Our offers for shore excursions in Leixões (Porto)
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Useful information for excursions in Leixões (Porto)
In the following, you will find information about the cruise port, the most beautiful sights and a lot of useful tips for shore excursions in and around Porto.
The most beautiful sights in and around Porto
Porto, the secret capital of Portugal, is located in the northwest of Portugal on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and is translated as “port.” It is located on the northern bank of the Dueros, the third-longest river in Portugal, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Porto. The city has a charm of its own, not only because of its location on the Duero, but also because of its steep hillside slopes with houses. While more than 1.3 million people live in the metropolitan region of Porto, the city itself has only over 200,000 inhabitants. The unmistakable atmosphere of the city is confirmed not least by the “Portuenses.” Because Porto is known for its hospitable and cosmopolitan people.
Porto is also known for its port wine, which was already cultivated by the Romans. Cultivated in the Alto Douro wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and produced in the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto wine is now exported all over the world. There are numerous wineries in Porto for tasting.
The old town of Porto is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Characteristic are the numerous baroque buildings, which is why Porto is also known under the name “baroque city.” These are thanks to the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni. A terraced structure with colourful narrow streets and dense housing development runs through the old town of Ribeira.
There are many sights to see in Porto. Especially popular is the historical quarter of Foz Velha, which is characterized by its narrow streets, traditional houses and fountains. Numerous restaurants and bars offer tasting menus of Porto’s specialities. You can also stroll along Rua Santa Catarina or Avendia dos Aliados with its shops and cafés.
Ponte de Dom Luís I
Porto’s most famous bridge, the Ponte de Dom Luís I, is a timber-framed arch bridge that connects the old town of Ribeira with the municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia. It is an important traffic junction and extends over the Douro River with a length of 385 metres. The bridge was opened in 1886 and named after the King Dom Luís I, who reigned during this period. It consists of two levels, with light rail trains running on the upper level and the rest of the traffic on the lower level. In addition, there are footpaths on both levels, where pedestrians can also cross the bridge. The bridge is the landmark of the city and offers a magnificent view of the city and the river.
São Bento Railway Station
São Bento Railway Station, opened in 1916, is a railway station located on the site of the former Mosteiro de São Bento de Avé-Maria monastery. The station, designed by José Marques da Silva, is located at Praça de Almeida Garrett. It impresses with its spectacular architecture, consisting of high ceilings and colourful ceramic tiles. The pictures represent parts of the history of the city and the country. Under the building is the subway station of the same name. Also, the subway system Metro do Porto can be reached through a passageway.
The Porto Cathedral is the main church of the city of Porto and the seat of the bishop of the diocese of Porto. It is one of the most important Catholic churches in Portugal and, together with the Old Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral was built in the 12th century in a Romanesque style and has the appearance of a fortress with its high towers and spires. Situated on the hill Pena Ventos it dominates the cityscape. Even the main entrance is worth seeing, which is made of stained glass windows. The church is also decorated with religious artefacts, including sculptures, ancient writings, paintings and jewellery.
Clérigos Church and Torre dos Clérigos
Clérigos Church (Igreja dos Clérigos) is a baroque church built in the middle of the 18th century by the master-architect Nicolau Nasoni. At that time, the church was intended to serve as an orientation for the ship’s crew. The façade of the church is characterized by a baroque decoration and the interior by granite and marble. What makes this church special is the bell tower, which at 76 metres is the highest church tower in Portugal. Torre dos Clérigos is an essential landmark of Portugal due to its height and baroque style. Finally, from the top of the tower one has a fantastic panorama view over the whole city. Clérigos Church is also worthwhile seeing, as today it has a museum. Paintings, sculptures, goldsmith art as also furniture are exhibited there.
Church of São Francisco
Another baroque church worth seeing is the São Francisco, which was completed in 1425. The complex was originally characterised by a simple church and a monastery for the Franciscan order. The church was built after King Dom Fernando, who was known for his extravagant style. The church was finally built in various styles and it is captivating with its magnificent elements, which are made of gilded wood carvings. The entire church appears to be gilded and is a true work of art.
Palácio da Bolsa
One of the most visited monuments in the north of Portugal is the palace Palácio da Bolsa, which has been owned by the Associacao Comercial do Porto since 1910. While at that time, the building served as a stock exchange and commercial court, it is now used as a conference centre. The building was constructed over 70 years ago by the architect Joaquim Porto da Costa Lima Junior on the site of a former Franciscan monastery. The architecture of the building is very impressive and is characterized by a mixture of 18th-century neoclassical style, Tuscan architecture as well as English-Neo-Palladian style.
One of the most beautiful bookstores in Europe and the world is the Livraria Lello bookshop, which is a protected historical building. The bookstore was built in 1906 by engineer Xavier Esteves to create a meeting place for literature lovers. The assortment consists of classical Portuguese literature, a political segment and a large selection of poetry. The architecture is unique and is characterised by a colourful neo-Gothic façade with famous paintings by José Bielman. A majestic ceiling and a curved wooden staircase are impressive elements of the building.
