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Cruises to Porto (Leixoes)

Porto (Leixoes) (Photo:ESB Professional/Shutterstock)
Porto (Leixoes) (Photo:ESB Professional/Shutterstock)

About Porto (Leixoes)

One of Europe's oldest cities, Porto dates to the 4th century, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire and served as an important commercial port where the Atlantic Ocean and Douro River converge. As a thriving boat-building hub, the city served as the starting point for Prince Henry the Navigator's exploration of the western coast of Africa in 1415, initiating the Portuguese "Age of Discovery."

The old town area of Porto, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, encompasses Ribeira within 14th-century Romanesque walls, as well as the city's many architectural landmarks, ranging from the gothic Igreja de Sao Francisco to the baroque Torre dos Clerigos (Clerics Tower) to the neoclassical Palacio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace).

On the southern bank lies the Vila Nova de Gaia, an amphitheater-shaped slope densely populated by port warehouses emblazoned with Hollywood-style white letters that spell out familiar names: Grahams, Taylors, Sandeman. The warehouses continue a tradition dating to the 13th century, with wine produced in the Douro Valley transported there to mature in giant oak casks.

Rich in history, littered with architectural treasures, home to delicious wines and melt-in-the-mouth pastries, and bristling with lively street markets, cafes, bars and restaurants, Porto is a tourist's delight. It is worthy of at least a full day's exploration, even if only to sip a glass of chilled white Port in Gaia and soak up the views of Porto opposite.

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164 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Los Angeles
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Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: New York

53 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
New York
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Bar Harbor, Saint John ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Lisbon

10 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Lisbon
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Porto, Seville ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
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Bilbao, Vigo ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Saint-Malo, Bordeaux ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Barcelona
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Valencia, Malaga ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
London, Brugge ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
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Vigo, Lanzarote ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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27 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
La Coruna, Porto ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Brugge, Le Havre ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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59 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Stockholm
Visiting:
Helsinki, St. Petersburg ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Cartagena, Seville ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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27 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Stockholm
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Turku, Helsinki ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Le Havre, Brugge ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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24 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Porto, Gibraltar ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
La Coruna, Porto ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Seville, Lisbon ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Porto
Visiting:
Regua, Vega de Terron ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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21 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Lisbon
Visiting:
Porto, La Coruna ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Porto, Lisbon ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Lisbon
Visiting:
Seville, Gibraltar ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Genoa
Visiting:
Marseille, Barcelona ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Alicante, Motril ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Ibiza, Seville ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Porto (Leixoes)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Madeira, Tenerife ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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Why go to Porto (Leixoes)?

Pros:

The second-largest city in Portugal is known for its wine and eclectic mix of architecture

Cons:

If you're considering a pre-cruise stay in Lisbon, it's a three-hour journey; budget your time

Bottom Line:

Porto is located at the mouth of the Douro River, and included on virtually all itineraries here

Porto (Leixoes) Cruise Port Facilities?

The establishments lining the Gaia waterfront are fairly modern and, as such, generally preferred by locals. Tourists typically visit the traditional "tascas" (taverns) found in Porto. The Port warehouses virtually all offer guided tours and tastings. Taylor's warehouse (see "lunching") has a delightful restaurant with a garden and terrace overlooking Porto. Across the river, Ribeira is liberally peppered with lively cafes, bars and taverns ideal for a refreshing drink and light tapas.

Good to Know?

Porto locals clearly can easily handle heights -- walking across the top tier of the Dom Luis I bridge appears to be a stroll in the park for them. If, however, you prefer to keep your feet on more solid ground, steer clear: The walk is undeniably scenic, but even for somebody who rarely notices heights, it is quite disconcerting being a lofty 146 feet above the Douro. Similarly, some people find the gondola ride unnerving, particularly those with little experience riding such lifts.

Another thing to be aware of is the local beer: Brewed just outside of Porto since 1927, Super Bock is the most popular beer in Portugal. However, a Super Bock Classic (lager) weighs in at a hefty 5.7 percent alcohol by volume and is typically served in a pint-sized bottle, packing quite a punch. Don't say we didn't warn you!

