Barcos Rabelos

Port wine was traditionally moved from the Quinta to Porto in the Barcos Rabelos, a flat bottomed boat known only in the Douro valley. The river was very rough with gorges and rapids along its length. The dams raised the river in these areas  so now it is a peaceful and controlled flow. The Rabelos were replaced with road and rail transport. Port is unusual in that it is the only wine that is matured off the vineyard.

Rabelos are now used for tourism and publicity but are still made and repaired by hand.



Rio Douro

We did a cruise along the river to the area where the grapes for Port are grown.  The cruise is by Rota Do Douro, and very well done.  Breakfast and lunch on the trip up to Regua and then a train ride back to Porto.

Looking back toward Porto and three of the six bridges, the middle on is no longer in use but is kept as a memorial.


The first lock, 14 metre rise.


River sceneDSC00248

Second lock, 35 metre rise, second highest in Europe.


The next two photos give an idea of the lift:


Top the same ladder.


Some infinity pool


Wine country


In Regua we changed to a bus and went to a Quinta, a Sandeman owned one. Here we saw the vines and the pressing house.


The Douro from the QuintaDSC00285


An enjoyable day.


The Marina we were in, just up the Rio Douro from the breakwater was in Afurada,  a lovely fishing community.

Just outside the marina was the communal laundry, a building with 4 great tubs and sloping stone lips to beat the clothes on and washing lines for the clothes to dry.


Sunset at the marina


Sunset the other way, looking past Kapowai up the river



Porto has been a bit run down but there are plenty of signs of a renewal. This is great news as Porto is a fantastic city, visually, historically and with wonderful people. Here are a selection of the huge number of photos we took.

Looking up the Rio Douro


Toward the cathedral


Down River


The Caves where the Port is matured in barrels


A Rabelo cruising past the Cathedral. The Rabelo was the boat used to bring the barrels of port down the river from the Quinto where it was grown, pressed and barrelled. Now done by road tanker.