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Douro Valley - Explore the magnificent Douro Valley

This beautiful, tranquil region of Portugal offers a chance to relish the simple pleasures in life, from the flavours of fresh, locally grown produce to the views of stunning landscapes all around you. Over the centuries, the steeply sloping banks of the winding Douro River have been carefully crafted into flourishing vine terraces that today produce the grapes for the region’s world-famous port and wine. A wine-lover’s paradise, this is a delightful area in which to escape the crowds and explore quaint villages and historic towns at your own unhurried pace.

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Pinhao

Situated in the heart of the Douro Valley, Pinhao enjoys sensational views over the breath-taking scenery of rolling hillside vineyards that surround the town and over the famous winding Douro River. From Pinhao, the train or one of the traditional wooden Rabelo boats offer an idyllic way of exploring the beautiful region. At the heart of Pinhao, the interesting tiled train station is a must visit, with the blue glazed tiles depicting typical scenes of Douro Valley wine production, a truly fascinating insight. Both olive oil and wine tasting can be enjoyed at one of the many estates in and around Pinhao.

  • 1hr 50mins fromPorto Int

Armamar

Surrounded by sloping vineyards and colourful fruit trees, the small town of Armamar, is a fine example of picturesque communities within the Douro. The Church of São Miguel, allegedly built with the stones of the old castle, provides an interesting focal point to the town. But perhaps more captivating are the view points found around the Municipality of Armamar, which overlook some of the best landscapes in the Douro region. In particular, the viewpoint of São Domingos offers a stunning view over the imposing Marão Mountain, the city of Lamego and the River Douro. Here you will find a a handful of good restaurants serving local cuisine whilst nearby Régua provides excellent dining opportunities of international cuisine.

  • 1hr 40mins fromPorto Int

Baiao

Baião is a small, rural town on the North side of the River Douro. Here, the landscape is an interesting mix of agricultural valleys, green slopes and granite houses along side a small selection of good restaurants and quaint shops. Baião provides a fantastic base from which to explore the surrounding towns and villages of the Douro. Within an hour in either direction you will find the larger town of Régua to the East and the famous city of Porto to the West, where attractions such as the medieval Cathedral, Port wine cellars, narrow winding streets and pavement cafés await you.

  • 1hr fromPorto Int

Folgosa

Folgosa is a historic riverside village in the heart of the Alto Douro region, boasting stunning views of the river Douro. From here you are only a short drive from the captivating city of Régua where there is plenty to see and do.

  • 1hr 35mins fromPorto Int

Lamego

Lamego is a beautiful town of historical and cultural importance within the Douro Valley where the buildings are elegant and the streets are laced with pavement cafés. Although sometimes a quiet place, every September, thousands of people flock to Lamego on an annual pilgrimage to the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Church. Over six hundred granite steps lead up to the entrance of this marvelous Baroque building, each staircase lined with decorative tiles, statues and fountains. Once you reach the top though, a rewarding sight awaits you as the twin-towered church commands unbeatable views over the town below.

  • 1hr 40mins fromPorto Int

Lousada

Perhaps less rural than some of its neighbouring villages, Lousada is a small town forty five kilometers East of Porto. Here the streets are lined with colourful buildings and interesting architecture as well as more modern bars, restaurants and shops. Although quiet for most of the year, just South West of the town lays the CAL race track which hosts motorsport championships throughout the year attracting tourists from all over Europe and providing a great day out. Alternatively, visit the unique medieval city of Guimaraes, just half an hour from Lousada, it has Unesco World heritage status for its historical streets and well preserved monuments.

  • 35mins fromPorto Int

Resende

Resende, a town full of Portuguese character, stands on the slopes of the Serra do Montemuro Mountain and offers superb views over the River Douro. Famous for its production of fruit, particularly cherries, Resende comes alive every May to celebrate the sweet fruit in abundance. The main square is filled with people, music, entertainment and stalls selling cherries. Like many of the surrounding towns and villages, Resende is steeped in historical and cultural importance and the interesting attraction of Aregos Spa with its alleged healing waters is just a short drive away.

