Take a guided Douro Valley wine tour, where the best Portuguese wines are produced and the most scenic views await you.
When exploring Portugal you’re going to want to add this incredible UNESCO World Heritage site to your itinerary. From Porto, there are many wine tours that will whisk you away to the most well-known wine region in Portugal.
Of all the wine tours from Porto, let me share my firsthand experience with a Douro Valley wine tour with Get Your Guide. Spend a full day in Alto Douro, or Upper Douro, known for its steep terraced hills, winding roads, and incredible countryside views.
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What Kind of Wine is Douro Valley Known for
The incredibly scenic Douro Valley has been producing wine for close to 2,000 years. It’s no wonder it’s considered one of the greatest historic wine regions!
The Romans were the first to make wine on the hilly banks of the Douro River, but it was in the 12th century, under the Kingdom of Portugal, it became a major exporter of wine. It was then in the mid-17th century that the Douro Valley produced the type of wine they are now famous for, Port wine.
Port wine is different from regular wine. It’s much sweeter, heavier and higher in alcohol. It makes for a great after-dinner drink accompanying anything chocolate, cheese or sweets.
Port wine started as a red wine, but now this wine region produces a white, a rosé, and an aged style called Tawny Port.
The Best Way to See the Douro Valley
When I was in Porto, I knew for certain I wanted to visit the world-famous wine destination of the Douro Valley, even if for just a day. Ask any local, and they’ll tell you – go to Douro Valley!
The best way to see the Douro Valley is by taking a day trip from Porto. If your Portugal itinerary has you going to Douro Valley for a few days, renting a car is your best option.
But, if you’re like me and can only squeeze in a day, leave from Porto on a Douro Valley wine tour with a guide and driver.
Not only does it allow you to taste all the Port wine you want without worrying about getting behind the wheel, but it’s also jam-packed with activities and information about this wine region.
Douro Valley Wine Tour – My Experience
I researched the best Douro Valley wine tours and found out there was a lot to choose from.
I’ve had such great experiences in the past with Get Your Guide, so I decided to go with them again.
I reviewed all of the Douro Valley wine tasting tours, comparing the itineraries. I always read the reviews and look for any common themes either good or bad.
In the end, I selected the Porto: Douro Valley Tour with Wine Tasting, Cruise and Lunch.
Although this tour wasn’t the most popular (based on the number of reviews) it did have the same rating of 4.7 stars out of 5.
It was the fine details of the itinerary that won me over. Let me share my day trip from Porto to Douro Valley.
Upon booking with Get Your Guide, you’ll receive a confirmation email with all of the pertinent information about the tour like the time, date and location of where to meet.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a brand new Mercedes Benz bus that seats 16 people waiting for me. In comparison to tours being booked with the Porto Tourism office, which only have large-sized groups. I much prefer smaller tours, and I lucked out to share this experience with 10 other people.
Activity #1: Douro Valley Small Town Stop
Porto to Douro Valley takes about 75 minutes, with the first stop being the town of Peso da Régua.
The drive in Douro Valley is so incredibly scenic with its hills, valleys and all those twists and turns in the road. Definitely one of the best parts of this Douro Valley wine tour is the view.
Peso da Regua is a picturesque small town in the Douro Valley.
Aside from being beautiful, this small town played a big role in both the production and sale of Port wine. Wine barrels were transported on special boats, called barcos rabelos, to Vila Nova de Gaia, the neighbourhood in Porto, where wine was left to age in barrels in the local wine lodges.
On this first stop of the tour, you have about 30 minutes to explore the town on your own. It was more than enough time to pop into a local cafe, admire the amazing views from a couple of viewpoints and walk across an impressive bridge over the Douro River.
Activity #2: Douro Valley Vineyards Tour
From Regua, the bus drives a short 5 minutes to Quinta de Marrocos, one of the oldest wine estates in the Douro.
The Quinta de Marrocos winery has been producing wine for over 4 generations. And, unlike many of the wineries in Douro Valley, this one has kept one traditional method when harvesting grapes. Any guesses on what that might be? Yes, it’s the stomping of the grapes by your feet.
Our guided tour of the vineyard and the wine production area (aka stomping of the grapes) was given by the owner themselves as we sipped on 3 of their best-produced Port wines.
Quinta de Marrocos won the gold medal for best vintage wine in 2018, and yes a tiny bottle managed to find its way home with me.
Stories of the autumn harvest are shared, and even the fact that you can work at the winery in exchange for free accommodation and dinner. Or, any other time of the year, stay in their casa that was a former convent.
Sadly, our time was short at this charming, quaint winery with its gorgeous views.
Activity #3: Lunch in Douro Valley
Back to the small town of Regua for lunch at Castas Practos. This former warehouse of Portuguese Railway is now a modern space that serves as a restaurant, wine bar, lounge and wine shop.
A long table was set up for just our group and we were immediately served a glass of Port wine and a chance to get to know everyone on the tour. We are a group of many nations- Germany, Brazil, the UK, the US, the Netherlands, China and other fellow Canadians.
Our 3-course pre-fixed menu was Spicy Squash soup (delish!), a choice of pork, salmon or pasta (vegetarian) and the best part dessert…bolo de bolacha. This traditional Portuguese dessert is made from ground biscuits, butter, egg yolks and coffee and is similar to tiramisu, only better.
Activity #4: Douro Valley Wine Tasting
Mere steps from the restaurant and the fourth stop on this Get Your Guide tour is Touiga Wine Bar for more Douro Valley wine tasting.
This newly opened wine shop was reserved for just our tour as a private event. We were set up with a flight of 5 wine tastings, along with an olive oil tasting. Olive trees are another big commodity as the Douro Valley is known for, its abundance of olive trees.
