Background Information - Porto City

This is the ancient and proud city that gave the nation not only its name but also its language. Porto is a city of hills on the north bank of the River Douro, with the oldest and most photogenic quarter situated on the riverside. Called the "Riberia" area, it is well known for its tiny bistros and street vendors. The British have traded with Porto since the 14th century so the history of the English community in Porto is full of colourful and resourceful characters.


Barely 6km (4miles) east from its mouth, the River Douro cuts a narrow passage through granite rocks with Porto on the northside and the suburb of Vila Nova de Gaia on the south. Further west the banks of the river become lower, finally ending at the cliffs of Sâo Joâo da Foz, the mouth of the river.

Interesting places to visit

Barredo: Tiny houses of this ancient quarter that cling precariously to the steep slopes of Penaventosa.

Bolsa District: Uphill from the river, Rua da Alfándega includes the Casa do Infante. Visit the Palácio do Bolsa (Stock Exchange) on a guided tour.

The Cathedral: The Cathedral (SÉ) dates from the 13th century and is situated in the old quarter of the city.

Cruising: If you have the time you should try one of the day cruises up the River Douro.

Espinho: A beach resort 15km (9miles) south of Porto with a broad beach of coarse sand and a fine seafront promenade.

Foz do Douro: Try a tram ride to Foz (No. 18) along Avenida BoaVista reaching the sea at the 17th century fort. The line then follows the seaside promenade to the river mouth.

Ribeira: A quaint crumbling waterfront that lies directly south of Rua do Barredo is famous for its tavernas and is the setting for the city’s most popular Fiesta held on the night of June 23rd.

Rua de Santa Catarina: One of the principal shopping streets of Porto, try a coffee at the Majestic Cafe (No. 112), one of the oldest coffee houses and a landmark of the city. The popular open market is nearby.

Wine Lodges: Are all situated on the south bank of the city, Vila Nova de Gaia, here the Port dealers have their ‘Lodges’ often tunnelling deep into the granite where the Port wine is stored before shipment.