Porto is a historic mercantile city spread across hilly slopes above the Douro Estuary. With beautiful bridges, a lively riverside district and a wine region embracing the valley of the Douro river, Porto is a fascinating destination for a boat tour.
What are the best places to visit with a Porto boat tour?
Embark on a Porto boat tour to appreciate the beauty of this Portuguese coastal city and to see some of its most inspiring and magical sights. Among the places you can sail past, to and by are:
The Six Bridges are among the most iconic sights in the city. Each one has its own distinctive style. Luis I Bridge has its famous awe-inspiring arch. Arrábida Bridge is one of the longest reinforced concrete bridge in the world. All six bridges connect Porto with the city of Gaia.
Glide along the Douro River through a valley of enchanting beauty with green-covered hills, fields of almond trees, rivers, tributaries and plenty of fresh air. The Douro Valley is also a world-renowned wine region with dozens of wineries dotted across its landscapes.
At the geographical centre of Douro's wine region is Pinhão, a sleepy and attractive town nestled on a bend of the Douro River. It is surrounded by vineyards, hillsides and terraces that produce some of the country's most famous wines. Also, noteworthy is Pinhão's railway station which features decorative tiles depicting scenes of daily life such as wine harvests.
The capital of the Douro wine region is a sun-drenched riverside town flanked by green hills cradling vineyards. In previous centuries this is where barrels of wine were loaded onto wooden rabelo boats and transported down the river. Today, wines from Régua are transported to Porto by road.
Highlights of a visit include the historic centre and the Douro Museum, which is housed in a refurbished riverbank warehouse and dedicated to the region's wine culture and history.
How much does a boat tour cost?
Prices range from €10 per person for a 1-hour traditional Douro rabelo boat tour to €585 for a private half-day tour for a maximum of 12 people. These are popular with groups who want to share their sightseeing experiences with each other. Many public Porto boat tours are priced between €40 and €100.
How long does a Porto boat trip take?
A boat trip can last for 50 minutes or up to three days depending on the tour itinerary. For instance, the Self-Guided Bike and Boat Tour with Port Wine Tasting includes multiple locations and activities such as cruising along the river and cycling through a natural reserve. A majority of boat tours in the city last from anywhere between two and nine hours.
Where do boat tours leave from?
Porto boat tours leave from a handful of city locations including Ribeira Quay and Estiva Quay. With some trips, you will be picked up and dropped off at your accommodation. There are also other starting points, such as the picturesque town of Pinhão along the Douro River.
What is the best time for a boat trip in Porto?
The best time for a Porto boat tour is between May and September. The city has a moderate climate and the peak summer temperatures are not so high as to be unbearable. The winter not only brings lower temperatures but rain too, which is not conducive to a comfortable trip on the water. Spring is warm, but there can also be significant downpours.
To help you have an enjoyable and comfortable Porto boat tour here are a few essential travel tips.
- To keep you safe from the sun, apply suntan lotion with a high SPF factor. Consider bringing sunglasses and a hat as well.
- Even when the sun is out, boats can be chilly places when they are zipping through the water. Therefore bring a light jacket with you in case you start to feel cold.
- Bring your camera with a zoom and/or binoculars for close-up views of some of the fantastic sights you will be travelling past.
- Wear comfortable shoes with rubber soles to prevent you from slipping when walking on your boat's deck.