About Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia is the city located south of the Douro river overlooking Porto to the other side.
It original name was given by the celts who occupied the area and named it Cale. In Roman times it became an important settlement that founded to port of Cale to the opposite side of the river which later became Porto.
Vila Nova de Gaia’s fame
Though most people visiting Porto imagine the famous Port houses to be there, however this is not true all the cellars are located on the waterfront in Vila Nova de Gaia.
The reason for this is historical and political. In 1255 king D. Afonso III gave the equivalent of the concession for Port wine trade to Gaia in an effort to take the trade away from the city of Porto as only the bishop and church were benefiting from the trade. This gave Gaia, which would later become Vila Nova de Gaia, the full trade as Port merchants had to pay to trade in Porto but not in Gaia.
The Rabelo boats
The Rabelo boats are typical of Porto and the Douro River. In former centuries they where used to transport people and cargo along the Douro river. They were mostly used for the transport of Port wine barrels from the producers in the Douro region to the cellars and warehouses in Vila Nova de Gaia.
Today they are mainly used for tours on the Douro river.
Most of the tours are of good quality, reasonably priced and great to combine with a Port wine tasting in one or more of the cellars on the river front
Art in Vila Nova de Gaia
Other than Port wine, taking the alleys behind the main promenade show a more modern aspect of Vila Nova de Gaia, mainly in galleries, cafes, trendy restaurants and interesting street art.
Vila Nova de Gaia, altitude levels
As Porto Vila Nova de Gaia was built on a mountain and it consists of various levels. In Porto you will find lifts and carriages to take you up and down the mountain, Vila Nova in 2009 build cable cars to deal with this problem. The cable cars can transport 900 per hour and a one way trip for an adult costs 6 euro (2020)
The cable cars travel between the cellars and the uppermost part of the Dom Luis bridge.