Our First View Of The Douro River From Above
After we visited Porto, we headed into the Douro River Valley. This gave us a long drive along the great wine area. But before we left Porto, we decided to cruise the Douro River in Porto to get a close up view of the 6 bridges.
Our view started from above the river. We walked slowly downhill from our hotel to the Muralha Ferdandina Fort. The fort sits high above the Douro River. On our boat cruise, we got another view of the fort from below.
From above, we got our first view of the Ponte Luis I arched bridge. Off in the distance we saw the Ponte Do Infante D Henrique and just a sliver of the Ponte O Maria Pia. The riverboats that cruise the Douro River in Porto could be seen below us. People crowded on the front decks taking pictures.
Taking the Funicular Down
When we looked down at the bridges, we saw the funicular. Two passed each other as we watched, one headed up and one went down.
We decided that we would take the funicular down. It would save us a walk down the steep hill. And there was a great view when we stood in the front window.
When we exited on the river level, we looked back up at the funicular as it ascended. It was an interesting accordion design to keep the platform level as the funicular went up the steep incline.
At the bottom, we got yet another view of the Ponte Luis I arched bridge.
Picking A Cruise
There were a lot of options to cruise the Douro River in Porto to see the bridges that cross the river. We made a rookie mistake and picked the very first booth we came to. We did not do our research in advance on the best boat to cruise the Douro River in Porto. When we boarded by walking through another boat, we questioned our choice.
The boat was quite empty. This was great to take pictures. We could stay inside to get out of the sun. Or move about the front deck freely to get our pictures. Our boat had no narration. We could follow along on the brochure to see where we were. But we got no insight into the various things we saw on the shore.
When the Porto Cruz boat passed us by several times, we saw crowded decks and we heard the narration. The distinctive boats are easy to spot as you walk along the deck. This may be a better choice to cruise the Douro River in Porto. But we did not check on their visitor ratings. The crowded boats may negate any benefit of having a narrated cruise.
Cruise The Douro River in Porto
When you cruise the Douro River in Porto you will get a view of the bridges that cross the river. The cruise started at the docks close to the Ponte Luis I arched bridge. We had lots of opportunities to see this bridge as we went past it on both loops along the river.
The cruise started in the direction that we had looked from above the river. We passed first the Ponte Do Infante D Henrique and then the two bridges close together (Ponte De D. Maria Pia and Ponte De S. Joao). Along the way we saw new buildings along the cliff top and old buildings crumbling on the hills above the river.
The boat turned around in front of the Ponte Do Freixo and headed back towards the riverfront.
We passed by the riverfront area and headed out towards the sea. As we cruised, we saw several churches on the riverbank. This was our first view of the interesting churches we saw when we explored Porto.
The final bridge we went under was the Ponte Da Arrábida. We could see the ocean and beaches ahead of us.
As we cruised back we saw the colourful buildings along the side of the river. We stopped at the World of Discoveries building where a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit was being held. Some people got out here but we continued until we were back at the riverfront.
Get A Different Perspective of Porto
We like to get a river cruise when we visit a city. It gives us a different perspective of a city. Cruising at night in Bangkok, Thailand gave us a view of the monuments and attractions all lit up. Cruising the harbour in Sydney, Australia gave us a great view of the iconic symbols of this city.
If you cruise the Douro River in Porto, you will see the city from a different perspective. You can look up and see many of the things that may be on your Porto itinerary. Each of the 6 bridges is very different. It was a great introduction to the Douro River before we set out to drive up the Douro River Valley into wine country.
Did you cruise the Douro River in Porto? Did this add a lot to your things to do list?