2023 is the year of the Douro and Deltatur couldn’t be more proud of it.
The oldest demarcated region in the world won the European Wine City 2023 competition, launched by the European Network of Wine Cities.
This contest aims to promote tourism in the various wine-producing regions in Europe; each year there is a different winner.
In 2018, the city of Régua was one of the candidates, but this time it was the Douro region that won.
As the Douro is a region and not a city, this achievement represents the union of the 19 municipalities of the Douro Intermunicipal Community (CIM DOURO)
Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the “sublime Douro” now sees its nature and its people recognized.
In this way, the Douro consolidates itself even more as an international point of reference for wine lovers.
Even so, in addition to wine, there is a wide range of reasons to visit the Douro in 2023.
If you still haven’t had the opportunity to discover this magnificent region, we’ve listed 10 reasons why you should do so as soon as possible.
1. Stay in Quintas full of charm and tradition
The emblematic Douro Vinhateiro estates hold a piece of history, tradition and heritage in the region. The vast majority exceed three centuries of existence.
In these properties, in addition to the stunning landscapes, you will have the opportunity to visit their cellars, taste the remarkable wines and immerse yourself in the Douro gastronomy.
If you are planning to spend a weekend in the Douro, live the experience of settling in the most exclusive and renowned estates.
These are the suggestions given by those who know the Douro like no one else:
- Ventozelo Hotel e Quinta, for those looking for an imposing view over the Douro River and the village of Pinhão;
- Quinta da Pacheca, winner of the “Wine Oscars” in the category Best Wine Tourism of the Year 2021;
- Quinta de La Rosa, for a retreat from stress in a secular and family-run property;
- Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, the only one in the region that is part of the Relais & Châteaux chain;
- Quinta do Vallado, a place where classic meets modernity and which once belonged to D. Antónia Ferreira.
If you are going to stay in one of these places, get to know our Douro tours.
We guarantee you to show this charming region in a unique and special way.
2. Tasting of internationally recognized wines
If wine is the great attraction of the Douro, then there’s nothing like tasting it.
The vast majority of Douro farms open their doors to receive thousands of visitors eager to taste the nectar of the Gods.
As is well known, wines from this region have already received several international awards for their quality.
That said, you will find the best Douro wine tastings in spaces such as:
- Quinta do Bomfim, owned by the Symington family and birthplace of Dow’s Port wine;
- Quinta do Seixo, the perfect place to taste the famous Sandeman wines;
- Wine and Soul, a project with wines featured in the prestigious magazine Wine Spectator;
- Quinta do Crasto, owner of what, in 2022, was considered the eighth best vineyard in the world by World’s Best Vineyards.
- Quinta do Noval, with wines from vines planted in 1930 and resulting from a mixture of more than 30 grape varieties.
Having said that, when visiting the Douro, guarantee with us private visits to the best estates and the most exclusive wine tastings.
3. Gastronomy/cuisine of choice
Douro cuisine gives sense to the palate.
If you are going to visit Douro, you can believe us when we say that you will hardly have a bad experience.
That said, if you have the opportunity, we recommend tasting these delicacies:
- Caldo Verde;
- Cheeses and smoked sausages from the region;
- Roasted Lamb with rice in wood stove;
- Mirandês steak;
- Cavacas from Resende;
- Régua Sweets.
In this way, when visiting the Douro, you will be able to taste some of these dishes in the most prestigious spaces:
- DOC Douro, by renowned chef Rui Paula and established right above the Douro River;
- Cozinha da Clara, at Quinta de La Rosa and under the guidance of chef Pedro Cardoso;
- Tim’s Terrace, also located in Quinta de La Rosa and with an innovative concept in the region – Pizza & BBQ;
- Calça Curta, a typical Douro restaurant located right next to the Tua train station;
- Casa do Bucheiro, where you will have lunch in a three-hundred-year-old manor house and with meals paired with the farm’s wines.
Dare to experience these and other flavors through our Douro tours.
With us you will discover the right places to have lunch in this region. In addition, the cost of your meal is always included in our final price.
4. Douro Harvest
The harvest is the event of the year for this wine region. Therefore, the best time to visit the Douro is during the month of September.
During this period, the Douro farms receive thousands of people to harvest the grapes.
Many of these places allow the visit and participation in this very traditional and remarkable process.
During the day, you will have the opportunity to select and harvest the grapes that will give rise to the acclaimed Port wines.
