We'd planned to visit the wine caves, then do a boat trip, but decided we needed to eat first, and decided to eat in Gaia.
On our way we were approached by a girl ( working for Portowellcome ) asking if we'd like to do the boat trip and visit 2 wine caves (Croft and Calem) for 10 Euros . We agreed to this, and bought our tickets for the 15.30 departure ( giving us an hour to eat before the trip )
Bear in mind that these 2 wine caves have free admission anyway- but we decided for convenience- boat trip and wine caves, we'd pay the 10 Euros.
Just before 15.30 we walked the gang-plank , and waited for the tour boat to pull alongside. We then transferred to this boat for the 50 minute trip up river, under 4 bridges, then down river to the mouth of the Douro, under 2 more bridges.
The bridges (Pontes) are Freixo, S. Joao, Dona Maria Pia, Infante, Dom Luis 1 and Arrabida.
There was no commentary on this trip, which might have been helpful.
There was a bar on the boat- Don't know what the prices were-as we were intending to visit 2 wine caves after the boat trip, I didn't buy any drinks on board.
After 50 minutes, we arrived back to the quay.
We headed for the Croft wine caves- took us a while to find from the map!
Surprisingly when we arrived at the Croft caves, there was no one from the boat on our tour of the cave.
We enjoyed our Croft cave experience (check out tips below) but didn't have time to visit Calem. We intended to visit the next day, but we didn't get around to it.
Trips daily 10 euros free for under 12 year olds
Portowellcome organise a variety of tours from 50 mins to 1/2 day, full day of Porto and surrounding region, plus Santiago de Compostelo in Spain for 152 Euros
Porto is 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 Porto.
There are trips lasting from around 30 minutes to trips that last you for several days.
I have taken the 1 hour tour a couple of times that takes you through the most central part of the river banks in Porto and under all the main bridges.
When i have the time for it i would like to cruise further up the river for a few days, but if you have limitied time then the one hour tour is very nice too.
Cruises on the Douro - List of Companies
Edifício Via Gaia - Rua Rei Ramiro, 870, 1º H
4400-280 Vila Nova de Gaia
Tel. (351) 223 722 415 // Tel./Fax (351) 223 723 116
Rota do Douro
AVª Diogo Leite 250 2º
4400 - 111 Vila Nova de Gaia
Tel. (351) 223 759 042 // Fax (351) 223 759 043
The Douro is a magnificent river, and well worth a cruise. I recently went up the Rhine River cruise that is hugely popular with the British, and this was at least as stunning. What it lacks in historic castles, it more than makes up for in beautiful countryside. In addition the cruise passes through two enormous dams, like the one pictured, which involve passing through their giant locks. I think the one pictured had a drop of about 100m, which was phenomenal.
A number of tours are operated by different companies, and you can combine them with a train ride like I did, but they all take a good day to complete. Even with a relatively fast train taking up part of the journey, and travelling the shortest distance to Regua, I was still out of Porto from 9am until 6pm. That with only enough time in Regua to walk from the train station to the docks!
You can easily book the tours from the tourist office near the Town Hall, and the costs are pretty reasonable. I paid 55 euros for the full day, including a meal. I also got lucky and sat with the tour leaders for the train journey to Regua, and got to learn ten times more about Porto, Portugal and the river than I would from any book.
I personally consider tourist ferries as floating tourist traps, and the Duoro cruises wouldn't be the exception that confirms the rule... if it weren't because those cruises offer two different activities that mixed together are definitely worthy of doing: Admiring the spectacular cliffs of Duoro’s outlet, while tasting a fine (though a little bit overpriced) glass of Porto wine. Being treated like a head of tourist cattle is not that bad when you’re a little bit tipsy ;-)
If you haven't got the time to take a trip all the way up the Douro there are still options available. From the Praca de Ribeira there are plenty of boat trips on the river, running at least every 15 minutes during the day. These will take you on a "six bridges" tour, which show you Porto's famous bridges in about an hour.
The yatch "ENIGMA" offer its passengers a complete navigation equipment. You can enjoy a large leisure area and solarium In the interior of the "Enigma" as the inferior deck is divided in three rooms and two bathrooms, all exceptionally large and comfortable, has a spacious living room.The kitchen is completely equipped and very functional.
Cruising the Douro is a relaxing float up and down the river for about an hour, taking you under the 6 bridges of the town and giving you a different perspective and nice views of the city. There are some lovely old buildings along the water, old and modern bridges, a view of parts of the old city wall and a look at some of the steep landscape in process of being redeveloped as well as some that has fallen into a pretty sad state. The tours may vary in price but ours was 10 Euros.
Take a Douro River cruise. There are many boats stationed along either bank of the river. Although touristy, you can often sample delicious local food and port wine while cruising along the picturesque river.
There are numerous operators along the Ribeira offering boat trips. I'm not sure which particular one we went on but it was only €10 each and we were out for about an hour. You get a commentary if you can speak Portuguese!
Take a trip on the river, there are lots of boats you can choose from, the summer maybe a bit busier, very dull when we went on the river, 7.50 euro's, the views are excellent, i think there are 5 bridges we passed under, well one was under construction and was only half a bridge, only lasted about an hour but was worth it, i am going to put in a small trvlg with some views from the river.
Departing point for several cruises along the river, this quarter, close to Ribeira, is also being restored, and shows a clean and nice face to the river.
Well, in the back there is still much work to be done.