Oporto is the second-largest city in Portugal, situated along the Douro River near the Atlantic Ocean. Our tour begins with a panoramic drive into Oporto’s center, passing Foz do Douro (Portuguese for “mouth of the Douro” and one of Oporto's oldest districts). We visit the city's cathedral, a 12th century Baroque building that began life as a Gothic structure. We continue to São Bento Railway Station, one of the city’s grandest buildings, featuring magnificent tiles designed by Jorge Colaço, depicting two great Portuguese themes – the history of transport and the Battle of Aljubarrota.
Next, we visit the Ribeira quarter, well known for its brightly tiled and pastel-painted façades. We then embark in a “Rabelo” boat, the traditional Portuguese cargo vessels used for centuries to transport barrels of wine and other goods along the Douro River.
We now experience Portugal's famous port wine. The discovery of port wine dates back to the 16th century when British merchants keen to build up trade with Portugal fortified wine from the Douro region with brandy to prevent it from turning sour during transit. It was found that the stronger and sweeter the wine, the better flavor it acquired. Over the years, methods of maturing and blending the wine have been refined and continue today in port lodges. Established by British traders in 1588, Croft is one of the most distinguished port houses and oldest port producers still active today.
We visit a port wine cellar where you can taste and learn more about the production of this famous wine. After the tasting, we return to the pier.