique (historical centre, near the Douro river front).
Highlights: Jardim do Morro, Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, Belvedere (Miradouro), Ponte Luís I, Vila Nova de Gaia Barcos Rabelos, VNDG wineries, Vila Nova de Gaia quays, Ponte da Arrabida, Porto Academy, Massarelos, Museu do Carro Eléctrico, Museu do Vinho do Porto, Edifício da Alfândega do Porto, Muralha Fernandina, Rua Infante Dom Henrique.
Orientation: Cross to the south side of the Rio Douro, over the Ponte Dom Luís I, and you leave the city of Porto for the separate town of Vila Nova de Gaia (or just Gaia), though the distinction is irrelevant to visitors. The riverfront here – facing Porto’s Ribeira – also has a long line of cafés, bars and restaurants; cruise boats dock along the esplanade, while the wooden craft with sails are known as barcos rabelos, the traditional boats once used to transport wine casks downriver from the Douro port estates.
Distance: 15 km.
Duration: 1 day.
We take the yellow line of the Metro and take a ride south, crossing the Douro river. Our start point is the first station in the yellow line in Vila Nova de Gaia - on the south bank of the Douro: Jardim do Morro Metro station.
The Metro station is on the west side of Avenida da Republica. Go SOUTH (opposite side of the river) on Av. da República toward R. Rodrigues de Freitas until you arrive to the cross-lights. Turn left onto R. Rodrigues de Freitas. Turn left onto Rampa do Infante Santo and return northward, following the signpost "Monumento". Climb along the Rampa do Infante Santo from south to north (your face is in the direction of the river). Cross Largo Aviz on your right and you arrive to the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. Part of the area classified by UNESCO as World Heritage in December 1996, the Monastery of Serra do Pilar is the architectural landmark of Gaia. The interesting church and cloisters are laid out according to a circular design unique in Portugal. The convent built in the 16th century belonged to the Order of Saint Augustine. The church is characterized by a circular shape, a replica of the Church of Santa Maria Redonda in Rome, and is covered by a hemispheric vault with a narrow balcony running its full extent. It took 72 year to complete it due to the lack of funding and the political turmoil of those times – with the kingdom of Portugal having fallen to neighboring Spain. One legacy of that event was the adoption of a Spanish saint for the monastery, Our Lady of Pilar. In 1832, during the Siege of Porto, its military value was made use of with the convent swiftly turned into an improvised fort. At the beginning of the 20th century, the monastery was used for military barracks and remains under the tutelage of the Serra do Pilar Artillery Regiment. Within, the Church features some impressive carved gold leaf altars with Solomonic columns. There are also 18th century, polychrome wooden carvings of the saints Eulalia, Apolonia and Augustine. In front of the church, there is a wonderful view point taking in the full grandiosity of the city of Porto and the river Douro below. The monastery is still belongs to the Portuguese military and is closed to the public. The church is open for Mass every Sunday morning from 10am to noon. Monastery of Serra do Pilar, is a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO since 1996. It has opened to the public on 8 December 2012 as “House of the Northern Patrimony”. The entrance is done by a lateral door giving access to the welcome desk, to the shop and to the interactive digital table presenting information on Porto and North of Portugal. Then one gets inside the next room in which can be seen a film about the four places classified as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, on the North of Portugal - the historical centres of Porto and Guimarães, the landscape of the Douro Valley and the Archeological Park of the Côa Valley. Here one may see the statue of D. Afonso Henriques, Portugal’s first king, by the sculptor Soares dos Reis, made of plaster which was the cast for the statue existing next to the Castle of Guimarães. Visitors may also enjoy a guided visit by an element of the army, that owns the largest part of the space. On these guided tours, taking place every hour, it is possible to climb to the dome. By security reasons, access is only be allowed to groups of 15 persons at a time. It is necessary to climb 100 steps until the 360.º balcony that surrounds the church, being the last 53 steps done on spiral staircase. Admission fees: - 1, 00€ - visit to the “Patrimony Room” and to the Cloister - 3, 00€ - visit to the “Patrimony Room”, to the Cloister and to the dome. Free – for Youth Card holders, senior citizens (over 65 years old) and children up to 12 years old. Opening hours: SEP-FEB - from Tuesday to Sunday - from 09.30 to 17.30. From March on it is open from 09.00 to 18.30 and on July and August, from 09.00 to 19.00. The monastery is closed on Mondays, and on 25 December, 1st January, 1st May and Easter Sunday:
Definitely, the main attraction here is the Belvedere (Miradouro) with the most spectacular panoramic view over Porto.
