Saturday, April 20, 2013

The stunning Porto’s Cais da Ribiera (Porto riverside)

It is no doubt that Porto’s riverside is the heart and soul of the city. When I stepped on the boulevard of Cais da Ribiera, I fell in love more of Porto. How can you not be?

A UNESCO World Heritage

The Cais da Ribiera is a UNESCO world heritage since 1996 and to give you a better and wider perspective of the boulevard, I have 4 pictures below that were taken from across the river, from Vila Nova de Gaia.

Lovely and mystifying are they not?

The entire boulevard stretch along the Douro River commands gorgeous and colourful architecture, great views of the Dom Luis I Bridge and Vila Nova de Gaia, the town across the river where the Port wines are stored and aged. Moreover, the boulevard is a place with a lot of hustle and bustle, with rows after rows of café restaurant terraces and street vendors selling whatnots. It is a great place to relax with a drink while taking in the lovely vistas and the people passing by.

This part of Porto can easily become a favourite for first timers and I can pretty much understand why.

For me, Porto’s ramshackle edge brings back memories of Havana, Cuba. Her architecture however is a striking resemblance that of its good old neighbour, Andalucia in the southernmost region of Spain. And the mood and the colours, they remind me of rustic and enigmatic Amsterdam. Such a beautiful mix of déjà vu.

But not only that, because of its fabulous and chock-full café terraces activity on the river boulevard, Porto also gives city visitors that ephemeral summer beach holiday feeling. Of course, when the sun shines.

Cais da Ribiera by day

Here at the riverside, I had my Francesinha lunch, a notorious Porto sandwich drenced in tomato and beer sauce. I also was able to have a lovely dinner here which I will post separately soon.

I really like this part of Porto. I kept coming back here during my stay in the city. It is bustling with people here throughout the day and night. Great place to just hang around.

Well, a typical sight in Porto =)

Outdoor cafes, terraces and restaurants on the riverside. I love this place. Great place to people watch as well and let an hour pass by as you sip your coffee or tea.

Dom Luis I Bridge and the Douro River

I can say that this bridge is a Porto icon.

Called in Portuguese ‘Ponte Luis’, this ironwork bridge was designed by Belgian engineer Theophile Seyrig, who was an ardent student of the Eiffel Tower master, Gustave Eiffel. Many people say that this bridge, the longest of its kind, is a vertical version of Paris’ Eiffel Tower, or at least it pays a semblance to the iconic tower who happens to be the work of his teacher.

The bridge connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia where the port and wine caves are located.

There were a few artisanal - local handicraft market stalls on the riverside as well which adds up to the bustling activity on the boulevard.

This has got to be the best seating on the river.

Cais da Ribiera by night

In the evenings, the boulevard transforms into a romantic yet buzzing place for couples to wine and dine, and stroll along the Douro River. In the summer it must be especially busy here!

I found the boulevard relatively safe at night, there are lots of tourists and locals passing by and no one really bothers you.

Now, don’t you want to want to book your flight to Porto? =)

Travel Period: April 2013
Destination: Porto (Grande Porto), Portugal

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