The Douro Valley and its vineyards

Nicknamed the "Enchanted Valley", the Douro Valley is well worth a visit if you're on holiday in Porto for 4-5 days or even a week. It offers magnificent views of incredible vineyards and invites you to relax and enjoy the epicurean pleasures of the Quintas, where you can taste delicious Portuguese wines and sample typical dishes cooked by the locals, who are always happy to explain the history of the region.

Most of the vineyards are terraced and planted with five common grape varieties: Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca. Many travel agencies offer one-day or multi-day tours, but you can also plan your own itinerary for a short stay in the valley. It's best to hire a car so that you can visit several estates and take time to relax along the river, or in one of the dozens of quintas whose hosts will be delighted to welcome you.

Vineyards in the Douro Valley

- © Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock

A little history

Europe's oldest vineyards can be found in the Douro Valley. Winegrowers have been making wine here for 2,000 years. In 1756, it was even the first region in the world to demarcate vineyards and classify them. The Douro Valley has very hot, dry summers and cold winters. Fairly inaccessible by road for hundreds of years, the Douro was the only way to transport wine from the valley's vineyards for export around the world. Since 1991, the Upper Douro Valley has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Which vineyards to visit in the Douro Valley?

Many Douro Valley wineries offer tours of their vineyards with wine tastings, and some even offer accommodation. If you're visiting the valley without a guide, it's hard to choose, so here are a few wineries that are well worth a visit.

Douro Valley in autumn

- © Olga Gavrilova / Shutterstock

Quinta de la Rosa

Quinta de la Rosa is 2 km from Pinhão, on the banks of the Douro. This multi-award-winning family-run winery is a must-see in the valley. Here you can enjoy spectacular views of the river and its architecture, taste wines and ports and dine in one of the property's two restaurants. This Quinta has been in the family since 1906 and it was after the First World War that the first vines were planted to form the vineyard known as "Vale do Inferno".

If you come during the grape harvest at the end of summer, as well as visiting the estate, you can enjoy the unforgettable experience of treading the grapes produced by the vineyard yourself. Quinta de la Rosa is also ideal for a relaxing weekend by the pool, with walks through the vineyards, relaxing by the river (you can even go for a swim) and tasting local dishes. You can stay in one of their 16 rooms with breathtaking views.

👉 Practical information

📍 Address: Quinta de la Rosa 215, Pinhão, Portugal

Telephone: +351 254 732 254

Website

👛 Price: One-hour guided tour with a tasting of two wines and two ports: €20 (in English and Portuguese only).

Quinta de la Rosa Porto

Quinta de la Rosa

Establishment located on a wine estate
8.8 Superb
From
£165 / night
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Quinta do Seixo

Dressed as a Don, the guide at Quinta do Seixo will welcome you for a tour of the estate. A traditional winery owned by Sandeman, a London-based brand known throughout the UK, Quinta do Seixo sits atop a hill, and from its state-of-the-art tasting room, you can enjoy panoramic views of the natural elements that surround it. Architecture buffs will love this visit.

👉 Practical information

📍 Address: Quito do Seixo, Valença do Douro 5120 - 495 Tabuaço le Portugal

Telephone: +351 254 732 800

Website

👛 Price: 50-minute guided tour with tasting of 3 premium Port wines: White, Ruby and Tawny: €20 (available in French, English and Portuguese).

Quinta Do Tedo

In the heart of the valley, at the confluence of the Douro and Tedo rivers, Quinta Do Tedo has been nestling since the 18th century. Owned by the Bouchard family, it offers tastings and tours of the estate and sells the olive oil produced by its 800 olive trees. To make your tastings even more enjoyable, you'll love the Terrace Bistro, where you can enjoy mouth-watering bites with a picture-postcard view of the terraced vineyards. Want to spend more time on the estate? Since 2011, Quinta Do Tedo has been offering 5 rooms where you can enjoy the walking trails around the estate, go mountain biking or canoeing, or take a dip in the swimming pool and even in the River Tedo.

👉 Practical information

📍 Address: Quinta do Tedo N - 222, 5110-548 Folgosa, Portugal

Telephone: +351 254 789 165

Website

👛 Price: From €16

Quinta do Tedo Porto

Quinta do Tedo

Bed & Breakfast with outdoor swimming pool
9.3 Fabulous
From
£145 / night
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A journey back in time with the historic Douro train

With a journey along the banks of the Douro linking Régua and Tua, you'll climb aboard the steam locomotive of this historic train (renovated in 2016) and set off on a journey through time with all the Portuguese folklore and of course a tasting of port wine but also a distribution of sweets from Régua.

👉 Practical information

Open on Saturdays between June and October and on Sundays in August and September.

Fare: €45 and €20 for children. Single ticket.

Book directly on their website or through a travel agent.

by Faustine PEREZ
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