Ponte Luis I and Ribeira:
Vila Nova de Gaia and Telefrico Vila Nova de Gaia:
Boats and barrels of wine - Vila Nova de Gaia:
Ponte Luis I and Avenida Gustav Eiffel in the northern bank of the Douro:
Upper and lower bridges - Ponte Luis I:
From the Miradouro we trace back and walk the whole way to the Jardim do Morro Metro station. Continue, on the west side of Avenida da Republica, more north-west into the park/garden itself of Jardim do Morro. Great views of the Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia waterfronts on both sides of the Douro, and mostly of the Zona Ribeirinha. Not-so-well-kept small park with playgrounds for the kids. Some picnic tables under a shelter. Even on a fine day though it’s something of a windy one.
From the park/garden southern corner - there is a path leading (zig-zag) down. Walk west along the garden wall and look at the view of the river north-westward:
Descend the stairs down (southward) and watch the funicular cabins moving up and down from Vila Nova de Gaia quays to the Jardim do Morro and back:
Walk down (first, south-west) until you arrive to Rua Pilar. Descend Rua do Pilar and turn right onto Escadas Pedrosa. Again, wonderful scenery of the north bank of the Douro and the Telefrico cabins:
Cross Rua General Torres to watch the panoramic view of Porto and the Douro from a small viewpoint:
Turn right and descend further to the river. In the end of the zig-zag descent - you'll see the mighty Luis I bridge opposite your face with all its grandiosity:
The Luís I (or Luiz I) Bridge (Portuguese: Ponte Luís I or Luiz I) is a metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. It is, actually, two-hinged double-deck arch bridge. At the time of construction its span of 172 m was the longest of its type in the world. The Portuguese government held a competition for the construction of a metallic bridge over the Douro River on a site that was adjacent to an existing bridge that it would replace. Téophile Seyrig (a Belgian engineer, who was a student of Gustav Eiffel) had engineered the D. Maria Pia Bridge project nearby, whilst working as a partner of Eiffel. He now took sole responsibility for the new, major Luís I Bridge. The construction was begun in 1881 and the bridge opened on 31 October 1886. Its total length is 385.25 m, weight 3045 tons. The arch measures 172 m in length and 44.6 m in height. Originally built to carry road traffic on both decks, at various times it saw trams on the upper and trolleybuses on the lower. Now the top deck is occupied by Line D of the Metro do Porto and a pedestrian walkway. The bridge’s top deck is now reserved for pedestrians as well as one of the city’s metro lines. The upper tray offers spectacular views for pedestrians. It also carries the metro. I understand walking along here can be quite daunting for those with a fear of heights. The lower deck bears regular traffic, with narrow pedestrian walkways lining the road. With its archetypical shape and the nice silver-blue color, the bridge is very picturesque, albeit massive at the same time.
If you are not afraid of heights you should try to cross it on both levels. The views are surprisingly different due to the height difference. I found them to be particularly spectacular in the hard back-light of the afternoon when the people promenading along the quays seemed to become mere silhouettes. The bridge itself looks best in the soft evening light. As we said, the Dom Luis bridge has a lower and an upper floor. The lower floor is mainly reserved for the cars, but you have a pedestrian alley too. But the top floor is what is really interesting as this is reserved for the trains and the pedestrians and you have a fantastic view from the top of the bridge where you can see the river Douro and both it's riverbanks as well as most of the rest of Porto:
In the end of the descent, on your right, there is a formal entrance for pedestrians:
Near the entrance to pedestrians - there is a small, circular viewpoint of the mighty Luis I bridge:
At the moment - we don't cross the Luis I bridge. We'll do that in a later blog/itinerary of Porto. We head to the quays along the west coast of Vila Nova de Gaia and we'll cross the river (from south to north) over another bridge (Ponte Arrabida). With our face to the Douro river - turn left, west and walk along the front line of the river:
Near Restaurante D. Tonho - Gaia, stand over a jerky, wooden small quay to take photos of the flat-bottom boats called 'Barcos Rabelos' who were loaded with barrels of Port wine. While Port is produced from grapes grown in the Douro valley - traditionally, until 1986 it could only be exported from Portugal from Vila Nova de Gaia. The wine was taken downriver in to be processed and stored in Vila Nova de Gaia cellars. However, in the 1950s and 1960s, several hydroelectric power dams were built along the river, ending this traditional conveyance down the river. Currently, the wine is transported from the vineyards by tanker trucks and the Barcos Rabelos are only used for racing and other displays.
We start, now, reviewing several wineries along our route. Vila Nova de Gaia, of course, is completely synonymous with the port wine trade – you can’t miss the dozens of company lodges and warehouses (known as caves), some in business for more than three centuries, that splash their brand names across every rooftop, facade and advertising hoarding. They almost all offer tastings and tours, conducted in English, with a view to enticing you to buy. Tours of the smaller, lesser-known companies tend to be more personal than those of larger producers, but they are all pretty informative and you’ll soon know the difference between a tawny and a ruby, and which vintages are best. The path along the river might be blocked due to extensive reconstruction works carried on along the river shore. So we are forced to move to Avenida Diogo Leite. On your left the CALEM winery. Established in 1859 by António Alves Cálem, Porto Cálem has dedicated itself to the production, ageing and commercialization of Port Wine and Douro wines. In 1934 a range of Ports was created - Tawny, Ruby and White. In 2006 the reconstruction of Cálem's Cellars were distinguished with the American Award Best of Wine Tourism. Calem differentiate themselves with a port cellar tour, followed by generous tastings accompanied by 45mins of Fado music at 18.30 everyday (except Mondays). Your tour guide will tell you everything about Port wines. At the end you can taste two port wines and you can buy bottles from 10 to 500 Euro's. Touristy but still a nice experience. I recommend taking these tours during the evenings... Tour price: 5 euros. Opening hours: May to October - 10.00 - 19.00 everyday. November to April - 10.00 - 18.00 everyday.
We cross Rua da Barroca on our left
and arrive to Kopke wine cellar. C.N. Kopke is the oldest Port Wine Company, was established in 1638 by Christiano Kopke and his son, Nicolau Kopke who came to Portugal as representatives of the Hanseatic League. Kopke, has almost with 4 centuries of success in the Port Wine world and was bought by Sogevinus group in 2006. Most of its success comes from the Old Tawnies from a single year – Colheita Ports – high quality Wines matured in cask during a minimum period of 7 years. Opening hours: May to October - 10.00 - 19.00 everyday. November to April - 10.00 - 18.00 everyday. Only a small shop and tasting house, no tours here but the chance to taste some great port in nice surroundings. Not expensive, full explanation given with the port and all accompanied by some tasty chocolates:
One minute walk further along Avenida Diogo Leite - on your left a small church:
and another wine cellar: Quinta Do Noval-vinhos Sa, Avenida Diogo Leite 256. Famous for the unique Nacional Vintage Port, Quinta do Noval produces a world class range of Port wines. Quinta do Noval is one of the major historic Port houses, renowned for its great Vintage Ports, its fine old Tawnies and since 2006 for its Douro wines:
Immediately next to Quinta Do Noval winery - is the Vila Nova de Gaia Tourist Information office. Wealth of information and leaflets ONLY of Vila Nova de Gaia.We skip the Sandeman winery, Largo Miguel Bombarda 3 - which is a bit south to our route along Avenida Diogo Leite (price of tour: 9 euros).
5 minutes further Rota do Douro - cruises along the Douro company.Many options of excursions, cruises, combination with trains etc'. Six bridges cruise along the Douro - price: € 10,00. Length of Cruise 50 MIN. TIMETABLE: 10.00 // 10.30 // 11.00 // 11.30 // 12.00 // 12.30. The tour cost €5 and included a tour of the museum and cellar followed by tasting two of the ports.
Another cruises company is the Douro Azul company. The “6 bridges” cruise with the company's "Blue Boats" costs 10 euros and gives you the opportunity to admire the old city of Porto, with its typical houses and the hustle and bustle of the Ribeira people, while admiring the architecture of the bridges that connect the two river banks:
The street changes its name to Av. Ramos Pinto. The next winery is Vinicola Ramos Pinto, Av. Ramos Pinto, 380. A company with over 130 years of history. Opening hours: May to October
Monday to Friday, 10.00 - 18.00 Everyday, April - Monday to Friday, 10.00 to 18.00 Except Holidays. November to March - Monday to Friday, 9.00 - 17.00 Except Holidays. Last visit, 1 hour before closing. The museum is a tour of the original offices which are beautiful and it is amazing to see it them fully preserved. The main area where you do the tasting is lovely and cool on a hot day. The tour takes about 45 mins. and costs €5 (If you have a ticket of the red hop-on/hop-off bus the entrance is free) and includes a tour of the museum and cellar followed by tasting two of the ports.
