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Porto, clinging to the steep bank of a gorge where the Douro River widens before meeting the sea, is best known as the home of Port wine. But there is much more of interest than the wine houses of Nova de Gaia, across the river. The bank is so steep that its buildings seem to form a solid wall dozens of stories high, and the streets that lead to these are steep lanes that rise in steps and switchbacks through the oldest part of the city. Forget trying to drive; walking is the only way to see this maze-line area called the Ribeira. Fortunately, most of the best sights are relatively close together. While you can reach the alleys and ...

Porto, clinging to the steep bank of a gorge where the Douro River widens before meeting the sea, is best known as the home of Port wine. But there is much more of interest than the wine houses of Nova de Gaia, across the river. The bank is so steep that its buildings seem to form a solid wall dozens of stories high, and the streets that lead to these are steep lanes that rise in steps and switchbacks through the oldest part of the city. Forget trying to drive; walking is the only way to see this maze-line area called the Ribeira. Fortunately, most of the best sights are relatively close together. While you can reach the alleys and passageways of the Ribeira from the riverbank (where there are pleasant terraces with cafes and seafood restaurants), it is less tiring to explore it from the top down, returning by a less steep route. After visiting the richly decorated churches and the old stock exchange, cruise down the river to the sea, which is bordered in wide sand beaches and seafood restaurants. Or cruise along the river upstream through steep vineyard slopes, or take the scenic train or road to explore the beautiful river and mountain landscapes of the Douro Valley wine country.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Now Happening in Porto & Duoro Valley

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The city is located in the estuary of the Douro river in northern Portugal.
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Porto | Douro River Valley
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and fall