41.1579° N • 8.6291° W

Porto – an ocean of opportunity

Portugal’s second city is a top tourist destination for many reasons – from the port cellars to the iconic metal bridge over the river Douro and many other architectural and culinary gems.

Our travellers, always on the look out for new wonders to discover, went to the shoreline just north of where the river Douro meets the sea, to the port of Leixoes (pronounced something like ley-shoes, and use your nasal intonation). On the edge of this major sea port, a rather stunning shape emerges into view: Leixoes Cruise Terminal, which was finished three years ago and fully opened to the public only last year. Looking at it leaves you in no doubt: this is Portugal’s newest landmark.

Getting closer, you notice there are one million little tiles on its surface which were placed manually, and obliquely and which resemble the scales of a fish. The terminal arches 800 metres from the shoreline like a long arm protecting its pool of ships and yachts, and embracing an island of slick, modern facilities.

But what makes it interesting apart from the architecture? Well, having been treated to this major overhaul (the EU pitched in some 25 million Euro, just over half of the total cost), the port can now for the first time welcome today’s cruise ships. On a pier that can accommodate ships up to 300 metres long, these incredible ships, which have typically just crossed the Atlantic Ocean, find a comfortable mooring. It’s boosting the local tourist industry in a major way already.

On top of that, this beautiful building is home to CIIMAR– the Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research.

Yldau and Fabian checked out the whole magic of the place and went to find out what CIIMAR was all about. The centre, part of the University of Porto, is following three research lines, all concerned with the future of our oceans and the so-called Blue Economy: Global Changes and Ecosystems Services, Marine Biotechnology and Biology, Aquaculture and Seafood Quality. 420 full time staff and 210 post-doc researchers are working in 10 Research Groups and 28 Research Teams along those lines, and each Group contributes with actions and scientific output that may fit into one or more Research Lines. The Centre is benefitting from various EU grants and funds, to the tune of around € 12 million a year. Money well spent if we want to keep our oceans, and in particular the Atlantic, healthy and productive.

Browse for more about Porto’s Leixoes Cruise Terminal and CIIMAR.

You can check out the cruise ship traffic at Leixoes live on this nautical chart:

Have a look at what CIIMAR is doing to save the ocean on their fantastic website:

See also

The Perceive Project

How European do you feel? Do you know your European Union? Do you know what it does in your region?

Atlantic Route / Week 4

What a month this has been.... 4 weeks in, we've reached our final destination along the Atlantic Route: Rotterdam. Catch up on our last week through Belgium and The Netherlands and get ready for the Danube route!

Baltic Route / Week 1

Our first week was... travelling on robot buses, throwing frisbees in the wilderness, meeting awesome people such as fishermen, historians, and pro instagrammers!