The history of tourism in Oporto is as old as its own region. Since the time from which there is no memory left, only trace signs of having been visited by people from various parts of the world. Its location so provided, as well as the beauty and the richness of its landscapes, overlooking the Douro River.
Commercial emporium, with its eyes on the immense unknown Atlantic, had behind it paradisiac mountains, fertile valleys and the promise of prosperous lifes in natural fortifications.
If tourism is motivated by leisure, relaxation, culture, health, business and family relationships, the Oporto tourism was prior to the Industrial Revolution. Land of monks and noblemen, closed to the aristocracy, Oporto was centered on its river potential. In the seventh century, the production of Port wine was already very important. So much so that, in 1703, was celebrated the Methuen Treaty (1703) between England and Portugal: the Portuguese undertook to consume the British textiles and, in return, the British should consume the Portuguese wines.
It had to show the grandeur of the north and its buildings needed that brand. The Italian artist Nasoni was called to Oporto in 1725 to develop a remarkable work in the fields of painting and architecture, and the city has grown also to welcome. It was necessary to receive the traders who visited the city and the region. The houses spread around the city and renewed bourgeois society also gained time for idleness and leisure.
In the nineteenth century, new hotels and beach resorts welcomed the Portuguese and foreign new rich people. Hotels like the Grande Hotel do Porto received the nobility and aristocracy; spies, exiled and political found there a refuge; was privileged scene for artists, bohemians and intellectuals. Economic development required the construction of new infrastructure, which shortened distances, as the railway line to Barca d'Alva, along the river. European bourgeois installed in the Douro Valley, acquiring and developing farms for permanent and temporary residences. The city tourism decentralized, as French fashion suggested it should happen by the sea, bathing in Foz do Douro, as well as walking along the city gardens.
In recent years, Oporto followed the modern trends of the twentieth century. Maintained and regained its history; modernized its vision and is a cultural and patrimonial reference in the world. Nowadays, the region is proud of this displayed history, jaunty and welcoming, offering tourists renewed and fascinating experiences, awakening desires to repeat and return.