First visit to Porto

Post your experiences of travel, especially for the Douro region. Make recommendations for places to stay and visit or ask advice from those that have already been there.
Post Reply
dmr00001
Cruz Ruby
Posts: 4
Joined: 19:24 Wed 26 Jun 2019

First visit to Porto

Post by dmr00001 » 10:21 Fri 28 Jun 2019

I am shortly about to travel for the first time to Porto for a few days with my wife and son (21), staying centrally. I do love port but those in the £££ bracket are a bit difficult to justify!
I would welcome any suggestions of where to go or what to see, whilst in the city. I want to visit at least one Port House but would like to try one not too touristy, if there is such a place. Any recommendations?
Much appreciated.
Dave

User avatar
AHB
Fonseca 1963
Posts: 12250
Joined: 13:41 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by AHB » 13:39 Mon 01 Jul 2019

Dave,

I like Graham (at the top of the hill, but great views and a great tour, plus the opportunity to buy a glass of the Vintage Port of the Day), Sandeman, Ferreira and Ramos Pinto tours. None are particularly touristy, but all are guided so you do get escorted round to a schedule.

Graham, possibly the others, ask you to book in advance so they can guarantee you a spot on the tour of your choice so do take a look at the website of the Lodge you choose to visit.

I've not been to Taylor, Cockburn or Burmester recently but have heard good things from other people.

Alex
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

Will W.
Cheap Ruby
Posts: 22
Joined: 14:33 Thu 11 Aug 2016

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by Will W. » 19:29 Tue 02 Jul 2019

The Taylor lodge offers the customary tour, which is pleasant and well organised, and a bar at which one can have a glass (or two) of port prior to or after the tour. Should your budget permit as much, said bar occasionally has some better ports open which are not on the menu card. The restaurant at Taylor's is (or was, five years ago) reasonably-priced relative to the quality and offers fantastic views over the river and Porto. I do not know the Burmester lodge, though Cockburn's did theirs up two or three years ago, offering the novice all manner of interpretative panels. All told you cannot go wrong, tour wise, with those Alex mentions, Taylor's or Cockburn's.

dmr00001
Cruz Ruby
Posts: 4
Joined: 19:24 Wed 26 Jun 2019

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by dmr00001 » 22:25 Wed 03 Jul 2019

Thank you both for the advice, especially with regard to booking in advance and will bear that in mind. I will do some research before we travel.

Glenn E.
Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
Posts: 3397
Joined: 22:27 Wed 09 Jul 2008
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by Glenn E. » 02:10 Thu 04 Jul 2019

My favorite is Ramos Pinto because it includes a tour of their old office building which is now a museum. Others have added museums to their tours, but none are as large as the big yellow building on the waterfront. It's best to stop by Ramos Pinto earlier in the day to sign up so that you can reserve your language of preference. That's as far in advance as you need to reserve, or at least has been in my experience.

Sandeman is probably the most accessible standard tour. It is touristy (your guide is dressed as the Sandeman don), but not horribly so. For me it is the standard recommendation (along with Ramos Pinto) because it is so easy to get to and yet is still a good tour. Sandeman is one of the "others" mentioned above that now has its own small museum.

Graham and Taylor are less touristy than Sandeman, but still full of polish and professionalism. One could also say "slick" and not be wrong. Both are worthy and as I recall both ask for reservations. Graham has the best default tasting after the tour in my opinion, plus better selections available if one is willing to pay more. I'm sure the others do also; I'm simply familiar with Graham's premium selections.

If you've had enough of tours and would just like to try some Port, the Sogevinus tasting room offers all of their wines. You can also taste at Kopke, Calem, and Burmester, each of which is part of Sogevinus, but the parent company tasting room offers them all. Quinta do Noval's tasting room is also right on the waterfront in Vila Nova de Gaia and is worth a stop for refreshment.

Have a Francesinha, Porto's best sandwich, while you're there. Taberninha do Manel is right next to the Kopke tasting room in Vila Nova de Gaia and has one of the better examples. The best comes from Bufete Fase, but that's difficult to find. I personally think that the Majestic Cafe's version is over-hyped, but if you're on Rua Santa Catarina (the walking street) it's right in the middle.

