The Porto & Douro regions are two of the most famous wine-producing regions in Portugal. Forming a part of world-renowned Duoro Valley, Porto has played a big role in the production of excellent Port wines. Since the start of the wine industry in this region, the land following the course of the Douro River has been worked by hand and shaped into terraces, which creates spectacular landscapes. The valley of the Douro River provides a natural amphitheatre in which the endless rows of vines are planted. The landscape leaves all who see it completely enraptured by its deep valleys and gorges, clean and crisp air, terraced vineyards and the clear blue waters of the Douro River. The cultural landscape of Alto Douro is protected by UNESCO for having an outstanding universal value.
Some of the world’s greatest wines from the world’s poorest soils
Although Duoro Valley and Porto share a connection of Duoro River and they have a common history of wine production, there are differences between these two regions. Porto Region which is also a second largest city in Portugal is famous for Port wine production, while Duoro Valley, situated 3 hours away from the city is also renowned for its fine unfortified wines, both red and white.
Long famous as the source of port wine, the Douro is now also renowned for its fine, rich unfortified wines, both red and white.
Duoro Region are divided into three distinctive territories that has different styles of wines and port wines.
The first area lies to the west in the Baixo(Lower) Corgo region. This is where Porto, the capital of Port Wine is located. The centre of Lower Corgo is the city of Peso da Regua which is home to the famous Museu do Douro and the Solar do Vinho de Porto. Both of these attractions are a must-see to learn more and taste the wonderful nectar of Port.
Cima(Upper) Corgo is the centre of fine Port Wine production as well as the sourse of many high quality unfrotified wines. Town Pinhao is Upper Corgo produces excellent Port wine. When visiting Pinhao, one cannot miss a visit to the Sao Leonardo de Galafura viewpoint near Peso de Regua.
The third sub-region Duoro Superior stretches all the way to the Spanish border and it is the hottest and driest sub-regions. It is the youngest territory and source of many high-quality wines.
Red Grape Varieties:
White Grape Varieties:
What to Expect from Port Wines
The most famous wine produced in all of Porto and Duoro wine regions is Port. Many across the world have tried to imitate this fortified wine but nothing compares to the original. However, according to the EU regulations about Protected Designation of Origin, only one produced in Portugal is allowed to be labelled as “Port”.
There are many different categories and styles of Port but they can be clasified in four categories:
Ruby Port, which has fruity characteristics and ruby red colour. In a glass of Ruby Port, you will find aromas of red berries with notes of plum, cinnamon, and cherries. Ruby ports are consumed younger, after 2 years of ageing. This period of time helps wines to develop complex aromas but at the same time not to lose fruity characteristics.
Tawny Port has a longer ageing period in small barrels. Tawny Port has a nutty, oxidative character. The name of this Port comes from its pale “tawny” colour which is a result of oxygen interaction with wines in barrels.
White Port is something everybody would enjoy as an aperitif or base of the cocktails in the bars of Porto. It is produced from indigenous grape varieties such as Rabigato, Viosinho, Gouveio, and Malvasia and displays aromas of apricot, roasted nuts and baked apples.
Rosé Port is something innovative and vibrant from the northern part of the Duoro. While producing Rosé Port, juice has minimal skin contact, which gives Rosé colour and fewer tannins to wines. The result is very aromatic, refreshing distinct wine, absolutely irresistible during hot summer days.
Not a big fun of fortified wines?
The Douro Valley region is well known for the production of a wide range of table wines. More than 80 varietals of local grapes are grown in this region. Of these, the most popular used for the production of red wines are Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao. In the production of Douro Valley white wines, the most commonly used grape varietals are Viosinho, Malvasia Fina, Gouveio and Rabigato.
Wineries to Visit
There is an abundance of possibilities to make your trip to Duoro Valley unforgettable experience. Visit Wineries in Duoro and enjoy the breathtaking terrace landscapes with a glass of port wine.
Quinta Da Gaivosa
The Quinta Da Gaivosa winery and the estate is perfectly located in the breathtaking Douro Valley in the area of Santa Marta. The estate sits on 25 ha of land. All of the wines at Quinta Da Gaivosa are produced by the Alves de Sousa family who has worked the vineyards for 5 generations. Visit the Quinta Da Gaivosa to learn about the production of Douro Valley wines and enjoy a wine tasting in the beautiful surroundings.
