Porto To Douro Valley
Plan The Perfect Douro Valley Trip
Wondering how to plan the perfect Porto to Douro Valley trip? Our Douro Valley guide will help you plan the perfect Douro Valley day trip, including how to get to the Douro Valley from Porto, things to see and do, the best Douro Valley wineries, beautiful viewpoints, and more. We’ve also included recommended 2-day, 3-day, and 4-day itineraries to explore the Douro Valley if you have more time.
Planning The Perfect Douro Valley Day Trip From Porto
We’ve heard so much about Portugal’s Douro Valley over the years; we had to see it for ourselves. We visited Douro Valley during our last Portugal road trip. Even though we’ve seen so many pictures and videos of this place, nothing could have prepared us for the sheer beauty of this region in Northern Portugal.
Driving along the Douro River, we couldn’t stop gazing at the picturesque hillsides filled with sun-drenched vineyards dotted by the occasional olive groves and orange trees. The main road snakes along the Douro River, behind every turn, there’s another beautiful Quinta (wine estate), patches of agricultural land, charming villages, and breathtaking views.
We spent four days in Douro Valley, visiting more familiar and lesser-known places. Since many people don’t have the luxury of spending a few days in the Douro, we’ve decided to write the perfect Douro Valley guide for everyone who wants to plan a day trip from Porto to Douro Valley, and we’ve got many tips and insight to share with you. So, pour yourself a glass of wine, and let’s start planning your perfect Douro Valley day trip!
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Table of Contents
How Far Is Douro Valley From Porto
Douro Valley is relatively close to Porto. It is located less than 100 km. east of Porto. The fastest way to get from Porto to Douro Valley is with a car (just over an hour via A4), but you can also hop on a direct train from Porto (about 2 hours).
Is Douro Valley Worth Visiting
Some people may ask themselves if it is worth leaving Porto to travel to Douro Valley. The short answer is – hell yes! Touring the Douro Valley is a dream! No matter if you do it by train, by car or by boat, you have to visit the Duoro Valley during your Portugal trip.
What makes the Douro Valley so special? The history and local tradition, the unique terrain, the scenic views, and the wine, of course!
The first sight that will catch your eye is the seductive curves of the Douro River meandering through the curvy hills of the Douro Valley, which are dotted with beautiful wine estates and terraced fields. From a bird’s eye view, the whole area looks like a natural patchwork quilt with hues of earthy browns and greens.
When talking about the historical importance, wine has been grown in the Alto Douro region (“upper Douro”) for more than 2,000 years since the Romans occupied the Iberian Peninsula. It is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world since boundaries were set between the vineyards of the Douro Valley in the 18th century. In 2001 the Alto Douro wine region was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its long-time wine tradition and historical and cultural importance. Some of these winemaking traditions are kept to this day by the local wine producers.
Best Time To Visit Douro Valley
Generally speaking, the winters in the Douro are very cold, and the summer days can get very hot and dry. The further east you go, there are some climate differences.
The best time to visit the Douro Valley is during the Spring and Autumn months when the temperatures are pleasant, and you get to avoid the summer crowds. However, during local holidays the area can get busy at times, so if you plan to visit the Douro during a holiday, book well in advance.
If you plan to visit the Douro Valley in early spring (mid-February to March), you’ll get to see the almond trees in bloom. There’s even a special Almond Blossom Route you can follow. On the other hand, touring the Douro Valley in early Autumn means you’ll get to experience the harvest season. Other than the beautiful golden colors, many wine estates offer special harvest events during the month of September. You can participate in the harvest activities, visit the production facilities and enjoy a gastronomical feast with local seasonal flavors.
July and August might not be the ideal months to experience Douro, but we had a lovely time while visiting Douro Valley in early July. The weather was perfect, and the vineyards looked lovely. Touring the Douro Valley during the winter months means you’ll have to endure the cold and possibly rainy days, but you can always stay at a spa hotel and spend your days looking at the view with a glass of wine in your hand.
Learn more about the temperatures in Douro Valley.
How To Get To Douro Valley From Porto
Porto To Douro Valley – By Train
One of the best ways to get to Douro Valley from Porto is by train. It is budget-friendly and hassle-free, and the train route follows the Douro River, so you can expect some spectacular views!
