Cruising Around Porto

Porto is one of those cities where it’s best just to wander and explore until you get lost. The waterfront area is like a maze of streets with little bars and cafes at every turn. At some point you’ll most likely find yourself at the waters edge where you can get a different view of the city by taking a traditional Rabelo boat cruise along the Douro River.

We only took a 30 minute cruise along the river but I loved seeing Porto from that vantage point. The colourful riverfront houses are full of character and no doubt history. I’m curious to know how they look on the inside, considering most of them appear to be quite run down from the outside, but I imagine it’s one of the best areas to live in Porto.

Porto River Cruise Portugal

Rabelo Boat River Cruise in Porto

From the river you also get great views of the Luis I Bridge, one of Porto’s main landmarks.

View of Luis I Bridge, Porto from the River

On the opposite side of the Douro River is the town of Gaia. Gaia is the place to go for port wine tasting as this is where much of it is stored and aged. Even though I generally prefer my wine on the sweet side, port is a little too sweet for me. I find it to be much more palatable served with tonic water which is how most of the Portuguese like to drink port.

Gaia as seen from a Douro River Cruise in Porto

We were lucky enough to finish our Porto river cruise with a cocktail party at the beautiful Freixo Palace Hotel in Porto.

Freixo Palace Hotel Porto Portugal

About Andrea

Andrea Anastasakis is the founder and author of road trip blog Rear View Mirror. She is currently driving her Fiat 500 around Europe. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram.


  1. Oh, yes, as long as we don’t have to catch a particular train or flight schedule, we love getting lost wandering around towns and cities. The things one can discover is worth the trouble.

  2. Beautiful. Portugal is on my Bucket List!

  3. What a lovely town! I’ve always been curious with how Porto looks and this one didn’t fit my image. Its being synonymous with wine made me think of rolling vineyards. I love all that architecture and one can never go wrong with river cruises. Beautiful pictures!

  4. Porto is not how I imagined either. I wish I’d had more time to wander around the old town and walk along the river.

  5. Beautiful pictures! Porto is one of those cities that I didn’t have any expectations of and absolutely love it when I was there. My favorite area is in those bridges. ;D


  6. Porto has to be one of the most picturesque cities in the world! I am always taken by its beauty. One of these days I will see it for myself and a cruise will be enjoyed.

  7. What an awesome party (and setting) that was! Fun, fun times…want to do it again. Porto was actually the town I think I explored least just because we were so busy the entire time. I have to go back!