The sea is a natural way of getting to Portugal and a good starting point to gain an insight into the history of this country of explorers.
Boats from all over the world dock here, whether via the Atlantic to the west, or the Mediterranean to the south, and in the Madeira and Azores archipelagos.
Portugal is a country with a long history and a centuries-old culture, and will welcome you at this crossroads between Europe and the American continent.
If you stop here on a cruise, you will find many points of interest in the cities of Porto, Lisbon and Portimão, which are well worth exploring. Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, and Funchal, on Madeira, also offer their seafaring visitors a comfortable and friendly welcome.
Located on the Northern Portuguese coast, the Port of Leixões is at the frontline of navigation in the Atlantic, providing connections to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.
Keeping abreast of the growth trend in short-break cruises, it also links with other Portuguese and foreign ports within the Atlantic zone.
It’s located 5km from the Francisco Sá Carneiro international airport and 3km from Porto city centre.
Porto, at the mouth of the River Douro, is a city with a strong character and long traditions, whose city centre has World Heritage status. It was in Northern Portugal that the first Portuguese Kings settled and began the Christian reconquest of the land to the south.
The link to the sea and the river, the historical bridges connecting the river banks, the city centre, the traditional markets and shops, the old landmarks and the modern buildings by famous architects, all make Porto a different city with a cosmopolitan feel.
You can also visit Guimarães, Braga, Ponte de Lima and the Douro Valley, the winegrowing region where the world famous Port wine is produced, all one or two hours’ drive away.
- visiting the historic centre of Porto, which includes the Clérigos Tower, the mediaeval Cathedral close and the Douro riverfront area;
- visiting the Serralves museum and Casa da Música. In addition to their interesting cultural programmes, these buildings are two icons of contemporary Portuguese architecture;
- for shopping, Avenida dos Aliados, Rua de Santa Catarina and Boavista are prime areas in the city;
- visiting the Port wine lodges on the Vila Nova de Gaia bank;
- taking a boat ride on the River Douro.
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An almost mandatory stopover on major transatlantic routes, Lisbon offers exceptional conditions for welcoming visitors arriving by sea.
The Port of Lisbon currently has 4 cruise terminals: Lisbon Cruise Terminals A and B, located near the historic and cultural centre, Alcântara and Rocha Conde de Óbidos, about 20 minutes away by public transport. Portela international airport is about 11km away.
A cosmopolitan city, at once old and modern, Lisbon is known for its unique light and its mild climate makes it ideal to visit at any time of the year. Amongst its traditions are the fado, classified as World Heritage, and the popular festival devoted to St. Anthony, which is held in June.
Lisbon is full of charm, and offers many attractions to its visitors, from the wide range of cultural events to its World Heritage landmarks and a great diversity of shops and restaurants.
Close to Lisbon, the Estoril, Cascais and Sintra coastal strips are worth a visit. A little further away are Óbidos, Fátima and the Alcobaça, Batalha and Tomar World Heritage monuments, and to the south, the cities of Setúbal and Évora.
- Climbing up to São Jorge castle and strolling around the historic quarters of Alfama and Mouraria;
- Listening to the Fado;
- Visiting the Belém quarter and tasting the famous pastéis de nata (custard tarts);
- Shopping downtown and in Chiado.
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The Port of Portimão, one night away from Lisbon by sea, is part of the Mediterranean, North Atlantic islands and transatlantic routes, and is usually the first or last boarding point for many holiday cruises.
Its cruise terminal is quite close to the city centre, with excellent beaches nearby and a good provision of accommodation and restaurants.
Portimão is one of the major cities on the Southern Portuguese coast. Many varied beaches, with rocky formations or long stretches of sand, calm, warm waters, a mild climate all year round, quality tourist resorts and internationally renowned golf courses make the Algarve coast one of the best beach destinations in Europe.
- Visiting Praia da Rocha, one of the most well-known beaches in the Algarve;
- Enjoying the view from the Praia da Rocha Fortress over the city, the River Arade and the sea;
- Visiting the Portimão City Museum;
- Tasting the fish - the sardines in particular, which are amongst the most popular Portuguese dishes.
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The largest city in the Azores archipelago, Ponta Delgada welcomes its visitors to an important local venue for leisure and culture, called Portas do Mar. This is quite close to the historic and commercial centre, with good access to tourist routes.
Ponta Delgada is on the Island of São Miguel, one of the nine volcanic islands of the Azores. Discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, the archipelago is known for its natural beauty and the preservation of local traditions and lore. The feasts of the Holy Spirit, which take place on all the islands from April to September, are the most emblematic.
Cruise ships call at the islands of São Miguel, Terceira and Faial, and a good number of land excursions on the nearest islands is on offer. These are prime locations for outdoor activities, especially scuba diving, whale watching, hiking and birdwatching.
- Visiting the Sete Cidades Lagoon and the Fogo Lagoon;
- Tasting the cozido das furnas, a dish cooked in the earth using volcanic heat;
- Tasting the tea, grown in the Azores for hundreds of years;
- Diving in the ferrous water pool at the Terra Nostra Park;
- Climbing up to the Vista do Rei viewpoint.
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The Island of Madeira is a mandatory stopover for a large number of Atlantic cruises. The terminal, in the city of Funchal, is a 10-minute walk from the centre, which makes it very easy to visit the city and the island, which offer a good range of services and many points of interest.
The archipelago, acclaimed for its natural beauty, comprises the Islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and boasts a subtropical climate. Two thirds of the land are protected areas and include the largest world Laurisilva forest, classified as World Heritage. It is only natural, therefore, that nature activities are given prominence, particularly the walks along the levadas (irrigation channels), diving and whale watching.
Acknowledged as a quality resort, with good temperatures all year round, it is an ideal destination for thalassotherapy and well-being treatments.
The heritage and culture rooted in the Discoveries and in Madeira wine are important features, but the festivities are one of the islands’ main attractions: the Carnival parades, the Flower Festival, the Atlantic Festival and mainly the end-of-year fireworks display in the bay of Funchal, best watched from the sea.
- Visiting the Embroidery and the Madeira Wine Museums in Funchal’s historic centre;
- Visiting the Farmers’ Market and admiring the riotous colours of the exotic fruit and flowers;
- Going up on the cable car to Monte and Cape Girão;
- Going to the Porto Moniz natural pools.
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