Take the Linha do Douro or Douro Line train from Porto’s São Bento or Campanha stations and make sure you take the direct line, Inter-Regional train (IR), that goes all the way to Pocinho and also stops at Peso da Régua and Pinhão. If you only have one day in Douro Valley, you’d want to take the ride from Peso da Régua to Pinhão. This is the most scenic part of the train journey. We also recommend starting your day at Pinhão since there are several wineries in the area as well as other attractions that you can fit into your Douro day trip itinerary.
Check out the Porto to Douro Valley train timetable.
Tips For Taking The Porto To Douro Valley Train
- Book your train ticket online on the Comboios de Portugal website or buy it at the counter at Sao Bento or Campanha train stations. Come as early as possible during the high season, or book your ticket 1-2 days in advance. We also suggest buying your return ticket to Porto at the same time.
- On the way to Douro Valley, sit on the right side to get the best views of Rio Douro.
- There is a historical train, a steam locomotive with five historical carriages that run the distance between Régua and Tua. This train operates between June and October on specific days. Learn more about Porto’s historical train.
- As mentioned before, during the almond bloom season in March, there’s a special train route from Oporto Campanhã to Pocinho and back. The train leaves at 7.00 am and returns at 11.30 pm. There are three road circuits to choose from. If you plan to visit Douro Valley during February or March, read more about these special trains, programs and prices
Porto To Douro Valley – By Car
Renting a car is our preferred way of exploring the Douro Valley. This gives you absolute freedom in organizing the trip, getting to beautiful viewpoints, and choosing your own Douro wineries to visit. However, there are some downsides to touring Douro Valley with a private car.
The roads are curvy and narrow, even National Road 222 that follows the course of the Douro River. Not to mention the side roads you’ll have to take to get to the higher viewpoints or some of the vineyards. The Portuguese drivers can be impatient at times, so we wouldn’t recommend renting a car from Porto to Douro Valley unless you are a confident driver.
In addition, the whole point of touring Douro Valley is to enjoy the scenery and go wine tasting. If you are planning on going wine tasting in more than 1-2 wineries in Douro, we’d recommend choosing a different main of transportation or staying in Douro Valley for at least 3 days so you can take your time and visit the Douro wineries in a leisurely pace.
Tips For Renting A Car For Touring Douro Valley
Compare prices online and also check for opening hours. We’d recommend leaving Porto early to make the most out of your Douro Valley day trip.
Choose the right rental car – Choose a small car if you intend to visit the higher viewpoints along Douro River. The road in some of the villages can be very narrow. These roads can also get very steep, so rent a car with manual transmission only if you have a lot of experience driving manual gear.
Driving instructions – The Porto to Douro Valley drive should take you about 80-90 minutes till you reach Peso da Régua via highway A4 (toll road). From there, take National Road 222 to Lamego. If you have enough time, you can stop on the way back in Amarante.
- You can check more tips for driving in Portugal in our Driving Section in our Lisbon to Porto Road Trip.
Douro Valley Wine Tours From Porto
Touring Douro Valley with an organized tour is an excellent option if you want a hassle-free day. You can tour the Douro by boat, by bus, or choose a private tour with a private driver from Porto to Douro Valley if you can afford it.
Douro Valley Tours – By Boat
If you want to explore the Douro Valley by boat, you can take one of the organized Douro Valley river cruises. You can either start your day with a cruise from Porto to Douro Valley and come back with the train/bus or start your day with private bus transportation to Peso da Régua and from there enjoy touring Douro River by boat, returning to Porto by boat as well. A Douro River day cruise is an excellent option if you want to enjoy the beautiful scenery and are not too interested in wine tasting (usually, these tours offer one visit to a winery or none at all). If you’re looking for a recommended boat tour, this Douro Cruise has good reviews and it is one of the only cruises that also includes wine tasting at a local winery.
Touring Douro Valley With An Organized Tour
If you want to enjoy your Porto to Douro day trip hassle-free, taking an organized tour to Douro might be your best option. Unlike the cruise tours above, most of the organized Douro Valley tours include wine-tasting at 2-3 wineries, 1-2 scenic viewpoints, and some even offer a 1-hour boat ride on Rio Douro. If you want to visit three wineries during your Douro Valley day trip and take a river cruise, make sure to book this Douro Valley tour. If you’re visiting Douro Valley just for the wine and views, you can book this highly-recommended Douro tour!
