The Douro River is one of the major rivers which flows across Spain and Portugal. This Douro Valley Wine tour is in Portugal. We customized our own 3 Days itinerary in the Douro Valley which gave us enough time to go on wine tours, Douro river cruise and enjoy the beauty of the valley. You can follow the same route and enjoy the Vineyards of Portugal.
There are Douro Valley Wine tours from Porto which includes wine tasting, cruise and lunch at the vineyards. I strongly recommend adding this, as a part of your summer trip, if, you have reached the city of Porto irrespective of your love for wine. Now, if you remember me mentioning in my previous post, we clubbed this trip along with the 7 days Portugal road trip Itinerary. This is the extension of that post, the next 3 days were spent in enjoying the wine region of Portugal – Douro Valley. So to further stop your search for a 10 days Itinerary in Portugal here it is, 7 days in Portugal and 3 days in Douro Valley Portugal.
Douro River/ Douro Valley:
The Douro River is one of the important rivers of the Iberian Peninsula flowing across Spain and Portugal. It is the 3rd longest river in this Peninsula. The Douro Valley in Portugal is solely devoted to the vineyards and it is also one of the World Heritage sites rewarded by the UNESCO. The river forms part of the national borderline between the 2 countries Sapin and Portugal. In Portugal, the Douro flows through many districts and one of them is Porto. Porto is the hub city in Northern Portugal.
This Douro Valley is Portugal’s wine country or so-called “wine region”. This Douro Wine region is accessible by both road and rail from Porto. We chose to take a break from 7 days driving and decided to try public transport.
Board the train from Porto Campanhã.
Note: If you are lucky and start your train ride out of Porto on a Sunday, you might get to ride their vintage Steam Engine. Do access the Train Time Table. Like mentioned earlier this was an organized three-day tour for us. I got in touch with the local tour company GoGal. One of their associates, Ms Vanda who personalized the whole tour for us keeping in mind our requirements. Unfortunately, this company is out of service at this time. Big thank you to Vanda if you are reading this, the tour was perfect.
Day 1: Departure Station Porto Campanhã. The departure time for our train from Porto Campanhã was 7:15 AM. Vanda was ready with our train tickets at the station.
Arrival station: Pihão in the Douro.
Cost of the train tickets: €10.85/person up till Pihão.
Time to reach the destination: 02 Hours 21 Minutes.
Arrival time: 09:36 AM.
What to expect on this Douro train ride?
The initial one hour of the train passes through the small villages and residential areas. Honestly, nothing exciting. I would suggest catching up on a nap for an hour, as the trains are quite comfortable. After you cross the town of Peso Da Regua, the route starts to follow the Douro River.
Insider Tip: When you board the train look out for window seats on the right side of the train, this will ensure you the best view of the Douro River and the Douro Valley.
After an hour and half of being mesmerized by the views of the valley, we reached our destination Pihão, where we were picked up by Sir Armando. Armando was our driver for 2 days. He looked more excited than us and was ready to drive us to our first wine estate, Quinta Nova.
Douro Valley Vineyard Tours Day 1: Quinta Nova.
About a 15 minutes drive through stunningly beautiful windy roads along the Douro River reached us to the wine estate, Quinta Nova. We were very eager to learn some very interesting wine lessons. This was our 1st Winery Tour. The wine tour started with walking through the Quinta (meaning estate), while the wine expert enlightened us with some interesting details of the winemaking, the harvest season, different kinds of grapes, how are the grapes picked, the barrels in which the wine is stored, the machines used in the ancient times versus the machines used in the modern days.
As part of the wine tour, we also had an opportunity to pick a few grapes and perhaps try them. It was surprising to us how organically sweets the grapes were but still wasn’t considered as their best pick. Speaking of the harvest season, one could be a part of the harvest, wherein, participants would embark huge vats in pairs and crush the grapes by their feet. That’s how it was done back then.
To be a part of the harvest season there was of an additional €12/person but the estate would only confirm the program a few days prior, as it all depends on the maturation of the grapes. At the end of the tour, we were rewarded with the most awaiting gifts, the wine tasting.
Douro Valley Wine Tasting:
We had the pleasure of tasting 4 wines, which included Port Wine and the local Douro Wine. Not that we were experienced wine tasters, but our impression of tiny wine samples was completely contradicted with 4 generous servings of table and port wines.
Location: Quinta Nova was situated at an elevation, overlooking the Douro River. This is owned by the locals and hence it had an authentic touch to the whole experience. Indeed an ideal place to have a relaxing afternoon and enjoy the wine tasting and the Douro wine tour. As we started to soak into the view and the wines, we ordered a cheese board to realize that we were completely full for lunch, which was also included in our package. But no regrets, as all the wine, cheese and overeating were totally worth the experience.
After this ideal afternoon, we checked into our one of its kind hotel, Morgadio Da Calçada. Checking into Morgadio Da Calçada, gave us a feeling of checking into a heritage property. This property has one of the oldest wine estates in the region and the family history has been well-preserved for generations. We spent our evening walking in their vineyard, relaxing in the courtyard and had dinner at the local restaurant nearby. More about the hotel below.
Douro Valley Vineyard Tours Day 2: Quinta De La Rosa.
Morgadio Da Calçada had arranged some basic breakfast in the dining area. After breakfast, we were ready to go on our next Wine tour in Douro Portugal, Quinta De La Rosa.
