Vila Nova de Gaia
guide to visit
Vila Nova de Gaia
The location on the Douro river bank granted the fixation of human population since ancient periods. It is probable that the town origins date back to a Celt Hill Fort, being also occupied by Romans and Moors (although this last ones not for a long period of time).
The great development of Vila Nova de Gaia happened in the 18th century with the installation of the famous Port wine lodges, that was already a very important industry in the north of Portugal at that time.
Nowadays, Vila Nova de Gaia is the major Port wine production centre, with the city centre dominated by all the wine lodges of the most famous names is winemaking, with over fifty wine companies, located in curious buildings with typical red roofs. A visit to the many “Caves” (cellars) is essential in order to better acknowledge and appreciate this prestiged wine, unique in the world.
Also quite pleasant is all the wide coastline of the Vila Nova de Gaia’s region, with many beautiful beaches and astonishing panoramas.
A visit to the Gaia wharf is always very pleasant, providing leisure moments in this tourist area with esplanades, restaurants and bars, with a great view to the historical centre of Porto, in the place where for many centuries a fluvial port was located and where several trading goods were exported, including the Port wine. From here depart, nowadays, the famous Douro River Cruises, heading to the Alto Douro region, where vineyards and much of the Port wine production takes place, providing unforgettable landscapes.
Not to be missed is the Serra do Pilar Monastery. A monument with a privileged view, from where one can enjoy one of the most superb views over Porto. It was from the monastery church's terrace, that the future Duke of Wellington planned his surprise attack on the French invaders troops in 1809.
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