Recommended Porto To Douro Valley Day Tours
Douro Valley Tours With A Private Driver
If budget is not an option and you’d rather not rent a car and drive along the Douro River yourself, there are some excellent private tours you can take. These are priced either per group or per person. They usually include a private driver from Porto to Douro Valley, wine tasting in 2 vineyards, stops at scenic viewpoints, a boat ride, and lunch.
Recommended Private Tours From Porto To Douro Valley
Best Things To Do In Douro Valley
The Douro Valley extends over approximately 250,000 hectares, out of which about 40,000 hectares are used for growing wine grapes. Therefore, you’ll need more than a day to experience the best of Douro Valley, but even if you have just one day in Douro Valley, you can enjoy some stunning views and go wine tasting in one of the most famous wine regions in the world. Here are our recommendations for spending a perfect day in Douro Valley:
Enjoy A Scenic Drive Along The Douro River
Driving along the curvy Douro River, you’ll catch a glimpse of the glistening waters of the river with beautiful rolling hills on both sides. Every turn of the road will unfold another terraced vineyard, picturesque orchards, olive groves, and beautiful wine estates. For the most scenic views, we recommend following National Road 222, which cuts through the heart of the Douro Valley, especially the section from Peso da Régua till Pinhão.
Discover The Best Viewpoints Along The Douro River
To soak up the natural beauty of Alto Douro, you need to get to a high vantage point. There are many beautiful miradouros along the river. Note that the road can get extremely steep, curvy, and narrow, so drive carefully. There are so many viewpoints along the river it’s impossible to list all of them. Instead, we’ve listed some of the best Douro viewpoints along the road from Peso da Régua to Pinhão.
This viewpoint is probably the best lookout point along the Douro River. It is located just above Pinhão and overlooks one of the most beautiful parts of the Douro Valley. You can easily fit it in your Porto to Douro day trip, even if you plan on getting to Douro Valley by train.
Miradouro de São Salvador do Mundo
This beautiful lookout is located near a small town, Sao Joao de Pesqueira. The views from above are absolutely stunning.
A beautiful point of view just above the town Covelinhas.
This viewpoint is located above Peso da Régua, the largest city in the area.
If you have more than a day in Douro Valley, check out all of the top viewpoints along the Douro River.
Visit As Many Douro Valley Wineries As You Can
You can not plan a day trip to Douro Valley without including some wine tasting. The Douro is a wine lover’s dream. Douro Alto is classified as a DOC region, meaning the local wine is of very high quality and produced according to strict standards and guidelines. There are three sub-regions in the Douro Valley: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo, and Douro Superior, each with its own wine expertise.
The local wine estates are called Quintas. Most of them have a long history and tradition of producing fortified wines (wine that some kind of liquor was added to it during the production process) and unfortified wines. Though the Douro region is known for producing the famous port wine, in recent years it has also become known for the quality of its unfortified wine.
During our visit to the Douro Valley, we’ve learned there are many types of Port wine such as White, Rosé, Tawney, Ruby, and more, each with its own nuances. Try and taste as many Ports as you can and try the local unfortified wine, which is gaining more recognition worldwide.
Recommended Douro Valley Wineries
There are so many wineries in Douro Valley you’ll have a hard time choosing just one or two (or three) to visit on your day trip from Porto. We’ve listed several recommended wineries that are located close to Pinhão and on the way to Peso da Régua.
Pinhão Wineries - Perfect For A Douro Valley Day Trip
Quinta do Bomfim
Bomfim Winery is located on the banks of the Douro River, only a few minutes away from Pinhão’s train station. The original winery is from 1896. Nowadays, Bomfim Winery is part of the Symington Family Estates, which are known worldwide for their high-quality wines. You can order a wine-tasting tour and a cheese board for a very reasonable price and enjoy the beautiful views of the Douro from their terrace. If you want to book a wine tasting session, a picnic or a guided tour you can do it online on the winery’s booking page.
Quinta da Roeda – Croft Port
Quinta da Roeda is located near Quinta do Bomfim, about 1.5 km. east. They have a fascinating history (including some spy stories) and a long tradition of producing high-quality port wine. They are known for their vintage and tawny ports. They offer guided tours and wine tastings as well as picnic baskets that you can enjoy on their terrace with the beautiful views of the vineyards and olive groves. Learn more about the wine tasting options on the Quinta’s wine tourism page.
Quinta das Carvalhas
Just across the bridge, you’ll find Quinta das Carvalhas, a beautiful winery with magnificent, terraced vineyards. It is one of the oldest wine estates in the region, with 300 acres of vineyards and more than 1,000 acres of land. On their website, you can find many wine-tourism programs such as a bus tour across their property, a private guided tour, harvest events, and more. You can also go wine tasting in their shop at the winery.
Pinhão to Peso da Régua – Recommended Wineries Along The South Bank
Quinta do Seixo
Located not too far from Pinhão, Quinta do Seixo has one of the best views in the Douro Valley thanks to its high vantage point. They offer a few tasting options as well as picnic baskets. Despite their long history, the tasting room has a more modern design than some other Douro wineries. Check out their wine tourism offers.
Quinta do Pôpa
Quinta do Pôpa is situated on the south bank of Douro River, about 10 km from Pinhão. It is a small family-run winery that opened its doors to visitors in 2012. This wine estate is known for its breathtaking views and Douro wines. They also produce vintage port and olive oil. You can choose any of their wine-tasting experiences, including a picnic basket, lunch, and more. Take a virtual tour of the vineyard and winery before your visit.
Quinta do Tedo
Quinta do Tedo is located on the south bank of Douro River at the intersection with Tedo river. It is a relatively small winery that is known for its personalized visits. They use traditional viticultural methods while incorporating essential modern technology to create their Ports and Red Wines. They also produce olive oil. In 2011 they got their organic certification. Quinta do Tedo offers a variety of wine-tasting experiences, and you can even stay in one of their five bedrooms overnight. You can also enjoy lunch or dinner at their seasonal bistro, which has stunning views of Douro Valley. Book your wine tasting at the Quinta do Tedo. There are also special harvest events in September and cultural events during the summer.
Quinta de Santa Eufémia
Quinta de Santa Eufémia is located very close to Peso da Régua and Lamego. The winery’s history dates back to the 19th century, and it has been run by the same family since then. They produce a selection of Douro and Port wine while incorporating traditional winemaking techniques. You can stop here for a wine-tasting session with scenic views.
Quinta da Pacheca
Quinta da Pacheca is one of the oldest wine estates in Douro Valley. Grapes have been planted in its vineyards since the 16th century. The winery produces a variety of Douro wines, Port wines, Moscatel and olive oils. They offer a variety of wine tourism experiences including a harvest experience and vineyard spa treatments. You can also stay at their Wine House Hotel or at the unique wine barrels, book your stay here.
Pinhão To Peso da Régua – Recommended Wineries Along The North Bank
The road from Pinhão to Peso da Régua along the north bank doesn’t always follow the Douro River, and it takes longer to get from one place to the other. Therefore, plan ahead since driving along the north bank from Pinhão to Peso da Régua will take you much longer.
Quinta de la Rosa
Quinta De La Rosa’s history dates back to the 19th century. It remained under the same hands since 1906. They have been producing their Port wine for over a century, and they were one of the first wine estates to make table wine. Currently, they also produce olive oil and beers. You can come here for various wine tasting experiences or guided vineyard tours. You can also stay at one of the 23 rooms that are scattered all over the estate or eat at their restaurant, which has a fabulous view and great reviews.
Quinta do Crasto
Quinta do Crasto is considered one of the best wineries in Douro Valley. It has been included in the Top 20 of the World’s Best Vineyards for the third consecutive year. It has a long history (grapes were grown here since the beginning of the 17th century) and offers various products that include white and red Douro wines, Port wines, and Extra Virgin Olive oils. They have a variety of wine tourism programs that are tailor-made to your desires. Visits must be booked in advance.
