Douro, the home of port wines, lies in a spectacular valley whose terraces are laden with vines, right down to the channel of the River Douro that carved the landscape. Located in North Portugal, Douro is one of the quieter regions for visitors to visit, and the wonderful sense of peace is rivalled only by the scenery which changes with the seasons. Barely touched by tourists and stunningly beautiful, anyone seeking true Portugal must explore a Douro holiday home.
One of the most enjoyable ways to spend a day from a self catering Douro villa, as well as being the finest way to see the countryside is to take one of the regular boat trips up the river. Although the winding mountain roads give you some of the most inspiring views of north Portugal, it is from the river that you gain the best insight into the area, as well as enjoying the highest levels of peace and quiet. There is also a wonderful little steam train which winds and puffs its way through the valley, although only between May and October.
Staying in self catering Douro accommodation is a perfect option for anyone that loves fine wine and good food, especially port. All along the valley, proof of port production can be clearly seen, with famous names from Taylor’s to Cockburns appearing with proud regularity throughout the area. Unusually for Portugal, Douro’s cuisine is largely meat based (as opposed to fish), and the red and white wines, produced alongside the port, offers a hugely complimentary accompaniment.
This unspoilt haven is a walkers’ dream too. The narrow, twisting roads and paths guide you gently through forgotten villages and timeless viewpoints, where you are likely to be disturbed by nothing but the local wildlife.
If you feel like heading to the city after staying in an area of such charming, unspoilt, rural villages, Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, lies at the mouth of the River Douro on the west coast. The city is truly charming, hanging over the river, and makes a wonderful place to visit on a day trip from a Douro villa, whether for the history, shopping or simply to enjoy the flourishing café culture.
Porto Airport (OPO) is the closest airport to the Douro, located around 150km from the heart of the region. Ryanair provide the lion’s share of direct flights to Porto from the UK, with services arriving from all corners of the UK. A hire car is strongly advised when visiting self catering Douro accommodation.