Douro River attracts record tourist numbers

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Portugal’s Rio Douro attracted a record 1.2 million tourists in 2017 on river cruises. The numbers were released by the Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo Ports Administration (APDL). There was a 35% growth in passengers on 2016. Since 2015, when the management of Via Navegável do Douro passed to the APDL, passenger traffic on the river enjoyed an increase of 78%, or 560,999 tourists.


The ports authority administration says that it wishes to continue to attract more tourists and expects to break the 1.3 million passenger barrier in 2019. The APDL also recorded an uptick in cargo in 2017 with around 52 million tons shipped representing a 66% increase on 2016.

The main cargo transported on the Douro was granite from ports at Várzea and Sardoura for export to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Sweden.

In 2017 147 boats plied the river in boats from 61 operators with tourists from the UK, Germany and France who opted for day cruises or hotel boats for cruises up to a week.

The Via Navegável do Douro (Douro River Highway) extends from Barca de Alva to Porto and opened fully in 1990.