Quinta dos Murças
Quinta dos Murças is a historic estate that is located on the north bank of the Duoro River. The beautiful estate has changed many hands over the years (its history dates back to the 18th century). Currently, it’s owned by Herdade de Esporão, a prestigious winery from the Alentejo region. The Quinta has a diversity of terroirs that cover approximately 155 hectares. When visiting Quinta dos Murças, you can enjoy any of its wide range of wine tasting programs, guided tours, and scenic hiking trails. You can also spend the night here if you wish.
Take A Boat Along Douro River
Taking a boat trip along the Douro was one of our highlights. Cruising along the river while watching the terraced vineyards rise to either side of the river’s banks is a sight worth seeing. Each curve of the Douro unfolds another breathtaking scenery, and you might even catch a glimpse of the famous Porto-to-Douro historic train that passes along the river. You can take one of the boat tours from Peso da Régua or Pinhão. We chose to take a 1.5-hour cruise from Pinhão on a traditional Rabelo boat. These boats used to carry the wine barrels from the Port houses to Porto many years ago. You can also hop on a boat trip from Régua, but these are larger modern boats. The boat tour usually lasts 1-2 hours which is perfect for a day trip from Porto since you still have time to go wine tasting and visit some of the Douro Valley towns.
Beautiful Douro Valley Towns
Douro Valley is full of charming villages and towns. Obviously, you can’t see everything during your day trip from Porto to Douro Valley, but try to visit at least two towns if you can. Here are some beautiful towns you can visit during your one-day Douro Valley trip.
Pinhão is a small town located approximately 120 kilometers from the city of Porto in Douro’s Cima Corgo region. Although it is not the most charming town we’ve visited, we still recommend visiting Pinhão during your day trip from Porto since you can enjoy several attractions in the area. Also, you can reach it directly by train from Porto. So, what can you do in Pinhão during your one-day Douro Valley trip?
Visit Pinhão Train Station
Even if you’re not getting to Douro by train, check out Pinhão’s train station since it is decorated with beautiful Azulejo tiles. The blue and white mosaics depict the Douro landscapes and the traditional activities, many of which are related to wine production in Douro Valley (if you love beautiful train stations, you must also visit Aveiro on a day trip from Porto).
Walk Along The Riverside
Pinhão has a lovely promenade with benches and small coffee shops. You can have a cup of coffee and a morning snack while enjoying the beautiful views of Douro Valley and watching the Rabelo boats that leave the quay.
Take A River Cruise On A Rabelo Boat
As mentioned before, we highly recommend taking a 1-2 hour cruise from Pinhão along the Douro River. You can book your tickets at one of the tickets boots on the promenade or book them in advance online.
Wine Tasting in Pinhão
There are a couple of wineries that are located within Pinhão such as Quinta do Bomfim, Quinta da Roeda – Croft Port and Quinta das Carvalhas (you can read more about them in our wineries section above).
Check Out The View From Double viewpoint De Loivos
One of our favorite viewpoints is located above Pinhão in Casal de Loivos. We got there with our car, but you can also take a taxi from Pinhão if you are getting to Douro from Porto by train.
Kayaking in Douro River
We haven’t been to Provesende ourselves, but we’ve heard it’s a charming village set amidst the Douro Valley with beautiful views of the area. It will take about 20 minutes to get there by car from Pinhão. It might be a perfect place if you’d like to explore Douro Valley off the beaten path. You can stroll along the alleys, find old manor houses, and visit a few historical sites in Provesende, such as the Baroque church or the 18th-century fountain. We’ve heard there is a charming old bakery near the fountain and a great restaurant in town, Casa Típica Papas Zaide, which serves traditional Portuguese food.
Peso da Régua
If you’re touring Douro Valley with a car, you will probably pass through Peso da Régua. It is the largest riverside town in Douro Valley, and although it lacks the quaint charm of the smaller Douro towns, it has a nice museum which highlights the history of the region and great restaurants and wine bars. Here are some of the best things to do in Peso da Régua:
Visit Museu do Douro
If you’d like to learn more about the history and culture of Douro Valley, you can visit the Douro Museum. The museum is located in Casa da Companhia Velha, a former wine warehouse on the riverfront. You can enjoy the audio-visual presentation and exhibits and have a drink at the bar while enjoying the beautiful Douro views from the terrace.
