Welcome to Portugal’s wine-making region! The Douro Valley, named after the glistening river that snakes its way to the Atlantic between vine-strewn terraced hillsides, is one of the most popular regions to visit in the country.

It’s easy to see why too - a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001, the Douro is sleepy, contemplative and incredibly laid-back, with picturesque landscapes, world-famous port wine, and stunning historic landmarks that pepper the scenery. And, with a world-class dining scene and the gorgeous city of Porto at the river’s estuary, there is so much to experience here to make for a memorable getaway.

Take a look at our beautiful collection of homes in this ever-inviting region and set off on a holiday of a lifetime to Portugal’s capital of wine.

Why visit?

  • Take the relaxed approach to travel and enjoy this region's wonders from a delightful riverboat. There are even services where you can hop from winery to winery!
  • Stop over for a night or two in the gorgeous city of Porto and explore this very walkable city with an irresistible food scene and world-famous port houses on the city’s south bank.
  • The Douro Valley has a rich cultural heritage, with many historic towns, villages, and landmarks to explore. Don’t leave without taking the time to visit museums, castles, and churches.


Why stay with us?

Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked villas in the Douro Valley have this in spades.

We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.

Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.

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Luxury Villas in the Douro Valley: Our Top Picks

Why visit Douro Valley

The Douro Valley is known for its beautiful scenery, so one of the best things to do is take a scenic boat tour on the river. You can also visit some of the valley's famous wineries, such as Quinta do Crasto or Quinta do Portal, to taste the region's famous port wine.

Delve into history at the Archaeological Park at Coa Valley which is the largest open-air palaeolithic museum of its kind and comprises 17km of trails to ancient carved rock art sites. If that wasn’t enough, stop in at Museu do Douro, located in Peso da Régua. It focuses on the wine industry and the landscape of the Douro Valley with interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn about the production of port wine, as well as the geology, flora, and fauna of the region.

Other activities include hiking in the hills, visiting historic sites such as the Mateus Palace or the Lamego Cathedral, or simply relaxing and enjoying the beautiful views.

Food and Drink in Douro Valley

Port wine may be the first thing you think of when dreaming of Douro cuisine but the region is also quietly famous for its cheese, olive oil and honey production.

Some local favourite dishes include cozido (a stew with various meats and carrots, cabbage and potatoes), roasted goat, and bacalhau (salt cod). Make sure to try delicious Rojões, a traditional dish made with marinated pork cubes that are fried until crispy. Caldo Verde is a lip-smacking soup made with potatoes, onions, and kale, and is often served with slices of chorizo that makes for an ideal starter dish.

Wash it all down with exceptional port wine in classic red, sweet white or unique tawny varieties, or try all three at once! Many restaurants serve a ‘flight’ of ports - a good-sized sample of all three types.

If you’re looking for something a little lighter to enjoy beneath the Portuguese sun, you must try Vinho Verde - or ‘green’ wine - which is a refreshing variation of wine from the Douro Valley that is known for its light, crisp, and slightly effervescent taste.

Platter of Green Wine and Cod

Things to do in Douro Valley

There are so many exciting things to do throughout the year in the Douro Valley. The Festa da Cereja - or cherry festival - is held in May and celebrates the region's cherry harvest. Visitors can taste the cherries and enjoy local cuisine and live music.

Or, if you’re visiting in June you’ll get to see the colourful Festa de São João. This festival is celebrated throughout Portugal, but in Douro Valley, it is a big event. It is held on the night of June 23rd and includes fireworks, traditional dances, and lots of locally-caught grilled sardines.

Later in the year, in November, the Port Wine Festival celebrates the famous drink produced in the Douro Valley. Visitors can taste a variety of ports, attend workshops, and enjoy live music - the perfect activity to enjoy in the cooler months.

Vinyards in Douro Valley

Why the Douro Valley is perfect for a getaway

  • Great for babies: There’s nothing like bobbing on the water on a river cruise to help baby to nod off! Enjoy a bit of peace that appeals to parents and infants with a gentle trip on the water.
  • Great for kids: While the wineries of the Douro Valley might appear as though they only cater to adults, many offer up spaces for family picnics and lots of open green space for young ones to play in.

  • Great for teens: for a boost of adrenaline, take a family hike to the 516 Arouca Bridge, the longest and highest pedestrian suspension bridge in Europe. The wobble as you walk over the canyon is seriously hair-raising!

