The Douro Valley is home to the River Douro, the third largest river in the Iberian Peninsula, which runs for almost 900 kilometres from the Spanish town of Duruelo de la Sierra to Porto, Portugal’s second city.
The Douro Valley is known primarily for port, a sweet wine that has been produced here for two thousand years, along with less well-known red and white table wines. The hills along its shorelines are covered in numerous vineyards and groves producing grapes, almonds and olives.
The hills fall steeply to the water’s edge forming a spectacular landscape of terraces covered in vines and dotted with farms called quintas.
The Douro Valley can be accessed by roads that zig-zag up and down the steep hills, although it is probably easier and certainly more scenic to travel by rail or boat. We chose to drive the valley on both of our visits.
Driving along both sides of the river was quite scary at times so my dear husband kept his eye on the road while I took photos from the car and had him stop on quite a few occasions to get those scenic shots.
We visited the Railway Station at Pinhao, known for his scenic beauty and of course the tiled story of its wine-making history. Well worth a visit to this place.
The harvest was almost complete when we visited in early October 2018.
One of the cities we visited on our 2016 trip to the Douro was Amarante. The Douro River was in flood at that time and was fast flowing.
The town itself is picturesque with quaint little churches, an old bridge, colourful buildings and lots of cafes and restaurants along the sides of the river. It is also known for its liqueur, Amarante.
Our final destination on the Douro trip was Vila Real where we hoped to visit the Mateus Palace, but unfortunately we arrived at almost closing time. Just had to be satisfied with a bottle of Mateus instead.
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