Oporto (Leixoes), Portugal
Lively, commercial Oporto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Also called Porto for short, the word easily brings to mind the city's most famous product - port wine.
Oporto's strategic location on the north bank of the Douro River has accounted for the town's importance since ancient times. The Romans built a fort here where their trading route crossed the Douro, and the Moors brought their own culture to the area. Oporto profited from provisioning crusaders en route to the Holy Land and enjoyed the riches from Portuguese maritime discoveries during the 15th and 16th centuries. Later, port wine trade with Britain compensated for the loss of the spice trade and the end of gold and gem shipments from Brazil. In the 19th century, the city went through a period of new prosperity with the rise of industries. In its wake followed the building of workers' quarters and opulent residences. Since the declaration of Oporto as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the city aims to build up a cultural reference that will provide it with a new image, based on deep historical roots.
Among the attractions that make Oporto such an interesting place are its graceful bridges spanning the Douro River, a picturesque riverfront quarter and, most notable, its world-famous port wine lodges. Although Oporto is a bustling centre and home to many different businesses, the source of its greatest fame is the rich, sweet fortified red wine we know as port.
The ship will be docked at the port of Leixoes (Leca da Palmeira Passengers Terminal), located nine miles (14 km) from the city.
Please Note: For your convenience, shore excursions offered for this port of call are available to reserve in advance at www.silversea.com, unless otherwise noted in the description. The deadline to reserve these tours is seven days prior to the start of your cruise, after which they will be available for purchase on board, unless otherwise noted in the description.
Going Ashore in Oporto (Leixoes)
The ship is scheduled to dock at the Port of Leixoes, nine miles from the city. A limited number of taxis may be available outside the terminal building, or they have to be requested by telephone. Taxis are metered. It's a fairly long walk through the terminal to the tour buses.
In downtown Oporto you can find regional souvenirs, embroidered linens, leather articles and, of course, port wine everywhere. Most handicraft shops are found in the Ribeira quarter. The local currency is the euro. Major credit cards are accepted at all larger establishments.
Seafood is a good choice here. You may want to try the local specialty cod fish (bacalhau). Another typical and popular dish is tripas a moda do Porto (tripe and beans). Some of the best (and priciest) restaurants are found in the Ribeira district along the River Walk. Tasting the famous port wine or the vinho verde (green wine) is a must for visitors to Oporto.
Tower of Clerigos
The 230-foot (69-metre) granite bell tower, built in the 18th century, is the city's tallest landmark. Climbing 200 steps to its top affords spectacular views of Oporto and the Douro River Valley.
Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis
Located in a former royal residence, the museum houses an extensive collection of 19th-century Portuguese paintings and sculptures, much of it by famous artist, Soares dos Reis.
Cais da Ribeira
The Ribeira district adjacent to the riverfront is still a place to take in local colour, although the big ships stopped calling here. Cafés and restaurants line the quayside, inviting for a coffee or a drink and people-watching.
Solar do Vinho do Porto
Here you can sample one of hundreds of varieties of the famous port wine in case you don't make it to the wine lodges at Vila Nova de Gaia.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board.