"Breathtaking Terrain and Tantalizing Wines." - Reviewed by Lisa
Driving through the Douro River Valley is not for the faint of heart. Hairpin turns along steep, mountainous terrain with the golden river glinting – for what seems like miles – below you. It is, however, breathtakingly, incredibly beautiful. Every turn brings a new picture-postcard shot into focus, with steep hills stepped with lush, green vines blowing in the breezes.
It’s hard to believe that you have never heard about this idyllic paradise before. The Douro region is, however, one of the oldest demarcated and regulated wine regions in the world, dating back to 1754. And, since 2001, it has been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are few private homes and the only man-made spots on the horizon are carefully-crafted wine Quintas constructed from local stone to blend seamlessly with the natural fauna and flora.
The main draw to this lush land is, of course, the first-class wine-making facilities. It seems a little silly, then, to plan a full day of inebriation and gastronomy and be scared to death to set foot back on the road. This is where TRIPWIX comes in to help! With a fleet of carefully-chauffeured Mercedes at our beck and call, we can easily ferry our “merry” clients from one delightful Quinta to the next. Alternatively, you can base yourself at a couple of these refined establishments and hike from one to another at a leisurely pace to fully immerse yourself in the local viticulture.
Another idea – which was my hands-down favourite – is to pick a couple of luxe resting spots then engage the services of the charming SS Pipadouro to elegantly transport you from one great sampling to the next with, of course, a few additional onboard libations in between!
If partaking in the local wine tastings is not your thing, do not be disheartened. The views alone make a visit to the Douro area well worth the trip and there are innumerable other fun things to do throughout the valley.
- 75-min drive from Oporto
- 4-hr drive from Lisbon
- Wine tastings: Douro Valley wines are considered among the best in Portugal.
- Train rides: Pinhão – Pocinho – Pinhão and “Tua line”.
- Sightseeing: Local villages to discover. At Provesende, you can witness the centuries-old tradition of bread baking in a community wood oven. Or visit Foz Côa to see the pre-Paleolithic engravings. You can also take a tour of the vineyards, “lugarejos” (little hamlets), cultural sites and chapels in the area.
- Hiking: A great way to discover the spectacular, postcard-pretty landscapes.
- Water sports: Water skiing, boating, river cruising, sailing
- SS Pipadouro: Luxury riverboat cruise.
- Helicopter rides: Use our helicopter service for sightseeing and quick transportation.