The Douro Valley in Portugal is a picturesque valley not far from Porto that showcases jaw-dropping views of towering mountains that run into the river that winds between them and is, in my opinion, one of the top reasons why you need to visit Portugal. These mountains are covered with vineyards, creating sweeping colours of orange and yellows in the fall and lush greens in the spring and summer.
This place is not one of the top Portugal destinations because of its views, though they certainly help, Douro Valley is also home to the delicious port wine. Just like champagne can only come from the Champagne region in France, port wine can only come from grapes grown in this region.
Port wine is a sweet wine that comes in white, rose, tawny (red) and ruby (red) and is mildly thicker than a table wine. The most noticeable difference though is the strength of these small glasses of wine that must be between 18-22% to be considered a port wine. The alcohol content is so high because brandy is added into the wine.
If sweet wine isn’t your thing then you shouldn’t cross off Douro Valley vineyards from your list. Like I told you, the views are worth going alone but this region also grows grapes for table wines as well.
So now that I have you day dreaming of this stunning place with rolling vineyards let me share with you the best way to tick this must-see destination off of your bucket list for your Portugal holidays.
How to Get to Douro Valley
The closest major airport and city is Porto, which is Portugal’s second largest city but seems more like a charming town nestled along the river. Porto, along with Douro Valley are among the best places to visit in Portugal.
There are multiple ways to get to Douro Valley but none are as simple or as good as one of the Douro Valley wine tours from Get Your Guide. It’s a full Douro Valley day trip from Porto but is well worth your time so make sure you schedule an extra day in Porto for this trip.
Get Your Guide is a booking engine that hand picks the best tours so you don’t have to do all of the research yourself. Simply pick the tour you like best and know that you’re in good hands of a local.
I personally did and recommend the Douro Valley Tour – Wine Tasting, Lunch & River Cruise and chose it because it included multiple tastings, pick up and drop off, lunch and a river cruise. It really was the best of all Douro Valley tours (because not all include a river cruise!).
There are multiple tours available with some slight variations. One is cruising to Douro Valley which is too lengthy as you’ll waste most of your day cruising along the river instead of visiting different vineyards. Taking the train is another option but then you have the pricey option of trying to get around the area by taxi. Going on a tour where you drive from Porto is the most time efficient way to take full advantage of your day in the region.
What You Get from Your Tour
I know, tours often throw people off but you’re given the opportunity to learn so much about the area and wines that you wouldn’t if you were exploring by myself (which is difficult to do in this region by the way!).
You’ll get picked up from your accommodation in Porto and driven to Douro Valley where you’ll witness those picturesque views along the river, including stops for some photo opportunities. Before noon you’ll be at your first winery where you’ll learn about the history of port wine and the region as you roam through the vineyards on the property.
After your stroll through the vineyards it’s time for your first Douro Valley wine tasting, which are three different port wines, a white, red and ruby. From there your guide will bring you to your 1-hour river cruise so you don’t miss the opportunity to be on the water. A treat of another glass of port wine is given out and some small snacks for the journey between the mountains.
At lunch traditional Portuguese dishes are served with cheese and breads followed by a choice of traditional desserts and ever flowing wine.
To end your day in the most beautiful way possible your guide will take you to one of the highest points in the region to see incredible views over the entire valley. It’s at a family run winery that you’ll try three table wines plus home grown olive oil and honey which is also from Douro Valley.
With your tastings you can sit on the edge of the vineyards and overlook the river while you watch the sun disappear behind the mountains.
Why It’s Worth It
Many people think group tours aren’t worth it, and I completely understand. However small group tours most certainly are and that’s exactly what this tour is. Your group will be no bigger than 7 people so that means you have plenty of time to ask your guide questions, hear questions that everyone else asks and get to know other fellow wine lovers.
I’m sure what you’ve read about the tour above has convinced you that you need to go but to make it even more convincing it’s so simple to book with Get Your Guide. The website is easy to navigate, shows when there are sales and what dates are available.
If a tour says that it’s only available for a booking of two of more people don’t shy away as a solo traveller. I called up Get Your Guide and mentioned the Douro Valley Tour – Wine Tasting, Lunch & River Cruise and within 15 minutes I had a email sent to me for a single booking.
Budget or not, this tour is worth splurging for and believe me you will get burnt out if you never splurge on things! I’ve never seen a wine region this beautiful and my guide was one of the best I’ve ever had as he was kind, knowledgeable, patient and very accommodating to our needs and wants. He even went above and beyond to let my group stay for sunset longer than normal.
This is one of the top things to do on your Portugal trip and I guarantee it will be one of the highlights of your holidays in Portugal.
That is why booking with Get Your Guide is the top option, it guarantees that you get the best of the best tour guides because they went ahead and found the best ones for you. Don’t skip out on this amazing opportunity that’s one of the best things to do in Portugal.
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