Porto, Portugal

Travel Blog  •  Ben Keene  •  12.02.05 | 12:06 PM ET

Population: 249,633 (2005 est.)
Coordinates: 41 8 N 8 40 W
imagePeople and things often lend their names to places on the map, but on occasion, locations themselves can come to describe physical entities. Port, for instance, a rich, sweet variety of wine, is known as such because since the 17th century, English merchants have been loading ships in Cale—later Porto, or Oporto—on the Iberian Peninsula with this fortified alcohol. Portugal’s second-largest city clings to the Atlantic coastline and is a gateway to the numerous terraced vineyards in the Douro River valley to the west.

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Tags: Europe, Portugal

Ben Keene has appeared on National Public Radio, Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio as well as other nationally syndicated programs to discuss geographic literacy and his work updating a bestselling world atlas. Formerly a touring musician, he has written for Transitions Abroad and inTravel.

2 Comments for Porto, Portugal

Ana 12.01.06 | 3:24 PM ET

Cale did not later become known as “Porto, or Oporto” - it was on the southern bank of the Rio Douro, and is now Vila Nova de Gaia.  Ships loaded/unloaded in both Cale and Portus (which is now Porto, of course).

Hence Portugal - Portus e Cale.

Mario 10.01.07 | 7:52 AM ET

Porto put the “port” in Portugal and a great wine on our tables :-)

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