In the end, you can join the local workers and experience the tradition of treading grapes while singing regional songs.
In this month of September, it is also common for some Douro towns to organize concerts and other festivities.
In the Douro, each harvest creates a piece of history.
5. Cruise the waters of the Douro River
Have you ever imagined yourself on a magnificent boat trip on the Douro?
This activity is one of the most sought after by those visiting the Douro.
Think of the privilege of observing the vast terraces, feeling the Douro breeze and tasting the best regional products while sailing. All this can come true.
We have four tours in the Douro where you can sail upriver:
- Douro Boat Tour – boat trip on the Douro River to Tua or Roncão, in a shared or private boat (your choice);
- Douro Premium – tour on the Douro River in a shared boat to the mouth of the Tua River and return trip by train to Pinhão;
- Douro Experience – private transfer in Mercedes V Series, shared boat trip to the mouth of the Tua river and return train trip to Pinhão;
- Douro Luxury – private transfer in a Jaguar Executive and tour on the Douro River in a private boat.
Dare to visit the Douro and live these exclusive experiences. We can confidently say that this is the most beautiful area bathed by the 897 km of the Douro River.
6. Stunning scenarios
If the landscapes of this region already look like paintings on screens, when you visit the Douro, the scenery will possibly be able to move you.
In the 20th century, Miguel Torga, a well-known Portuguese poet and self-confessed lover of the Douro, wrote:
“The sublime Douro. The prodigy of a landscape that ceases to be so by dint of being disproportionate. It is not a panorama that the eyes contemplate: it is an excess of nature.”
To see this “absolute beauty”, considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can do so in places such as:
- Viewpoint of Casal de Loivos, in Alijó and considered by the BBC as one of the most beautiful views in the world;
- Miradouro do Ujo, also in Alijó and with views of the Tua Valley;
- Viewpoint of São Leonardo da Galafura, in Peso da Régua and at 566 meters of altitude;
- Torguiano Viewpoint of São Cristovão do Douro, with a panoramic view of the fantastic village of Pinhão.
Book our Douro tours and visit some of these magnificent places and many others yet to be discovered.
7. An escape from city stress
Sometimes you need to stop and recharge your batteries in a place far from the hustle and bustle.
Therefore, when visiting the Douro, you embark on an almost therapeutic experience.
You can hear the birds chirping, feel the breeze, contemplate the sunny days and breathe the pure air of nature.
On a weekend in the Douro you will forget all your problems and embrace a new way of living life.
Visit this region where days are calmer and nights are quieter.
8. Vast cultural and heritage wealth
The Douro is a Portuguese region with a huge wealth in terms of culture, heritage and history.
Starting with the demarcation of the Douro and the foundation of the Real Companhia Velha by Marquês de Pombal, an important politician in the 18th century.
There is also the legacy of D. Antónia Ferreira that fought against phylloxera, the 19th century plague of vineyards. An important figure for the Douro and its people.
If you want to immerse yourself even more in Douro culture, you can’t miss visiting the tiles at Pinhão station. Enjoy and take the memorable train trip to the mouth of the Tua.
When visiting the Douro, check out the museums of the different estates to discover more about the history of Port wine.
Since the Douro is the European City 2023, there will be no lack of initiatives in Douro cities throughout the year.
9. Trails for the more adventurous
The Douro is still a treasure to be discovered. Only those who know him well know his best secrets.
Also, if you’re a fan of adrenaline, you can rent a Moto 4 (ATV Motorbike) with us to explore the most sought after corners.
Furthermore, in the Douro there is no lack of pedestrian routes for hiking enthusiasts.
10. The best road in the world (EN222)
Estrada Nacional 2022 was considered by Avis as the best road in the world to drive.
This 230 km route connects the center of Vila Nova de Gaia to the villlage of Almendra, in Vila Nova de Foz Côa.
However, it is the 27 km and 93 curves between Peso da Régua and Pinhão that give it this status.
With a privileged view of the Douro River and the terraces, it would be difficult not to be one of the best routes to drive.
So if you love hitting the road, you can do it comfortably and privately with our Douro tours.
We promise to show you the EN222 and many other paradisiacal places in this region.
2023 is the best year to visit the Douro
Now that you know the ten reasons to visit the Douro, pack your bags and come experience this region.
In any of the four seasons of the year you will find an unforgettable experience.
We, people of the Douro, are looking forward to welcoming you.