Porto & The Douro
Welcome to the home of port, where hillside vine terraces line the banks of the majestic Douro River. Charming and unspoilt Porto, Portugal’s second city, is located on the west coast, approximately three hours by car or train from Lisbon. Ribeira is its UNESCO-listed old town, home to a maze of medieval alleyways that lead to village-style plazas, where local residents mingle and historic houses display multi-coloured facades. Ride the Gaia cable car up to Hill Garden for panoramic views over the terracotta-roofed skyline. The stunning Sao Bento railway station is one of the most beautiful in Europe and an attraction in its own right, while the covered Bolhao market, brimming with truly divine local delicacies, is well worth a visit. Consider a day trip to the maritime city of Aveiro, the ‘Venice of Portugal’, to experience the beauty of its water channels that run from the Douro into the sea.
Venture inland to the Douro region, where spectacular vineyards tumbling down the mountainsides and sleepy towns sit pretty alongside the Douro River. Get immersed in the wine culture of the area with privately guided tours through the numerous wineries, where you can learn about the production and sample some local vintages.
Drive the winding roads to explore at your own pace or hop on a local train to the historic station of Pinhao, in the heart of the wine region. Gourmands will relish the opportunity to travel on The Presidential Train between Porto and Pinhao, touring the whole Douro River railway in exquisite style while enjoying fine dining prepared by Portugal’s top chefs. Each autumn, the Douro valley springs into action for the annual harvest, where you can take part in the tradition of grape stomping.