We had such a good time going sailing on the Douro river in Pinhão that we were curious what it would be like to cruise the waters at the other end of the river, in Porto, Portugal. We were invited to do a Douro Azul river cruise on a rabelo boat.
Rabelos are the traditional boats that used to transport port wine, but also other goods and even people, over the river. Before the construction of the railroad, the rabelo boats offered the fastest way of getting port wine from the Douro Valley, where it's produced, to the city of Porto.
The boats have a flat bottom which made it easy for them to navigate the formerly shallow waters of the Douro River. Nowadays, the water of the Douro in Porto is deeper thanks to the construction of dams and locks in the 1960s.
The word “rabelo” means “little tail” and refers to the long wooden stick at the end of the boat that is used to steer it. Every year on St. John's Day, the 24th of June, a rabelo boat race is held in Porto as part of the festivities.
Our Douro Azul river cruise
Douro Azul offers various cruises and the one we went on was the one-hour Bridges Cruise (€10/person). That cruise goes alongside Porto and takes you under the different bridges that connect the river banks of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. It was a great way to see both cities from a different perspective.
Although a boat isn't the most stable ground to take some photos, I made an attempt to capture what we saw along the way.
Besides families taking out their boats, we also passed some fellow cruisers and we especially got a great view on the Museu dos Transportes e Comuniçao, an impressive building as well as on this huge painting of one of the most famous port brands.
They even took us to the ocean! Well, almost…
Besides small tours in Porto, Douro Azul also does longer cruises on bigger boats, like this one:
Curious about what else they have to offer? Check out the Douro Azul website for more information on their fleet, the Douro Azul cruises and their special programs. And if you'd like to know more about the bridges of Porto, check out this post by Anil from foXnoMad.
Where to stay in Porto
Check Booking.com for an extensive list of options for all budgets and needs.
If you prefer staying at an apartment, like we did, I recommend checking airbnb. Sign up through my link and get a discount on your first stay!
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We were offered a tour with Douro Azul by the Porto Convention Bureau, but, as always, all opinions expressed here are my own. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you book something through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you