We found ourselves with a day to explore Porto, the second largest city in Portugal recently having sailed there from Lisbon onboard Silver Dawn.
Trying to fit in as much as we could we first set sail onboard a small boat for a panoramic 50 minute river cruise which would allow us to see all of Porto’s six bridges. No two bridges are alike so there were plenty of photo opportunities, the commentary in English was sufficient, and the Douro river (a UNESCO river) offered some good views of either side of the city. It was a nice and easy intro to the city and we were blessed with good weather.
From the river we made our way to Caves Ferreira for a guided tour and wine tasting – the highlight of the day. The guided tour offered insight in to Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira a woman who reigned supreme in the wine world in the 1800’s. Ferreira has one of the world’s finest Vintage Port cellars dating back to 1815. Having been educated on the Douro valley vineyards and what makes the Ferreira estates so special, we strolled through the cavernous warehouse where hundreds of vats sit in silence, we viewed advertising over the decades and finished the tour by tasting three different categories of wine, White, Ruby and Tawny Porto. With shopping time after the tasting there was plenty knowledgeable staff producing items to tempt the wallet.
From here we ventured to Porto Cathedral which towers over the city offering fabulous views of both the city and the Douro river. It’s an easy climb to the top of one of the towers and gives a different view of the interior courtyard too. The cloisters with their azulejo tiles are stunning and well worth a visit.
As we had been bussed from A to B to this point, we then spent a few hours wandering the ancient streets just soaking up life in Porto, note that whilst compact it’s a hilly city but one we felt best explored on foot.