The host went into great detail about the different types of Douro Valley grape varieties, the wine-making history, wine production, and of course, each wine we were tasting. This was such a fun activity, and it wasn’t just because of all the wine!
Activity #5: Douro Valley River Cruise
After the wine tasting tour, we headed to the Douro River near Pinhão to board a traditional Rabelo boat. At a nice leisurely pace, we sailed along this hour-long cruise admiring the steep hills covered with vineyards. There are no words to describe just how beautiful landscape this landscape is.
Activity #6: Douro Valley Viewpoint
Before heading back to Porto, there’s one more stop at a famous viewpoint called Sabrosa that looks out over the Douro River and terraced vineyards.
It’s the perfect spot for taking a photo or a selfie, and one last look at the gorgeous Douro Valley views. How fitting as the sun was slipping behind the steep hills.
The perfect ending to one beautiful day in Douro Valley.
Book the Best Douro Valley Wine Tour
If you want to experience the same tour, book the Porto: Douro Valley Wine Tour with Wine Tasting, Cruise and Lunch.
The cost is approximately $125 (per person) and includes the full itinerary I described. Note, that the actual choices of winery and restaurant may vary depending on the season.
But honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of Get Your Guide wine tours in Douro Valley.
Top Reasons to Visit Douro Valley
Here are some of the top reasons why you should visit Douro Valley, plus some fun facts about Portuguese wine:
- The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site, to protect the history, culture and beautiful landscape of the vineyards and river
- Douro Valley is one of the world’s oldest protected wine regions, producing wines since 1756
- Just like the Champagne region in France, only fortified wine made with grapes from the Douro wine region can be officially called Port wine (under Protected Designation of Origin laws in the EU)
- Port wine is produced like most wines, with one exception. After a few days of fermenting, the wine is fortified with local brandy or cognac to stop the fermentation process. That unique process is what produces a sweeter, denser wine. Douro Valley wine tasting is the best way to sample these fine wines
- Vinho verde, known as a young green wine is created from grapes grown on the cooler northwest slopes of the Douro Valley. Vinho verde grapes are not allowed to mature before they’re harvested, resulting in an acidic, floral finish with a light effervescence and just a touch of sweetness
Top Wineries in Douro Valley
There are more than 80 wineries in Douro Valley. These wine estates are called Quinta and are found along the Douro River between Ruga and Pinhão.
If taking a road trip to Douro Valley and spending more than just a day, here are the best wineries in Douro Valley to add to your itinerary.
- Quinta do Crasto – nominated worldwide for the Best Vineyard in the World (ranked 4th out of 1,500 wineries)
- Quinta Nova – has been producing wine since 1764 known as one of the oldest wineries in Douro Valley and appears on every recommended list of one of the top must-see wineries in the world. Plus, you can stay at this Relais & Chateaux status property
- Quinta das Carvalhas – the largest wine-producing estate in the Douro region
- Quinta da Roeda – founded in 1588 is known for its Vintage Ports and reserved tawnies
- Quinta da Pacheca – is one of the oldest wineries and the first to bottle wine under its own label
- Quinta de la Rosa – is voted as among the top wineries around the world, and also expanded to brewery production
- Quinta do Seixo – one of the most recognized wineries in Douro Valley is Sandeman for being the largest, sitting in the prime location and the mysterious black imposing figure sitting on the side of the hill in Regua
Almost all wineries require reservations and don’t accept walk-ins. Plan for each wine tasting tour to last 90 minutes.
FAQ of Douro Valley Wine Tours
How far is the Douro Valley from Porto?
Douro Valley from Porto is just under 100 km, taking about 1.5 hours from Porto to Douro Valley by car.
How do I get to Douro Valley from Porto?
There are multiple ways you can get to Douro Valley from Porto. By car take the A4 highway towards Peso de Regua, and then the N-222 to Pinhao (1.5 hours). By train take the InteRegional train that leaves from Porto to Peso de Regua every 2 hours (1 hour 45 minutes).
Do I need a car to get around Douro Valley?
It depends. If you are planning to visit Douro Valley for a number of days then yes you will need to rent a car. However, if want to visit the Douro Valley as a day trip, the best option is to take a guided bus tour.
How far is Douro Valley from Lisbon?
Douro Valley from Lisbon is over 350 km, taking about 3.5 hours from Lisbon to Douro Valley by car.
How do I get to Douro Valley from Lisbon?
By car take the A1 highway which takes 3.5 hours from Lisbon to Douro Valley. There is no direct train route from Lisbon to Douro Valley. You can however take a train from Lisbon to Porto, and then board a train from Porto to Peso de Regua. The one-way trip is about 6 hours.
How long is the Douro Valley wine tour with Get Your Guides?
Almost all the full-day Get Your Guide Douro Valley wine tasting tours are 9.5 to 10 hours.
What is the cancellation policy for Get Your Guide Tours?
Get Your Guide allows for free cancellation of booking on any of their tours up to 1 hour in advance for a full refund.
What is included in the Douro Valley Wine Tour with Get Your Guide?
Almost everything is included in the 1-day tour, here’s what is included:
-Hotel pickup and drop-off (if option selected)
-1-hour Douro River cruise
-Wine and port tasting
-Transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle with Wi-Fi
-1 bottle of water
Excluded is tipping your tour guide and any additional food or drink is at your expense.
When is the best season to visit the Porto wine regions?
The best time of year to visit Douro Valley is spring (March to June) and autumn (September to November). Or visit during grape harvest season, from September to October, when every winery is a buzz of activity. The summer months of July and August are the busiest and are known to be scorching hot.
As a holidaymaker…
Of all the Portugal hidden gems the Douro Valley is one of the best. It could very well be one of Europe’s most picturesque wine regions. Take a guided Douro Valley wine tour with Get Your Guide and you too can experience how great this area is.