Barcos Rabelos


Oporto is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the oldest European cities dating back to the 4th c. “Oporto " means the port. Oporto is famous for among other things Port wine. Port wine is fortified wine. These wines are world renowned. They are produced in the Douro Valley in Northern Portugal. At harvest time, the grapes are picked from the vines on the steep steps of the Douro Valley and taken to the various cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. Until the late 1960’s the wines were carried down the river in flat bottomed boats called barcos rebelos. In the 1700’s, there were several hundred of these vessels carrying the Port. In the 1930’s there were about 300 plying the river. Today Port is sent by rail and road. You can still see the barcos with their sails with barrels on board in the river on the shores of Vila Nova de Gaia. They are there to show the history of the vessels and Port wine. You can sign up for tours of the various wine cellars. There are many such as Taylor, Graham, Croft, and Ramos Pinto. The tours are fun and offer different samples of Port and sometimes biscuits and chocolate. Your hotel desk clerk will help you or check out an information center. I crossed the D.Luis I Bridge on foot and descended to Vila Nova de Gaia. I checked out the history of Port wine. Great experience! There are several restaurants that serve traditional Portuguese food. After dinner enjoy an expresso and a glass or two of Port.

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