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Portugal’s Ever-So Candy Wine • We Weblog The World

I wasn’t positive what to think about the Douro Valley as I drove into it from Porto. Really, that’s a lie—I didn’t prefer it.

From the craziness of the drivers alongside the impossibly slender riverside roads, to the script I heard all of the tour guides I encountered at numerous viewpoints and landmarks studying, to the unhealthy attitudes of shopkeepers and restaurateurs in cities like Regua and Pinhão, it could be an amazing understatement to say that I wasn’t impressed.

And but it was this disappointment that ended up main me to a conclusion I can now say inside 100% confidence: That the Douro Valley is value visiting, completely, with none query. 

For instance, as I used to be driving across the area have a quasi panic assault, I by accident drove to an lodging that had the identical identify because the one I’d booked—Quinta da Portela—however was a unique property completely. Initially, this upset me (the primary one was lovely, if a bit stuffy and exclusive-feeling). Nevertheless, because it turned out, the extra down-home Quinta da Portela Casa Visconde provided exactly the expertise I wanted.

Issues to Do within the Douro Valley

Do a port wine tasting (or two)

The excellent news? If you happen to resolve to remain in a quinta as I suggested above, your room could have a copious quantity of free wine ready inside it for you, permitting you to get pleasure from a tasting session with out having to get behind the wheel. The comfort prize? All guided excursions of the Douro Valley embrace tastings; in the event you’re self-driving however not staying in a quinta, there’s all the time the spittoon. 

Take a river boat journey

I’ll be trustworthy: The river itself doesn’t issue into why I discover the Douro Valley value visiting, even whether it is clearly the supply of all of the superb wine, to not point out its export to the remainder of the world. For a lot of vacationers, nevertheless, Douro River cruises are a must-do on this a part of Portugal, significantly the boozy ones that embrace free-flow drinks.

Ascend a viewpoint

It may be onerous to understand to the dimensions of the Douro Valley from river stage. Fortunately, there are many high-up viewpoints—and never simply ones at upscale wineries and their hard-to-eat-at eating places, though in the event you occur to be visiting these locations you possibly can after all get pleasure from panoramas from there. My favourite public viewpoint within the Douro Valley space might be the one at Casal de Loivos.

Eat at native eating places

Talking of upscale eating places, there’s an argument that these kinds of locations are a giant a part of what makes the Douro Valley value visiting. The counter-argument, after all, is that they’re stuffy and overpriced, and that their homeowners are boastful and don’t actually like vacationers very a lot—this was definitely my expertise. Conversely, I had among the finest meals of my life at Restaurante Mercantil within the off-the-beaten-path city of Armamar.

As I described just a few paragraphs up, my keep at Quinta da Portela was some of the memorable of my complete life. Along with having a two-bedroom, two-century previous farm home to myself, I had extra port wine than I might drink, 14 acres of vineyards to discover, three pleasant canine to pet and a breakfast unfold so large that even it made me wish to pop.

Find out how to Get to (and Round) the Douro Valley

If you happen to don’t have a whole day and night time to commit to the Douro Valley, you possibly can simply come right here for the day from Porto. Dozens of tour corporations promote all through town, each outdoors the port wine cellars south of the river in Vila Nova da Gaia, in addition to at many accommodations (together with yours, most certainly). You’ll be able to even guide a Douro Valley day tour on-line and prematurely, for peace of thoughts.

In my view, nevertheless, staying in a single day in a quinta is among the key substances that makes the Douro Valley value visiting. Having a rental automobile sweetens the deal even additional—and never simply because it opens up visits to cities like Braga, Guimãres and Coimbra, though this helps. Having the liberty to roam (albeit to not drink as a lot as you need, in the event you’re the one driving) permits you to make your Douro Valley journey utterly your individual.

Different FAQ About Visiting Porto’s Douro Valley

Is it value going to Douro Valley?

It’s completely value going to the Douro Valley. That is particularly the case when you have sufficient time to remain in a single day in a quinta, and also you’re in a position to hire a automobile, versus relying on public transport or taking a guided tour.

What number of days ought to I spend in Douro Valley?

I’d suggest spending a minimal of two days—so, one night time—within the Douro Valley. This can mean you can discover the valley’s numerous wine cellars and viewpoints, and in addition to benefit from the expertise of staying in a quinta. Alternatively, in the event you can’t handle to remain in a single day, you possibly can take a day tour from Porto.

Do you want a automobile in Douro Valley, Portugal?

You don’t completely want a automobile within the Douro Valley—there are arguments towards it, in reality, particularly that whoever is driving can’t actually get pleasure from any wine. Then again, the price of renting a automobile is often equal to or lower than how a lot a tour from Porto prices, and is after all method simpler than having to navigate through public transport.

The Backside Line

An enormous a part of why I ended up discovering the Douro Valley value visiting is that my journey didn’t go as deliberate. Following the well-marked path, it turned out, was a positive path to disappointment. Certainly, I fell in love with the area as a result of (not regardless of) the varied obstacles I encountered alongside the way in which. As is so usually the case in journey, it was distant from the place all the opposite vacationers have been taking their Instagram footage that I discovered my favourite moments of magnificence and magic. 

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