Things to Know
The Douro Valley is the beautiful area along and around the Douro River and one of the most authentic destinations in Portugal. Famous for its wine production, the valley is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site as the oldest established wine region in the world. A paradise for the senses, the Douro Valley is a destination that will keep you coming back for more!
Things to See
Vila Nova de Foz Coa
This whitewashed town has attracted international interest due to the wide array of outdoor Paleolithic art that was discovered in the area in 1992. The engravings are located in the nearby Rio Coa valley, which is a designated Unesco World Heritage Site. The oldest engravings are 23,000 years old - primarily depicting animals such as horses, deer and goats – and can be seen at the Archaeological Park of the Coa Valley. The whole valley is an active research area and all guests must enter the park with a guide.
Nestled among the terraced slopes of the Douro Valley, Lamego is an attractive town dotted with baroque mansions and handsome renaissance buildings. On the hills overlooking town are the remains of a 12th century castle and most importantly the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios. A massive staircase of 686 steps decorated with blue and white tiles, allegorical fountains, and statues, leads to a baroque church that offers beautiful views over the town. The pilgrimage of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios is held every year on September 8.
Representing the culture and identity of Portugal’s wine region, the Douro Museum is a remarkable landmark. Housed in a converted riverside warehouse, the museum hosts major exhibitions about the history of the Douro valley, its winemaking tradition, and the leading figures connected with it. The museum is also home to a restaurant, a riverside wine bar, and a brilliant gift shop.
Douro International Natural Park
The Douro International Natural Park is one of 13 natural parks in Portugal. Stretching along an area of about 122 kilometers, the park is a territory of outstanding natural beauty. Through the centuries the water has carved immense canyons on the riverbank that is covered with indigenous flora and populated by a variety of endangered bird species such as the Iberian Griffin and the Egyptian Vulture. Perched above the Douro River, is the the Castro de Sao Joao das Arribas; the remains of this fortified settlement date back to Roman times and offer privileged views of the region below.
Discover the Douro Valley Wine Regions
The Douro Valley is divided into 3 winemaking sub regions, the Baixo Corgo, the Cima Corgo and the Douro Superior.
The Baixo Corgo–the westernmost–is famous for the production of lighter port wines intended to be drunk relatively young. Peso da Regua, a small river port town in the Baixo Corgo region, is the main wine transport junction in the valley. The town is home to the significant Douro Museum and boasts a scenic riverfront and a quaint old town.
The Cima Corgo is home to many of the Douro’s finest vineyards and is known for the production of long-lasting stronger wines and fine port. The quiet village of Pinhao is the region’s center and its emblematic train station is decorated with hand painted tiles that depict typical scenes of port wine production.
The Douro Superior is the largest area in the valley most of which is part of the National Park. Due to its dry climate the region is renowned for producing the finest vintage port wines. The town of Vila Nova de Foz Coa in the Douro Superior is famous for its Paleolithic engravings that were discovered in 1992.
Things to Do
Take a Winetasting Tour
The Douro Valley is one of the best destinations in the world for a wine tasting tour. Visit one of the region’s countless vineyards, taste some of the best Portuguese wine, learn about the production process and characteristics of each wine while enjoying the jaw dropping views.
Cruise the Douro River
A river cruise is the perfect way to explore the wonderful Douro Valley. Sail past quaint riverside towns and admire the stunning terraced vineyards while sampling some of the region’s best wines!
Visit the Best Viewpoints
During your visit to the Douro Valley you will come across several viewpoints that are well worth stopping to admire the beautiful scenery. The most enticing viewpoints are the Casal de Loivos, the Sao Leonardo da Galafura, the Sao Silvestre, the Santo Antonio, the Nossa Senhora das Neves, and the Sao Domingos.