Douro River Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site rising in Spain and goes all the way to the Atlantic Ocean near Porto. The banks of river are lined with vineyards and terraces of ancient houses. Cruises along the river is one of Porto’s major tourist attractions.
Several hotels are set on the banks of the River Douro, offering stunning views of the river. Some accommodations offer balcony rooms with river views, a swimming pool, free WiFi and a rooftop terrace. Douro River cruises depart nearby. Hotels on Douro river banks include Pousada Do Porto, Ribeira Apartments, Pestana Porto Hotel and Oporto Tourist Apartments.
The Douro River flows from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province Spain to the city of Porto. In Spain the river is known as the Duero.
Taking a cruise up on the river is a pleasant and relaxing thing to do. You can choose between short trips or one day long or several days cruises through the picturesque vineyards of northern Portugal, offered by different river cruise companies. A 1 hour river cruise is a great way to see the city. It takes you through the most central part of the river banks in Porto and under all the city’s main bridges.
One of the main tour companies is Douro Azul. The river cruise terminal can be found accross the river (Dom Luis I bridge) from the city of Porto in town of Vila Nova de Gaia.
Porto Main Bridges
Dom Luis I — this bridge has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is designed in 1886. The bridge spans the Douro River between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. The upper level is crossed by the metro, the lower lebe is used by cars and pedestrians.
Dona Maria Pia Bridge — iron railway bridge completed in 1876, designed by Gustave Eiffel before he built the famous Paris Eiffel tower. The bridge is named after Queen Maria Pia of Portugal.
Ponte Infante Dom Henrique — one of Porto’s bridges that crosses the Douro River to Vila Nova de Gaia. The bridge is 371 meters long and 20 meters wide.
Ponte de São João — the Bridge of St. John is a railway bridge, designed by Edgar Cardoso.
Arrabida Bridge — most downstream arched bridge, closest to the Atlantic Ocean. The bridge was completed in 1963. The bridge carries a roadway of 82 feet or 25 meters wide. The overall length of the Arrabida Bridge is 1,617 feet or 493 m and includes a reinforced-concrete arch of 885 feet or 270 m long, one of the largest in the world.
Ponte do Freixo — Freixo bridge over the Douro river, connecting Vila Nova de Gaia and Oporto. The bridge is formed by two twin bridges separated by 10 centimeters, each one 18 m wide supporting a four lane way of the highway Porto-Lisbon.
Location of Douro River : The city centre of Porto and Ribeira UNESCO World Heritage site is located within easy reach of the river banks. On the opposite side of the Douro from Oporto lies the town of Vila Nova de Gaia.