Douro is among the best destinations in the world for those who enjoy good wine. And we’re not the only ones saying so. In 2013, the Wine Enthusiast Magazine, based in New York, placed the region – the first demarcated region in the world – on the list of the 10 best wine destinations in the world.
The editors of the reputed magazine travel every year across the world and experiment the best in the world of wine and gastronomy, discovering the most exciting destinations.
The reporter from Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss, “fell in love” with Douro. No wonder. Considered as World Heritage by UNESCO, Alto Douro Vinhateiro is the birthplace of the famous Port wine, internationally renowned for its quality and flavour, concealing a cultural landscape of remarkable beauty, produced over the years by a centuries-old wine tradition.
We make the suggestions of Voss and Wine Enthusiast our own and add to the list of the North-American magazine some other ideas for a short five day trip, where you can see all this richness and spend the night in a farm with a unique environment.
If you land at Porto’s airport, it is worth spending the night in the city, especially at the Yeatman wine hotel, before heading towards Douro. Classified as World Heritage, Porto is a city with history, alive and with a rare scenic and architectural value. Visit the historical centre and the Museum of Port Wine and, on the south bank of the river Douro, enjoy a glass of one of the most respected wines in the world in the Port wine cellars.
You will love staying at the Yeatman. A five star hotel, it is the first Portuguese wine hotel. It was inaugurated in 2010 and it is located in the historical area of Vila Nova de Gaia, overlooking the wine cellar area. This luxury hotel offers a unique scenic view, comfort and a sophisticated environment, and it hosts wine dinners every week and has a modern spa with wine-based treatments.
Rent a car and head towards the Douro, where you can follow the Rota do Vinho do Porto. Start with Solar do Vinho do Porto, in Peso da Régua, where experts explain the differences between several kinds of Port wine.
And because Douro is so much more than wines and gastronomy, climb to the Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, in Lamego, and visit the Mosteiro de Tarouca.
Follow the river by car, driving across the winding roads in your own time. Stop at the viewpoints to enjoy the scenery and the farms and stately houses of the region.
Have lunch at least once at the DOC, a restaurant run by chef Rui Paula and the regional winner of the Best of Wine Tourism Awards in 2011. Accompany your meal with a Douro red wine and figure out why these wines are compared with top worldwide nectars.
Stay at Quinta Nova Nossa Senhora do Carmo or at Quinta da Pacheca, farms where you can live wine experiences which will certainly remain in your memory!
In S. João da Pesqueira, have a picnic next to the chapel of São Salvador do Mundo and enjoy one of Douro’s most beautiful landscapes.
If you visit the Douro between March and June, you will be delighted with the blossoming almond trees, the wildflowers and the vines in their floral bud.
How to get there
There are flights to Porto, low cost , 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, Venice and Palma de Mallorca.
In the summer there are low cost companies flying from Liverpool, Las Palmas, Carcassonne, Rodez and Nantes.
With normal fares from London - Gatwick, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris - Orly.
The best way to reach the center of Porto from the International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro is by metro. The trip takes about 30 minutes.
To 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.