Portugal lies in the south-westernmost region of Europe and has, if you include the archipelagos around 1,794km (1,115 miles) of coastline. Unlike many countries with a long coastline it all the same sea, whether you are in the north, west, south of mainland Portugal or in the archipelagos. That sea is the second largest of the world’s ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the reasons that Portugal was once a formidable seafaring nation. It is easy though to forget when you are in Porto that the ocean is just a mile or so away.
The ocean is less than 2 miles from the Porto’s botanical gardens, or a 15minute (ish) tram ride from the historic centre of Porto. We caught the tram one December, and it was so much fun trundling along beside the river to Passeio Alegre in ‘Foz do Douro’, a very chic neighbourhood on the seafront.
The guides suggest various highlights in Foz, most of which, including the 17th century Fort of São Francisco do Queijo, we failed to see. We were so excited a walk beside the seaside we totally forgot to look at any guidebooks! However we did walk past the other fortified building Fortaleza de São João da Foz, and as you may recall from my other blog we also spent ages trying to catch the waves as they buffeted Farolim de Felgueiras.
Whilst the outward journey was exciting for the unknown and the thought of soon being beside the sea. The return tram journey to Porto was equally special thanks to being closer to the Duoro.
Not only did this stretch of river look like a great birding spot, but we could more easily enjoy the sight of the Arrábida Bridge. It is one of six bridges which link the cities of Porto and Vila Nove de Gaia, and is also a national monument. At the time of its construction in the 1950/60s, its main span was the largest of any concrete-arch bridge in the world. It has long since been surpassed; the longest concrete-arch bridge in the world is now nearly twice the length of this one!