Taking Cais de Gaia as the starting point, sail on a cruise to Peso da Régua, along the Douro River, buy Portuguese crafts, catch the cable car to the Serra do Pilar Monastery or have a cocktail with your eyes set on the houses of the historical centre of Porto.
On the right riverbank
The historical centre and the Ribeira area are filled with monuments for you to visit. The São Francisco Church is worth a visit, as it is a classified a national monument that once belonged to the Convent of Frades Observantes of São Francisco. Be sure to look at the 17th and 18th century gilded woodcarvings, the murals, the paintings on wooden panels in the presbytery, and the 16th century tombs.
Sit in one of the street cafés in Cais da Ribeira, watch the boats sail by, listen to street music and try to identify in the landscape the Port wine cellar you want to visit.If youre a fan of adrenalin, you will be happy to know that you can enjoy jet boating on the Douro River, between the Porto and Gaia riverfronts. Enjoy the unique settings in an unusual way. In a jet-powered boat, live an adrenalin-filled adventure, not only for the speed, but especially for the acrobatics and incredible moves spins, fish tails and slides are just a few.
What to do
- Take your chance in a jet boat baptism
- Buy souvenirs and designer objects in the crafts shops
- Bird watch in the Local Natural Reserve of the Douro Estuary, a small natural haven at the river mouth
- Ride a bike along the bike lanes on both river banks
- Do a bit of fishing in the Douro River
On the left riverbank
Walk across the Luís I bridge, which was designed by one of the famous French engineer Gustave Eiffel´s pupils. Its construction began in 1881 and it required 3,054 tons of metal.
On the Vila Nova de Gaia bank, watch the Ribeira do Porto from the belvedere next to the bridge. Sit on the stone benches and enjoy a priviledged view of the 20th century monument and the old houses of the historical centre.Travel in time aboard the boat that once used to carry Port wine, the rabelo. Boarding on a cruise on this traditional vessel is like submerging into the soul of the city and into an economy older than the most historical of the six existing bridges over the Douro River.
What you need to know
- There are many companies that organise Segway tours with a tour guide
- The crafts fair in Cais de Gaia is held every first weekend of each month
- The Port wine cellars are open from 10 am and 7 pm from May to October, and close an hour earlier between November and April.
You can also take a long cruise in floating hotels: one of the shortest cruises, the one day cruise, takes tourists to Régua and leaves on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10.30 am (arriving in Douro at 7 pm).Admire the Nossa Senhora da Piedade chapel in Avenida Diogo Leite. The monument, which still shows the flood levels, is open to visitors between 8 am and 6 pm. Residents and devotees say that the water never reached the statue of the saint protector of fishermen and, in past times, of the men who transported the Port wine barrels across the river margins. See how the saint is strategically placed so that, when the chapel doors are open, she can see the Douro River.
Finally, you must visit the Port wine cellars in Avenida Diogo Leite and adjacent streets, slightly higher up the hill. Buy a souvenir of your trip in one of the shops or outdoor markets that sell modern crafts, Portuguese products (for your home or to savour) or decorative items.
You will like
- The cable car ride to Jardim do Morro because of the view
- Watching a show at the Hard Club
Whether you are in Ribeira do Porto or Cais de Gaia, you will have no trouble in finding a restaurant. But it will be difficult to pick just one. There are traditional restaurants, more modern ones and signature cuisine, yet all are based on Portuguese gastronomy. Many of them include the famous francesinha on the menu. To return to the centre of Porto, take the cable car and go to Jardim do Morro a 5 minute ride , where you can take the underground back downtown or go up to the Serra do Pilar Monastery.
How to get there
There are flights from Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Munich, Dortmund, Zurich, Liverpool, London, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Dole, La Rochelle, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Rodez, St. Etienne Toulouse, Tours, Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Bologna, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and New York.
The best way to go from the International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro to the city centre is to take the underground. The trip takes about 30 minutes.