The new port would be located past the first bridge in the mouth of the Douro River, Source: Depositphotos

Porto metropolis might receive cruise ships in two years

Porto metropolis might receive cruise ships in two years

While some cities are looking to turn away from that type of tourism, others seem to be priming themselves for it

These days if you want to visit Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto, by cruise ship and admire its classical architecture and bridges - it’s possible. However, you have to disembark at the Port of Leixões on the Atlantic coast and then reach Porto by road.

The city stands on the northern shore of the Douro River, but it is also a little bit inland. As it turns out, in about two years, though, cruise ships may be able to go into the river mouth and dock on the southern shore, in the municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia (or Gaia for short). That way tourists will have direct access to the riverine metropolis.

Environmental impact mostly during construction, but…

The Administration of the Ports of Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo (APDL) wants to build the cruise terminal in the Cais do Cavaco zone, and apparently there’s already an agreement with the Municipality of the Gaia.

The project has also passed approval by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) and is now under public consultation until 14 June pending final approval. Still, what would bringing in cruise ships up the river, which is already navigable, entail in terms of the environment? Also, given the context where other European cities are turning their back on large vessels.

As far as downsides go, the environmental impact study claims that most of the negative impacts will only occur during construction. “These impacts are of low to moderate importance. In general, they’re temporary and reversible impacts, associated with the increased heavy vehicle traffic that could generate sound and air pollution,” writes the report, as cited in The Portugal News.

What the study admits is that for one residential building near the future cruise terminal, the views over the river will disappear as far as the residents are concerned. These residents, however, are not just taking it and have reportedly solicited meetings with the authorities to “consider carefully all the environmental, patrimonial and other risks”.

In the case of the project being approved, the infrastructure would offer four docking posts with the capacity for four cruise ships of 80 metres in length. 



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU