Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Discover Portugal´s Douro Valley

via 500px

Created in 1756 by the government of the Marquis of Pombal, as the first demarcated and regulated region in the world, the Alto Douro Wine Region, is an outstanding example of a traditional wine-producing region, famous not only for its Port wine, but also for its more recent high quality table wines. All these wines come from the terraces that surround the river Douro and its tributaries, where walls made of schist support the vineyards full of white or red grapes.

Not only is the landscape altered by the production of wine, but also the pace of life of the Douro. If the winter is marked by the calm and quietness, which seems to be reflected in the bare vines, the transition from the summer to the autumn brings the bustle of the harvest with a fall and rise of baskets and pruning shears, on the slopes populated by workers.

Recognising the importance of the landscape and the traditional wine production activities, in 2001, UNESCO classified 24 600 hectares of the Alto Douro Wine Region, divided into 13 counties, as a World Heritage.

Rota do vinho do Porto (Porto Wine Route) 

Touriga Franca via 500px

Wine Caves 

Upon reaching the city of Porto, take some of your time to visit the Port wine cellars, where wine,harvested in the terraced Douro, is being stored for centuries. In the Douro Valley you can also find Port wine and table wine cellars and taste some samples.

Caves Calém
Caves Croft
Caves Ferreira, Sogrape Vinhos
Caves Vallado 

Historic Centre of Porto

Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, a city placed at the mouth of the Douro River, is the primary gateway to the Douro Valley, by road, railway or river, in cruises heading up towards the green mountains of the Douro region. In the riverside of the Historic Centre of Porto there are many Gothic and Baroque monuments that illustrate the history of the city with more than 25 centuries of existence.

On the opposite bank of Vila Nova de Gaia, the Port Wine Cellars, located there since the eighteenth century, emerged as an invitation to visit the region that produces one of the most appreciated beverage in the world. Sometimes, when the salty waters of the Atlantic crosses with the sweetest of the Douro waters, the river gets nervous and then the floods happen. Above the river there are modern and metalic bridges, symbols of the industrial revolution. The Invicta is a city of Celts, Suevi and "Tripeiros" (name used to call the habitants of Porto), which were always more connected to the trade than to the nobility. The historic centre, built by the character of the people who passed by and once lived there, was named World Heritage by UNESCO in 1996.

via 500px
Rio Douro (River) via pinterest
Barcos Rabelos (Rabelos Boats) via New York Times
Elevador dos Guindais via pinterest
Livraria Lello (Lello´s Library) via pinterest
22 Batalha via 500px
Ponte D.Luís via 500px
Ponte Arrábida (Arrabida´s Bridge) via pinterest
Metro via pinterest
Tiles of Tradition via pinterest

Points of interest

Douro Museum, Peso da Régua via National Geographic
Museu do Côa (Museum) via Douro Valley
Palacio do Freixo via New York Times
Upriver from Porto to Barca de Alva via Douro Valley
Cais da Régua via Douro Valley
Train Station, Pinhão
Praça da República, S. João da Pesqueira via Douro Valley
Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley - World Heritage via Douro Valley
Vale do Côa - panoramic view
Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley - Canada do Inferno - guided tour
Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley - Fariseu - rock engravings


There are many means of transport which you can use to reach your destination and move around in the the region. The journey from Porto by train or cruise offers stunning views of the scenery.

Traveling in the Historical train is like traveling back in time. A route along the river, marked by the beauty of the landscape, in which the train travels from the station of Peso da Régua to Tua station, in a unique journey into the past. The train has musical entertainment on board.

Historic Train of the Douro River via Douro Valley
Douro Railway Line via Douro Valley

Cruises on the Douro River in a vessel with meal service and Port wine tasting. There are several accomodation options in hotels, visits to the region and outward or return by train. Some ships allow you to stay on board. See the available offers in the following section inDouro.

A cruise on the via Douro Valley
Boat trip on the Douro via Douro Valley


Douro's cuisine reflects this people’s history and delights its visitors with several regional specialties: the succulent lamb with rice and roasted potatoes cooked on wood fired ovens, the marrã, the various cod dishes, the home made cabidela, broad beans with chorizo and the bôla of Lamego, among other typical gastronomic delicacies.


With this rich cuisine, you will be eager to try some of the delicacies that the region has to offer. There are countless places where you can try traditional dishes, from the most conventional to the most sophisticated, with prices that suit every budget.

Castas e Pratos located in the old warehouse of the railways
Chez Lapin is one of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in Porto
DOC on the road that runs along the Douro River between the Régua and Pinhão.
Casa Aleixo, in Oporto, oozes Old World charm via New York Times

An afternoon in grape harvest moments

The fruit from which this famous wine is made is harvested in the month of September in a celebratory ceremony that certainly does not lack in good humour and cheer. Some vineyards will allow tourists to take part in the grape harvest.

Wine harvesting
Bunches of grapes harvested
Treading grapes


via 500px
Douro River along the terraces via Douro Valley
Terraces filled with green foliage
via 500px

"THE Douro Valley region of Portugal has so much going in its favor, it’s almost ridiculous." says Eric Asimov for The New York Times

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