The tile of New Porto Customs House is a little misleading as it was actually constructed in the 1870s to replace the old medieval warehouses in Casa do Infante. This impressive Neo-classical edifice operated as the customs house for cargo ships that moored up on the mouth of the Douro River. During its heyday, the building was connected by rail to Campanhã train station for easy distribution of goods. The Alfândega Nova do Porto is located in a picturesque district west of central Porto known for its cobbled streets lined with townhouses and small traditional restaurants and riverside views. The old tram number one chugs its way past on its way to the Tram Museum and onwards to Foz. The building soon became obsolete as cargo ships became larger and trade moved to the port of Leixões 4km to the north in Matosinhos. Today its impressive façade facing the river can still be admired from the quayside in Vila Nova da Gaia.
A few of the rooms of the building maintain some bureaucratic services but the majority of the space has been handed over for public use in 1992. The cavernous rooms and former warehouses make perfect exhibition space and as well as a conference centre here you'll find The Museum of Transport and Communications (Museu dos Transportes e Comunicações).
One side of the museum is dedicated to the history of the automobile and a true Mecca for petrolheads. The exhibition 'The engine of the Republic: the Presidential cars' houses the vehicles used by Presidents of the Portuguese Republic from 1910 to the present day. Keep an eye out for the two armoured Mercedes that was used during the Estado Novo period of Portugal's history to chauffeur the dictator, Salazar. Here too is a Rolls Royce Phantom III used for Queen Elizabeth's state visit of 1957. Other highlights of the fantastic collection of classic cars include the first automobile driven in Portugal, an 1896 French Panhard. Also here there's a Ford Model T, Jaguars, Opels, BMW's and Austins. Some pre-WW2 vintage cars such as Chevrolets, Rolls Royce Phantom V and Buicks are here too.
The Customs Museum and Library has exhibits and documents from the former Customs House such as seized goods, record books, tariff charts, office furniture and typewriters used by the customs' clerks. There are also scientific instruments on show which were used to check the safety of imported goods.
Weekdays: 10h00 – 13h00/14h00 – 18h00, Weekends: 15h00 – 19h00
Adult: €3.00, Concessionary: €1.50 Porto Card: 50%