Luxury Travel to the Douro Valley
The Douro River winds its way from the north of Spain, along the Portuguese border and eastward to Porto where it meets the sea.
Roughly midway on its course across Portugal, a stretch of its waters is flanked by a dramatic valley covered in bright green rows of grape vines. This is the Alto Douro where wine has been produced for some 2000 years, becoming the first wine growing region in the world to be formally demarcated in 1756, and it is all a UNESCO World Heritage protected landscape.
It is most famous for its port, a sweet brandy fortified wine that must originate in this valley to be considered the genuine article.
Winery touring and tasting is the main order of the day, with a wonderful array of traditional and boutique growers to discover.
The region’s sprinkling of historic towns and rustic villages are also wonderful to wander around, while the rugged mountains to east are home to the Côa Valley’s prehistoric rock art and some great hikes. Other popular activities in the area include challenging mountain biking, laid back river cruises and bird watching.
Wine and wonderful scenery just goes together so well! This magical region is such a pleasantly silent place that all you want to do is enjoy the views, hop on a boat and let the valley work its magic. Of course, a stop in one of the various quintas is highly recommended!
What to do
- Sample the delicious wines of the Alto Douro
- Discover the Côa Valley’s prehistoric rock art
- Go hiking in the region's dramatic mountains
- Take a river cruise down the Douro
- Encounter traditional villages and towns dotted across the landscape
When to go
As the temperatures and sunlight hours begin to rise in April, the Douro Valley becomes a more rewarding place to visit, though some may find the peak temperatures in August a little too hot. June and September are particularly good times to visit, when temperatures are pleasant and fewer tourist crowds are in attendance.
Itineraries including Douro Valley
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Accommodation in Douro Valley
Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options
Six Senses Douro ValleySet on a wide bend of the Douro river amid wonderful woodland, the Six Sense Douro Valley occupies a thoroughly renovated 19th-century manor house with fabulous views out to the vineyards that surround it. The interior blends original features such as monumental beams with contemporary artwork. Many of the rooms feature vast floor to ceiling windows and wonderful views. Suites overlook the Douro, and there are a selection of multi-roomed apartments and a villa with its own pool for the utmost privacy. Three restaurants and a range of dining areas celebrate the region, with seasonal produce from the fertile valley itself or picked from the estate’s organic gardens. Sample some of the Wine Library’s hundreds of vintages with nightly tastings, or watch the sun set with a cocktail on the terrace. An expansive spa has ten treatment rooms and there is both a heated indoor and scenic outdoor pool. Many of the experiences here are, naturally, wine focussed, such as vineyard tours, port tasting and unique harvesting experiences, and there’s also dozens of historic towns and villages to explore in this UNESCO World Heritage landscape. The more adventurous can head out on hiking, mountain biking and canyoning, while river cruises are a more relaxed way to spend an afternoon.