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 holiday here, the best way to spend a day in Porto is wandering 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.
Portugal's second city, Porto is a gem that is largely free from the tourist hordes. Spend your luxury holiday wandering around the cobbled streets before settling in for a drink or three at one of the port warehouses on the waterfront in Porto, built to house port barrels brought down the river by barge. The warehouses are kept cool in the summer months by a breeze coming off the nearby sea.
The Douro Valley is a short drive east from the city and there have been a couple of hotel openings in the region of late, with former hacienda homes of famous port producing families now elegantly converted to boutique hotels with excellent service and wonderful views along the river.
In summer, the mercury can rise to the mid-30s or even higher in the Douro Valley itself. While this means that the height of summer is probably a no-no, the spring and autumn months usually mean lovely weather that's a good deal warmer than that in the UK, all an easy two hour flight away.
|Porto & the Douro Valley|