What better way to discover and better understand a wine than to visit its region of origin? And what better way to explore that region than to immerse yourself in the terroir?
Traversing the Demarcated Douro Region, the Douro River Valley and the city of Porto, promises a rewarding experience for the wine lover and leisure traveller alike.
It tranverses three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the historic centre of Porto; the Alto Douro wine region; and the Coa Valley, site of rare prehistoric rock art.
A stroll through Porto reveals historical architecture, an array of artisan boutiques and impressive public buildings and statues that capture its history under the influence of the Celts, Romans and Moors. Yet Porto is hardly set in stone: the culinary scene is thriving with new talent, and the art scene is as varied and vibrant as it has been since its founding centuries ago.
Cross the River Douro from Porto Centre via the Luis I Bridge to find the famous Port lodges, where travellers can sample an array of different styles before heading upriver into the majestic Douro Valley. Port is freeing itself from its former image —it is a wine to be enjoyed anytime, anywhere, and more people are bringing Port out earlier in the day. White and Tawny Ports, as well as other styles, prove just as refreshing and convivial at lunch as when enjoyed after dinner.
From Porto, travel up the Douro Valley, one of world’s top visitor destinations. Guests can enjoy unique wine and cuisine experiences at the wine estates known as Quintas, famed for their hospitality. But this region of incomparable natural beauty also has plenty to offer every tourist looking for relaxation, adventure, history or culture.
The Douro Valley’s reputation as an outdoor adventure destination continues to grow. Trails course through the valley, ideal for gravel equipped mountain biking and casual hiking. Several local outfitters rent bikes and lead guided tours through vineyards, cork oak forests and into the villages. Many specialized travel companies offer tours that last anything from a one hour to a six-day journey that begins in Porto and proceeds via train to the World Heritage Site. Some include a visit to the rare prehistoric rock engravings of Foz Coa and end by paddling back to Porto down the Douro River.
The River Douro nurtures the region’s outstanding terroir, which produces one of the world’s most recognized wines. A Wine Enthusiast “Seven Best Wine Travel Experiences of 2020,” the Douro Winemaking Region provides visitors the opportunity to explore ancient practices in wine production set within a Mediterranean setting. The birthplace of Port, this region also produces several highly regarded red, white and rosé Douro varieties as well.
Everyone is keen to travel these days, to step away from our daily lives and escape. Porto and the Douro Winemaking Region provide this very opportunity: to disappear for a few days in a safe and healthy environment, a unique region famous the world over for its beauty and winemaking heritage.
For more information on the Douro Region’s wines, visit the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e do Porto (IVDP) website at ivdp.pt.