Search here...
TOP
Blog Destinations Itineraries Travel

Europe Travel: Portugal’s Douro Valley – Multiple Itinerary + Activity Recommendations

Reading Time: 14 minutes

When in Portugal, add a few days to your itinerary to include time in the Douro Valley, home to the port industry. We’ve included a number of itineraries that account for different time tables (ranging from a day trip to three nights in the area).

In this post we describe our visit to five quintas, mostly in the subregion Cima Corgo, Douro Valley. We also include information about port, the Douro Valley & its UNESCO Heritage status.


Logistics

  • Douro Valley is a region in Northern Oporto, similar to Napa Valley in California — it is not a single city or place. It is situated on the banks of the Douro River, which runs from Portugal into Spain.
  • The quintas we cover in this post include Quinta de la Rosa, Quinta do Tedo, Quinta do Panascal, Quinta de Moroccos, and Quinta da Pacheca, all of which are situated in the Douro Valley.
  • Plan to transport via private car as there is no taxi service to shuttle you around from quinta-to-quinta.
  • For day trippers: there may be an organized tour that includes transport to and from Oporto. Ask around at the tourist information center in Oporto.

Itinerary

This itinerary assumes that you arriving to the Douro Valley from the South or East. Flip the schedule if you are arriving from Oporto.

4 days, 3 nights:

  • Day 1: Arrive to Douro Valley – spend first night in Piñhao – Quinta de la Rosa, Quinta do Tedo
  • Day 2: Quinta do Panascal, Quinta de Moroccos – spend the second night at Quinta de Moroccos or somewhere similarly located
  • Day 3: Extended day at Quinta da Pacheca, spend the night at the quinta’s hotel
  • Day 4: Museu do Douro, depart for Oporto

3 days, 2 nights:

  • Day 1: Arrive to Douro Valley, Quinta de la Rosa, Quinta do Panascal – spend the first night in Piñhao
  • Day 2: Quinta da Pacheca, spend the second night spend the night at the quinta’s hotel
  • Day 3: Museu do Douro, depart for Oporto

Day trip:

  • Day 1: Spend a long day at Quinta da Pacheca instead of quinta hopping. The quinta is exquisite — eat at multi-course meal at the restaurant, participate in a winery tour and tasting, and crush grapes during harvest (check to see it’s the right time of year). If you’re still itching to do more, check out the Museu do Douro (right across the water) to brush up on your knowledge of port and the Douro Valley.

Map of Locations in the Douro Valley

Backgrounder on port, the Douro Valley & its UNESCO Heritage status

What makes port different than wine?

Port is fortified wine produced with distilled grape spirits exclusively in the Douro Valley, Portugal.

Think of Port in the same way you would of Champagne or Pisco; Champagne can only come from Champagne region of France and Pisco can only come from the Pisco Elqui region of Chile. Port is not different in this regard — it can only come from the Douro Valley region of Portugal.

The governing body that oversees port production and integrity of the highest wine classification is the Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC). Bottles with this designation mean that that particular bottle is DOC approved.

What is a quinta?

The term quinta is used in Spain, Portugal and Latin America to describe wine-producing farm complexes.

The Douro Valley has three subregions that express different continental climates:

  1. Furthest inland: The Douro Superior shares its border with Portugal, with terraced vineyards that take up about 20 percent of available vineyard land in the Douro.
  2. Central part: Cima Corgo is centered on the village of Pinhão. This is where most high-end vintage port originates. 
  3. Lower part: Baixo Corgo is nearest Oporto, suited to the production of table wines.

UNESCO Heritage: Alto Douro Wine Region

In 2001, the Alto Douro Wine Region was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its universal outstanding value.

“Wine has been produced by traditional landholders in the Alto Douro region for some 2,000 years. Since the 18th century, itsmain product, port wine, has been world famous for its quality. This long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of outstanding beauty that reflects its technological, social and economic evolution.”

There are three distinct areas that meet the criteria for consideration:

  • Criterion (iii): The Alto Douro Region has been producing wine for nearly two thousand years and its landscape has been moulded by human activities.
  • Criterion (iv): The components of the Alto Douro landscape are representative of the full range of activities associated with winemaking – terraces, quintas (wine-producing farm complexes), villages, chapels, and roads.
  • Criterion (v): The cultural landscape of the Alto Douro is an outstanding example of a traditional European wine-producing region, reflecting the evolution of this human activity over time.”
Citations: UNESCO World Heritage Center, 2020 describes their justification for the inscription of the Alto Douro Wine Region as a World Heritage site.. For the full article, click here
If you haven’t already, check out why you should incorporate UNESCO World Heritage sites into your plans.

Our Visit to the Douro Valley

  • Day 1: Arrive to Douro Valley – spend first night in Piñhao – Quinta de la Rosa, Quinta do Tedo
  • Day 2: Quinta do Panascal, Quinta de Moroccos – spend the second night at Quinta de Moroccos or somewhere similarly located
  • Day 3: Extended day at Quinta da Pacheca, spend the night at Lamego Hotel & Life
  • Day 4: Museu do Douro, depart for Oporto

Pinhão

This was our entry point into the Douro Valley as we were traveling by way of Coimbra.

