Secrets Itinerary: Top Places In The Douro Valley ♦ Douro River Valley, the winding, a terraced region that produces the country’s beloved port wine. This is Portugal’s answer to Germany’s romantic Rhine River Valley. But unlike the Rhine, the Douro was never a strategic military location. So, rather than castles and stony ramparts, visitors encounter farms and sleepy villages. The only thing fortified here … is the wine. The Douro region, where port is produced, stretches along the river of the same name, about 60 miles inland from the city of Porto. (The second-largest city in Portugal, Porto is where the Douro River spills into the Atlantic Ocean.) Joy-riding through the region you enjoy steep, twisting valleys and tidy terraces as far as the eye can see. Depending on when you visit, the hillside can shift in colour, from dusty brown in winter, to scrubby green in summer, to glowing red and gold in fall. The Douro is so beautiful that it throws off even the most concentrated of beings. So do not worry: we’ll tell you where to eat, sleep and what to, just sit back and enjoy Secrets From Portugal’s itinerary.
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The best way to fully experience the Douro Valley is to rent a car and drive, so you can visit several Quintas. While some are private, many welcome travellers. Of the Quintas that are open to the public, most offer a tour, followed by a tasting of several wines. Some rent out rooms.
Everybody knows that de Douro Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world. What you may not know is what to do while there, dazzled by so much natural beauty. Worry not, as we give you eight things to do in Douro that will fill both your time and belly, as well as leave you relaxed in a hotel with a beautiful. You can count on boat rides, visits to imposing monuments and trips along the Douro line, one of the beautiful ones in Portugal. And it’s a quick trip to the city so you can still enjoy the best Porto can give to you.
WHAT TO DO
Quinta do Seixo wineries
Knowing the winery and vineyards of Sandeman’s Quinta do Seixo is a must-see for anyone visiting the Douro. The Port wine brand has several already organized tours, which include wine tastings as well as tasting gourmet products such as cheeses and jams; picnics; and even naps under the trees.
Quinta do Bomfim
Doing a wine tasting on the porch of the Quinta do Bomfim house, which belongs to the Symington family for five generations and has a spectacular view, is a good plan. In addition to walks through the vineyards, visitors can also enjoy a rare set of photographs of the early nineteenth century Douro, as well as parts, tools and instruments used in viticulture and winemaking.
Douro Valley Views
Three viewpoints await your visit – and make sure to do so with a proper camera, as they are stunning. The one of São Salvador do Mundo has a sanctuary composed of a set of small chapels and is in the left margin of the Douro. From the viewpoint of São Domingos, you can admire Mirandela, Vila Real and Bragança. And in Casal de Loivos you can appreciate what was considered by BBC as one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
Parque Natural do Douro Internacional
One of Portugal’s 13 natural parks, this area spans several municipalities and a long stretch of the Douro River. The “International” part of the name comes from the fact that it functions as the border between Portugal and Spain. Driving through the park is allowed, and certainly worth doing, but seeing parts of the park by foot is a better way to experience the region’s flora and fauna. A rich variety of animal species live there, and over 170 different species of bird.
Drive along the National Highway 222
Find an excuse and drive on the N222, between Peso da Régua and Pinhão, elected in 2015 as the best road to drive in the world, after a study commissioned by Avis Rent a Car. From the complex formula, which took into account the acceleration, the curves and the length of the lines, the view, always with the river running alongside the road, was the one that weighed more heavily on the equation.
WHERE TO SLEEP
Six Senses Douro Valley
Six Senses Douro Valley presents a superbly renovated 19th-century manor house set high on a hill overlooking the vine-covered rolling hills of the Douro Valley and the river below. A spa, a selection of rooms, suites and villas, restaurants, wine library, swimming pools and organic garden are but a few of the many features offered.
The Wine House Hotel
The Wine House Hotel, with its Pombaline landmark at the entrance to indicate that in 1761 already this Quinta belonged to the demarcated region of the Douro. But what really draws our attention to this visit is the kites lodged on the rightmost hill of plane trees, kites that fit the landscape as if they were small beehives lined up in the middle of a showy hill. Those who decide to spend the night in the Wine Barrel also have several tourist experiences at their disposal, promoted by the Quinta da Pacheca team, such as picnics in the vineyard, bicycle tours that extend through the Abraão Valley, wine tastings, guided tours of the winery or a special meal in the Hotel’s restaurant which, with its noble jatobá wood from Bahia, fills the room and our eyes with astonishment.
The Vintage House Douro
The Vintage House Hotel enjoys an idyllic and tranquil riverside location at Pinhão in the authentic heart of the Douro Valley. The Douro is one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful wine regions, a breath-taking man-made landscape enjoying World Heritage status. Remote and undiscovered, it offers the discerning traveller one of Europe’s most unforgettable vineyard experiences.
Inserted in the Douro Valley, Douro Scala includes the historical Quinta do Paço and its verdurous Vineyards. Housed in a 15th-century building, the hotel offers 42 bedrooms, a Family Suite, a Restaurant and a spa.
Douro Royal Valley Hotel & Spa
Douro Royal Valley Hotel & Spa offers a relaxing, charming setting surrounded by old vineyards in the Douro region, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. Modern and elegant, this establishment enables guests to get close to nature through the quiet waters of the Douro River. Our 70 rooms, all of which offer views of the river, provide the comfort you need and the excellence you demand, as well as a unique stay, whether you are travelling on business or for leisure purposes. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Palato D’Ouro Restaurant and Ruby Bar and use the opportunity to sample the local gastronomy. Far from large urban centres, The Royal Spa expertly combines the serenity of the setting with the four natural elements: air, water, fire and earth. Designed for business and your special day, we also have eight function rooms available. These are functional spaces that can adapt to your desires. The Hotel puts at your disposal electric car chargers.
WHERE TO EAT
A Cozinha da Clara – Claire’s Kitchen – Quinta de La Rosa
At river level, there’s Quinta de La Rosa and its newly-opened restaurant A Cozinha da Clara – Claire’s Kitchen – which stands as a tribute to the owner’s grandmother. Back at the beginning of the 19th century, the family was one of the first to realise that quality table wines were possible, in a time when the region was solely known for its fortified wines. Claire’s love of food and hospitality it’s everywhere in the restaurant, which does creative contemporary riffs on Portuguese cooking. From this point onwards, the road changes its direction, away from the river and into the hills. Located a 20-minute drive from Pinhão, Quinta do Portal stands beautifully isolated in the middle of their own vineyards. It belongs to a century-old winemaking family, who have been here for hundreds of years. The estate also houses an excellent restaurant, led by young and talented Chef Milton Ferreira, who uses locally-grown ingredients splendidly paired with in-house wines in a creative way.
Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House – Conceitus Winery Restaurant
At Conceitus Winery Restaurant in Covas do Douro, as its name implies, there are several concepts. Your letter appeals to the senses and emotions, in a relaxed and curious way. The proposals vary every day, according to what nature has the best to offer. Open daily and without prior reservation, the new restaurant of Quinta Nova, which is inspired by the customs and traditions of the Douro region, privileging the local flavours and products of each era. It is the so-called “local food”, which assumes a strong character of sustainability and preservation of local food resources.
The Wine House Restaurante – Quinta da Pacheca
Restaurant integrated into a tourism unit, where the owners of Quinta da Pacheca wines transformed the old warehouses and wineries into a modern and beautiful hotel, with a dining room with a privileged view of the river. Dishes such as cod with broa, kid’s leg, octopus rice with fillets and the Miranda stand are some of the specialities.