The Douro valley (Spanish: Duero; Portuguese: Douro), is created by one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto. Its total length is 897km, of which only sections of the Portuguese reaches of the river are navigable, by river boats.
These far reaches of the Douro have a unique microclimate allowing for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes that are important for making the famous Port wine.
The region around Pinhao and Sao Joao da Pesqueira are considered to be the centre of Port wine production, with its picturesque quintas or farms clinging on to almost vertical slopes dropping down to the river.
Traditionally, the wine was taken down the river in flat-bottom boats called 'rabelos' to be stored in oak barrels in cellars located in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto. In the 1950s and 1960s, dams were built along the river ending this busy river traffic on Spanish and border sections. Today base Port wine is transported less romantically down the Douro Valley in modern tanker trucks.
The Douro Valley is definitively one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world and an inspiring destination for an unforgettable wine experience. The source of the Douro River is in Spain, and the most beautiful part is certainly the Douro Valley in Northern Portugal. Main wine hubs on the river are Pinhao and Peso da Regua. This is the land of Portugal's finest wines are grown and where you will find mythical names of quintas like Quinta de la Rosa & Barros. The spectacular vineyard terraces climb up on either side of the river like giant steps and the landscapes are extraordinary.
In Oporto’s Vila Nova de Gaia area you will find historic port lodges that have become infamous the world over. When in the region make sure you sample the delicious Portuguese dishes like Carpaccio of presunto - ham with fresh figs; - stuffed scallops with spinach, and - crispy Sea Bass with wild mushroom rice. The Douro valley will simple take your breath away.