Among Barqueiros and Barca d'Alva, the wild slopes of the valley turned into terraces to plant the vine that gives rise to the famous Port wine.The title conferred by Marquês de Pombal to the region in the XVIII century was the reward of centuries of work in removing the massive shale and on the construction of the walls and heights of the terraces to plant vines.
- Gastronomy and Wine
- Natural landscape
- Bird watching
Douro offers a unique landscape in the world, but also unique experiences, of the houses converted into hotels and the rich and substance gastronomy passing of course by the wines - yes, wines, beyond Port Wine, it is worth tasting the wines DOC Douro, the Muscatel wines.
The region awaits you with open arms, whether you come by car, boat, train or helicopter!
By land, river or air
To drive along the river through the winding roads that follow the course of the Douro, is undoubtedly a good introduction to the region. You must do it with time, not only to properly enjoy the scenery, which is unique in the world, but also to be able to stop at sights and see Quintas and manor houses of the region.
In Alijó, for example, near Pinhão - where you can not miss the old train station, now a wine house- and climb to the Viewpoint of Casal Loivos and enjoy a breathtaking sight, with the Marão Mountains in the background.
You will like
- To visit the Pinhão railway station, one of the most emblematic buildings of the Alto Douro Wine Region, which was converted into a wine house wine house and displays 25 tiles panels with scenes of rural life
- To visit the village of Ermelo and bathe in the impressive waterfalls of Fisgas do Ermelo, in Alvão
- The Gastronomy and wines of Douro
If you prefer the train, take an historic tour in locomotives of the early twentieth century. The Line of Douro is about 200 km and passes, on part of the section, near the river. Take the chance at Pinhão to buy wines and gourmet products from the region and admire the fantastic tiles outside the building depicting scenes of rural life.
And if once the port wine was carried through the river, today there are boats that will go up through the river and stop in the banks to allow the tourists to visit the local heritage.
The cruises that go up the river depart from Porto, more specifically from Cais de Gaia, near Luís I bridge and can cost between 60 Euros (one day) and € 1000 (8 days, in boat-hotel).
With less time but more original, you can fly over the Douro by helicopter. From Porto, the trip includes a delicious lunch in the middle of the trip, overlooking the river.
What to do
- In February and March, take the almond tree route, a train route between Porto and Pocinho, complemented by three road journeys, to see the white and pink flowering fields.
- Embark on the Douro river in a boat-hotel.
- Travel to the Douro in the Historic Steam Train, a charismatic steam locomotive with five historic carriages that will go from Régua station to Tua station in a unique journey into the past. Available only between July and October.
- Rent a helicopter for a half an hour ride from the Porto. Count to spend about 500 euros and know you can rent the helicopter for a maximum of 5 people.
- Participate in various activities organized around the harvest in September and October.
Douro by detail
The main routes and routes of Port wine, the vineyards of Cister and olive oil, the wine producing villages or St. James Way is an interesting alternative to the genuine and traditional mass tourism and gives visitors the chance to know the history of this beautiful demarcated wine region.
The Port Wine Route takes you on a journey of discovery by a multiplicity of points of interest located in the Douro Region and neighboring counties that directly or indirectly, are related to the wine culture.
More than 70 entities are adherent among local restaurants, luxurious hotel units or typical houses of rural tourism with evidence of rock art centers, train and boat trips and units of wine tourism where visitors are invited to harvest.
What you need to know
- Ask for information about the Route of port wine in Port Wine Institute, in Peso da Régua or in the tourist offices in the region.
- In the Douro, especially in the sub-region of Douro Superior (Upper Douro), temperatures are extreme: in the summer temperature easily exceeds 40ºC.
- In winter, there are often negative temperatures.
- The offer of housing units of wine tourism and rural tourism in the Douro is wide.
- Learn more about Great Wine Capitals here
The Natural Parks of Alvão and Douro International are other points of interest not to be missed, either for its scenic beauty and diversity, or for the possibility of practicing various outdoor activities.
Alvão Natural Park was created in 1983, covering an area of 7200 hectares crossed by mountain streams, alongside the Marão Mountains. It is a privileged retreat where you can see the Iberian wolf, the water mole, the peregrine falcon, the wildcat, and with any luck, the golden eagle. With a varied relive and granite structure, this park also stands out for its floristic biodiversity. In Alvão, do not miss the village of Ermelo and the impressive waterfalls of Fisgas do Ermelo.
The International Douro Natural Park is one of the newest parks in the country, having been only classified in 1998. It occupies an area of 85,150 hectares and has two plateaus, one at north and one at south, where the rivers Douro and Águeda excavated, over time, deep valleys with steep granite cliffs - some even reach 200 meters high!
It is worth visiting the plateau mirandês, the valley of Ribeira do Mosteiro, in Freixo de Espada à Cinta, and the lagoon of Santa Maria de Aguiar, in Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo.
In this park you can also see golden eagles, black storks, crows chickpeas, red wolves, wild boars, blue-blackbirds, Egyptian Vultures, griffins, crested grebes and wild cats. The flora is equally diverse.
In Douro, the food is presented to the height of the wines. Let yourself be tempted by the sausages, cheeses from cow and sheep, the ham and the famous ball of Lamego. Treat yourself to a kid with potatoes and rice in the oven, a stew of lamb, fish of the river, and an eel stew of Eirós. More would be, but is only a smell of it. The desserts? The list is also extensive, but memorize the name of these sweet delicacies: sweet corn, oil cakes, biscuits and pastries from Teixeira and Santa Clara.
How to get there
To Porto, there are low cost flights, for example: London (Stansted and Gatwick), Paris (Beauvais, Orly and Charles de Gaulle Vatry), Marseille, Lille, Tours, St. Etienne, Bologna, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse, Madrid, Barcelona El Prat , Tenerife, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca.
In the summer, there are Low Cost companies flying from Liverpool, Las Palmas, Carcassonne, Rodez and Nantes.
With normal rates, there are flight connections from London - Gatwick, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris - Orly.
From the International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro, the best way to reach the city center of Porto is by metro. The trip takes about 30 minutes.
For the Douro, follow the national road 108 to Entre-os-Rios and continue along the river Douro to Régua - alternatively, you can go by IP4, which connects the districts of Porto, Vila Real and Bragança, and then continue for national and municipal roads.