The Brits have long had a penchant for port, but the vineyards where the fortified wine is created and the eponymous city of Porto are, in themselves, a delight. While there are a couple of sites worth seeking out specifically during any stay here, the best way to spend Porto holidays is to wander around the maze of cobbled alleys before ending up in one of the port warehouses across the Douro river
enjoying a sample of the city's most famous export. After a night or two in town, we recommend heading for the countryside and in particular the Douro Valley, famed for beautiful vineyard terraces etched into the steep hillsides. The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Douro River (or 'Golden River') that runs through the valley is the lifeblood of the north, weaving through beautiful landscapes before opening out onto the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Douro Valley holidays can be experienced from a luxurious hotel, or on a luxury cruise, by travelling alongside the river's winding banks on a hike or aboard a quirky vintage train.
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What can you expect on Porto and the Douro Valley that you won’t find elsewhere?
Visit the picture-perfect Porto, Northern Portugal’s star city, to see its stunning metallic bridges, traditional houses, and its many wine cellars – and perhaps even indulge in a few wine tasting sessions yourself. Medieval and baroque monuments pepper the streets of Porto, while in Douro, almond and olive trees line the rolling hills. Roman relics stand strong in Chaves and Braganca; castles adorn the city of Guimaraes; and nature thrives in the Northern Littoral Natural Park. Porto and Northern Portugal holidays offer a kaleidoscope of sensations and scenery. Come to this corner of the country and you'll get to enjoy the good life.
Who are Porto and Douro Valley holidays best for?
If you’re an amateur sommelier at heart, a trip to the home of port wine is the adventure your taste buds have been waiting for. Visit the wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia and become a true expert, learning how to tell your aged Tawnies from your youthful Rubies. Strolling through the idyllic vineyards is enough to inspire anyone to learn the tricks of the trade.
The best ways to discover Porto and the Douro Valley
If you want to explore Porto and the Douro Valley, be it on a short weekend away or a longer Portuguese getaway, we have more than a few ideas to help you create your ideal stay. How about soaking up the region’s atmosphere, while staying in a quinta (a traditional villa) perched on the river and surrounded by vineyards? Or perhaps you prefer the idea of staying a little longer and touring through the region by train and boat. If you’d rather spend your days in opulent luxury, stay in one of the region’s most beautiful mansions or, if the desire to discover pushes you a little further out, opt for an itinerary that will take you from Porto to Lisbon through some of the country's most sensational sites.
Special things to do in Porto & the Douro Valley
Enjoy a stay, surrounded by greenery, near the Peneda-Geres National Park in a traditional mansion. Surrounded by a craftsman’s workshop, several barns and country buildings, you’ll experience the laid-back charm of hamlet life. Wander through tranquil gardens, snooze on shaded patios when you need a break from the Portuguese sun and savour a sweet slice of honey-soaked bread.