Porto is Portugal's second city. It stands precipitously on the on the north bank of the Douro river which has given its name to this well-known wine making region of Portugal. Porto (aka Oporto by the British) is the centre of the Port Wine industry with a heritage that goes back to Roman times. The city houses many fine buildings, cathedrals and museums. The old quarter with its labyrinthine alleyways has remained virtually untouched and retains a charm all of its own.
Proceeding east along the Douro river valley rewards the traveller with some magnificent and dramatic views; the banks dive steeply to the river and the hillsides change colour through the year as the vines mature. Further upstream the tranquility of the area and its vast openness become apparent. The river has been 'improved' in order to make it navigable with a number of locks providing transit to pleasure craft and river cruise boats.