Getting Around?

On Foot: Vila Nova de Gaia is easily navigated on foot, as is Ribeira. Much of the city is cut into the steep shore, however, so the least tiring way to explore Porto thoroughly on foot is from the top (by the cathedral) down. It is possible to take a gondola from the Gaia waterfront up to the top level of the Dom Luis I bridge, which you can walk across (although you should have a good head for heights!). From there, you can walk into Porto and descend from the cathedral, strolling down along streets lined with tiled buildings sporting immaculate Art Deco shop facades; or take a ride down to Ribeira with a little funicular. Alternatively, buy a ticket to ride the funicular up from the Porto side of the Dom Luis I bridge to the Avenida dos Aliados.

By Metro and Bus: Porto has an extensive metro (light rail) and bus network, which can be used for getting around town and for trips into the suburbs. Tickets can be purchased at metro stations and aboard the bus by cash or, if you're planning to make full use of the public transportation system, you can purchase a reusable Andante card for .50 euro, which can be charged with credit. Visit www.metro-porto.pt for a full map of the metro network and timetables and www.stecp.pt for information about the bus routes.

By Tram: Porto has a heritage tram line, first constructed in 1895. Only two lines remain open today, Numbers 1 and 18, both of which operate with vintage tram cars. No. 1 is a particularly pleasant ride, as it follows the riverfront all the way to Foz. Buy tickets from the tram driver.

By Taxi: Taxis are fairly easy to find in Porto, but it is wise to book a cab if you're looking to depart from Gaia. They are inexpensive, but ensure that your driver turns on his meter at the start of your journey. Reliable companies include Raditaxis (+22 507 3900) and Taxis Unidos (+22 502 9898).

Transport from/to the Airport: Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport, or simply Porto Airport, is located seven miles north of Porto's city center. The metro provides an efficient, inexpensive and quick (20 minutes) way of getting to central Porto. Public buses also run to destinations in Porto but are slower, while private shuttle buses make multiple dropoffs and pickups for a higher fare. Taxis are numerous, trustworthy and -- at approximately 20 to 30 euros for an airport transfer -- relatively inexpensive.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Portugal's currency is the euro. Visit <a href="www.xe.com" class="plain" target="_blank"<XE.com or www.oanda.com for current rates. There is an ATM on the waterfront in Vila Nova de Gaia and a number of ATM's and banks in central Porto, particularly on and around the Avenida dos Aliados.

Language?

Portuguese is the local language. English is fairly widely understood, with French appearing to come more naturally to locals than Spanish. A few handy phrases in Portuguese will always enamor you to the locals though, so try these:

Hello/good morning: Bom dia (bom DEEa)
Good afternoon: Boa tarde (boa TArday)
Please: Por favor (Per fevUUr)
Yes/No: Sim (sim) / Nao (now)
Excuse me/Pardon: Com licenca (com liSENza) / Perdao (perDOW)
A beer please: Un cerveja por favor (oon serVEdja per fevUUr)

Where You're Docked?

River cruise ships invariably moor on the Cais de Gaia, alongside Vila Nova de Gaia opposite Porto. A number of modern restaurants, bars and shops line the waterfront as you stroll to the Dom Luis I bridge, which you can walk over to reach Porto in less than 10 minutes.


Porto (Leixoes) Cruise Reviews

Marella Dream
PaulJulie
Sail Date: Mar 2020
We took one of available buses after booking it on board. We found Porto to be a very nice place with a vibrant cafe scene. It was a lovely day so we enjoyed our walk around.... Read More
openmindtraveller
Sail Date: Jul 2019
Excellent energetic young guide took us on a whirlwind walking tour of Porto.... Read More
Spysmum
Sail Date: Jun 2019
We love Porto, but prefer the opposite bank with all the traditional port houses.... Read More
Cheryl Irene
Sail Date: Apr 2018
Lovely porto tour with a knowledgeable guide and a very nice tour and tasting of port wine.... Read More
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