This is about the only place you can rent a boat on the Douro. Just as well it's a very well set up marina! Alberto has motor cruisers and motor-yachts, Macgregor 26' and Imexus 28' respectively. The Imexus in particular is very well appointed and less than a year old. As the river is often bracketed by steep hills the wind is unpredictable, so the Imexus is the best answer for sailors. Both powered by great 50hp Honda Fours with auxiliaries for back-up (not needed but you get a run-thru of their operation, just in case). There's a good boarding ladder off a deep swim platform at the back - and in the summer heat, that river is very cool and refreshing. For kids and keen sailors there are Optimists and a Laser plus kayaks at Ferradosa too.
Alberto requires you have an RYA level 2 powerboat cert (or that one of you does) but he's hoping to offer this as a 2-day course in future. So bring yours along and enter 'Portuguese time' where it all slows down and the only thing that runs on time is the locks!
Ferradosa is an easy 3hr train journey from Oporto airport. The first 40 mins on tube, the next on the train, all standard but when you get to open countryside, the views from the right hand side of the train are stunning, so it's not a bore.
There are plenty of public pontoons to tie up at and stay overnight: upriver, Murca "Fish Soup" has a very friendly restaurant 5 mins walk away; Barca de Alva is the end of the line on the border where you can walk the old Roman road, see the Griffin Vulture and walk the old train line over the precipitous rail bridge over the inlet. Half way, Sabor has an aquapark on the river and a nice waterfront cafe, but little else. With more time we'd have liked to go downriver: Caldas has a spa for example, but we took the train to Pocinho to tour a vineyard, which is a must-do. For English speakers with very little Portuguese, like me, a little French goes a long way sometimes: and in fact the locals are supremely friendly and patient. Additionally, the food upriver is excellent and inexpensive due to Alberto's contacts. Pork, veal- and beef-steaks, local river fish (as in Fish Soup), Hake, Cod, fresh local figs, local olives, great coffee - you will not go hungry. There's also a really, really fantastic restaurant beside the Marina at Ferradosa too. They're only open in the evening at 9pm (i think..) but if like us you arrive famished they'll lay out bread, cheese, ham, olives on demand. They also have a cracking range of local wines and ports. I was aching to try some of their J&B whiskies too but you know, it's rude not to drink the local wine and they don't mix, at least not for me...
Cruising the river wilderness between stops is very tranquil. Highly recommended.
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