Departure: Arousa, August 14, 3 pm Arrival: Porto, August 15, 7.30 pm Nautical miles: 100
*Including overnight stay at Barra after 25 nm
After leaving Arousa we raced to Porto to meet up with Pernille’s parents, who were driving all the way from Denmark to Portugal to meet up with us during their summer vacation (they prefer to drive in general, and due to Covid it seemed like the most reasonable option despite the distance).
We spent five wonderful days together in Porto, just walking around and taking in the beautiful architecture and delicious cuisine, and we all fell completely in love with the beautiful city – even Leo uttered the shocking words “I don’t like cities, but this is very nice”. The people of Porto are so incredibly friendly, and thanks to some of our IG followers who are native to the city we had so many good recommendations for where to eat, drink and explore.
But one of the best parts of the experience was without a doubt our anchorage. An anchorage in the middle of a busy, touristy city and for free? That’s rare! But very handy when on a tight budget as it allows for the reallocation of funds to please your true consumerism, i.e. supporting local cafes and restaurants.
This unique anchorage is in the middle of the old magnificent town of Porto and close to the main tourist attractions. We too felt like some sort of attraction with our boat anchored for days in (almost) the middle of the river Douro, and especially when the three of us paddled ashore on one SUP passing the river’s myriads of restaurants and cafés. A very different experience to the remote anchorages of Sweden.
In case you pass by Porto and are a cheap like us consider the anchorage option at least for part of your stay, it is close to the centre and a great experience. The Douro marina is also great (good facilities and nice local community), although a bit further out of town. We truly hope that this anchorage remains free and accessible in the future.
*Some info about the anchorage: The outflow tide combined with the natural river flow is stronger, therefore if using both bow and stern anchor, set bow anchor into the river, that’s what we did, it also gives further sense of security knowing that two anchors holding your precious in place. Be aware that the stream can be very strong, especially during spring tides. Although during the day the Douro river is super crowded with tourist boats, jet skis and has a lot of wake, it all disappears by nightfall allowing a super calm night sleep. More info about the anchorage can be found on Navily.
If you’re interested in visiting Porto, then read on, maybe some of our personal highlights can inspire your visit 🙂
My mum and I (Pernille) are massive bookworms (especially mum, she’s always reading at least 3 different books and she’s the chairman of her book club), so when we’re in a city with one of the beautiful bookshops in the world, Livraria Lello, it’s a must see – even if the queue is at least 2 hours! We arrived a good 30 min before opening and still waited in line for about 1,5 hours (in the afternoon you’d easily have to wait 3 hours). In other cons, it’s hard to get a proper picture of the interiors as it is a bit crowded inside and the book selection is limited and mainly for show (which we kind of expected, but still found the selection quite disappointing). However, it is a really beautiful book shop and I’m happy that I made the effort to see it.
There’s nothing like a good mix of old and new – the city is one big treasure chest of well-maintained old architecture, and it is kept interesting with a contrast of mind-blowing street art. If you ever visit Porto, our number one recommendation would be to just wander about and take in the city from the streets – there are so many little fun treasures to discover.
When in Porto, drink port wine – obvs! We opted for a port wine tasting at @taylorsportwine and it was worth every cent. Here we were treated to wonderful port wines paired with a very interesting intro to each wine by the lovely ladies working there, while enjoying a bit of tranquillity in their new rooftop garden in the middle of the bustling city – a little paradise inhabited by a rooster, peacocks and their little peachicks. Not only did they graciously allow us to bring Kai (provided that he did not chase the birds), but they showered him with love and attention. It couldn’t have been a more rewarding experience.
So much so that when we decided to visit the Douro valley to taste more of the local wine, we were bit apprehensive ’cause how could anything measure up to the positive experience we’d had at Taylor’s? Well, we were recommended to visit @quintadopopa and as they advertised to be pet-friendly and off we went. Again the scenery was stunning, the service was lovely (Kai was yet again the star of the show) and the wine was definitely worth the drive up there. We sacrificed a few harbour stays on a couple of bottles that we’ll save for a very special occasion.