The Douro Valley in northern Portugal is known to be one of the world’s oldest winemaking regions, with some vineyards dating as far back as the Roman era. It’s a stunning area to explore by car as the wineries are located off steep roads that wind through the valley. As you work your way up the mountains you can see terraced wineries surrounding the river Douro. Here’s how to do a wine vacation destination in the Douro Valley:
The Douro Valley is known for its Port, which is a sweet red or white that is best paired with desserts. It’s the type of wine that is brought to the table after a big dinner and it certainly packs a punch. To create Port, the wine is fortified with the addition of aguardiente, which is a grape spirit, that is used to stop the fermentation and to boost the alcohol content. It goes quickly to your head — so pace yourself! Alongside desserts, it goes really well with strong cheeses, such as Spanish manchego, or other sheep’s milk cheeses.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when exploring the Douro valley as there are so many vineyards or Quintas in Portuguese that line the valley. Some of the top Quintas to visit include Quinta Roeda, which was founded in 1588 and is known as the oldest Port producer in the region, Quinta das Carvalhas, which is known for its 360-degree view of the Douro Valley and Quinta Nova, which has been producing wine for 250 years.
Where to stay
The city of Porto, which is the region’s capital, is a stunning place to stay and it makes a great base for exploring the Douro Valley. The city is a UNESCO world heritage site, with cobbled streets and colonial-era tiled houses. Check out our top picks for accommodation in Porto:
Hotel: The Yeatman Hotel is a stunning five-star hotel, which won’t break the bank. Its star attraction is an infinity pool with views of Porto.
Photo by The Yeatman
Home rental: This home rental, known as Mouzinho 134, is in a perfect location in the city’s historical center. The home sleeps two and features a mixture of traditional Portugues decor combined with modern finishings. Book the Mouzinho 134
Budget: If you’re trying to keep your vacation on a budget, one of our star picks in Porto is the YES! Porto Hostel. Guests love its clean dorms, friendly atmosphere and perfect location, right beside the river. Book a bed at the Yes! Porto Hostel
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something different, we have tons of other options in Porto to help you find that perfect place.
Things to do
Aside from exploring the vineyards of the Douro Valley, there are tons of other things you can do in the region. The city of Porto is a beautiful place for a long weekend, and very easy to explore on foot. Be prepared to walk up very steep hills, however! Other things to add to your list include the Museu de Douro, where you can find out more about the region’s winemaking history, a visit to one of the many national parks in the area, or a boat trip down the river Douro.