- Food and Wine
- Natural landscape
- Bird watching
The wines and the farms
The Douro cellars and farms are the ideal place to discover the history of the wine. Visit a farm where they produce the precious nectar of the region and relax while being lulled by the seduction of nature in fabulous balconies overlooking the Douro River. You can stay in a hotel that was once a cellar or, if you prefer, choose more modern accommodation but which is perfectly integrated into the natural environment in which it is set.
In the demarcated region, there are several centenary farms which have been adapted to wine tourism, where you can sleep over, stroll among the vineyards, visit the production, buy wine, take part in wine tastings, participate in themed dinners and watch or take part in the activities of the harvest.
If you visit the Douro in September / October, you cannot miss the opportunity to participate in the harvest of grapes and get to know, from the inside, a tradition that has been passed down through several generations. The harvest is a unique experience. Inhale the aroma of the vineyards, share the joy of the workers songs and you will see that you will leave the Douro appreciating a simple glass of wine and seeing it with new eyes.
And speaking of wine, in addition to Port Wine, the DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) wines of the Douro are worth tasting, Favaios muscat and Tavora-Varosa sparkling wine.
The charm of the Douro starts at the table, where the best regional dishes and sweets go together with the DOC wines. The food is presented and meets the same standards as the wines.
Let yourself be tempted by the sausages, cheeses made from cows and sheeps milk, the Parma ham and the famous Lamego bôla. Treat yourself to some kid with oven baked potatoes and rice, lamb stew, rib malandro rice, Portuguese stew, whitebait, river fish, eels and eel stew.
The list of desserts is also long, in particular sweet corn, olive oil cookies, cavacas, Teixeira biscuit, Santa Clara pastries and many other original convent sweets.
You will like
- Resting in the estates and manor houses near the river and knowing the Portuguese tradition of welcoming
- Travelling along the Douro by train as if you were in the early 20th century
- Passing by Régua station which was one of the most important in the region, and also Pinhão station, one of the prettiest in the country with its facades decorated in tiles and a wine house inside
- Enjoying the Douro's traditional food and wine
Learn the arts, traditions and habits of the bold Douro people. In a land where life revolves around the cultivation of the vines, the construction of household and field utensils has made the lives of local people easier. And the crafts of the past have been passed down from generation to generation, so that today you can still find, in any handicrafts shop, shoes and beautiful pieces made from wood, metal, stone and ceramics.
The women embroider and shape wicker baskets and hats and work the wool. Their skilful hands also produce magnificent linen quilts, embroidery and lace.
The men do the toughest jobs, which include clog, cooperage, pottery and tin.
Look out for the black clay of Bisalhães, typically from Vila Real, the wooden masks from Lanzarim, the ceramic paintings on tiles and the wool socks, blankets and rugs.
The festivities and pilgrimages
Life in the Douro is not just work, work, work, it is also party, party, party. Frequently it is work and party. These festivities and pilgrimages are constant in the region and accompany the various seasons. Share the hospitality and spontaneous joy of the locals.
For each crop cycle there are Harvest festivities, we have Cherry Blossom, Apple, Chestnut and Almond, among others.
One of the most popular celebrations in the Douro region and one of the most traditional festivals in the country, of this kind, is the Lanzarim carnival in Lamego.
The festivals of popular saints occupy much of the summer: almost every week there is a festival dedicated to the patron saint of a village or town.
We also have Marian pilgrimages, such as Our Lady of Remédios (Lamego), Our Lady of Pena (Mouçós, Vila Real) or Our Lady of Socorro (Peso da Régua).
Train trips along the Douro line
Travel along the Douro line in the same way they travelled back in the early 20th century, on steam and diesel train. The historic locomotives and carriages that transport visitors today are the memory of the time where the connection between localities and flow of the famous Port wine was done in this manner. The train speed is also the same: 30 Km/hr.
Let yourself be carried away by the scenarios of stunning natural beauty and tranquillity. The Douro Line, between Porto and Pocinho is a great work of engineering that overcomes natural hazards by means of 26 tunnels and 30 bridges. The result is an unforgettable trip.
What you need to know
- Get information from the Museum of the Douro, in Régua, or the tourist offices about where you can buy wines from the region
- You can also travel along the Douro Line on regular trains leaving from the Centennial Station of São Bento in Porto, or in conjunction with the boat trips
- In the Douro, especially in the sub-region of Douro Superior, temperatures are extreme: in the summer, they easily exceed 40 º C, in winter, there are often negative temperatures
- There is a great offering of wine tourism and rural tourism in the Douro
- There are several shops where you can buy not only souvenirs but true works of art
- In the summer, almost every week, there is a festival dedicated to the patron saint of a village or town
- Learn more about Great Wine Capitals here.
