For the wine lover, a trip to Portugal couldn’t possibly be complete without a tour of the Duoro Valley. This wine region is so culturally significant it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 2001, and it remains as one of the oldest official wine regions in the entire world.
Of course, history isn’t the main thing that draws flocks of travellers here: that honour belongs to the wines. An impressive range of both table wines and fortified wines (most notably Port) get produced every year from the tens of thousands of vineyards that cover the valley.
An ideal way to tour the Duoro Valley is to start at the city of Porto in Portugal’s north, and follow the course of the river east. This is best done via either boat or car (the latter is assuming, of course, that you’re not taking on the roles of both enthusiastic wine-taster and designated driver simultaneously). Make your way through the picturesque town of Amarante – stopping for coffee and a traditional sweet of the area, such as the dreamy brisas do Tâmega – before carrying on to the town of Peso da Régua. Be sure to take in the scenery of rolling hills and vineyards as you go.
Your tour will ultimately want to land you in the picture-perfect town of Pinhão, which affords breathtaking views of the surrounding vine-covered mountains. Enjoy some local food or wander around the Pinhão Train Station which is famed for its beautiful and historic azulejos (Portuguese painted tiles).
All along the valley are wine producers, vineyards and “quintas” (estates) who are all too happy to put on a display of Portuguese hospitality and show you their wares. Some of the most popular and acclaimed estates for wine tasting experiences are Quinta da Carvalhas and Quinta de La Rosa in Pinhão; and Quinta do Vallado and Quinta da Pacheca in Régua, with many others scattered along the valley.