While Port is AGED in Vila Nova de Gaia’s cellars across Douro River from Porto, it is MADE 130 km away in Douro Valley’s dramatic, steep, terraced vineyard, river valley - classified UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
There are a host of ways to arrive at the vineyards wineries and small towns of the Douro Valley - each method having its own perks. Here are our top picks for the adventurous traveler to the luxe traveler!
Off the beaten path travel
Rent a car
If you are interested in visiting wineries and small off the beaten path towns in Douro, Farah suggests renting a car in Porto and driving to Douro Valley. The ride is under two hours and the beautiful views towards the latter leg of the journey will build hype for the rest of your journey!
Once in the valley, you’ll have the flexibility to traverse its three unique sub-regions (Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo, Douro Superior), explore some of its hidden gems and best day trips with your own set of wheels.
A word to the wise
While the recently-built highway is smooth-sailing, the national roads that connect the wineries and traditional towns are windy and difficult.
A three point turn in the Douro
A more relaxed ride
Train from Porto to Douro
Those looking for a more relaxed ride can take the 2.5-hour train from Porto which snakes along Douro River and provides an absolutely gorgeous journey. Stops in smaller towns and villages are frequent, but we suggest you get off in Régua (Douro’s most dynamic and largest town), Pinhão (quaint and walkable) or venture all the way to Pocinho (near the border of Spain, from where you can access Foz Côa).
Douro Valley train hugging the river
For the ultimate chill experience, you could take the 7-hour boat ride upriver from Porto to Régua, or the 2.5-hour boat ride from Régua to Pinhão.
A view from the boat ride to Pinhão
While Uber hasn’t quite yet hit Portugal’s most famed wine country, affordable taxis can be called from any hotel and the drivers usually speak English, are absolute peaches and save you from needing to sacrifice yourself as a designated driver on vacation in wine country!
Guided Tour with Pickup
Finally, while we suggest you spend at least one night in Douro Valley to fully embrace its magic, if you are tight on time, you can embark on a full-day tour with pick up and drop off in Porto.
Luxury Douro Tours, EV Tours and Cool Tours have some of our favourite guides and pit stops amongst the many great tour companies offering pre-selected itineraries or with whom you can develop your own (to include ideally 2 or no more than 3 winery visits to avoid fatigue!)
One of EV Tours favorite spots is the beautiful Quinta do Tedo
Experience the Douro in Porto
Douro Valley is a must if you really want to experience Port in its birthplace. But if you don’t have time for Douro, a visit to the all-encompassing World of Wine or independent Port cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia can offer you a good intro “taste” of Port.
Go inside a Port barrel at Porto's Wold of Wine