Just before the street changes its name, again, you hit a third cruises company. The same offers, the same prices with Ferreira Porto:
Summary of cruises companies:
BARCADUORO (sightseeing by boat)
Tickets: 10 EUR/adult, free for children up to 11 years
Fullday tour Douro - Régua - Porto (March-November): 55 EUR/adult, 27,5 EUR/child
Duration: 55 minutes
Starting: Vila Nova de Gaia
VIA D'OURO (sightseeing by boat)
Tickets: 10 EUR/adult, free for children
Cruise + dinner (19:30): 65 EUR/adult, 32,5 EUR/child
Starting: Estiva Wharf
DUOROAZUL (sightseeing by boat)
Cruise + lunch (12:00): 45 EUR/adult, 22,5 EUR/child
Starting: Vila Nova de Gaia
Porto - Régua - Porto: 56-65 EUR/person
Porto Pinhao - Porto: 65-69 EUR/person
Along our walk west you meet also boats builders:
and fishermen working along Vila Nova de Gaia quays:
The street along the river, bends, now, to the north-west and changes its name to Cais de Gaia. On your left stairs that lead to Rua da Fonte Nova and more old and run-down parts of Vila Nova de Gaia:
View to the northern bank of the Douro from Cais de Gaia:
Further, the street is called - Cais Fontaínha. There are interesting (still, run-down) houses of Vila Nova de Gaia along Cais Fontaínha:
The next quays/piers are: Cais Capelo Ivens and Cais do Cavaco. On your left you see a demolished, aristocratic Quinta (winery estate):
A rustic quay before arriving to Ponte da Arrabida:
The next bridge we face is Ponte da Arrabida. The Arrábida Bridge is an arch bridge over the Douro River that connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, in Portugal. It is the most downstream bridge across the Douro River, just a few kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean. It carries 6 lanes of European route A1. At the time of its completion in 1963, the bridge's main span of 270m was the largest of any concrete-arch bridge in the world. The total length of the deck is 493.2m, having a width of 26.5m. The arch has a rise of 52m, and the maximum clearance above river level is 70m above:
Move to the left pavement of Cais do Cavaco - turn LEFT to Rua de Cavaco and ascend the stairs and a path (might be muddy and slippery !) leading to the Arrabida Bridge. The bridge is an impressive piece of engineering with one of the largest arches in the world. It is the closest to the mouth of the River Douro.
View of the Arrabida Bridge from the (dirty) stairs leading to the bridge:
On the bridge:
There is a breathtaking view of the mouth of the Douro and the coastal parts of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.
View to the northern bank of the Douro river from Ponte da Arrabida:
We cross the Arrabida bridge from south to north. A section of 700 m. - very noisy and bustling. We recommend that you take the eastern pedestrians path. I didn't try the western one (looking to the Douro mouth). The eastern one is safe and provides spectacular views over Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.
After descending from the Arrabida bridge to the northern (Porto) bank of the Douro river - cross the parking lot, turn right under the small bridge and turn left. On your left is Porto Academy (Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto). The Porto Academy is a "Summer School" organized by the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto. For a week, a group of architects from different nationalities are responsible for various working groups as well as giving a lecture about their own careers or projects. A week (usually, mid-July) of workshops resulting in a final public presentation and the summary of the work in a booklet. You can dine in the academy's canteen/restaurant. Reasonable food with rock-bottom prices.
Leave Porto Academy from its southern or eastern exits. If you get out from the southern exit - cross Via Panorâmica Edgar Cardoso and continue south along R. do Gólgota. If you leave Porto academy from yje east - turn right onto Via Panorâmica Edgar Cardoso, and turn left onto R. do Gólgota. Turn right to stay on R. do Gólgota. Take the stairs, 100 m.
Turn right onto R. Cap. Eduardo Romero/R. da Boa Viagem 13 m. Turn left onto R. Cap. Eduardo Romero, 200 m. Turn left toward Alameda Basílio Teles, 89 m. We are in the Massarelos area of Porto. Turn left onto Alameda Basílio Teles. The Museu do Carro Eléctrico, Alameda Basílio Teles 51 is on your left. During Summer 2014 the museum has been formally closed for renovations. It doesn't seem to be opened during 2014. Opening hours: Winter ( 15 SEP - 14 JUN) MON 14.00 - 18.00, TUE-FRI 09.30 - 18.00, SAT, SUN, Holidays 14.00 - 19.00. Summer (15 June - 14 SEP) MON 14.00 - 18.00, TUE-FRI 10.00- 19.00, SAT, SUN, Holidays 13.30 - 19.00. Admission prices: Adult 4.00€, children - 2.50€, children < 4 yrs - free. Members of staff in this museum don't speak even one word of English.
