Wine lovers often head to Bordeaux, France, or Tuscany, Italy, for
their wine-tasting vacations, but those in the know (and river cruisers,
too) have been sneaking off to Northern Portugal’s Douro Valley — the
oldest demarcated wine region in the world.
How far is the Douro Valley from Porto?
Here, sweeping terraced hills frame either side of the Douro River as
it flows from Spain in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. A
UNESCO World Heritage Site and “cultural candscape”, the Douro Valley is
conveniently located less than two hours by car from Porto, Portugal’s
second-largest city, and is also accessible by train or boat.
Where to stay in the Douro Valley: Quinta Da Corte
For a classic Portuguese experience, visitors should check into a refurbished “quinta” (rural estate).
Consider Quinta Da Corte, which is located near the small town of
Pinhao in the heart of the Douro Valley. Quinta Da Corte is a wine
estate that dates back to the 19th century, but is a relative newcomer
to the hospitality scene.
Completed in 2018, the once-dilapidated estate underwent extensive
renovations by Pierre Yovanovitch, a French architect and interior
designer who infused the quinta with simple, but bespoke furnishings and
The quinta’s designer details are on display throughout the intimate
retreat, which includes eight well-appointed guestrooms spread across
“La Casa” (the main house) and two adjacent living quarters, a terraced
vineyard with walking trails and an infinity pool and lounge area that
overlooks the rolling hills of the valley. At the communal kitchen in La
Casa, guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast, as well as homecooked
dinners (for an additional cost) prepared by the quinta's chef.
What to do in the Douro Valley
Not to be missed are the numerous miradouros — or viewpoints — that
offer expansive perspectives of the Douro River and its surrounding
areas. Miradouro de Casal de Loivos is the most easily reachable
viewpoint from Pinhao and delivers the quintessential Instagram shot.
Sailing the Douro River
For those eager to sail the Douro but not via a river cruise, tour
boat operator Anima Durius — a recipient of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of
Excellence in 2021 — offers a variety of sailing options with a fleet
of three boats and private tours that range from an hour to full-day
What to eat and drink in the Douro Valley
Whether your clients are venturing to the Douro Valley for a quick
visit or a leisurely stay, they will undoubtedly be on the lookout for
top-notch cuisine and libations that are representative of the region.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of wineries for oenophiles to
indulge in. At Quinta do Seixo, guests can opt for a laidback picnic
amid the vines, or a brief tour of the grounds followed by a tasting and
explanation of the valley’s most ubiquitous product, port wine.
And for memorable dining, check out Cozinha da Clara (Clara’s
Kitchen) in Quinta de la Rosa, a hotspot for local cuisine in modern
digs along the river. The menu, from chef Pedro Cardoso, often changes
based on the day’s freshest ingredients, but visitors can expect classic
Portuguese dishes such as bacalhau (salted cod) served with La Rosa’s
own olive oil, as well as Iberian black pork and 24-hour confit suckling
Source: TravelAge West