Port Wine Tastings & Tours#5 in Best Things To Do in Porto
A visit to Porto wouldn't be complete without a stop to sample the city's most notable export — port wine. You'll find dozens of wine cellars scattered throughout Porto, and there's even a Port Wine Museum dedicated to teaching the history of the port wine trade and production development. But if you're more interested in imbibing, head to one (or several) of Porto's top wineries.
Sogrape Vinhos owns Ferreria, Sandeman and Offley cellars, and all three northern Vila Nova de Gaia venues are within walking distance of one another. Start at Ferreira, the westernmost winery, which was built in 1751 and has long played an important role in Porto's winemaking history thanks to its family of notable winemakers. Head east along Avenida Ramos Pinto and you'll happen upon your next stop, Sandeman Porto Cellars. Sandeman is the most recognizable wine cellars in the region, situated along the picturesque banks of the Douro River and boasting massive white lettering spelling out the winery's name. This winery also features various paintings, photographs, antique bottles and other trinkets that outline the history of the Sandeman brand. South of Sandeman you'll find Offley Cellars; built in 1737, the Offley cellar is the eldest of those owned by the Sogrape Vinhos brand. A singular visit to tour and sample wines at one of the Sogrape Vinhos cellars costs anywhere from €3 to €35 EUR (about $4 to $50 USD) depending on what type of experience you seek. (Some packages include tastings with a wider variety of wines, some boast a more intimate experience and some include tapas samplings as well.) However, if you're hoping to do a wine tour and basic tasting at all three cellars, you can do so for €10 EUR (around $14 USD).
Another popular port winemaker, Taylor's, happens to be right around the corner from Offley Cellars. Just south of Offley on Rua do Choupelo, Taylor's wine lodge educates visitors on the history of port wine and the company's own production that has spanned four centuries. Tours at Taylor's cost €5 EUR (about $7 USD) and include tastings of three port wines.
Hours vary by winery and tours are available in English. All four venues are located across the Douro River from downtown Porto in Vila Nova de Gaia; the nearest metro stop to all four wineries is Jardim do Morro on the D (yellow) line.
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#1 Dom Luís I Bridge
This iconic arching iron bridge straddles the Douro River, connecting Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia. Though Porto is known for having quite a few bridges, the Dom Luís I Bridge is especially renowned because it was designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel, the mastermind behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Plus, at the time of its completion in 1886, this bridge was the longest iron arch in the world. The bridge accommodates cars on its lower level and Porto's metro on its upper level; pedestrians can walk along the bridge on both levels. Stroll along the upper deck of the bridge and you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the edifices built into the hillside cliffs that line the river.
Admiring the bridge's composition and the views it offers is something all visitors to Porto must do, according to recent travelers. "This bridge has got to be one of the most amazing pieces of architecture," swooned one TripAdvisor user. "Be sure to walk both top and bottom levels if you can, views are excellent!" A visit here would pair well with a stop at some of Porto's nearby wineries across the bridge in Vila Nova de Gaia. Another option would be to hop on a Douro River cruise or boat tour, which would allow you to see all six bridges in one go.
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