The museum documents Porto's tram and trolleybus history and is located opposite two of the three heritage tram routes (1 and 18). Here is a tram of Line 18 which rides from Massarelos area to Ribeira in the centre of Baixa Porto and vice versa. The old trams are not included in the Viva VIagem Porto cards. They cost (summer 2014) 1.80€/ride. Line 18 doesn't travel along the river shore but more inland (north).
You can sneak into the outdoor display of the historical wagons and get some photos of the enchanting trams around:
We cross Alameda Basílio Teles and walk more to the south along the Douro river - heading EAST. Part of our walk will be on a hanging metal bridge over the river's water - Viaduto do Cais das Pedras. In the beginning of the metal bridge, on our left, beyond Cais Pedras, is the Igreja Matriz de Massarelos (Church of the Confraternity of the Holy Souls) founded at year 1776:
Viaduto do Cais das Pedras converges with Rua Monchique and continues its way inland. On your left is the Museu do Vinho do Porto,
Rua Monchique 45. Museu do Vinho do Porto. The Museum of Port Wine is one of the small museums of the Museum of the City of Porto in Portugal. Opened in 2004, the Port Wine Museum is housed in a beautiful eighteenth century building on the banks of the Douro river. The museum aims to publicize the history and the importance of trade in Port wine in the historical development of the city through various panels and multimedia stations that illustrate all business, the wine region, the Douro railway line, the Rabelo boats, the evolution of the bottles and various objects related to the famous wine. No insight into the Port wine itself (well, a "dry" visit only)... Prices: admission €2.20, weekends free. Opening hours: 10.00 - 17.30 Tue-Sat, 10.00 - 12.30 & 14.00 - 17.30 Sun. Closed on Mondays:
We continue to Rua Nova Alfândega. Note, on your left, the pictorial, old, run-down houses along this central street:
On your right - Edifício da Alfândega do Porto, Alfândega Congress Centre. One of the largest congress centres in Portugal. Designed by architect Jean FG Colson and tastefully restored by architect Souto Moura, the building is singular in style with an unforgettable riverside location in the heart of Porto's historic centre. Its construction involved the construction of the pier and of a huge platform- based Customs House, which replaced the old beach Miragaia. Additionally, in order to facilitate the transport of goods, the Customs House and Station were linked by a railway extension in 1888. This set of changes is considered by many as one of the most profound urban and landscape changes of Porto in the nineteenth century. The concept of the building comprised not only the infrastructure for the entry and exit of goods, but also several facilities such as warehouses, railways, turnstiles that facilitated the movement of wagons and cranes. From the 1990s, the building complex met the intervention of restoration and redevelopment with architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. It had been transformed into the Congress Centre, the Museum of Transport and Communications and the headquarters of the Association Museum of Transport and Communications (AMTC) private nonprofit institution established in February 1992 with the mission of preserving the building of the former Customs Port, as well as other assets of transport and communications. The Museum of Transport and Communication. 3 euros. No photos allowed. Opening hours: TUE-FRI 10.00 -13.00 (entrance till 12.00), 14.00 - 18.00 (entrance till 17.00), SAT, SUN, holidays: 15.00 - 19.00 (entrance till 18.00):
"A Gralha" (The Magpie) outdoor sculpture on the Miragai pier:
A macabre and sobering exhibition featuring instruments of torture are on display in the Alfândega Congress Center until 28 September 2014. The Maquinas de Tortura (Instruments of Torture) exhibition, which has already been seen in over 10 countries worldwide, features 50 original pieces used during the period of the Inquisition, from 13th to 17th centuries. 7 euros. No photos allowed.
