Its all about Port, the wine is produced in the Douro Valley, and transported down river to Porto where it is aged in the warehouses before export.
It seems like it hasn’t changed for a century, fortunately it’s not overun by holiday villas and apartments like so much of the southern coasts or Portugal and Spain.
One of the worlds top 10 cafes
Famous for its staircase, (it features in a Harry Potter movie), so is very popular with tourists, you have to line up for a ticket to get in, but it is a bookshop, where you can browse and buy.
So many places along the river
Porto is at the mouth of the Douro River, most of the cafes, bars and restaurants are along the north bank looking across to the port houses on the southern side
A stunning view of the river and port houses on the otherside of the river, downtairs you can walk to about 50 bars cafes and restaurants
for more details, Oporto Home – River Front
The best place to stay and spend leisurley hours is the north bank, opposite on the southern bank are the port houses, close enough to walk to.
You can also reach the city center easily, there is a funicular railway from Ribeira to Batalha, thence walk or tram to the city center, Majestic Cafe (aim to get there at 10:00am), from there across town to the Lello Bookshop (Livraria Lello), then maybe the Railway Station (Porto Sao Bento). Click on the maps to enlarge.
Stretching along the northern bank are most of the cafes and restaurants, far more than are shown here
It was very simple really, wine was grown in the Douro Valley and transported in casks by sail boats down to Porto at the river mouth which was a fine deep water port. it was loaded on to sailing ships for shipment to England.
The casks were off loaded and stored awaiting shipment, so the stone warehouses were built to store and protect it, it was then discovered that the older stuff was better, this started the whole technique of aging and blending.
Plenty to explore, my favourites were Offley and Calem, best to go on line and book a tour, ideally in the morning, then follow with a lunch nearby.
My discovery, white port, a very good aperitif
Pinhao, an interesting town on the Douro Valley
Casa de Mateus, this famous estate is near Vila Real
Quinta do Panascal, vineyard and port cellar , 12 minutes from Pinhao
Lamego, a beautiful church and spectacular gardens with its grand stairway
Stay at Casa Dos Barros Villa, Sabrosa not far from Pinhao
see the following posts for details.
Another way to explore is take a tour like this, Wine tours
Just north west of Pinhao, between Vila Real and Constantim, are the stunning gardens and villa