Mediterranean Cruise Advice

Cruises to Oporto

For Cruises to Oporto (Porto) your cruise ship will dock in Leixoes Port which is located in the Matosinhos district, about 10 kilometers away from Porto city centre.

Leixoes can be a difficult cruise port to get into, our last visit was on the P&O Cruises Ventura which only just had enough room to manoeuvre the tight entrance/exit and it was a very smooth sea. The weather can vary and a call in Leixoes can never be guaranteed.

There are two docking areas in Leixoes. One is at the new snazzy cruise terminal (terminal de Cruzeiros) and an alternative dock (Doca 1 Norte – Passageiros), this alternative is only used if more than one cruise ship is visiting on the same day. You can check where your cruise ship will dock by clicking here.

Oporto Cruise Terminal
The port of Leixoes has a snazzy new cruise terminal

From here you can see the stretch of long sandy beach, Praia de Matosinhos, which can easily be reached by taking the internal port shuttle to the port gate. Further along the coast road is the Sea Life Centre which is open from 10am every day.

On our visit with P&O a regular shuttle bus service was running to Oporto every 10-15 mins. Not being in port for long we made sure to be off the ship as early as possible.

Oporto Cruise Terminal in morning sun
Oporto Cruise Terminal in morning sun with shuttle buses lined up

The route took us along the coast road past the various beaches, very scenic with Atlantic waves rolling in.

Getting about in Oporto

The main thing to know in advance of a walk around Oporto is that it’s a hilly city, so wear comfy shoes! Options include tourist trains & hop on hop off buses. These can’t take you down the narrower streets of the Ribeira however.

As with many cities now you can also take a Tuk Tuk.

Oporto Tuk Tuk
Oporto Tuk Tuks

For an authentic experience take a tram ride.

Porto Tram

The shuttle dropped us near the Clerigos Tower, which can be climbed for views over the city.

Key Sights in Oporto

Just around the corner are the churches of Igreja dos Carmelitas and Igreja do Carmo, which stand next to each other.

The two churches are separated by a very narrow (1m wide) house that was inhabited until the 1980s. The house was built so that the two churches would not share a common wall and to prevent any relations between the nuns of Igreja dos Carmelitas and the monks of Igreja do Carmo.

Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas
Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas

On your route to the two churches you will pass the Livraria Lello bookshop which is one of the most magnificent book shops in the world. However, it attracts even more visitors now as it was the inspiration for Harry Potter’s library in Hogwarts. J.K Rowling lived in Porto teaching English in the early 1990s and penned the beginning of Harrys’ adventures on the 2nd floor of the bookshop. Entrance fee 4Euros.

Livraria Lello bookshop
Livraria Lello bookshop

Not far from here is the beautifully tiled San Benito station, which also has convenient toilets for a 50c charge.

From here it’s a short walk along the Av. de D. Afonso Henriques to the cathedral.

Carrying on downhill to reach the UNESCO World Heritage Ribeira for a stroll along the front, lunch in one of the quayside cafes, and enjoy the view of the Ponte Luis I bridge.

Cais da Ribeira
Cais da Ribeira

It is possible to walk over the bridge for views back over the city. You will also find the wine caves along the river bank where yo can sample some of the local wines and ports. These include the well known names such as Sandeman, Taylors, Croft and Cockburn’s.

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