The Quinta De Sequeira is a family-run winery and estate. The winery is located in the Vila Nova de Foz Coa and was established in 1899. The wines produced at Quinta De Sequeira are all made using only sustainable practices. This ensures that the natural environment is preserved for the use of future generations.
Quinta De Covela is one of the most perfectly located wineries in the world. This winery is perched along a terrace on the banks of the Douro River. It has sat proudly on this perch for over five centuries. The Quinta De Covela estate is situated on 45 hectares of land. Eighteen of these used for the planting of vineyards. Visit the Quinta De Covela for a unique and tailored wine tasting experience.
Discover more wineries in Porto & Duoro, started from the riverside wineries in Duoro Valley, finished with port wine houses in Porto.
Discover the Beauty of Porto and Its Sorroundings
Vila Nova de Gaia – The Home to the Most Famouse Port Wine Cellars
Vila Nova de Gaia is situated across the Douro River from the city of Porto. This area is located along the south bank of the Douro River. You guessed it right, Duoro river separates Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, which seems to be one city on both sides of the river. Vila Nova de Gaia is by far the most famous area of Portugal for the production of port wine. It is here that one can find the most renowned port cellars and warehouses that are open to visitors. If you are looking to taste port, there is no better place to do so than in Vila Nova de Gaia. This site is where centuries ago, barrels of the port were located onto passing boats and transported down the Douro River. The most popular of the port lodges to visit include Sandeman and Grahams Port. After an afternoon of port tasting, why not head down to the Praia de Granja beach for some relaxation, breathtaking views and wonderful seafood.
Porto – Vibrant & Dynamic City
Porto is considered one of Portugal’s most vibrant and dynamic cities. This incredible and beautiful city has the perfect blend of rich history and modern luxury that every traveller enjoys. The city of Porto is best known for the production of port wine but there is far more to the city than just this. There is something to offer everyone in Porto. The narrow streets of the Ribeira district take one back into history and allow for the perfect spot to relax and sip on a glass of wine. For book lovers, a visit to the Lello Bookshop cannot be missed. This unique bookshop is unlike any other in the world. It is also the place that inspired JK Rowling to write the Harry Potter books and the setting for the Hogwarts Library!
Peso da Regua – The Traditional Shipping Centre of Port Wine
Peso da Regua is a small town that sits on the banks of the Douro River. The town is surrounded by a natural amphitheatre made of imposing slopes of shale, cut into the rock that is covered in vines. The most interesting fact about Peso da Regua is that is was the world’s first demarcated wine region. The most popular activity in Peso da Regua is port tasting and visiting one of the port houses to learn more about the production of this fortified wine.
For those who would like to taste not only port but also the local table wines, there are many wine tours on offer. The wineries take visitors to the various wineries in the area. Other attractions in Peso da Regua include the Museu do Douro. This museum is situated on a terrace beside the Douro River and has a wonderful terrace for enjoying the view. Visitors should also be sure to see the Miradouro de Sao Leonardo de Galafura lookout point, the Douro Historical Train, the Miradouro de Sao Domingos, the Capela de Sao Pedro de Balesemao and the cathedral at Lamego.
Take a Breath of Fresh Portuguese Air
Porto and Douro are undoubtedly two of the most beautiful areas of the world. The natural scenery is made up of the ocean, the Douro River and the magnificent river valley. These valleys are carved with terraced vineyards that resemble a stairway directly to heaven. This area is considered a natural wonder of the world and when visiting it is very clear why that is.
Douro International Natural Park – The Natural Border Between Portugal and Spain
The Douro International Natural Park lies along the length of the Douro River. It is also the border between the countries of Portugal and Spain. Inside the borders of the Natural Park, the Douro River valley runs for approximately 122kms long. Within the forests of the park, there are endless spans of juniper, oak and chestnut trees. These provide the perfect habitat for wildlife such as the Red Kite and the Common Buzzard.
In some areas of the Natural Park, vineyards have been planted along the steep valley slopes. These vines produce the grapes used in the production of port wine. The Douro International Natural Park can be visited at any time of the year but the best times are when the temperature is milder in April to June. Once inside the park, there are many activities on offer. These include cruises and birdwatching tours.
The Only National Park of Portugal
The Peneda Geres National Park is located on the plateau of Castro Laboreiro along the mountain ranges of Geres, Peneda, Amarela and Soajo. This national park is the only official national park in Portugal and was established in 1971. Visitors to the Park are spoilt for choice when it comes to sights and activities.
The area inside the national park covered with lush flora growing along the river banks. Besides the natural beauty, the Peneda Geres National Park is also home to the castles of Castro Laboreiro and Lindoso. These castles are remnants of the Roman occupation and are open to visitors to the park. Throughout the park, there are also numerous walking, hiking and driving paths to admire the views and the natural environment. While visiting Peneda Geres National Park is be sure to stop at one of the park’s restaurants to try the traditional dishes of goat meat, porridge, ham and sausages.
Praia do Carneiro – The beach at the river mouth
The Praia do Carneiro is a beach in Portugal that is situated at the mouth of the Douro River. The beach is easily recognised by the location of the lighthouse that marks the entrance to the river. The beach is located in front of the magnificent Fortaleza de São João da Foz. This fort was built in the 16th century in order to protect the river mouth from potential enemies. The Praia do Carneiro is not your typical swimming beach – the sand is hard, and the water quality is not always perfect. Despite this, it provides the most incredible views of Porto and is the starting point of a number of lovely seafront walks. Relax on the Praia do Carneiro during the summer and in the winter marvel at the giant waves crashing on the lighthouse.
Authentic Food You Should Try Here
A visit to Porto and Douro is not only about the wine, port and rich history. This area has a wonderful culinary history and range of traditional foods that are as good as the local wines. Thanks to the long and winding Douro River, many of the local dishes are made with excellent fresh fish. When paired with a fresh and crisp local wine, this food experience could not be better. Portuguese food is absolutely delicious and every bite is a tasting journey.
Francesinha – The Most Popular Dish in Porto
Of all of the wonderful cuisines in Porto, there is nothing more popular than Francesinha. This dish was first prepared in the 1960s. Francesinha can be considered a Portuguese twist on a traditional French sandwich. A real treat for meat lovers, Francesinha is a sandwich that is filled with ham and steak. The sandwich is then covered in cheese. To top this all off, the cheesy sandwich is then drowned in a sauce made of beer and sometimes even with a dash of local Port! When visiting Porto, you will have endless choices of local restaurants offering traditional Francesinha. Take a visit to one and don’t miss out!
Dine and Drink with the Locals
When visiting the Porto & Douro wine region, every visitor should make time to visit the fishing town of Matosinhos.
Matosinhos is most famous for its bustling outdoor fish restaurants and its long white beach. This area is a firm favourite among the residents of Porto who flock here throughout the year. Matosinhos offers more than just the beach and excellent fresh seafood. The Castelo do Queijo is a beautiful old fort on the coastline that is open for visitors to explore. There is also the Parque da Cidade, the shopping market and a selection of paths to walk on along the coast.
Without a doubt, the highlight of Matosinhos is the range of fish restaurants on offer. These restaurants specialise in serving the fresh catch straight from the nearby harbour. The fish is cooked outside on open-air grills and the smell with a lure you in from meters away. For a perfect day of sun, sea and excellent food, a visit to Matosinhos is a must.
Caldo Verde – A Comforting Serving of Traditional Soup
Caldo Verde is a green soup that in English would be known as Kale soup. This soup is simple yet absolutely delicious and is a staple in the Porto and Douro regions. The best part is that it is extremely healthy as the main ingredient is Kale. Along with the kale, the soup is flavoured with Portuguese chorizo sausage. This mixture is then thickened with potatoes. Additional flavour is added with garlic and herbs. Whether visiting Porto and Douro in the winter or summer months, there is nothing more comforting than a steaming bowl of Caldo Verde.
Pitos de Santa Luzia – The Perfect Pastry
Pitos de Santa Luzia is a delicious treat that must be tested by all who visit the Porto and Douro regions. This dessert is made by cutting a square of puff pastry and then filling the pastry with cinnamon and pumpkin jam. The ends of the pastry are then folded to resemble an envelope. Pitos de Santa Luzia is traditionally served warm and paired with home-made vanilla ice cream. Going back into the history of the dish, Pitos de Santa Luzia was traditionally presented as a gift from single women to their prospective partners. For those looking for their perfect match, give this perfect pastry a try.
Share about Porto & Duoro Wine Regions:
Soil: Schist, metamorphic rock
Climate: Duoro has drier climate than coast, with colder winter and warmer summers