Charming cities in the surrounding area: Braga and Guimarães
The baroque city of Braga is considered the religious centre of Portugal. The city is characterised by a fascinating density of churches, which you will be reminded of every hour by the active ringing of the countless church bells. Worth seeing are the mighty Braga Cathedral and the Episcopal Palace of Braga. A highlight of every visit to the city is the neoclassical pilgrimage church Bom Jesus do Monte. Especially the massive baroque stairs that lead up to the church in almost 600 steps are unique. The entire picturesque old town is a pedestrian zone and includes charming squares, a maze of narrow streets, lively modern shopping streets and flowering small gardens.
Guimarães is a picturesque historic town, with a medieval centre, a city wall, many gothic buildings, traditional houses and beautiful romantic squares. The small town is considered the birthplace of Portugal. The variety of national monuments and historic buildings has been recognized by UNESCO, which declared the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
Peneda-Gerês National Park
Visit the national park Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês, Portugal’s only official national park. It is located in the extreme north-west of the country and has breathtaking beauty. Its evergreen landscape, its rugged mountains and granite rocks, numerous rivers and waterfalls and last but not least the lake of the Caniçada dam offer an enchanting backdrop for hiking or for adventurously exploring the region in an off-road vehicle.
Map of the Cruise Port in Porto
The cruise port of Porto is the port of Leixões, where there are several berths for cruise ships. Approximately 80,000 passengers annually arrive at the cruise port from Great Britain, Germany and the USA. Cruise ships can dock either at the Terminal of the Port of Leixões in the south or at Cruise Terminal Dock No. 1. The port has been artificially created with a 300-meter-long quay. The highlight is the spiral-shaped port building, which was opened in 2015. It is considered an important architectural and historical heritage. The terminal is suitable for 2,500 passengers.
In general, most cruise ships dock at the modern cruise terminal Terminal of the Port of Leixões, which offers amenities such as a tourist information office, souvenir shops and Wi-Fi. As it is not allowed to walk in the port area, a free shuttle bus will take you to the port exit with a short ride. You are now in Matosinhos, from where you can reach Porto in about 10 kilometres. You can either reach Porto by public transport and explore on your own or you can book a relaxing shore excursion.
Alternatively, there is another berth (Doca 1 Norte – Passageiros), the so-called “North Cruise Terminal“, where usually only smaller ships dock and only if the regular cruise berth in the south is already occupied.
You can find out exactly where your cruise ship will dock according to schedule here.
Useful Facts for Shore Excursions in Porto
Operators and routes
Der Hafen von Porto ist ein beliebtes Ziel für Westeuropa-Kreuzfahrten. Angefahren wird Porto z.B. bei Nordsee-Kreuzfahrten, Kreuzfahrten vom Atlantik ins Mittelmeer, Transatlantik-Kreuzfahrten sowie Kreuzfahrten in Richtung Kanaren. Sowohl deutsche als auch internationale Reedereien laufen den Hafen regelmäßig an. Zu den Reedereien zählen unter anderem AIDA Cruises, TUI Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Holland America Line sowie Celebrity Cruises.
The port of Porto is a popular destination for Western Europe cruises. Porto is used for North Sea cruises, Atlantic to Mediterranean cruises, transatlantic cruises and cruises to the Canary Islands. Both German and international shipping companies call at the port regularly. The shipping companies include AIDA Cruises, TUI Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Celebrity Cruises.
Entry and visa
Portugal is part of the European Union and the Schengen area. Canadian and US citizens do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area or countries in Europe for tourism or business stays under ninety (90) days. British citizens do not need a visa. However, some cruise companies require a valid passport for Mediterranean cruises, especially if you are on a transit trip to South America.
In case of doubt, please contact your cruise company for information on the exact entry requirements.
In Portugal, the euro is used as the currency, so a currency exchange is therefore required. (1 dollar = 0.86 euro and 1 pound = 1.11 euro)
Taxi and public transport
In general, the transport network in Porto is well developed. Public transport is reliable and offers good connections. There are also very good connections from the port to Porto, consisting of a railway connection as well as road connections. So you can easily reach the city by public transport.
There you have the possibility to either take the bus number 500 to Porto. The bus stop is located near Lidl, not far from the port. The bus runs to the train station in Porto with a journey time of 40 minutes. You can also take the tram of the metro line A from the stop Matosinhos Sul, which is located in Av. da Republica.
Of course, you can also take a taxi to Porto. The taxi companies are located in front of the port exit and offer cheap trips to Porto. One way costs about €15-20.
Alternatively, you can also ask your cruise company for a transfer to Porto. They often offer their own shuttle bus from the terminal to Porto. However, you can also book a shore excursion through us to get to the city in a relaxed manner.
As Porto is located in the subtropical climate zone, it has a maritime and semi-humid climate. While the summer months have warm temperatures, the winter months are mild. The best time to travel is from April to November. Here the average temperature is around 25 degrees, light to moderate wind ensures pleasant temperatures. From October to April the precipitation values are the highest. The temperatures still reach values of over 14 degrees in these months. Rarely the temperatures fall below 0 degrees.
The main season for cruise ships is from March to November.
Port authority and tourism organisation website
Impressions of PortoVideo:
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