The Douro Valley
The birthplace of Port wine
Visit the Douro Valley from Porto
The Douro Valley is a wine region of Portugal with more than two thousand years of existence. For centuries, grapes have been planted and harvested by hand on its steep terraces that end by the river. This valley represents one of the most beautiful landscapes in Portugal.
Several reasons confer the Alto Douro wine-growing region the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO: its cultural importance, its fertile land and particular climate and the world-renowned quality of its wines.
It is also the oldest demarcated wine region in the world.
The Douro River originates in Spain, in Soria, where it is called the “Duero”, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean, on the coast of Matosinhos, very close to the center of Porto. Throughout its course, it crosses and joins the northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula.
For the city of Porto, it has a special importance, as it has historically served as a promoter of trade flows, communicating the metropolis with several neighboring cities.
For the distribution of Port wine the river has been its main channel. Traditionally, it was through the waterway that the wine was transported from the Douro valley to the port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. There, once aged, it is then marketed to the rest of the world.
Ese recorrido por el río se hacía décadas atrás en unas embarcaciones llamadas rabelos que todavía puedes admirar frente a las bodegas en Oporto. Hoy en día las uvas y el vino se transportan en pequeños camiones que puedes ver moviéndose por la zona sobre todo al final del verano, en época de vendimia.
One question many visitors ask is about the types of wines that are produced? In the valley, not only port wine is made. The Douro Valley also produces some of the best red and white wines in Portugal and the world.
Visiting the Douro Valley from Porto
In Porto you can visit the cellars and learn how the wines are produced and conduct a tasting session. However, it is in the Douro Valley where you can live the full experience: visit a “quinta” (the Portuguese equivalent of estates, where grapes are grown) walk through its vineyards, enjoy the amazing views and taste the best wines of the region. It is something we highly recommend doing.
It takes about an hour and a half by car, on a road with unique landscapes. The only disadvantage is that you won’t be able to extend your tasting if you have to drive back.
Getting to the Douro Valley by train
You can take the train from Campanhã station to Peso da Régua (Regua station). The trip takes 2 hours each way and the ticket costs around 20€, depending on the option you choose.
Another very special alternative, although more expensive than the regular train, is to get on the historic train in Peso da Régua, which goes to the area of Tua on the banks of the river in a steam locomotive built in 1925. See all the information on the official website. The disadvantage of this option is that the train arrives in the city center, and from there, you have to find your way around the area.
Guided tours of the Douro Valley from Porto
You can also take a guided tour from Porto. Some companies use the bus, the train or even the river cruise. This alternative allows you to relax, better enjoy the experience and do the wine tasting without having to worry about driving back to Porto.
Excursions to the Douro Valley from Porto
Tour of the Douro vineyards, Wine Tasting in 2 wineries, Lunch & Cruise
Wine tasting, boat ride, traditional lunch and spectacular views.