Travel Guide to Portugal

Stay in Porto or Douro Valley to visit the Wine Region?

By Guest Author

If you are planning to stay in Porto or Douro Valley to visit Portugal’s wine regions, we’ve gathered some key information to help you. 

If you’re a night owl and appreciate trendy restaurants, nightclubs, cocktail bars and wine bistros, we suggest you stay in the city of Porto. Porto has gone through an incredible revitalization over the past decade, which has infused the city with a Berlin-esque feel but on a considerably smaller scale. Compact and easy to traverse, Porto affords you quick access to modern art museums, city parks,  Portuguese wine tastings, walking food tours, and private cooking classes! Plus, if you use Porto as your base, you can take day tours to the Douro Valley while still enjoying Porto’s nightlife.

On the other hand, the Douro Valley has an incredible amount to offer! Beyond the dramatic landscape, fresh traditional cuisine and ridiculously friendly people. you have silence. Other than the twittering from songbirds, and the rushing river below, you can fully disconnect from the world and reconnect to yourself. 

Porto as a base to visit Douro Valley

Porto Food and Wine Tours

The second largest city in Portugal, Porto is at the ocean’s edge of the Douro Valley. It’s a great place to start your vacation in the region. This cosmopolitan city is not only one of the safest cities in the world but it’s also a UNESCO heritage site, affording it a wealth of history to impart.

One of the major attractions from our point of view is the people. This is much of the reason why we live and work here. The people of Porto, many of which are multilingual, are incredibly hospitable and giving. Part of their gracious nature comes through food. Here you’ll find a wide range of places to eat ranging from small traditional taverns to Michelin-star restaurants.

You can also explore Port lodges on the Vila Nova da Gaia coastline, boat cruises along the Douro River, Port wine tastings, Portuguese designer clothing, shoes and jewelry, as well as cultural events happening throughout the year. 

In short, there are plenty of activities to enjoy, but if you need a guide to help you utilize your time to the fullest, contact us!

Catavino offers a custom itinerary planning service that can take care of both the planning and logistics of your vacation and provide VIP personalized customer service from the first day to ensure that every tour meets all your specific interests. 

Stay in Douro Valley Towns and Villages

Vintage House Hotel

The alluring charm of the town and villages nestled within the Douro Valley is the backdrop for which they sit. Here you’ll find mountains covered with vine-filled terraces cascading towards the Douro River below. If you’re needing a chance to reconnect with nature, the Douro Valley is a fantastic destination for a holiday vacation.

We’ve compiled a list of towns we feel are worth visiting:

      • Peso da Régua – commonly known as Régua, is the center of the Port wine-growing region.

      • Pinhão – Considered one of the prettiest towns in Douro Valley

      • Vale de Mendiz – For the sports enthusiast, this town is surrounded by fabulous trails for hiking and biking. You are also quite near the D’Origem (Museum of Olive Oil) as well as Wine & Soul winery for wine tastings.

      • Tua – One of Portugal’s top destinations for adventure, adventure parks and valleys.

      • Vila Nova de Foz Côa – There are great prehistoric rock art sites scattered throughout the nearby Côa Valley.

      • Barca d’Alva Pier – A slow-paced city rich in medieval history and surrounded by picturesque olive and almond groves.

      • Lamego – One of the most prominent touristic attractions is the Baroque stairs in the church of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios

    Vineyards to stay in Douro Valley (Quintas)

    If you’re keen to have an authentic Portuguese wine-tasting experience, we suggest staying at a winery surrounded by vineyards.

    The Douro Valley has several quaint family-owned vineyard accommodations where you and your family can spend the night. From large and luxurious to charming and rustic, there are plenty of winery estates to choose from.

    Some of our favorites winery hotels include:

    • Quinta do Vallado – One of the oldest Quintas in the region, Quinta do Vallado is on the right bank of Rio Corgo near Rio Douro and has stunning views of terraced hillsides along both river gorges. This wine estate has cozy rooms in either a traditional 18th-century manor or a sleek, modern 21st-century wing. 
    • Quinta do Ventozelo – This authentic Douro farm has been given a new lease of life as a 29-bedroom boutique hotel surrounded by incredible scenery.
    • Quinta da Gricha – Beautiful winery estate in the heart of the Douro valley with quaint rooms and a large infinity pool overlooking the vineyards.

    For more information, check out our top wineries to stay in the Douro Valley.

    How to get to the Douro Wine Region

    Getting to the Douro Valley is actually quite simple, you can take a car, train, bus, or a Douro guided Tour.

    There is also the option of planning the perfect itinerary for your Douro Valley vacation with professional travel advisors, such as Catavino.

    But if you’re more adventurous and want to drive to the Douro, there are plenty of car rental places to choose from. You’ll experience spectacular views but will need to navigate narrow, winding roads that can make the heartiest among us a little queasy. If you, or your passengers, are prone to car sickness, we suggest taking precautions prior to your departure. 

    The towns of Régua, Lamego and Pinhão are good places to stop for lodging along the way.

    If you are in Lisbon and are planning a visit to Douro Valley, we recommend you use Porto as your base. Most of the best wine tours to Douro Valley start there.

    Map of Douro Valley

    Douro Valley Map - The Audienz

    The Douro Valley stretches from Porto on the west to the border with Spain on the east.

    Feature Tours

    Porto Walking Food Tour

    This delicious food tour is more than a culinary experience, it’s a love letter to Porto highlighting

    Pastry Tour of Portugal

    No matter where you travel in Portugal, you can always find plenty of Pastelerias, the source of mouthwatering

    Douro Valley Premium Wine & Food Tour

    On this luxury day tour, you’ll revel in the Douro Valley’s creased and folded mountain slopes,

    Since 2005, Catavino has been exploring the Iberian Peninsula
    looking for the very best food and wine experiences.

    Since 2005, Catavino has been exploring the Iberian Peninsula looking for the very best food and wine experiences.

    Catavino is the best place to learn about travel, food
    and wine in Portugal and Spain.

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