Recommended Restaurants in Régua
We stayed a couple of nights in Lamego but chose to eat our dinners here. There are a few good restaurants located close to each other: Aneto & Table, Castas e Pratos and Jerinha ĺTaberna & Companhia
Wineries Near Régua
There are a few wine shops in Régua, and you can also go wine tasting in Museu do Douro. However, we recommend visiting Quinta de Santa Eufémia and Quinta da Pacheca which are located not far from Régua (you can read more about these wineries in our wine-tasting section above).
Recommended Viewpoint Above Peso da Régua
Photography tip: There are two bridges in Peso da Régua that are beautiful to photograph, especially with a long exposure shot: Ponte Rodoviaria da Regua and Régua Pedestrian Bridge.
Lamego is another relatively large town in Douro Valley, but it is the perfect place to stay in the Douro for a night or two. Also, if you are touring Douro by car, you really must visit the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios during your day trip from Porto.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Remedy
The history of the beautiful Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios dates back to the 14th century. The original structure was destroyed in the 16th century. It was rebuilt with added decorations and flare during the 18th and 19th centuries. The whitewashed granite exterior facade with its decorations and two baroque towers are an impressive sight, so are the beautiful blue and white tiled mosaics inside. However, for the most remarkable point of view, you need to step outside. Rows and rows of stairs (almost 700 to be exact) lead you from the center of Lamego to the sanctuary. The stairs were built in a symmetrical zigzag with nine terraces, decorated with statues and beautiful azulejo mosaics.
Lamego festival tip: From the end of August to the middle of September, you’ll be able to experience the Festas da Cidade (City Festival) and the “Romaria de Portugal”, a religious pilgrimage dedicated to the city’s patron saint. There are concerts, parades, shows, exhibitions, and cultural events during these three weeks.
Castelo de Lamego
Another historical site you can visit during your visit to Lamego is the Medieval Castle of Lemago. Lamego Castle was built on a high hill, and though nowadays it is mostly in ruins, the views are beautiful. On your way to the castle, you’ll go through cobbled old streets with traditional shops and houses.
Sé Catedral de Lamego
If you have more time and love cathedrals, stop by Lamego Cathedral (also known as Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral). Its history dates back to the 12th century. Its architecture was influenced by various styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Manueline architecture.
Wine Tasting in Lamego
We recommend visiting Quinta de Santa Eufémia and Quinta da Pacheca which are located not far from Lamego (read more about these quintas in our Douro Wineries section above).
If you are touring Douro Valley for more than a day, you can also add these towns to your Douro itinerary:
São João da Pesqueira
We planned on visiting this picturesque town but didn’t have enough time. São João da Pesqueira is known as the heart of the Douro wine region. It has a few historical landmarks, an interactive wine museum, a beautiful old town, and plenty of views and wineries in the area.
If you include São João da Pesqueira in your Douro Valley itinerary make sure to visit Praça da República which is located in the old town. Around this area, you’ll find the ancient clock tower, the Capela da Misericórdia, and Rua dos Gatos, one of the oldest streets in town that used to be part of the Jewish Quarter.
Also visit one of the best Douro viewpoints that is located near São João da Pesqueira, Miradouro de São Salvador do Mundo.
Foz Côa Valley
Côa Valley is located closer to the Spanish border in the Douro Superior sub-region. It is mainly known for its prehistoric rock art park, with more than 80 sites with rock art, including thousands of rock formations and engraving. In 1998 it was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Besides the Côa Valley Archaeological Park and the Côa Museum, the region is filled with vineyards, scenic views, and small authentic Portuguese villages. Nature lovers would enjoy the hiking trails and the growing population of wild animals.
If you are getting from Porto to Douro Valley by car, on the way to Douro from Porto, or on the way back to Porto, you can stop at Amarante. This beautiful historic town is located approximately halfway between Peso da Régua and Porto. Amarante has been included in the Sousa Valley Romanesque Route (Rota do Românico), a heritage route that includes historical monuments, monasteries, bridges, and castles in nine countries across Europe. Here are some recommended things to do in Amarante:
Photograph Ponte de São Gonçalo Bridge
Amarante is famous for this ancient monument, an old arched bridge situated on the Tâmega River. You can admire the bridge from the observation platforms or walk along the river to find a different point of view (there should be stairs leading down to the river banks at Av. Beira Rio).
