Arriving in Portugal - Povoa de Varzim and Oporto - 14-17th August

Sun 17 Aug 2008 18:02

Our first port of call in Portugal was Povoa de Varzim and as soon as we had moored up, we were invited to a BBQ, which is held every Thursday by the ex-pat community living there for part of the year.  It also gave us an opportunity to meet other people from a number of other yachts who turned up at the same time.  Povoa de Varzim is not a particularly pretty place, although it appears to be a holiday resort for the Portuguese.  It has a very long ‘Blackpool type’ beach front, with music piped from street speakers. However, behind the seafront the town with its little streets and alley ways had a sort of rough and ready charm about them.  It was also festival time (not sure which one as there appears to be so many in Portugal!) and the streets were literally covered in pictures made of flower petals and conifer branches.  We were told later that it was to celebrate the safety of the fisherman and the centre of attraction was the church and this was visited throughout the day and lit up like ‘Blackpool Tower’ at night….strange but interesting. 


Arriving Povoa de Varzim or is it Blackpool??                                  Not so bad.......overlooking the harbour


Streets of flowers................ and there were even mini bridges to cross over the floweres

With Povoa de Varzim at the end of Metro du Porto system, we took the opportunity to take the 1 hour journey to Oporto and explore it’s delights (only 8.80 euros return for 2).  We had an excellent day and after wondering around the streets and the fabulous waterfront which is sited on the River Douro, we decided that we couldn’t come to Oporto without visiting some of the Port wine houses of which there are countless.  We visited both the Croft and Taylors wine houses and on each were given a guided tour of the cellars, where the large drums of port were maturing.  Oporto is 100 miles down river from where the grapes are harvested and the fortified wine made, but it is necessary to move it to the cool lodges at Oporto where is begins its gradual transformation into fine port. Naturally it goes without saying that we also did some tasting and also couldn’t resist purchasing a couple or three bottles.  We also managed to find Eduardo (recommended by David on Zipadedoda) who runs the restaurant at the yacht club and I must say we were looked after very well; excellent starter (tuna, fresh prawns, olives and bread).  After paying our 3 nights marina fees, we also understood why the ex-pats were living here… less than half the price of other marinas down the coast.  All in all an enjoyable time here, apart from the sirens going off all night to either welcome the fishermen on their return to harbour or to signal fog (neither seemed to be happening, but Eduardo did advise us that there was a technical fault with them). Next stop Nazare, a 107 miles further south.


Sights of Oporto and the River Douro


Port cellars... and advertising around Oporto

View of sunset and entrance to Povoa de Varzim from the yacht club restaurant