The Douro River has its source in Spain, in the Ubrion hills and, once in Portugal, it goes 210 kilometres before flowing into Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, the base level cities. The river, whose water are golden according to the sunlight, passes through the Alto Douro Vinhateiro (winegrowing) region that is classified by UNESCO as World Heritage, a place where a unique natural landscape meets the agricultural heritage, built all over the years.
The Douro cruises are mandatory for the tourists who land in Porto and wish to discover the beauties that are company to the river until it meets the frontier with Spain in Barca d’Alva. The construction of hydro electrical dams and floodgates opened a fluvial navigable channel that allows traveling by boat from the base level to the frontier with safety.
In this course that passes by Régua, Pinhão and ending in Barca d’Alva, the tourists visit the farms in which the Porto Wine is produced; enjoy the natural landscape and the river curves. They can see the blossomed almond trees in the spring and the red and brown colours of the vineyard in the autumn. There are no reasons missing to go all the way up in Douro.
The cruises end in the base level, either in the Porto side or in the Vila Nova the Gaia side. It is in the latter that the wine cellars, in which is kept the wine after being produced in the farms, are located, and it is also in this side that the rabelos boats dock. Nowadays they are mainly a touristic attraction, but they were once essential for the region economy. Before the dams and floodgates that corrected the river course, these wooden boats were the only ones to navigate in the river, bringing the wine in barrels from the farms to the cellars.