Enchanting, historic with Parisian-style squares, Oporto is a great destination to have your camera at the ready. Best known for its port wine, Oporto is teeming with atmosphere, sightseeing opportunities and exceptional cuisine for a great Portuguese experience and cruise passengers looking to discover the medieval architectural beauty.
The medieval Ribeira district is fantastic for capturing the charm of the Dom Luis Bridge spanning the picturesque River Douro. Make sure to board one of the early 20th century trams that pass along the front, adjacent to the Douro River, so you can sit back and enjoy the views that Oporto has to offer. With its charming narrow streets and rich historical background, the Ribeira District is often referred to as the ‘Medieval Quarter’. If you were take a walk through Ribeira you can witness the views across the river to Gaia, home of the famous port wine cellars, see 19th century iron bridges and traditional Rabelo boats, not forgetting to stop at one of the local taverns to sample local cuisine and port wine.
Old homes in multiple hues stand guard over the waterfront and harbour of Cais da Ribeira, that’s not only a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s the most picturesque part and place that everyone is enticed to visit when they visit Oporto. With its setting of traditional boats and exquisite architecture setting the tone for the rest of the day, this area is perfect for enjoying a well-deserved drink and bite to eat whilst watching the boats sail along the river.
Porto Cathedral is outstanding to see whilst visiting this port of call being the largest in the city and boasting impeccable views out over the old town. The Porto Cathedral was built in the 12th century and still stands impressively to this day. Elsewhere, stands the bravura Sao Francisco Church with its fine Baroque decoration, painstakingly covered pure gold, making it unquestionable one of the most opulent churches in all of Europe. There is said to be a staggering 400kg of pure gold in the Sao Francisco Church, with the little that is not covered in pure gold is made out of marble. The church offers you a great experience and should you wish to delve deeper into its history then this is possible at the museum here exhibiting the former monastery’s treasurable artefacts. Another brilliant museum experience is the Serralves Museum to see exhibits of exquisite contemporary art collections. The museum itself boasts a fascinating design, striking to the eye and most certainly a great sight for your camera to enjoy. The surrounding areas of the museum include 18 hectares of grounds with many wonderful sculpture creations to see.
Cruise lines run various paced tours throughout the day of the city or should guests prefer, there will be more specific excursion options for particular areas. One of the most popular shore excursion in port is always the Ribeira Quarter and its riverside beauty, and a visit to Gaia for the chance to enjoy a well-known wine cellar for a tasting of the port wine. From Gaia you can see the nearby city of Guimarães (considered the birthplace of the Portuguese nationality) or head for Braga town and see the wondrous sights across the Minho Province.
Oporto provides an exceptional day of exploration and adventure. This great port of call continues to rise in popularity as a Mediterranean cruise destination and with its natural and structural beauty, it is certainly not hard to see why.