Discover the Douro dams

Discover the Douro dams

There are 5 dams that cross the Douro and tame the river, making its course navigable and safe. From Foz do Porto to Barca d’Alva, discover the 5 magnificent Douro dams.

Once dangerous and wild, where many lives were lost, the Douro is now a safe river thanks to the construction of dams along its course.

Between 1972 and 1985, 5 dams were built in the portuguese territory: Carrapatelo (1972), Bagaúste (1973), Valeira (1976), Pocinho (1982) and Crestuma-Lever (1985). These structures made it possible to control the flow of the river, guaranteeing its navigability and leading to the creation of the Douro Navigation Channel, a waterway with about 200 km, from the mouth in Porto to Barca d’Alva.

Discover the 5 imposing Douro dams, authentic masterpieces of engineering, which allow us to navigate this beautiful river, from the moment it enters Portugal to its mouth.

Crestuma-Lever Dam

Barragens do Douro - Crestuma-Lever | Rota do Douro

Inaugurated in 1985, the Crestuma-Lever Dam is the first dam we found on a cruise to the Douro. It is located in the district of Porto, and owes its name to the two parishes it connects – Crestuma and Lever.

Its lock overcomes a difference of 14 meters approximately, being the smallest difference in the Douro dams.

In addition to water storage and electricity production, the dam serves as a pedestrian and road crossing between the municipalities of Vila Nova de Gaia and Gondomar.

Carrapatelo Dam

Barragens do Douro - Carrapatelo | Rota do Douro

The Carrapatelo Dam, opened in 1972, was the first dam to be built on the portuguese section of the Douro, and is located between the municipalities of Marco de Canaveses and Cinfães.

Crossing it causes a chill in the belly (even the most courageous), given its magnificence – 57 meters high and 35 meters difference in height, the highest difference in the Douro dams.

Bagaúste Dam

Barragens do Douro - Bagaúste | Rota do Douro

Impressive civil engineering work, the Bagaúste Dam was inaugurated in 1973 and its construction was crucial for the navigability of the Douro River. Located between the municipalities of Régua and Lamego, Cruises between Régua and Pinhão regularly pass through the lock with a difference of about 27 meters.

The dam is next to the EN222, where curious drivers often stop to watch the Cruises passing the lock, a process that takes about 30 minutes.

Valeira Dam

Barragens do Douro - Valeira | Rota do Douro

With a difference of 33 meters between the two sides of the river – the second largest between the Douro dams -, the Valeira Dam is located in São João da Pesqueira, in the district of Viseu.

In this place, there was the Cachão da Valeira, a granite formation that originated a kind of dike from which water fell from an approximate height of 15 meters, an insurmountable natural obstacle. The construction of the dam made it possible to navigate in this place, allowing the boats to proceed to Pocinho and Barca D’Alva.

On one of the banks of the river, you can see an inscription on the rock that mentions this glorious feat that allowed the development of the entire region.

Pocinho Dam

Descubra as barragens do Douro: Barragem do Pocinho - Rota do Douro

Last dam with lock (22m difference in level), for cruises that go up the Douro river towards Pocinho and Barca d’Alva, Barragem do Pocinho is located in the municipality of Vila Nova de Foz Côa and was inaugurated in 1982.

Its reservoir allows the practice of sports and leisure activities without restrictions (boats, rowing and swimming) and the conditioned practice of fishing and surfing.

During the spring, the dam is framed by a stunning landscape – the serenity of the river surrounded by almond and cherry blossoms. The ideal setting for a picnic, on the river beach, or to practice water sports in the reservoir.


Come and discover the magnificent Douro dams on one of our Cruises.