Try The Local Regional Sweets
Portugal has so many traditional sweets, and each region has its unique pastries. Along Rua 31 de Janeiro, you’ll find a few shops, restaurants, and traditional Confeitarias that sell delicious Portuguese sweet treats. We chose a beautiful shop with a lovely view over the river. Another thing that Amarante is famous for is its penis-shaped pastries, so don’t forget to order one of these “doces fálicos” (phallic sweets) or “Bolos de São Gonçalo” (Saint Gonçalo cakes).
Douro Festival Tip: In June, a festival is held in Amarante in honor of the local patron saint São Gonçalo. During this time, you can experience religious parades and street parties. The streets are decorated with phallic symbols, and street vendors sell the local penis-shaped cakes in various sizes.
Visit Amarante’s Churches
There are a few beautiful churches near the bridge: Igreja de São Gonçalo, Igreja de São Domingos and Igreja de São Pedro.
If you have more time and would like to learn more about Amarante’s historical monuments, check out this 2-hour guided tour of Amarante which includes tastings of typical sweets.
You can also go wine tasting at the fabulous Hotel Monverde which is only 15 minutes away by car from Amarante. We stayed there for 2 nights and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. You can read more about it in our Douro Valley hotel section.
How Many Days In Douro Valley Do You Need
Honestly, the more time you can spend in the Douro Valley, the better. If you can only spend one day in Douro Valley, it’s better than nothing, so try to have a little taste of everything when planning a day trip to Douro Valley from Porto. We spent about four days in Douro valley (more like 3.5 days with all the driving) and felt we hadn’t seen enough. Here are some suggested itineraries for you based on the time you have to spend in Douro Valley.
Porto to Douro Day Trip – By Train – Suggested Itinerary
Porto – Pinhão - Peso da Régua/Lamego
If you’re getting to Douro Valley from Porto by train, the most convenient option is to take an early train from Porto all the way to Pinhão. See the beautiful azulejo at the train station, take a taxi to Double viewpoint De Loivos, hop on one of the Rabelo boats for a 1-2 hours cruise or go kayaking.
According to the time you have left and your interests, you can visit the wineries that are located at Pinhão. If you are a wine enthusiast, you might want to visit all three of them.
If you are fine with just one wine tasting, you can hop on the train back to Porto and stop at Peso da Régua. You can either visit the Museu do Douro and perhaps try one of the recommended restaurants or take a taxi (it’s a 20-minute ride) and go straight to Lamego to visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Remedy. This place is absolutely amazing. After your visit, get back to Peso da Régua and hop on the return train to Porto.
Check out our Beautiful Douro Valley Towns section for more suggestions
Porto to Douro Day Trip – By Car - Suggested Itinerary
Porto – Pinhão - Peso da Régua/Lamego – Amarante
If you already have a car, great! You won’t need to waste time at the rental company in the morning of your day trip. However, if you don’t, take into account that most car rental shops open at 8.00 or 8.30 am.
We suggest driving straight to Peso da Régua via A4 and A24. It should take you about an hour and a half. From there, take the scenic road, National Road 222, that goes along the south bank of the Douro River to Pinhão. We suggest visiting one winery at Pinhão and another one on the way.
At Pinhão, drive to Double viewpoint De Loivos, visit the train station, hop on one of the Rabelo boats for a 1-2 hours cruise or combine a cruise on the Douro River with some kayaking. As mentioned before, we suggest visiting one of the wineries in Pinhão as well. If you haven’t stopped at one of the wineries on your way to Pinhão, do this on your way back to Regua.
On your way back to Porto, you can also visit the Museu do Douro at Peso da Régua and/or visit Lamego to see the stunning Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Remedy.
If you have more time left, stop at Amarante on your way back to Porto. Visit the famous bridge and have a cup of coffee with their special pastry.
Check out our Beautiful Douro Valley Towns section for more suggestions
Itinerary Tip: National Road 222 goes along the south bank of the Douro River. N108 starts from Porto and follows the north bank of Douro River all the way to Peso da Régua. If you’re driving from Peso da Régua to Pinhão, and you’d like to visit the viewpoints and wineries on the north bank, you’ll need to take N313-1/N322-2 and the smaller roads that will take you up the hills. Therefore, plan ahead and consider which wineries you’d like to visit because there aren’t any places to cross the Douro River between Pinhão and Peso da Régua. Driving along the north bank will take you much more time to reach from Peso da Régua to Pinhão and vice versa.
