Cais de Gaia: Oporto’s Must-See Neighborhood

It’s sunset in Oporto, Portugal’s second largest city. Pink light filters onto the streets, giving the medieval buildings a delicate rose hue reminiscent of the port wine that gives the city its name. The streets wind in all directions, beckoning you to explore.

Also called Porto, this lovely, culturally rich city is home to Cais de Gaia, where much of the city’s famous wine is stored. Cais de Gaia is a fascinating neighborhood with stunning views, cafes, and shops. Spend the day wandering the city’s streets, viewing its bridges, manor houses, and port wine warehouses. An officially registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, Oporto is the perfect place to relax, sightsee, and indulge in flavorful cuisine.

To help you plan your itinerary, here are some top recommended sites to explore in the Cais de Gaia quarter:

Port Wine Warehouses. As stunning as they are practical, some of these port wine warehouses date back to the 1700s and are still in use today. Wooden barrels line the walls, and the sweet scent of their world-famous port will make your mouth water for a glass of your own.

Manor Houses. While exploring the port wine warehouses, you will also want to wander into some of the neighborhoods to glimpse the architecture of some of the elegant 19th-century manor houses. Follow any winding street and you’re sure to stumble on a postcard-worthy home.

Bridges. Some of the most scenic bridges in the neighborhood include the Ponte de Infante, the Ponte de São João, and the Arrábida Bridge. Each with its own story, the bridges of Cais de Gaia are artfully constructed and physically sound. Take time to traverse these bridges and bask in the breathtaking views they provide. And if you only have time to see one of Cais de Gaia’s magnificent bridges, make sure it’s the Dom Luis.

Dom Luis Bridge. The Dom Luis Bridge is one of the most recognizable features of this neighborhood. Designed by Gustave Eiffel, creator of the Eiffel Tower, this bridge is an architectural marvel that boasts stunning views of the clear, blue bay.

Riverside Esplanade. After an afternoon of exploring the Cais de Gaia, why not take a break at the Riverside Esplanade? Here, you will find many cafes and restaurants, most of which afford great views of the skyline.

Cais de Gaia is one of the major stops on Vantage Cruises’ Portugal & The Douro River Wine Country river cruise, which follows the path of the Duoro River. You’ll have two days to yourself in this scenic city, leaving you plenty of time to explore.