Cruises on the Douro River
Go on a boat trip up to the farms where the famous Port Wine is produced. From Porto, travel along the Douro, for one or more days depending on the distance you want to go.
From the river, which, until the end of the 19th century, was a great way to access the interior and the route to transport large casks of wine, the perspective is unique. The beautiful terraced hillsides of the Douro valley, where the vines are planted, begin near Barqueiros extending to Barca d'Alva and offer one of the most impressive rural landscapes made by man.
You can take a short trip on a rabelo boat or spend a few days aboard a boat-hotel. The choice is yours, but one thing is guaranteed: no matter which cruise you choose, you are in for an unforgettable trip.
If you prefer more cultural tours, you should know that, for this, the Douro also has an extremely interesting patrimony. From the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, in Lamego, to Casa de Mateus, in Vila Real, via the Tarouca Monastery, there are various sources of cultural interest in this region.
Seven hundred steps take you up to the most beautiful Baroque sanctuary in Portugal to an enigmatic medieval tower. There are two eras from an ancient city hidden in the mountains: Lamego was fiercely disputed by the Moors and Christians. After going up the steep streets and very picturesque city where the houses infiltrate the medieval walls, regain your strength by tasting some Lamego Parma ham and return to the centre to visit Sé Cathedral.
In Vila Real, gaze upon graceful houses that standout from the landscape and which welcomed many noble families between the 17th and 19th centuries. Discover the city's medieval centre, take a stroll through the Carreira Garden and climb up to the top of the Calvary where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city, the Marão and Alvão Mountains.
About 3 km from the city, visit one of the most remarkable gems of Portuguese Baroque: the Mateus Palace, a masterpiece designed by Nasoni and surrounded by beautiful gardens, set in a vast estate. This area became famous throughout the world because it appears on the label of the Mateus Rosé wine.
Throughout the year, the Douro region promotes various renowned events, some of an international level.
The best known and most sought after events are the Douro International Jazz Festival, the Classical Guitar Festival and Competition in Sernancelhe, Douro Film Harvest and the International Printmaking Biennial of the Douro.
To help fight seasonality, the Douro also promotes medieval, handicraft, wine, regional products and food fairs.
In virtually all county centres, there are municipal auditoriums and cultural centres that receive theatre, cinema and concerts.
Do not go without looking at the Ribeiro Conceição texts in Lamego and Vila Real. In Régua, visit the Douro Museum.
What to do
- In February and March, take the Almond tree Route, a train trip between Porto and Pocinho, complemented by three road trips, to see the flowering white and pink fields
- Go up the Douro River on a boat-hotel. Board at Porto
- If you are in Vila Real in the summer, do not miss the \"Casa de Mateus Music Events \" which take place every year
- Go bird watching and practise outdoor activities in the Alvão and Douro International Natural Parks
Alvão Natural Park
Beside the Marão Mountains, the Alvão Natural Park was created in 1983 and is a wonderful refuge where you can watch animals and birds which are on the verge of becoming extinct.
In Alvão, do not miss the village of Ermelo and the impressive Fisgas do Ermelo waterfalls.
Douro International Natural Park
Created in 1998, the Douro International Natural Park occupies an area of 85,150 hectares and has two plateaus, one to the north and another to the south where the Douro and Águeda rivers excavated, over time, deep granite valleys with steep hillsides, some of which are 200 metres high!
Visit the Mirandela plateau, the Ribeira do Mosteiro valley in Freixo de Espada à Cinta, and the Santa Maria de Aguiar Bayou in Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo.
The Alvão and Douro International natural parks are the places to go bird watching and also to practise outdoor activities.
Near the Douro International Natural Park you have the Vale do Côa Archaeological Park, the most important site with outdoor Palaeolithic rock art in the world.
How to get there
For Porto, there are low cost flights, for example, from London (Stansted and Gatwick), Paris (Beauvais, Orly, Vatry and Charles de Gaulle), Marseille, Lille, Tours, St. Etienne, Bologna, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse, Madrid, Barcelona El Prat, Tenerife, Valencia and Palma de Majorca.
Summer only, there are low cost airlines flying from Liverpool, Las Palmas, Carcassonne, Rodez and Nantes.
With regular tariffs, there are flights from London Gatwick, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Orly.
From The Francisco Sá Carneiro International Airport, the best way to get to the centre of the city of Porto is by Metro. The trip will take approximately 30 minutes.
To the Douro, follow national road 108 up to Entre-os-Rios and continue along the Douro River to Régua - alternatively, you can take the IP4, which connects the districts of Porto, Vila Real and Bragança, and then continue on the national and municipal roads.