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  • Cecilia Clark

Porto, Portugal: November 5 - 8, 2023

We stayed a couple of nights in Coimbra before driving to Porto. We dropped the car at the airport and returned to Porto in a taxi as it is impossible to drive near the riverfront and the Porto Marathon was in process when we arrived. Porto on the north bank and Vila Nova de Gaia on the south bank of the Douro River are connected by many bridges. Dom Luis I bridge is easily accessed by walkers. It is a two-deck iron bridge originally opened in 1886. Presently the upper deck is used by pedestrians and the metro system while the bottom deck is used by public transport, taxis, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Gaia is the hub of the port industry. At one time barrels of Douro Valley port were loaded onto Rabelos and floated down to the Port Cellars for aging. Now Rabelos transport tourists instead of port. The barrels on the Rabelos are for show. The city that has sprung up around the port cellars is a new city. Most of our sightseeing was on the Porto side, but we did venture over to Gaia for a fabulous lunch and port wine.

The city of Porto goes from the riverfront (Ribeira) up, up to the hills. Our hotel, Guest House Douro, was on the Ribeira meaning we did a lot of walking--everything was up.

The first level of the recently renovated Bolhão Market, open since 1914, has all the usual fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but also wine/port tasting, knife sharpening, pastries, breads, salted cod, canned sardines, and prepared delicacies for a picnic on a good weather day. The second level has restaurants.

On our last day we took the boat taxi over to Gaia and walked about 20 minutes or so to Vinum Restaurant at Graham's Cellars for a fabulous lunch with dessert and port to celebrate our last day of a wonderful and varied vacation. The boat taxi gave us a better view of Porto's Ribeira.

Porto is a beautiful city especially at sunset. A perfect ending.


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