From afar, the Douro Valley looks like a giant wine-growing terrace, and it’s no surprise this region is famous for its port and table wines. But the region has plenty more to offer visitors.
The town of Pinhao is a picturesque base for winery tours, countryside walks, and rabelo river cruises. Don’t miss its historic tiled train station or the opportunity to try local dishes like roast suckling pig and salted cod.
1. Douro River Walk
The Douro River Walk is one of the most jaw-dropping walks in all of Portugal. You can explore the vineyard-laden hills that cling to the steep riverbanks on foot or aboard a Rabelo boat cruise.
Either way, you can expect to enjoy a plethora of wine tasting experiences. The climate in the Douro Valley is perfect for growing intensely delicious wines. You’ll find many wine farms and vineyards that offer unique tours and tastings.
If you are traveling in a group, consider taking a day tour from Porto to the Douro Valley. It’s an easy way to see this beautiful region without having to worry about driving, especially if you’re short on time. Alternatively, you can also book a 5-day luxury Douro River Cruise experience to really see what this part of Portugal has to offer.
2. Visit Quinta Nova Winery House
The Quinta Nova Winery House is more than a great place to stay; it’s also a destination in itself. Located within the Cima Corgo region, this vineyard estate offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the Douro’s finest wines first-hand. Visitors can explore the estate on their own or as part of a guided tour. The highlight of a visit to the vineyard is descending into an enormous subterranean chamber and tasting some of its top-rated wines.
The property was the first in the region to offer wine tourism and it hosts a boutique wine hotel with 11 rooms overlooking the Douro River and vineyards. Classic details like the turn-down service, a daily chef’s courtesy, and schist and local woods covering the spaces add to an exclusive atmosphere. The hotel can help arrange activities such as walking tours of the vineyards and historic sites on the property, boat trips and bike rides around the lake, and thematic lunches and dinners.
3. Visit Quinta do Bomfim
The Symington family has been making DOC wines and Ports at their Bomfim estate for five generations. It would be easy for them to rest on their laurels with the ongoing popularity of Dow’s Ports, but they instead have made their quinta a center for modernization and excellence and it shows.
Tours whizz through state-of-the-art cellar technology while wine tastings (pairable with lunch or dinner) showcase some of Portugal’s most phenomenal wines and ports—from rich, intense, oaky reds to fresh, minerally whites and honeyed aged tawnies.
The estate has a small museum and visitors can choose between three vineyard walks with excellent views of the surrounding mountain vineyards, some of which were built by hand in the 18th and 19th centuries. This is the perfect way to see a side of Douro Valley that many travelers miss. Located just before Pinhao, it’s easiest to reach from the train station in Porto. Give yourself a couple of hours to get there.
4. Visit Quinta da Roeda
From the pier at Ferrao, hop on a train for an eye-catching sightseeing tour alongside the Douro River. Your first stop will be the beautiful port-producing town of Pinhao. Here you can enjoy lunch at a classic restaurant, and stroll past the Douro River & vineyards.
Afterwards, head to the Quinta da Roeda, Croft’s flagship vineyard estate and a key source of its incredible port wines. Enjoy a guided tour of the vineyards, and sample a unique selection of wines according to your own tastes.
During harvest time in September, you can even join in and tread the grapes in the granite ‘lagares’ (advance booking required). After this visit, relax on your shaded vineyard terrace with breathtaking views and a picnic basket of local produce. Culture Trip offers a range of bookable small-group trips to the Douro Valley including authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips. Find out more and book your next adventure here!