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“The city of 6 bridges over the Douro river”

“A cidade das 6 pontes sobre o rio Douro”

Welcome in the invincible city of 6 bridges over the Douro river

In the cradle of Portugal, you find the second largest city of Portugal. It is a city with passion in the north of the country. Welcome in the city famous for his port wine and his 6 bridges over the Douro river: Porto. Or, in Portuguese you will many times find “o Porto”. Read further below to discover more about this.


#porto, #cradleofportugal, #portwine, #6bridges, #douro, #river, invincible

Estimated read time: 11 minutes




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Location keywords:

Douro river, cradle of Portugal, 6 bridges, port wine, invincible

6 Bridges over the Douro river

“Connect the 2 sides of the Douro river”
porto douro river view 6 bridges

When you arrive in the old historical part of the city, you will find out in a very fast way that the city is characterized by the Douro river and the bridges connecting each side of the river together. Porto has a total of 6 bridges over the Douro, not all of them are still in use today. Some are for the main car traffic, one for train traffic. But the most impressive and famous bridge is the Dom Luiz I bridge in the city center. The next paragraph tells you more about this bridge.

“Dom Luiz I”
Porto Douro river city overview portugal rabelo boats 6 bridges
porto ponte luiz I bridge top metro
porto ponte luiz I bridge douro river ribeira

The Dom Luiz I bridge connects São Bento and the Ribeira to Vila Nova de Gaia. This bridge, located in the center of the city, is from the hand of Théophile Seyrig, a pupil of Eiffel. Yes, we are talking about Gustave Eiffel who also built the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Seyrig worked for a Belgian company Société Anonyme de Construction et des Ateliers de Willebroeck. It is a 2 deck bridge with a height of 45m, 172m at the lower span and almost 400m at the top span over the river. At the bottom is the main traffic, at the top drives the metro and you also can walk. The bridge is based on the Maria Pia bridge, a railway bridge around 1 km further. Both bridges have the same typical metal construction you find in Eiffel’s work.

“The old bridge in the city center”

In the 19th century, the Ponte das Barcas was on the place of the Dom Luiz I bridge. When Napoleon tried to invade the city, thousands of inhabitants fled together across this bridge. The Ponte das Barcas bridge broke due to the weight and it was the dead of around 5000 people.

“Discover all the bridges”
porto ponte luiz I bridge douro river

On the Ribeira you can book a boat tour to discover this 6 bridges on the Douro river. A nice way to see the city and river sides from a different way. So, this is a nice must do.

Monuments to discover

“Why is Portuguese coffee so unique?”

Unesco in Porto

“A wonderful city to discover”

The historical city center, the Dom Luiz I Bridge and the Monastry of Serra do Pilar are all UNESCO World Heritage. So, Porto is a wonderful city to walk around and discover a lot of amazing hotspots.

The Clérigos square

“The lighthouse of the city”
porto torre clerigos tower lighthouse
porto park garden clerigos city center

In the city center stands a nice tower that looks over the city. This is the Torre dos Clérigos. From 1910, this tower also works as a light tower for the port. Together with the church it is a baroque building from the 18th century. The tower has a height of 75m. Inside you can take around 225 stairs to get one of the most wonderful 360-views over Porto.

“A famous book store”

Near this tower, you’ll also find the famous Livraria Lello. You have to buy a ticket to enter this bookstore and in most case wait a long time in the row to enter. But, when you buy a book, your entrance ticket will be payed back.

porto facada lello livraria

Book your tickets now online and skip the first line to buy your ticket.

porto library lello livraria

The heart of the city center

porto aliados post bus man
porto camera municipal city hall aliados square

When you walk down from the Clérigos tower through the main street, you will reach the heart of the city center of Porto. The first main square you pass at your left side is Aliados. This is the place of all the traffic in the city center. It also houses the city hall of Porto.

“São Bento”
porto sao bento azulejos view
porto sao bento station train
porto sao bento station inside view

A little bit further, you find the amazing São Bento station. This is the train station of central Porto. It has a nice entrance, full of Azulejos. The typical blue painted tiles in Portugal. They tell the history of the city of Porto. Take a look inside to impress yourself. Further down, you can walk to the top of the Dom Luiz I bridge and the old part of the city near the Cathedral.

“The commercial association”
porto palacio bolsa building douro river

At the other side of the Clérigos tower, you reach the Palácio da Bolsa. This was and still is the head office of the Commercial Association in a 19th century aged building. The building has amazing rooms and is still used for trade missions. Now, this palace also is a National Monument. So, you are able to visit it as tourist, but only with a guided tour. It is a must see palace in the city. You will be impressed, I promise you.

The mouth of the Douro river in the Atlantic Ocean

porto lighthouse foz do douro river atlantic
“Foz do Douro”

Now it is time to take an old tram near the Palácio da Bolsa. This drives along the Douro river and brings you to the mouth of the river in the Atlantic Ocean. A nice place to pass your time, walk, swim and so on. The place near the Atlantic Ocean has the name Foz do Douro.

porto tram palacio bolsa foz do douro river side
porto douro river foz mouth atlantic ocean
porto foz do douro atlantic ocean praia

The shopping heart of the Douro city

“Let’s shop in Balhão”
porto vila catharina facade bolhao
porto vila catharina bolhao inside view

From Aliados, looking to the Câmara Municipal, go to the right side. Over there, you’ll reach the Rua Santa Catarina and Bolhão. This is the shopping street of Porto, with the Vila Catharina and wonderful Mercado do Balhão. During the renovation of the market, the shops were a little bit further. But, now the renovation is finally ready. So, the Porto’s historic market hall is again open for the public.

porto perola balhao cafe cha
porto mercado bolhao old view
porto cappella chapel azulejos almas
porto balhao majestic cafe
“Time for a break”

In the Rua Santa Catarina, you also find Café Majestic. This is a typical 1920’s building in wonderful Art Nouveau style and a favorite by many tourists to sit down to taste a coffee, Vinho do Porto with a great dessert.

The Ribeira near the Douro river

“The lower part near at the river side”
porto ribeira city view houses
porto ribeiro houses color
porto ribeira houses

Finally, it is time to travel down to the river. Here pops up the old town. Near the river, you find the typical atmosphere of Porto. At the Ribeira lives the city, near the wide Douro river. You discover the small streets and colorful houses. This is one of the most famous views of the city. In front of you, you see Vila Nova de Gaia with all the port houses. The Ribeira is the ideal place for a morning walk at the sunrise or in the evening at dinner time for a wonderful sunset view. These are the moments of the day that the colors of the buildings are fascinating and give relaxation. Enjoy the moment and let it come to you.

porto vila nova da gaia sunset view douro river

Don’t wait any longer

You can’t wait to visit Porto? Don’t wait any longer! Click on the buttons below to find your perfect flights and/or hotel stay in this charming Douro city. Go for it!

Porto vs o Porto / Oporto

“Which one is correct?”

Perhaps you already will discovered it by yourself. Sometimes they write Porto, sometimes you see o Porto, oPorto, Oporto, … In the airport, they also use OPO for the city.

So, which one is now correct?

Well, shortly, I can say there is only one correct name of the city:


porto letters palacio cristal garden

But wait, what are the others? And why are these used?

Let us explain this below. There is a very logically reason for this.

In Portuguese, normally a name of a town or city has no article. But indeed, Porto is one of the exceptions on this rule. Why? Well the Portuguese word for “port” is “porto”. So, to have no mistakes in the Portuguese language between the city and the port of city, for Porto there will be added an article in front if needed. For a masculine singular word it is “o”. But, even in Portuguese the name of the city is Porto. Locals hate it when people call their city Oporto. Because it is Porto and nothing else.


Portus Cale

“The cradle of Portugal”
porto cividade morro da se cathedral portus cale

Probably the first inhabitants of the place already arrived around the 8th century BC. Morro da Sé, also called Cividade, was the place where the first colonists settled. Unfortunately, this region was demolished in 1940. The first name of this place was “Cale”, which is a celtic word for “Port”. In the 4th century were the first official signs of becoming a city. Now, it was part of the Roman Empire. They changed the name to a Latin variant: “Portus Cale” (Literal: Port of Cale). Because the city was a port located at the end of their empire. Later on, the city changed to Porto and the large region to Portucale. This is the name where Portugal comes from.


“An invincible city”

Like a lot of cities, Porto also has a nickname: Invicta. In the 19th century, Porto has survived a civil war of 1 year and was invincible. Invicta is the Portuguese word for this, so they earned this name as respect of it.

Famous food

Tripas & Tripeiros

“The cradle of Portugal”

During the preparation of the conquest expedition from Portus Cale to Ceuta (North Africa), in 1415, everyone gave the best they had to the soldiers. So, they donated all the reserves of equipment and food they had. Now, they had only some basic products to make tripes to eat. From this moment, inhabitants from other cities called them “Tripeiros”. So, still today the locals of Porto are very proud about their nickname. A typical dish in Porto is Tripas a Modo do Porto.

porto tripas a moda food


“The Portuguese Croque Monsieur”

Another typical food product of Porto is the “Francesinha” (Literal : little Frenchwoman).

porto francesinha food famous croque monsieur
“Very popular in a fast way”

A French emigrant, Daniel David de Silva, who came back to Porto tried to tweak the “Croque Monsieur” to the Portuguese taste. He succeeded because this dish became very popular in a fast way. In the mean time it became associated with the city.

“Find the best Francesinha”

Now you can find it wherever you want in the city. But, the best place to taste the real Francesinha is in Café Santiago.

Port wine

“The famous fortified wine of the Douro Valley”
porto douro river port wine rabelo boats

Finally, when we talk about food, of course, I can’t get around of the famous port wine. First of all, port wine is not made in Porto. It only is stored in the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia (or Literal: New Cale Town), at the other side of the famous Ribeira of Porto. The vineyards of the grapes of the port wine are upwards the Douro river, more inside the country. Also, the wine will be produced in the Quinta’s over there.

porto vinho do porto kopke oldest port wine douro
“The oldest Port wine is from 17th century”

Most houses of port wines are founded in the 18th and 19th century. But the oldest Port wine was already born in the first half of the 17th century. The oldest port house is Kopke and founded in 1638. So, Kopke is almost 400 years old.

Also Warre’s and Taylor’s are by the oldest port houses. These are also houses from the 17th century.

“A protected product”

To be called as official Port wine, the cellar has to be in Vila Nova de Gaia and they must have an official seal of the IVDP (Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e do Porto). I will write a more detailed article about the Vinho do Porto, port wine, itself in another post.

porto seal protected product vinho


“The Portuguese Croque Monsieur”

As in other parts of the country, even in Porto is football a very popular sport. The northern part of the country holds the most famous football clubs of the Primeira Liga. Porto itself has 2 famous clubs: FC Porto and Boavista FC.

FC Porto

porto stadium dragao football sport

Stadium: Estádio do Dragão

Location: Campanhã

Nickname: Os Dragões

Boavista FC

porto boavista futebol football

Stadium: Estádio do Bessa Século XXI

Location: Boavista

Nickname: As Panteras

Both teams have multiple disciplines, which is very common in Portugal.

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