Douro deserves a visit at any time, but has a special charm in the Spring as the temperatures are getting warmer, the days are getting longer but the region is not yet overcrowded with tourists. Here's a quick summary of what to expect from a tour in Douro in the springtime.
(Really good) reasons to visit Douro
The Douro Valley is perhaps one of Portugal's most beautiful regions, famed for its stair-like terraced vineyards and the winding "river of gold", cutting across the steep hills. Worldly recognized for its wines and beautiful scenery, the Douro Valley is finally coming into its own while remaining a surprisingly quiet and slow-living place, where warm hospitality is the norm.
Douro is a good destination year-round, with each season offering something different. But in the spring you'll catch the hills brightened with grape leaves, and temperatures are lovely and warm.
Roughly a two hour's drive away from Porto and boasting numerous wineries, the Douro Valley is also a wine connoisseur's paradise with grand wine producing estates, picturesque towns, and elegant lodgings, as well as a wide selection of wines to choose from.
Douro by the Glass
When it comes to wine, the Douro Valley doesn't need much of an introduction. After all, it is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, particularly famous for Port wine, as well as a number of other world-famous reds.
Not only is the taste of Douro Valley wine determined by its unique terroir and microclimate, but the landscape has been shaped by wine production. It is no surprise, then, that its wineries are an underlying part of the region's strong culture and identity.
Located near Port wine town and cruise centre of Peso da Régua, Quinta do Vallado is one of the oldest and most famous wine producing estates in the Douro Valley. It has recently undergone several renovations, combining state-of-the-art technology with contemporary architecture. This wine estate has been in the same family for several generations, and it is now open for visitation and wine tasting experiences.
Further upstream, near the picturesque wine town of Pinhão, you'll find Quinta das Carvalhas. This is one of the region's signature estates, with a breath-taking 360º view over the surrounding valley. You can take a vineyard tour here, enjoy a wine tasting and, for the wine geeks, a tour with the in-house agricultural engineer.
Up the Douro River
The river is the region's defining feature, winding from the Spanish border to the sea, with wine producing country estates and rows of terraced vineyards carved into the mountains, that have earned it UNESCO World Heritage status.
The journey upriver is one of the most scenic routes in the world. River cruises can last from an hour to one or more days, with or without meals and vineyard visits, and are a delightful way to enjoy the landscape.
As spring sets in, more and more boats take to the water making up for the time spent away during the cold, tumultuous winter months. On board of a private sailing boat with a picnic on board or simply a shared traditional boat, you'll have to time to soak up the atmosphere and take in the sights without feeling rushed.
Planned for you - Tours in Douro
Many of those who visit the Douro Valley do so on a day trip from Porto - the nearest big city. With a one-day tour in Douro you can explore somewhere new while easily fitting it into your tight travel schedule.
Whether you travel along the river by train or drive in a car, a trip through the Douro Valley will not disappoint. Winding along the river, the scenery gets better. You'll have the opportunity to visit long-established wine estates, sample some wine and, best yet, have a picnic in the vineyards, as spring sees the temperatures soar and the sun shines for hours each day.
For a longer and more comprehensive experience, you can choose our 3-day wine tour with a Douro River cruise - or a 5-day tour - which takes some local staples and bakes them together for an absolutely unforgettable vacation.
Now it's time to start thinking about how to put the “happy” into your new year. Start with the right foot and get some inspiration for your next spring break.