Porto Cruise Terminal: A unique event venue

From Architect Luís Pedro Silva’s inspiration came a building for history. The iconic and imposing Porto Cruise Terminal is making a steady walk in the events sector, aiming at quality and flexibility.

Since its opening in 2015, the Porto Cruise Terminal building has been surprising those who pass nearby. Located just 700 metres from the beach, more than a terminal, it is an architectural masterpiece. And also because of that, this is a place that started to attract event planners’ attention. The first event took place in December 2015. In 2018, the venue hosted 116 events, this not being its core business. The terminal is owned by APDL [Administração dos Portos do Douro, Leixões e Viana do Castelo], SA and its focus and priority is the reception of cruise ships, this activity subordinating everything else, namely availability. While events are a secondary activity, it is still perceived in a highly professional and serious way.


Porto Cruise Terminal supplier policy is fairly flexible. There is no exclusivity in catering or audiovisuals, but there is a set of five or six preferred suppliers, in order to guarantee the quality that the building demands. The APDL team monitors the event, with an event manager and a technical manager. Safety and cleanliness are the venue’s responsibility. Main events include conferences, gala dinners and product launches. But there are others within the corporate universe, both from national and international clients. In addition, APDL has some of its own events, namely “Porto Day”, when the building is open to the city and where a series of activities are organised for families. Its 2018 edition received 27,000 people.


This multifunctional building, in addition to all the operation related to cruises, hosts CIIMAR - Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, UP (Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine and Environmental Research) on its 2nd floor. The area allows diverse layouts because of the lack of strong colours - white predominates – so, agency imagination has no limits.

Floor 0, where the main reception is located, may welcome guests with a cocktail drink, with capacity for 300 people. From here, an impressive spiral ramp leads to the roof. Floor 1 is the Boarding Room which, as the name indicates, operates the logistics of entry and exit of cruise passengers. With 1050 sqm, the venue hosts events such as seminars, congresses or presentations, up to 400 people in auditorium. Floor 3 is the quintessential area for hosting events. Versatile and flexible, it welcomes the most varied types of events, with the bonus of having a privileged view over the sea and the coast. On this floor there is also a small auditorium (70 people) and a mezzanine. In terms of capacity, the area welcomes 300 people in theatre, 350 in banquet and 400 in cocktail format.

Its terrace is one of the most extraordinary areas in this building, with a breathtaking view of Leça da Palmeira, Matosinhos and Porto sea fronts, and an outdoor amphitheatre for outdoor events with a capacity for 400 people in cocktail. The building is equiped with a parking lot.

Award-winning building

Porto Cruise Terminal has already won five awards. It was considered one of the three best cruise terminals worldwide by Seatrade Cruise; in 2015 it won Best Public Building by AZ Awards; the SIL2015 and the 2016 Building Award, in the Best Engineering Project category; and the Best Public Building at Building of the Years Awards, by ArchDaily, in 2017.


350m long berth for cruise ships

15,000sqm in the main building

Parking space for 25 tour buses, 15 shuttle buses to the city centre

Marina for 170 boats

300sqm on Floor 0

1,050sqm area in the Boarding Room

648sqm on Floor 3

970sqm on Terrace 2

Tags: Porto Cruise Terminal, Venues, Porto, Matosinhos