The Romans named their settlement Portus Cale, from which is the origin for the modern name of the whole country. It was in the Porto and northern regions that Portugal was founded in the 12th century and the Portuguese became a people and a nation.
It was from Porto in 1415 that Henry the Navigator, son of King John I of Portugal, set sail on the conquest of Morocco, and later encouraged a series of hardy captains to explore the coast of West Africa.
Porto, a World Heritage city, is now gateway and departure point for a journey across the natural and cultural diversity of the region. It is known for the Port wine which is shipped from here all over the world, but also for a heritage which combines ancient churches and monuments, such as the Cathedral and the Church of São Francisco, and modern buildings, such as Casa da Música and the Serralves Museum. And also for the School of Architecture which bred names like Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura, both winners of the Pritzker Prize.
The region is crossed by the River Douro which enters Portugal between the ravines and mountains of the interior to flow through the landscape where the Port and Douro wines are produced. It is from here that the wine is sent to the lodges at Vila Nova de Gaia, as the cruises touring the region make their way upriver.