The drive is approximately two hours. Plan to arrive to the Douro Valley in the late morning, giving you time to catch take a leisurely scenic cruise down the Douro River. Ask the local shops for how to catch a cruise (there’s no need to make one in advance).

Following the cruise, head to Quinta de la Rosa for lunch and a wine tasting.

Map from Piñhao downtown to Quinta de la Rosa

Quinta de la Rosa

“Quinta de la Rosa has been in the Bergqvist family since 1906, although they have been in the port trade as shippers under the family name, Feueheerd, since 1815.  It currently has around 55 hectares under vine and produces around 80,000 litres of port and 300,000 litres of table wine each year” (Quinta de la Rosa, 2020).

Visitor information: https://www.quintadelarosa.com/

Quinta de la Rosa Estate

Views from Cozinha da Clara

The winery’s restaurant, Cozinha da Clara, offers gorgeous views of the water from its terrace. The food is excellent.

Winery & Cellar Tour

Wine Tasting

Following Quinta de la Rosa, head to Quinta do Tedo.

Map from Quinta de la Rosa to Quinta do Tedo

Quinta do Tedo

“In July 2011 Quinta do Tedo became certified organic. This means that we rigorously control the types and amounts of products that we apply to our vineyards. We also periodically test the soil, vines and grapes to ensure a healthy vineyard ecosystem that in turn yields high-quality grapes.

Quinta do Tedo has a Single Quinta classification, the Portuguese equivalent of a Single Estate, Domaine or Azienda. Our 100% estate-grown organic grapes come from our 37 acres of class “A” vineyards, the highest rating from the Portuguese Instituto do Vinhos do Douro e Porto, comparable to France’s Grand Cru. ” (Quinta do Tedo, 2020).

Visitor information: https://www.quintadotedo.com/about-2#/estate

Stay the night in Piñhao

Map from Quinta do Tedo to Casa Cimeira

We recommend Casa Cimeira, a B&B that offers a gorgeous property, views of the valley, spacious rooms, pool, air conditioning and bicycles. The hosts treated us to an arrival drink in their personal cellar.

The property was built in 1814 and is one of the last remaining homes in the area that represents the traditional architecture of the rural bourgeoisie of the Douro.

Booking information: http://www.casacimeira-douro.com/

Day 2: Quinta do Panascal, Quinta de Moroccos, stay at the Quinta de Moroccos

Map from Casa Cimeira to Quinta do Panascal

Quinta do Panascal

“From the legendary 1840, Fonseca’s first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history.  

For many wine enthusiasts around the world Fonseca is best known as the producer of Bin No.27.  This fine reserve Port, launched four decades ago, is one of the most popular and successful Port blends.  Sharing the heritage of the great Fonseca Vintage ports, it displays the opulent fruity character which defines the Fonseca house style” (Quinta do Panascal, 2020).

Visitor information: http://www.fonseca.pt/en/port/

Map from Quinta do Panascal to Quinta de Marrocos

Quinta de Marrocos

“Heralded by its iconic twin cypresses, Quinta de Marrocos is one of the oldest “Quintas” of the Douro. It is located on the left bank of the Douro River, in the Lower Corgo, source of the Port wine Region. For generations it has been the headquarters of the Correia de Sequeira family.

The Correia de Sequeira’s were pioneers of the rural tourism in the Douro, having opened the family estates to visitors in 1993.

This cozy traditional Quinta, one of the oldest farms in the demarcated region, was originally a Franciscan convent, restored over time to ensure the greatest comfort.” (Quinta de Marrocos, 2020).

Visitor information: https://www.golddrink.pt/turismo

Day 3: Extended day at Quinta da Pacheca, stay at the quinta’s hotel

Map from Quinta de Marrocos to Quinta da Pacheca

Quinta da Pacheca

“Quinta da Pacheca, one of the best known estates in the Douro region, was also one of the first properties to bottle wine under its own label. It is first mentioned in a document dated April 1738, where is it referred as “Pacheca’s”, because it was property of D. Mariana Pacheco Pereira. But it was only in 1903, when Dom José Freire de Serpa Pimentel decided to develop his interest in oenology, that he bought the estate and began to seriously dedicate himself to the risky business of winemaking. Today, a century and many successes later, a brand-new generation of the Serpa Pimentel family” (Quinta da Pacheca, 2020).

Visitors can sleep in a wine barrel for a unique experience of contact with nature and the monumental reality of the Douro Wine Region.

Visitor information: https://quintadapacheca.com/pages/tours-tastings

Restaurant

Estate

Winery Tour

Tasting


Day 4: Museu do Douro, depart for Oporto

Map from Quinta da Pacheca to Museu do Duoro

Museo do Douro

The museum provides background knowledge on the history of the Douro Valley, the consecration of UNESCO Heritage status, and how port wine is made.

Visitor information: http://www.museudodouro.pt/visite-o-museu-do-douro

Depart the Douro Valley Oporto

Map from Museu do Duoro to Oporto, Portugal


Connect this itinerary

Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: