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Annabelle Thorpe

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Douro Valley

Our verdict:

Portugal's River Douro winds through one of Europe's most spectacular landscapes before emptying into the Atlantic at the charming World Heritage city of Porto. Stay in atmospheric quintas and visit centuries-old terraced vineyards to sample the Port that made this region famous, and some delicious local cuisine.

Recommended tour operator: Sunvil

Sunvil says

The two cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia face one another across the River Douro, where it meets the Atlantic.

On the south bank lies the city of Vila Nova de Gaia. Reached from Porto by the spectacular two-tier Ponte Dom Luis I Bridge, this area has been dedicated to the production of port wine since the 18th century.

Today it is home to more than 50 port companies, the hillside being dominated by famous lodges including Noval, Sandeman, Ramos Pinto, Ferreira and Graham’s. Almost all of them offer tastings and tours.

One of Europe’s most charismatic cities, Porto’s historic hub is the Ribeira district with its grand buildings, riverside promenades and cafés. Medieval houses and workshops cling to the narrow streets and cobbled steps.

Boat trips up the Douro meander through locks, past dams and include visits to wine quintas, restaurants and places of interest along the valley. From Porto or Pinhao, it is also possible to take a day trip in a traditional ‘barco rabelo’ (now engine-powered, rather under sail) – or a scenic train ride from Pinhao to Regua.

The Alto Douro region, or port wine region, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stretching 100km from Regua to the Spanish border, the region has been synonymous with the production of port wine for more than 2,000 years – this long tradition of viticulture has produced a unique landscape of outstanding beauty.

Take a drive beside the winding river with its sculptured terraced slopes and hill vistas rolling out to the horizon and discover charming quintas and sprawling vineyards clinging to the precipitous slopes.

We offer city breaks in Porto, Douro cruises and self-drive holidays in the Douro, staying in historic quintas and charming small hotels. We also feature Minho and Tras os Montes, closer to the Spanish border.

Find out more about our holidays in Porto and the Douro Valley.

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