The Douro Valley is a fantastic wine region not far from the old seaside city of Porto. Douro has a bit of everything, from incredible wines, to breathtaking scenery, to delicious foods. Here are a few things that make the Douro Valley a unique, must-see wine destination.
1. Douro Valley’s famous terraced vineyards
The steep, terraced vineyards that make up the Douro Valley are a sight to behold. Get your fill of Instagram-worthy photos at one of the many picturesque locations. Don’t miss the spectacular Miradouro de So Leonardo da Galafura, a scenic viewpoint that allows a bird’s eye view over the valley.
2. The Douro River
A boat excursion along the Douro River is unquestionably one of the most memorable ways to experience the valley. There are several options available, ranging from a ferry ride starting in Porto, to a private yacht cruise, to weeklong cruise ships.
3. Tasty traditional cuisine
Although Portugal is renowned for their seafood, inland areas like the Douro Valley also serve up some delectable cuisine. Try out one of the old-school tascas, casual restaurants where traditional dishes are served in generous portions. If you are looking for something more gourmet, many wineries in the area offer high-end cuisine. And if you want to really splurge, make a booking at the Michelin-star restaurant, DOC where Chef Rui Paula creates stunning, contemporary Portuguese cuisine.
4. The Parque Natural do Douro Internacional
It would be a shame to not enjoy a leisurely trek through the beautiful Douro Valley. One of the best places to enjoy the scenery is the Parque Natural do Douro Internacional. This national park is sometimes referred to as Europe’s Grand Canyon due to the natural cliffs over the Douro River. Nature lovers will also enjoy spotting a few of the endangered bird species that call this canyon home.
5. A spectacularly scenic drive
The Douro Valley is an ideal destination for a road trip. One of the most famous drives is N222 between Régua and Pinho, following the Douro River. Spend the day driving through beautiful scenery, stopping at local wineries, and taking photos at magnificent viewpoints. Driving will also allow you to enjoy some off-the-beaten-path destinations that many tourists skip.
6. The Douro region’s medieval villages
Countless traditional towns in the Douro Valley still look almost exactly as they did hundreds of years ago in the Middle Ages. Many of these villages also have close ties to the region’s winemaking history. Be sure to plan a visit to charming Salzedas to see its unique 12 century monastery. Or make a stop at Favaios, known for producing a fortified, sweet muscatel wine.
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CNN, By Paul Ames. n.d. “Portugal’s Douro River Flows like Liquid Gold.” CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/portugal-douro/index.html.
“Douro Valley Restaurants & Regional Dishes.” n.d. Farah Trading Co. Accessed May 24, 2023. https://farahtradingco.com/blogs/portuguesetravelandrecipes/portugal-douro-valley-restaruants.
Fox, Julie Dawn. 2016. “6 Traditional Wine Villages to Explore in the Douro Wine Region.” Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal. August 9, 2016. https://juliedawnfox.com/douro-wine-villages/.
“The Douro by Car: A Day Trip and Drive along the N222 Road.” n.d. Porto-North-Portugal.com. Accessed May 24, 2023. https://porto-north-portugal.com/porto-guide/douro-car-drive-tour-n222.html.