Yesterday I took my aunty on the 6 bridges cruise in Porto. A river cruise is a beautiful way to see the city and the 6 bridges cruise is around 45-50 minutes. I would highly recommend a river cruise as it’s a beautiful and relaxing way to see the city.
How to book the 6 Bridges river Cruise
You can book the 6 Bridges Cruise in Porto online in advance via Get your Guide or Viator. However, you don’t need to book it in advance, you can just rock up at the river cruise starting point on Ribeira. Walk down towards the river Douro and head to Casas da Ribeira (the tall colourful houses where all the street performers are) and you will see the stands and the docks where the boats depart. You can show up between 10am and 5pm and you are likely to be able to get a ticket very close to that time.
Cost of the 6 Bridges River Cruise in Porto
The cost of the 6 bridges river cruise in Porto is €15. There is also a ticket including a glass of Port on board, but it is €25 and honestly not really worth it – it’s a little over priced considering you can buy a glass of Port in Port for just €3. Also, the basic river cruise ticket includes a glass of port that you can have over the other side of the river in Gaia if you take it the same day or the next day.
Tips for the 6 Bridges Porto River Cruise
I’d recommend that you do the 6 bridges tour on a relatively sunny day with a low chance of rain. Between May and September are the best months to go. Late morning or early afternoon are the best times to go – if it’s a sunny day, you might even get a tan on the deck!
When you get your ticket, try to get in the queue early to board the boat. You ideally want to get the best seats outside near the front of the boat. You will be pleased to know that there are toilets on board!
The boat tour goes along all 6 of the main Porto bridges. You will be able to see some fantastic sites along the journey including the Serra do Pillar Monastery and the Port houses of Gaia. The boat will go in both directions – it will go up the river, turnaround and come back down, taking just under an hour for the circuit of all 6 bridges.
The 6 Bridges of Porto
From east to west the 6 bridges of Porto are the Ponte do Freixo, the Ponte de São João Bridge, the Ponte de Dona Maria Pia, the Ponte do Infante and the Ponte da Arrábida. The Ponte Dom Luís I is positioned between the modern Ponte da Arrábida and the Ponte do Infante.
So why are there so many bridges in Porto? Well as time went on and technology developed, bridges became stronger and safer and catered for different needs. For example, the Mia Pia Bridge soon became insufficient for the traffic between Porto and Lisbon as it only could accommodate traffic up to 20mph, so eventually it was replaced with the São João bridge.
The Dom Luís I Bridge is a double-deck metal arch bridge that connects the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia and allows the metro to run across the Douro. At the time of its construction, it was the longest of its type in the world with a span of 172 metres.
Where to go after your River Cruise
When you have completed your river cruise you can have some food and drinks along Ribeira facing the river. We recommend Terra Nova or Jimão Tapas e Vinhos.
You can also walk across the Dom Luis I Bridge to Gaia and do a Port tasting at any of the Port houses including Calem, Quinta do Noval or Sandemans.