Climb the Clerigos tower (in Porto) if it is open and it's a nice day. Superb views from the top.
Glenn Elliott

dmr00001
Cruz Ruby
Posts: 4
Joined: 19:24 Wed 26 Jun 2019

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by dmr00001 » 16:25 Sun 07 Jul 2019

Brilliant advice, thank you very much!

dmr00001
Cruz Ruby
Posts: 4
Joined: 19:24 Wed 26 Jun 2019

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by dmr00001 » 19:08 Wed 21 Aug 2019

Just thought I would report back on our first trip. Let it be said that Porto left a lasting impression on us and it is one of the few places we will definitely re-visit. We had a tour around the Grahams port lodge which was informative although a little rushed in my opinion. We were given plenty of time to sample the vintage ports at the end of the tour though which was most enjoyable.
One thing we didn't do but would next time is to take day long river cruise to where the vines are grown.
Our Airbnb in Ribeira enjoyed fantastic views and the whole district was a warren of great sights and places to eat and drink.
Porto is wonderful!!

User avatar
AHB
Fonseca 1963
Posts: 12250
Joined: 13:41 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by AHB » 20:17 Wed 21 Aug 2019

Wonderful to hear that you enjoyed your visit and have fallen in love with the city in the way that most of the rest of us have!
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

Hopkino
Cruz Ruby
Posts: 8
Joined: 15:51 Thu 21 Sep 2017

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by Hopkino » 22:31 Tue 24 Sep 2019

Imagine my delight reading this thread knowing that I’m visiting Porto for 2 weeks from the 11th October!
I wondered though if anyone could throw some light on purchasing port whilst visiting. I’m in a good position in that I’ll have my own car with me, and the time to take in the sights and explore my surroundings. Like most, I have a sizeable collection of aged vintages, but I’m hoping to buy something for quaffing. I’ve read previous threads where some small producers will sell direct - but where do I start to look if I don’t know who to go to?

rich_n
Fonseca Bin 27
Posts: 64
Joined: 10:59 Thu 23 May 2019

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by rich_n » 12:17 Wed 09 Oct 2019

I will be out in Porto in just over a week and I'm struggling to find out if there is a ferry to/from Pinhao. I am hoping to get the train to Pinhao and then a ferry/boat back to Porto. All I can find is pre-arranged tours that include food/drink options when I'd happily arrange my own. Can anyone help?

User avatar
AHB
Fonseca 1963
Posts: 12250
Joined: 13:41 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by AHB » 18:25 Wed 09 Oct 2019

rich_n wrote:
12:17 Wed 09 Oct 2019
I will be out in Porto in just over a week and I'm struggling to find out if there is a ferry to/from Pinhao. I am hoping to get the train to Pinhao and then a ferry/boat back to Porto. All I can find is pre-arranged tours that include food/drink options when I'd happily arrange my own. Can anyone help?
As far as I know, there is no public river bus which runs from Pinhao to Oporto. I believe that the only public transport options are train or bus. If you really want to do the journey by river (and it's well worth it) I would try giving one or two of the boat tour companies a ring to see if you could join them at Pinhao for the journey downriver. October is a quieter time of year for them so they might have the space and like the additional revenue.
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

rich_n
Fonseca Bin 27
Posts: 64
Joined: 10:59 Thu 23 May 2019

Re: First visit to Porto

Post by rich_n » 21:06 Fri 11 Oct 2019

AHB wrote:
18:25 Wed 09 Oct 2019
rich_n wrote:
12:17 Wed 09 Oct 2019
I will be out in Porto in just over a week and I'm struggling to find out if there is a ferry to/from Pinhao. I am hoping to get the train to Pinhao and then a ferry/boat back to Porto. All I can find is pre-arranged tours that include food/drink options when I'd happily arrange my own. Can anyone help?
As far as I know, there is no public river bus which runs from Pinhao to Oporto. I believe that the only public transport options are train or bus. If you really want to do the journey by river (and it's well worth it) I would try giving one or two of the boat tour companies a ring to see if you could join them at Pinhao for the journey downriver. October is a quieter time of year for them so they might have the space and like the additional revenue.
Thanks! That's helpful to know.

Post Reply