Top tips

  • Strap on your hiking boots and head off on the fabulous trails through pine forests with views of the river and vineyards. Most trails have many steps and inclines but you can reward yourself with a tipple at a winery post-hike.
  • Enjoy exploring at a leisurely pace on the water with a kayak trip. The waters are gentle, so ideal for all levels, and give you the opportunity to get up close to nature.

What Oliver loves

Aldeia da Pena is a small, picturesque village in the heart of the Douro Valley. It's known for its traditional architecture of granite homes with slate roofs which will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It is a great place to experience true rural Portuguese life.

Towns and villages in Douro Valley

Pretty rural communities dot the quiet hills of the Douro Valley and there are lots of charming towns too. You won’t regret going to local markets and sampling the region’s specialities, and you really must spend some time in the region’s capital, Porto, which is becoming an ever more popular tourist destination.

Oliver’s Hidden Gem

The São Leonardo de Galafura viewpoint is a stunning spot to stop and take in the scenery. At the top of the 640-metre summit, there is a delightful little chapel and a picnic spot where you’ll enjoy sensational 360-degree views.

The capital of the region is a must-visit - from pretty, winding cobblestone streets to the beautiful riverside walk and the fantastic port houses with the view of the city. Take the cable car from the hilltop Jardim do Moro straight down to the riverfront - or Ribeira -  where the port houses cluster. The view of the city with its tall and colourful townhouses along the ride is truly Instagram-worthy.

This charming town is located in the heart of the Douro Valley and is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. The Pinhão train station is famous for its blue-and-white tile murals, and you can take a boat tour all the way down the Douro River from the town's quay. Don't miss the beautiful Pinhão train bridge with its stunning views of the river.

Lamego is a beautiful historic town that is known for its intricate baroque architecture, including the stunning Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, which sits atop a hill overlooking the town. Lamego is also home to a number of important religious and cultural festivals throughout the year. The town even has some intriguing monuments and artefacts dating from the time of Arab rule which are sure to fascinate.

Best Beaches in Douro Valley

At the Douro’s estuary, outside of the city of Porto you’ll find gorgeous, soft sand beaches but don’t forget to explore the praias fluviais - or river beaches - found along the length of the Douro as well.

This is the most popular beach near Porto and is located just a few kilometres north of the city centre. It is a long sandy beach with excellent surfing conditions - perfectly positioned for those Atlantic swells. It's also great for sunbathing and swimming.

A small beach located south of Porto with plenty of amenities such as beach bars, cafes and shops nearby. The clear waters and rocky cliffs make it a popular spot for snorkelling and diving.

This is a tranquil beach to the south of Porto. It's a great spot for families and is known for its calm waters and beautiful scenery including the beautiful Senhor da Pedra chapel that sits right on the shoreline. The perfect spot for little ones to enjoy their first steps in the sea.

Douro Valley travel: Getting there and around

The principal airport for the region is Francisco Sá Carneiro in Porto, which is easily accessed from all over Europe. Direct flights from the UK take 2 hours and 20 minutes and are available on a range of low-cost and standard carriers.

By car

Driving around the region is always recommended to get the most out of exploring. The roads are excellent quality and easily navigable. There is a multitude of car rental shops at Porto airport, including, Europcar, Avis and others.

By boat

How better to explore the river that gives this region its name than by taking to the water? There are many types of riverboat services to join in the principal towns for exploring the Douro Valley, ranging from small, traditional boats to larger, more modern vessels. Some boat tours are short and focused on sightseeing, while others are longer and include meals and entertainment on board.

By train

The Douro Valley is well-connected by train, and it's a scenic and affordable way to explore the region. Trains run from Porto near the coast to Pocinho which is located in the heart of the Douro Valley, and the journey takes around two hours. Once you arrive in Pocinho, you can explore the region by taking a boat tour or by renting a car.

By bike

The terrain in this region is very diverse, with great hills and valleys as well as flat areas. Experienced cyclists will love exploring on two wheels, however beginners may struggle here.

By foot

Keen hikers will love exploring the hundreds of miles of brilliantly maintained trails throughout the Douro Valley, but there are also easy and medium routes for beginners too. Exploring the towns and cities on foot is highly recommended too to get the best out of them.

Top tips

  • Don’t be afraid to use public transport! The Douro Valley is really well connected with trains and buses so you can leave behind the stress of navigating yourself.
  • In Porto, join on to a cheap and cheerful guided cycle tour of the city. It’s a great way to see all the sights and the cycle guides are super friendly and knowledgeable.
  • Drive the National Highway 222, once named ‘the greatest driving road in the world’ that gives beautiful scenic views. There are lots of places to park up and enjoy lookouts or have a quick dip in a river during a road trip.

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