We felt like our trip would not be complete without trying some port in Porto in Portugal! Port wine gets its name from the city of Porto. We decided to make it a relaxing afternoon and visit the port houses at our own pace. The port houses are located in the Gaia area of Porto, across the river from the old town.
You could take an organized port tour, but you can also easily do port tasting in Porto on your own. Let me tell you how.
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Porto Port Tasting Tour
How to Get to Gaia and the Port Houses
Across the river from the old city center of Porto is Vila Nova de Gaia, where all the port houses in Porto are located. From the old town area of Porto, you can either walk or take a taxi or uber across the river.
Then, to get the best views I suggest you take the Porto cable car from the Ponte Luis I Bridge (upper station) to Cais de Gaia (lower station). It’s a little pricey – €6 for one way or €9 for round trip – but I think for the best views of Porto, it’s worth it. You should consider that you are purchasing an experience rather than just a transportation method. Plus, as a bonus, we each got a coupon for one port tasting at the Quevedo Port Wine House. The trip lasts about five minutes and you will cover about 600 meters, so you can always walk if are on a budget.
Porto Cable Car Ride
Before you go on the cable car, be sure to enjoy the view from in front of the station. It’s a great photo spot with the Douro River and Porto in the background. When we got on the cable car, it wasn’t crowded at all and we had a whole car to ourselves. It’s a short distance and the ride was very smooth. The views of the river and the old town are beautiful. The one issue we had was the sun was really strong so several of our photos had a lot of reflections. We should have timed it better.
After your cable car ride, you will be right in the heart of the port wine cellars in Porto. There are different options for tours and tasting combinations at each port house, and you may need to make a reservation at some of them. We had already had a bit to drink during the Porto Food Tour we did earlier that day, so we wanted to try and pace ourselves.
Offley Port House Tour and Tasting
We started our afternoon at the Offley Port House. They have several different levels of tastings and tours. We choose the Classic Tour, which was €6 each and included a tasting of two ports. You do not need a reservation in summer months. Out of season, the tours are by appointment only.
The tour is offered in English as well as Portuguese. By chance, we arrived just in time for an English tour. The tour was brief but we learned about the story of the Baron of Forrester, one of the most significant figures in the history of port wine.
We walked through the areas where the port was being made and where the port was being aged. It was dark so it was hard to take photos. Our tour guide also went over the different types of port such as tawny, ruby, rose, and white. I had tried both tawny and ruby before.
After the tour, we went to the tasting room. We didn’t get to choose which two ports to try. Our tour guide gave us a brief introduction to what we were tasting and then we tried our ports. This was the first time I had tasted a white port. I like sweet wines, so I enjoyed it.
Quevedo Port Wine House Tasting
We got a coupon for a free tasting at Quevedo Port Wine House as part of the ticket price for the Gaia cable car, so we went there next. We didn’t do a tour, we just relaxed at a table and tasted a few ports. The first one was free but we purchased a few higher end ones to compare. To my untrained palate, it all tasted good.
Port Wine Museum in Porto
If you want to learn more about port, you should consider a visit to the Port Wine Museum or Museu do Vinho do Porto in Portuguese. Inside the museum, you will learn more about how port wine is made and its history. Wine bottles as old as 200 years old, old labels, and antique pieces used for the production and transport of port on display in the museum help bring the story to life.
Museu do Vinho do Porto was opened in 2004 in an old 18th-century warehouse as a tribute to the port wine tradition in Porto. The museum is located on the old town side of the Duoro River. The address is R. de Monchique 94, 4050-394 Porto, Portugal. The Port Wine Museum is open daily except for Mondays. Unfortunately, we did not have time to make it to the Port Museum on this trip.
Port Fan or Port Expert?
I like port, but I have a lot more to learn about it! Maybe next time I will have to take a port wine tasting guided tour. Regardless, Porto port wine tasting was a lot of fun and I learned a little more about port.
Are you a port fan or expert? Have you ever done a port tasting?
Expert Tips for Port Tasting in Porto
- Some Porto port wine cellars will require a reservation so if you have one you have your heart set on, you should contact them in advance.
- The Porto cable car is a great way to get to the area where the port houses are, but you can also walk if you want to save money.
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