Porto Cruise Port Guide

Discover the Charm of Porto: Your Essential Porto Cruise Port Guide

Embarking on a cruise to Porto promises an adventure steeped in culture, history, and unparalleled beauty. Nestled along the Douro River in northern Portugal, Porto, with its enchanting blend of old-world charm and contemporary flair, beckons travellers from all corners of the globe. From the moment your ship docks, you’re invited to explore this UNESCO World Heritage city’s winding streets, majestic bridges, and vibrant culinary scene. Our comprehensive guide will lead you through the must-see attractions, gastronomic delights, and hidden gems of Porto, ensuring your visit is as memorable as it is enriching.

Port Cruise Terminal - Sail Away Magazine
Credit: Port Cruise Terminal / Sail Away Magazine

Welcome to Porto: A Gateway to Discovery

Upon your arrival, the Leixões Cruise Terminal, the primary port for cruise ships visiting Porto, serves as your gateway to exploration. Located approximately 10 km from Porto’s city centre, it’s easily accessible by taxi, bus, or metro, with a ride to the heart of the city costing around €20 by taxi or less than €3 by public transport.

Port Cruise Terminal - Sail Away Magazine
Credit: Port Cruise Terminal / Sail Away Magazine

Unmissable Attractions in Porto

1. Livraria Lello: A mere 3 km from the city centre, this iconic bookstore, rumoured to have inspired J.K. Rowling, is a marvel of neo-Gothic architecture. Entrance fees are about €5, which is deductible from any purchase.

2. Ribeira District: Stroll through the Ribeira, Porto’s picturesque riverside quarter, brimming with colourful houses, quaint cafes, and street musicians. This area is free to explore and offers countless photo opportunities along the Douro River.

3. Dom Luís I Bridge: Connecting Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, this double-deck metal arch bridge is a masterpiece of engineering. Walking across is free, offering breathtaking views of the city and the river below.

4. Porto Cathedral: Located in the heart of the city, this Romanesque and Gothic structure dates back to the 12th century. Entrance to the cathedral is free, but a visit to the cloisters involves a small fee of around €3.

5. Palácio da Bolsa: This 19th-century neoclassical palace, once the stock exchange, now hosts guided tours for approximately €10. It’s renowned for its exquisite Arabian Room, a testament to Porto’s rich history and cultural diversity.

Porto Cathedral - Portugal.com
Credit: Porto Cathedral / Portugal.com

Gastronomic Delights: Porto’s Culinary Scene

Porto is a haven for foodies, offering everything from traditional Portuguese dishes to innovative culinary creations.

1. Tapabento: Located near São Bento station, just 3 km from the cruise port, this cosy restaurant is a favourite for its fusion of Portuguese and international flavours. Expect to pay around €30-€50 per person for a meal.

2. Cantina 32: In the heart of the Ribeira district, Cantina 32 offers a modern twist on traditional Portuguese cuisine, set in a relaxed, stylish atmosphere. A meal here can range from €25 to €40 per person.

3. Graham’s Port Lodge: Venture to Vila Nova de Gaia, across the Dom Luís I Bridge, and visit Graham’s for a port wine tasting experience. Tours and tastings start at about €15, providing insight into the region’s storied wine-making tradition.

Cantina 32 in Porto - Time Out
Credit: Cantina 32 in Porto / Time Out

Experiencing Porto’s Culture and Nightlife

1. São Francisco Church: Admire the elaborate gold leaf interiors of this Gothic church, a short walk from the Ribeira. Entry is around €7, including access to the museum.

2. Clérigos Tower: For panoramic views of Porto, climb the 225 steps of this baroque tower. Entry is approximately €5, with the tower located 3 km from the port.

3. Fado Houses: Experience the soulful sounds of Fado, Portugal’s traditional music, at a Fado house in Porto. Casa da Mariquinhas, among others, offers dinner and a show for about €35-€50 per person.

Clerigos Tower in Porto - Time Out
Credit: Clérigos Tower in Porto – Time Out

Practical Tips for Your Porto Visit

  • Getting Around: Porto’s compact size makes it ideal for walking, but for longer distances, the city’s efficient public transport system (buses, trams, and metro) is both convenient and affordable.
  • Currency: Portugal uses the Euro (€). Credit cards are widely accepted, but carrying some cash is advisable for smaller establishments.
  • Language: Portuguese is the official language, but English is commonly spoken in tourist areas.

Embark on Your Porto Cruise Adventure

With its rich tapestry of history, culture, and cuisine, Porto offers an unforgettable experience for every traveller. From the moment you disembark in this captivating city, the magic of Porto embraces you, inviting you to explore its many wonders. Whether you’re wandering through its historic streets, savouring its culinary delights, or simply soaking in the vibrant atmosphere, Porto promises a journey filled with discovery and delight. With so many cruises departing from the UK which call at Porto, don’t leave it any longer to visit.