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Porto overlooks the Douro river – the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. Classic buildings with multicoloured façades and burnt orange roofs crowd the steep riverbanks – all waiting to be explored on an Emerald Cruises river cruise.
Why go to Porto?
Lively and laid-back, ancient and modern, Porto has it all. The city’s beautiful cobbled streets date back to the Middle Ages and the central shops of the Old Town preserve the memory of the bygone era. Although today, while creating an ancient ambiance, these distinctive buildings also function as cafés serving traditional pastries, or as wine bars pouring white port and tonic, creating a contemporary buzz.
What’s good to do in Porto?
Exploring Portugal’s second city on foot as part of a small group, guided by a local expert, is a great way to familiarise yourself with Porto and Emerald Cruises offer this included excursion to do just that. Ribeira Square, in the centre of the Old Town, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and one of the city’s most attractive districts.
A short walk away, the impressive Palacio da Bolsa stock exchange is renowned for its neo-classical exterior and famous Arabe (Arab Room), while the exquisite interior of São Francisco Church is a sight to behold. Considered the most impressively designed structure in the city, if not in Europe, its abundant motifs reveal a Gothic and Baroque influence, all swathed in 400 kilogrammes of gold.
No visit to Porto would be complete without a glass of its namesake fortified wine. Call at the city aboard the Star-Ship Emerald Radiance and as well as admiring the lush vineyards adorning the scenic Douro valley landscape, Emerald Cruises guests can enjoy optional DiscoverMORE excursions to try the famous Taylor’s Port and visit the Quinta do Aveleda wine estate for a tasting of Vinho Verde with their on-site sommeliers. Come sundown, Porto’s beautiful riverbank illuminations are showcased as Emerald Radiance sets sail.
Little-known facts about Porto
The Latin name for Porto is Portus Cale, meaning ‘warm port’ from which the country, Portugal, takes its name.
The city’s nickname is Invicta, Portuguese for invincible. Dating back to the Portuguese Civil War, the city survived a siege and was never conquered.
Gustave Eiffel designed one of the bridges over the Douro, his last project before creating the famous tower in Paris.
The city of Porto is twinned with Bristol.
At the heart of the city, you’ll find Avenida dos Aliados, a sloping boulevard decorated with grandiose buildings illustrating a range of architectural styles, from neoclassical to French Beaux-arts. It is regarded as the city’s centre, and an impressive one at that, with the marble Town Hall at the top, accompanied by the modernist statue of renowned Portuguese writer, Almeida Garrett.
How to get there
Sail the Douro River with Emerald Cruises as part of an 8-day Secrets of the Douro itinerary, or explore for longer on an 11-day Secrets of the Douro cruise including a 3-night Lisbon stay.
Return flights from a selection of UK airports are included in the price, as well as airport transfers, wine or beer with lunch and dinner, tips and a number of excursions.