  • 1hr 35mins fromPorto Int

Your Douro Valley Villa holiday

Discover local charm in Douro Valley Image

Discover local charm in Douro Valley

The pretty, unspoilt towns and villages of the Douro Valley retain an old world charm and warm, friendly hospitality. Narrow cobbled streets, traditional whitewashed houses and terracotta roofs rub shoulders with ornate Baroque churches and impressive palaces, not least in the beautiful city of Porto. If you’re visiting in late June, join the locals for their biggest annual festival, the Festa de São João, when the whole city turns out for dazzling fireworks, street performances, dancing and all-round merriment.

Outdoor pursuits in Douro Valley Image

Outdoor pursuits in Douro Valley

One of the most relaxing ways to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Douro Valley is from the deck of a cruise boat, whether on a short, hour-long tour passing under Porto’s beautiful bridges, or a longer trip up-stream. Don’t miss the chance to climb the magnificent tiers of granite steps leading up to the striking Baroque church of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios in Lamego, or take a leisurely wander around Porto’s historic, bustling streets.

Hints of history in Douro Valley Image

Hints of history in Douro Valley

For almost 2000 years the dramatic, undulating landscape of the Alto Douro region has produced not only great wine and port but also delicious olives and almonds, transported on the quirky rabelo sailing boats still seen on the River Douro today. Take a drive along the area’s winding roads, visiting ancient monasteries, traditional village churches, Baroque palaces and Renaissance cathedrals, or sit back and enjoy the spectacular riverside views from the carriages of the Douro railway’s vintage steam train.

Local cuisine in Douro Valley Image

Local cuisine in Douro Valley

Many of the Douro Valley’s estates and vineyards offer a warm welcome to visitors with an invitation to tour the cellars and presses and sample their excellent produce on-site. Olive oil, wine and port are the main specialties, whilst bacalhao (salted cod) and ‘Porto-style’ tripe are among the favourite regional dishes, along with smoked ham and sometimes wild boar. If these delicacies fail to tickle your taste buds, the sweet pastries of Amarante certainly won’t – from ‘papos de anjo’ (syrupy cakes) to ‘toucinho do céu’ (almond tart), these treats are hard to resist.

Weather Guide

For the Douro Valley holiday season.

Average monthly temperature and rainfall for the Douro Valley holiday season

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Not to be missed...

  • Explore the colourful riverside city of Porto with its glorious cathedral, characterful old town and bustling quayside bars and restaurants
  • Take to the river on a cruise-boat or one of the traditional rabelo sailing boats, once used to transport the region’s port and wine along the shallow waters
  • Enjoy a wine or port tasting tour, visiting the vineyards, wine cellars and presses and sampling the produce for yourself
  • Experience one of the world’s most beautiful railway journeys between Porto and Pocinho, perhaps even on the vintage steam locomotive that runs seasonally between Regua and Tua
  • Dine out on the patio of one of the many local restaurants as you savour spectacular views of the valley
  • Visit striking churches, shrines, castles and even thermal pools dotted around this remarkable region

Villas with Air Conditioning

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Villas with Large Pools

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Villas Good for Couples

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Villas with Great Views

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Villas with Infinity Pools

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Villas with Wi-Fi

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Villas with Games Facilities

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Douro Valley reviews verified by reevooReevoo

Sights / Places to go
8.4
Night life
5.3
Overall rating
9.1
Scores 9.1 out of 10 based on 30 reviews
Reviews and scores from the last 12 months.
Views and opinions in these reviews are solely of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of James Villa Holidays (JVH). JVH provides no assurances regarding the accuracy of the information and cannot accept liability for complaints, loss or damage resulting from the article. It does not form part of the contract made when a holiday is booked with JVH and the information provided is not intended to be a rider or replacement to the booking conditions. Reference to the service or product of a third party, is not an endorsement or recommendation and JVH accepts no liability as a result of complaints, loss or damage arising from their use.
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