Portugal: The Port Wineries of Porto

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Consider This a Sign 6310973924 l 252x167 The Port Wineries of Porto

Among the cities you are sure to visit when you travel in Portugal is Porto. Porto is a famous Portugal travel destination not only because it’s the country’s second-largest city, but also because it is home to dozens of wineries that produce the sweet, delicious port wine native to the region.

I traveled to Porto in November and was enamored not only by the port wineries to be found there, but also by the city’s architecture and its unreal natural beauty. The next time you travel in Portugal, make a beeline for the port wineries near the city of Porto.

How to Travel to Porto

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Head for Porto’s São Bento station, located in the city’s historical center

Porto is located in the northern part of Portugal in the Douro River valley. Porto is served by an airport that enjoys flight service from Lisbon, as well as from international destinations throughout Europe.

For backpackers who travel in Portugal, the simplest and most economical way to reach Porto is via train from Lisbon. Trains bound for Porto’s Campanhã station depart Lisbon’s Oriente station hourly. The time of the journey varies between 2-3 hours, depending on whether you take the regular or express service. You can expect to pay around €30 one-way for a train trick from Lisbon to Portugal.

Your train arrives at Campanhã station, which isn’t located in central Porto. To reach central Porto, you must ride the Porto commuter rail to São Bento station, which costs €2,80 and takes about five minutes — it’s just one stop away.

Vila Nova da Gaia

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Cross Ponte Dom Luis to get to Vila Nova da Gaia

Central Porto is where you should stay when you travel to Porto, but it isn’t where the port wineries themselves are located. Porto’s Port Wineries are actually located over the Douro river in Vila Nova da Gaia, just south of central Porto.

In order to get from Porto to Vila Nova da Gaia, walk south from Porto’s central square and onto Avenida Vimara Peres, where São Bento station is located. Continue heading south along the road for about 10 minutes, until you reach Ponte Dom Luis, the massive bridge that spans the Douro and connects Porto to Vila Nova da Gaia.

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Enjoy breathtaking views of both Porto and Vila Nova da Gaia from Ponte Dom Luis

The views you enjoy of Porto, Vila Nova da Gaia and the Douro itself from Ponte Dom Luis are absolutely breathtaking in their scale and beauty. Once you finish crossing the bridge, head off to the right, where you have a choice of either taking a cable car down into Vila Nova da Gaia of, if you’re afraid of cable cars like me, walking down hilly, cobblestone streets to get there.

Where is Port Wine Produced?

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Vila Nova da Gaia is home to port wineries, but is not where port wine grapes are grown

As you cross Ponte Dom Luis, you may be thinking to yourself, “This is awful pretty, but I don’t see any fields or vines. What gives?”

Although Vila Nova da Gaia is where the majority of Portugal’s port wineries are located, it is actually further inward along the Douro Valley where the grapes for port wine are grown. This is in contrast to other wine-producing regions, such as the Malbec region you may visit when you travel to Argentina.

As the guide on one of my port winery tours explained, low-lying areas of inland Portugal are ideal for growing port grapes because extreme hot and cold temperature draw out port wine’s signature sweetness from the grapes. It is possible to visit the wine-growing region when you travel in Portugal by taking a bus or private taxi from central Porto. As your hotel or hostel front desk staff for more information.

Port Wineries in Porto

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Sample port wine at port wineries like Croft, Sandeman and Calem

Once you reach ground level in Vila Nova Da Gaia, the world is your port wine oyster! Whether you prefer to visit big-name port wineries like Calem and Sandeman — which typically require you to pay — or smaller ones like Cockburn’s or Croft (which, on the other hand, are usually free), you should plan on getting pretty toasted.

Typically, a tour of a port winery includes a guided, informative walk through the barreling and distillery areas of the winery, as well as samples of two to three types of port wine. Once the tour is over, you have the option of purchasing glasses or even bottles of port wine, as well as chocolates, candies and other port wine pairings.

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