Should you’re planning a visit to Portugal – and northern Portugal, particularly – everybody will possible let you know that you simply HAVE to go to the well-known Douro Valley.
Skirting Portugal’s portion of the Douro River within the northern a part of the nation, the Douro Valley is a particular wine grape-producing area in Portugal. It’s the place the well-known port wine comes from – and the ONLY place true port wine comes from.
It’s just like the Champagne area in France; below Protected Designation of Origin legal guidelines within the EU, solely fortified wine made with grapes from the Douro wine area can formally be referred to as Port or Porto.
The easiest way to see the Douro Valley
The a part of the Douro Valley that folks go to see is the Alto Douro, or Higher Douro. This UNESCO-recognized space has been a wine-producing area for roughly 2,000 years, and stretches for miles alongside the Douro River. It is identified for its steep terraced hills, winding roads, and unimaginable countryside views.
Many individuals will let you know that it’s good to hire a automobile and self-drive the valley to actually expertise it. However except you wish to spend a pair days exploring (and are not intimidated in any respect by slim, winding mountain roads), I actually suppose the most effective methods to go to this hilly wine area is by taking a day journey from Porto.
The guts of the Douro Valley is just a few 90-minute drive from central Porto, and happening a tour with a driver/information means you’ll be able to style check all of the port you need with out having to fret about getting again behind the wheel!
After I did my very own journey to Portugal with out renting a automobile, this present day tour possibility is the one I went with. And never solely was it a simple method to discover the Douro Valley for a day, however we additionally noticed a lot!
What is going to you do on a Douro Valley day tour?
I booked a day journey that included a tour and port tasting at one winery, lunch and one other port tasting at one other winery, and an hourlong cruise on the Douro River. (It was this tour, and it was nice!)
The tour began with a resort pickup within the morning, and about 1.5 hours of driving till we acquired into the Douro Valley. We made a cease for espresso and pictures, after which continued on to our first winery of the day.
Port vineyards and tastings
Which winery(s) you go to could differ relying on the tour you ebook and the time of 12 months you go, however the first place we visited was a small winery referred to as Quinta do Tedo. This property winery makes all its wine and port utilizing grapes it grows itself, and the brief tour we took gave us some perception into making wine on this distinctive surroundings.
The Douro has a really distinct local weather with very chilly winters and sizzling, dry summers (our information informed us it was “9 months of winter and three months of hell”). However this local weather yields the small, candy grapes wanted to make the most effective port.
After we acquired a tour of the 18th century cellars and discovered about how Quinta do Tedo remains to be very conventional in its operations (for instance, they do every little thing by hand, from selecting the grapes to stamping them, “I Love Lucy” model), it was time for our first tasting of the day!
Porto wine is made like most different wine, with the primary exception being that after fermenting for a couple of days, the wine is fortified (usually with native brandy or cognac) to cease the fermentation course of. The result’s a really candy, full-bodied wine.
It may well are available varied colours starting from white to ruby, and at Quinta do Tedo we acquired to attempt their ruby, tawny, and rose ports.
Lunch at one other winery
After I did this tour, we visited a second winery for lunch (Classic Idea, to be precise), the place we had a multi-course meal and one other port tasting (together with 20 and 30 year-old varieties!).
Once more, the precise vineyards you go to may differ, however this was definitely a terrific one, with a fairly backyard area and actually good meals and wine.
Douro River cruise
After our tasting, we headed via the terraced panorama and right down to the Douro River close to Pinhão to board a conventional Rabelo boat for an hour-long cruise. We sailed alongside at a snug tempo, sipping one other glass of port as we admired the steep hills lined in vineyards round us.
When you see these vineyards up shut, you will perceive why it is nearly unattainable to “modernize” the wine-making course of right here. The hills are so steep that grape-picking merely cannot be performed by machine. It’s going to make you admire the wine-making custom right here much more.
Earlier than heading again to Porto, you will make another cease at a well-known viewpoint searching over the Douro River and terraced vineyards. This can be a great place to seize a selfie, and soak in some final Douro Valley views.
Is in the future sufficient within the Douro Valley?
The Douro Valley is a really particular place, and you would simply spend a few days following all its windings roads and tasting all of the port. However if you happen to solely have in the future, I believe a day journey to the Douro Valley is a good possibility.
Most Douro Valley day excursions final 9+ hours and embody a number of port tastings and a cruise on the Douro River. For an introduction to this area, I believe that is fairly nice!
So to reply the query of is a Douro Valley day journey value it? I’d positively say sure!
Finest Douro Valley excursions from Porto
A number of firms supply day journeys from Porto to the Douro Valley. Which tour you ebook may depend upon availability and your personal private pursuits, however so long as you will be visiting a pair vineyards and perhaps taking a cruise, I really feel like you’ll be able to’t go unsuitable!
Most of those excursions are performed in small teams utilizing snug non-public transportation, and on common will price round $100 per individual with meals, tastings, transport, information, and so on. included.
Once more, I personally did this Douro Valley day tour: From Porto: Douro Valley w/ Boat Tour, Wine Tasting & Lunch (or you’ll be able to ebook it right here on Viator)
Listed here are another good excursions choices with a lot of optimistic evaluations to select from:
Would you wish to take a day journey to the Douro Valley?