Leixões’new Cruise Terminal opens new possibilities for cruise ship tourism in Porto

The Port of Leixões’ new Cruise Terminal is positioning Porto as a must for cruise ship tourism in the north of Portugal. 

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The Port of Leixões, part of the Trans-European Core Transport Network, serves as the main sea gateway to Porto – a popular tourist destination – and also to the country's northern region. However, the port’s cruise facilities for both ships and passengers were too small to accommodate the average size of ships that are currently used in the cruise market. 

The “New Cruise Terminal for the Port of Leixões” project is positioning the region as a port of call for international cruise ships and luxury ocean liners, thus bolstering the local tourism industry. By investing in a completely new cruise terminal and all its facilities, the Port of Leixões now serves as a hub for Porto’s diverse marine-based economy.

State-of-the-art facilities for ships and passengers

The newly constructed Cruise Terminal was developed through two major undertakings:  the marine works and the cruise terminal building. The marine works included a rotation and manoeuvring basin, a landfill for the maritime station building, a mooring pier capable of accommodating cruise ships up to 300 metres long, and a marina with 170 berths, complete with supporting facilities and equipment. 

The Cruise Terminal offers both passengers and crew an innovative, multi-functional building that, in addition to the passenger terminal functionalities, will also accommodate the Marine Centre for Marine Science and Technology of the University of Porto.

The project is expected to create 210 new jobs during the operating phase of the new terminal.   

A destination in itself

Although these functions and facilities may be impressive in their own right, what contributes to make this project actually stand out is the terminal’s architectural design. The ultra-modern, bright white cruise terminal, designed by architect Luís Pedro Silva, 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. 

The passenger terminal is built to resemble a ship’s hull and is considered by many to be an important architectural landmark. In fact, the end result of this project is more than just a modernised harbour or a much needed stimulus to the region’s cruise-based tourism industry. It represents, as a matter of fact, the addition of a new, modern icon to the historic seascape of Porto. 

Since the opening of the new pier, the number of cruise ship and passengers at Leixões has been significantly increasing and some of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships have already called at the new Cruise Terminal.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “New Cruise Terminal for the Port of Leixões” is EUR 45 541 041, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 25 495 826 through the “Norte” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. 

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