We continue further along Rua Nova Alfândega heading to the historical centre of Porto. On your left, more old houses along this famous avenue:
The closer you arrive to the centre - the more packed and dangerous your walk along the Rua Nova Alfandega is. The whole right (south) side of the street is under construction and the north side has no pavements. You pave your way through trams rails and busy, noisy roads with heavy transportation around. On your left Porto old walls in Escadas do Caminho Novo. This is the Muralha Fernandina - the medieval, outer line of Porto walls from the XIVth century. In the middle of this century, even in the time of King Afonso IV, began to be built a new outer wall that was almost completed around 1370 The fact that the work was only completed in the reign of Ferdinand, explains that is commonly referred to as "Ferdinand Wall." The walls began to be progressively demolished from the second half of the eighteenth century to make way for new streets, squares and buildings. Most of the wall has been demolished in the late nineteenth century. The surviving sections of the Walls Fernandine were classified as "national monuments" in 1926:
Here, a Swiss boys doing Parkour exercises on the stairs leading to the walls:
Further, eastward - Escadas do Recanto :
After crossing Rua O Comércio do Porto on your left (north) you arrive to Largo and Rua de S. Francisco:
A bit further is the central street of Rua Infante Dom Henrique. Note the large-scale fresco on the rear wall of Sao Nicolau church:
Opposite, in Rua Ferreira Borges - another fresco:
You may turn left to Monument Church Of St Francis and visit the church and the museum there. But, this visit should last, at least, one hour. We explore the Igreja da Ordem de S. Francisco and the Museu da Venerável Ordem Terceira de São Francisco do Porto in another blog/itinerary of Porto Historical Centre which includes many more sites in Old Porto
Boat trips on the Rio Douro:
Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia are located on the banks of the Rio Douro and a boat on the river is one of the more pleasant and relaxing things you can do while in both cities. Boat trips can last from an hour to two or more days with or without meals and vineyard visits. Many of the tours from Porto combine rail and river so you go one way by boat and return by train or vice versa. The scenery is stunning - vineyards to begin with and then olive groves down to the water's edge the whole way. There are trips lasting from around 30 minutes to trips that last you for several days. I have taken the 50 minutes - 1 hour tour that takes you through the most central part of the river banks in Porto and under the 5-6 main bridges. 10 euros (free for under 12 year olds). The bridges (Pontes) are Freixo, S. Joao, Dona Maria Pia, Infante, Dom Luis 1 and Arrabida. With some of the cruise companies there is no commentary at all or no English narration. There is also a typical offer of 1 day cruise - Porto to Regua (Week days) - boat upstream and train downstream: Leaving Porto, the boat passes under some of the famous high level bridges. As the journey across the Douro takes place, the boat is raised by a series of locks, some being the highest in Europe. These locks and the dams through which they go have tamed the river from the dangerous rapids which sank many yachts when the river was used for wine transport. Later the railway line runs along the river for its journey upstream. The arrival of the railway resulted in all the wine being carried by train and the carriage downriver by ship stopped. In recent years, the wine has been moved downstream by road tankers. The river passes through the demarcated port wine region of steeply terraced hills and mountains and white painted Quintas (estates) to Regua, the important Port Wine town. 8.00 Shipping, Departure to Regua, Breakfast on board, Crestuma-Lever Dam (height 14 mts), meal Lunch on board, Carrapatelo Dam (height 35 mts)
14:45 Arrival at Regua - free time, train 16:30 meeting at Regua Railway station, 16:50 return by train to Porto, train 18h50 Arrival at Porto and
end of the cruise at Vila Nova de Gaia Quay. Rates per person: Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Oct: 62.50 euros, Jul / Aug / Sep: 67.50 euros, Public holidays: 72.50 euros, Children up to 3 years old: Free, Children between 4 and 11 years old: 50% off. On public holidays the return to Porto will be made by tourist bus. Monday to Friday from March to October. With the long journeys - the sailings offers in terms of food and service are pretty much the same. The cabins are spacious with two armchairs and a balcony but storage devices are poor; not enough drawers. Cabins look, sometimes untidy. The bathrooms are, generally, good with good basins, showers and plumbing. TV sets provided free, as well as WiFi and Internet access.
The Douro is increasingly popular with international river lines and companies like AmaWaterways, with its AmaVida and Uniworld with its Queen Isabel, have added new and upgraded ships in the region. In spring 2014, Viking River Cruises christened two new ships — Viking Torgil and Viking Hemming — in Porto. CroisiEurope also offers Douro cruising — the French line has three ships in the region.
The Francesinha (which translates into Little French Girl) is a sandwich filled with ham, some sausage and a STEAK, which is then drenched in melted cheese and the secret sauce. If that wasn’t enough, you get served up fries as well. Filling !.