Quinta De La Rosa is another wine estate in the Douro Region, but, unlike, Quinta Nova, Quinta Del Rosa was very modernized with its winemaking techniques, its machinery and this estate is internationally operated.
The wine tour was very similar, with the previous day but the major difference was most of the tour was indoors. We embarked into many underground passages where the winemaking took place. Whereas if you remember Quinta Nova we had an opportunity to walk in the vineyards.
At the end of the tour, we were bought to a wine boutique, where we had a chance to taste a few of their produce. I think we spoke too fast earlier, about how generous their wine tasting portions were? Hmm! In here it was contradicting of what we experienced yesterday. Each one of us was given ONE wine glass which we had to rinse and reuse. Also, the wine samplers brought us back to reality with their portions.
Comparison between Old and New Generation Wine estates:
Both wine estates had its own unique qualities. While the winemaking process at Quinta Nova was very old school, traditional and authentic and was closely operated by local owners.
Quinta De La Rosa was run by overseas owners and their winemaking processes machines and equipment were very modern and state-of-the-art.
Recommendation: Make sure to try Quinta De La Rosa’s 20 years tawny port. We loved it so much that we gifted one for ourselves a bottle of this vintage for €24. It is a delicious investment you can make.
Location: After the wine tour, we headed for our lunch in Quinta De La Rosa. Lunch was included in the tour. The restaurant was on the 1st floor of the building with beautiful views of the Douro Valley. The lunch was delicious and quick. Well, quick because our skipper was waiting to sail us through the beautiful Douro Valley.
Douro Valley River Cruise:
It was a 2-hour sail in the magnificent landscape of Duoro Valley which is also considered by UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a private sail, with a private skipper. The experience was speechless.
We were been welcomed on board by the home-made tawny port wine. The Douro Valley River Cruise was the highlights of the day. The scenic landscapes and cruising through the 3rd longest river in Portugal with rewarding views of the Vineyards made our day. I am going to let the pictures do some talking here.
After the sail, Armando took us to the Dock for a walk around. The Douro River looks beautiful from every corner. We were lucky to spot the Heritage Steam Engine Train. After a brief walk, strolling around the dock we headed back to our hotel Morgadio Da Calçada.
Morgadio Da Calçada: Like mentioned earlier Morgadio Da Calçada is a heritage property and it certainly owns one of the oldest wine estates. We experienced this first-hand during dinner which was included in our 2nd-night stay. I remember Vanda mentioning about a surprise, but wasn’t sure what to expect.
The Morgadio da Calçada has eight personalized rooms for visitors who have a keen interest in wines. This is the oldest wine estates in the Douro Region. “Morgadio da Calçada” is a brand by the winemaker Dirk Niepoort.
The rooms are from the century XVII, stately manor house, famous in the region, erected by one classified Douro wine producer villages – Provesende. The old farm buildings were recently refurbished the contemporary new rooms offer all modern comforts like air conditioning, private bathroom, TV, tea/coffee makers in the rooms, housekeeping, etc. The owner of the property proudly gave us a tour of this heritage site. Huge 17th-century rooms, abstract paintings, old designs in furniture, carpets etc.
These antiques were well maintained and preserved by the family for generations. At the end of the tour Dinner was served. Dinner was held in one of their Lavish hall, which was, back then, probably a dining room. It was a buffet style setup for Dinner. The crockery’s and cutlery had a unique vintage look too. There were round tables with 8-10 chairs that gave us an opportunity to meet and talk to a lot of other travellers from all around the world. We also met a couple you had come from Spain to experience the Douro Valley Wine Tours.
The dinner was (Octopus Rice) Arroz De Polvo Malandrino. Octopus is supposed to be their delicacy undoubtedly the preparation was local Portuguese Style. Wine from their own seller was free-flowing.
This personal touch gave our Douro Valley Wine Tour 2 days experience, an experience to reminiscent. We cannot emphasise enough and recommend enough on how this Wine tour in Portugal will be an additional flavour to your pallet. Like mentioned earlier if you are in Porto look out for Porto wine Tours I am sure you will find that suits your Itinerary.
Day 3: Back to Porto by train.
Douro Valley Wine tour: Visit three vineyards with wine tastings and Lunch/Dinner INCLUDED IN THIS PACKAGE:
* 2 Night ́s in a double premier room, with breakfast and 1-night Dinner at Calçada do Moragadio
* Private sailing boat trip with skipper ( 2hours)
* 1 wine tour and 4 wine tasting at Quinta De La Rosa and lunch at Quinta De La Rosa
* 1 wine tour and 4 wine tastings in Quinta Nova and lunch at “Quinta Nova Luxury House”
* Possibility to do upgrade for Harvests program for €12 per person (depending on the grape maturation payable at the Estate)
Cost of this 2 days in Douro Valley Package: 300€ (600€ for 2)
Transfers to and from in the Douro Region from day 1 to day 3 €170 for 3 days.
Total Cost for the Douro Valley Wine Tour package including all of the above: For 2 people €760
One could Drive to Douro Valley as well and maybe that would cut down the total cost. This is what we plan to do next time. But since this was our 2-days tour to Douro valley we decided to pamper ourselves. This was one of our best Portugal Wine tours.
Hope you have enjoyed reading and hope we have given you a brief idea or an insight for your trip. Please do feel free to share this post with friends and family and do read the previous post about 7 days Road trip Itinerary Portugal.
We would like to be a part of your tour through pictures. Enjoy your trip and Safe Travels.