A quick trip from Porto, Foz do Douro seems a world away.
Foz do Douro origin story
The parish of Foz do Douro only has a population of about 10,000 people contained in an area of less than 3/4 of a square mile. Compared to Porto, that’s tiny!
Portugal’s first king Afonso Henriques asked for a chapel to be built here in 1145 CE, not long after the Moors were defeated in this area.
For generations, Foz do Douro was a sleepy fishing village, taking advantage of its prime location at the mouth of the Douro River and Atlantic Ocean. But, as Porto became rich from the wine trade, noble and well to do families began taking advantage of the great location and built mansions making the town a wealthy leafy suburb of Porto.
Things to do in Foz do Douro
Having the ocean on the west side of town and the Douro River on the south, there’s lots of gorgeous beaches as well as sheltered harbors for boats.
A good place to start your day is at Praia das Pastoras (Pastoras Beach). At the end of the breakwater is the Farolim de Felgueiras (Felgueiras Lighthouse). There’s also a breakwater next to it which has the small Farolim da Barra do Douro harbor light. This is a great spot for photos.
From there, you can walk on the paved promenade along the oceanfront. In just 10 minutes, you’ll reach Praia da Luz. If you walk from the promenade down towards the water you’ll see a canopy of Schefflera leading you to the beach. Gorgeous.
For lunch, there’s a terrific little place called Camélia Brunch Garden. They have a selection of breakfasty brunchy items like French Toast with Serra cheese foam and lunchy items like Pumpkin Gnocchi. They also have great drinks like the Camélia Rose, a cocktail made with pink gin, tonic, blackberry syrup, and ginger foam. Divine!
Or, if you want to picnic, grab provisions at Casa Augusto, a traditional grocery store. The small space is packed with produce, jams, sauces, cheeses and pastries. Mercado Organico is another great place to shop. They don’t have as wide a selection as Casa Augusto, but you can get Organic nuts, dried fruit, and seeds in bulk to snack on. They also have pasta, grains, and dried beans if your hotel has a kitchette. Enjoy your picnic in the Jardim do Passeio Alegre near the waterfront.
The Serralves Park and Contemporary Art Museum is a big attraction in Foz do Douro. The museums and gardens which span almost 50 acres are run by the Serralves Foundation, an organization that has looked to preserve and expand the artistic heritage of the area.
The Contemporary Art Museum has a collection of over 4,000 works and an exhibition of almost 50,000 square feet.
The park is divided into several different landscaped gardens with a small farm at the end of the property.
When were visited there was a trippy exhibition about mushrooms.
As of this writing, the villa is closed for renovations.
How to get to Foz do Douro
From Porto, it’s easy to get to Foz do Douro. There’s both a bus and train that each take less than 20 minutes. You can also drive or take a ride share and, depending on where you are in Porto, that will take you 10 to 20 minutes.
About the Author
Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, Porto, Sintra, Monsaraz, and Batalha . His video on Foz do Douro is available on YouTube. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms.