Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons in the Douro Valley and it brings along one of the most anticipated events: the harvest. To invoke this especially cozy time of the year, we've pinpointed some really great places to visit and things to do that are even better during the harvest season. Let's find out which!
Experience the Vineyards
Wine estates, vineyards, and Port are part of Douro's main attractions. A winery visit and Port tasting are easily two of the best things to do in the Douro - and often the main reason for visiting.
Explore the region's picturesque landscape at this time of the year and enjoy a very unique viewpoint with a guided tour through the vineyards at Quinta das Carvalhas. Located in Pinhão, in the heart of the Alto Douro Wine Region, this is the biggest vineyard in the area, situated in a privileged position overlooking the river.
On this one-on-one tour, you'll have a genuinely unique experience walking around the vineyards with an insightful guide and ending with a tasting of four wines and a cheese platter. There’s also a tour option guided by the in-house agriculturalist, which offers the unique experience of visiting a traditional estate side by side with someone who knows it by heart.
Quinta Nova also offers incredible experiences. With a history spanning over 200 years, the estate occupies over 120 hectares of land and has been listed since the first demarcation of the Douro wine region, in 1756, during the Pombaline era. One of the experiences that should be on your bucket list is the harvest. You will be provided a bucket and scissors and will start grape picking in one of the estate plots. Enjoy also a guided visit to the cellar with wine tasting and the Wine Museum Centre Fernanda Ramos Amorim followed by wine tasting and classic wine tasting at Patamar Kitchen. In the end lunch at Conceitus Winery Restaurant: 3-course menu harmonized with the winemaker's suggestion.
Learn About the Region's Cuisine and Wine
Located near Port wine town and cruise center of Peso da Régua, Quinta da Pacheca is nearly three hundred years old, standing as one of the first properties to bottle wine under their own label. Entirely restored with respect to traditional architecture and features, it blends modern design with historical ambiance.
You can take a winery tour here, enjoy a wine tasting session paired with cheese and jam, or even a picnic in the vineyards. For a particularly unique experience, choose a wine course or a cooking class where you'll learn traditional techniques while preparing your very own meal. Pacheca is one of the few wineries in the region to offer this kind of hands-on experience.
The restaurant is spacious and elegant, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows with views of the Douro River and the surrounding vineyards. Chef Carlos Pires serves regional cuisine that is naturally paired with Quinta da Pacheca wines.
Enjoy the View from the Water
The river is the region's defining feature and the journey upriver is one of the most scenic in the world, with staggering views of the dramatic valley covered in bright yellow and orange rows of grapevines. Cruising in the Douro Valley is an amazing opportunity to enjoy a 360 view of the fall foliage and the diversity of culture and landscapes along the Douro banks. You can enjoy the Douro Valley from the water with the following experiences: 3-Day Tour in the Douro with a Cruise in the Douro River and 5-Day Tour in the Douro with a Sailing Cruise in the Douro River.
Delicious Meals with a view of the Fall Foliage
The incredible Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House offers great views of the river and the estate's vineyards. Born from the rehabilitation of a 19th century-old manor, visitors can take part in a number of wine-themed activities. At the in-house restaurant - Conceitus Winery Restaurant – there's no menu and you will get served whatever the kitchen has cooked, in perfect tune with the property's wines. It serves excellent food in a stunning outdoor setting and we would definitely recommend doing the wine pairing so that you can try their various wines.
Nearby, Quinta do Crasto. It has a privileged position high on a cliff above the river, with vineyards in every direction and an infinity pool, designed by Pritzker-winner Eduardo Souto de Moura. Its stone terrace outside serves as a dining room when the weather is nice, with views up and down the valley.
Relax and Enjoy the Calm of the Douro Valley
Staying in the manor house of Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo you will feel the ambiance of a large Portuguese family home, surrounded by the valley’s spectacular scenery along a 1.5 km stretch of the Douro River, in one of the most emblematic zones of the region. Another important aspect to take into count is that this amazing estate joined the renowned Relais & Chateaux.
The manor house is located next to the original winery, built in 1764. It offers a unique setting, defined by the historic vine terraces that span the different buildings, including a small chapel. With a unique setting overlooking the Douro River, the eleven rooms offer spectacular views over the centuries-old terraced vineyards - a breathtaking landscape. In the morning you can enjoy a huge farm table with a delicious traditional breakfast. The interior spaces include the winter room and small private game rooms, and the gardens are surrounded by centuries-old trees, cypresses, and native plants that will invite you to take a dip in the small pool overlooking the vineyards. This is the ideal place to relax and enjoy life.
If you'd like to extend your stay in the region, take a look at our incredible Douro Valley tours. You'll have the opportunity to stay at the best hotels, visit the most emblematic wineries and restaurants in the area while crossing some things off your bucket list on the way.
Why book now your 2021 tour? Because by booking all your tours with us you will have flexibility in the future, plus all the COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines. Through these unique times, we are available to plan, reschedule, and move your trip around your needs, as always. If your new dates may no longer work with your initial travel plan, a dedicated consultant will be available to tailor and reschedule your time in Portugal according to your needs and preferences, and to assure you that you will have the best and most memorable experiences.