How To Spend 2 Days In Douro Valley – Suggested Itinerary
Porto – Pinhão - Peso da Régua/Lamego – Amarante
If you have two days for touring the Douro Valley with a car, we suggest spending a night in Lamego or at a winery close to Lamego.
On your way from Porto to Douro Valley, you can stop at Amarante or visit it on your back from Douro Valley to Porto.
Start by exploring Lamego and the nearby wineries. You can also visit Museu do Douro at Peso da Régua. We suggest eating dinner at one of the restaurants we’ve recommended in Peso da Régua (our foodie experiences in Lamego were less than satisfying).
On your second day, drive to Pinhão and follow our recommendations for things to do in Pinhão. Visit one of the wineries on your way to Pinhão and at least another winery in Pinhão. On your way back to Porto you can stop at Amarante.
Check out our Beautiful Douro Valley Towns section for more suggestions
How To Spend 3 Days In Douro Valley – Suggested Itinerary
Porto – Amarante - Peso da Régua - Lamego - Pinhão – Provesende and São João da Pesqueira or Côa Valley
If you have three days in Douro, you can take your time and relax. We suggest staying both nights at the same accommodation, preferably close to Lamego or Pinhão, depending on what you’d like to see.
On your first day, drive straight to Lamego and follow our suggestions around Lamego and Peso da Régua. On your way to Lamego, you can stop at Amarante. Visit at least one of the wineries around Lamego.
Depending on your interests and pace, it is up to you if you’d like to visit Pinhão and the towns in the area or take the 2-hour drive to Côa Valley on the second day.
If you’d like to take it easy, Spend the rest of your trip visiting Pinhão, Provesende, São João da Pesqueira and the museum in Peso da Régua. You can visit a few wineries every day and take the time to find scenic viewpoints.
If you’d really like to visit Côa Valley, do this on your second day. Drive to Côa Valley to explore the park, and on your way back, you can stop at scenic viewpoints, wineries, or interesting places, depending on the time. On the third day, visit Pinhão and the nearby wineries and viewpoints. You will have enough time to go back to Porto by the end of the third day.
Check out our Beautiful Douro Valley Towns section for more suggestions
4 – 6 Days In Douro Valley – Suggested Itinerary
Porto - Peso da Régua - Lamego - Pinhão – Provesende - São João da Pesqueira - Côa Valley – Amarante
If you have 4-6 days to tour Douro Valley, you can explore the area at a leisurely pace. Follow our recommendations above and make an effort to visit Côa Valley in Douro Superior region.
You can also explore more of Amarante and the Minho region which is known for its Vino Verde. We suggest staying at Monverde – Wine Experience Hotel if you can afford it. This spa hotel is located in the middle of a vineyard. It has an amazing restaurant and a beautiful modern design. We spent a couple of nights there and loved it.
Where To Stay In Douro Valley
We recommend staying at least 2 days in each hotel you choose. For our suggested itineraries, it’s best to stay at hotels near Lamego, Peso da Régua and Pinaho. If you intend to explore Côa Valley region, you can also stay a night or two in the region.
Hotels Near Lamego & Régua
Six Senses Douro Valley – We would have loved to stay here but it cost a fortunate. The rooms are modern and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. There’s a variety of experiences you can choose from including spa treatments. You can explore the 8-hectare property on foot to discover its open-air relaxation spots, relax at the pools or visit the wine library.
Check prices at Six Senses Dour Valley
Quinta do Vallado Wine Hotel – One of the best hotels in Douro Valley, luxurious and cozy at the same time. Guests can enjoy a wine tasting tour for free. You can also enjoy the swimming pool, hiking trails, river fishing and the hotel’s free bicycles.
Check prices at Quinta do Vallado
Quinta da Pacheca – Another wine hotel with private vineyards. They offer guided tours, wine tastings, picnics and cooking classes for an extra fee. They also has a vineyard spa on the property.
Check prices at Quinta da Pacheca
MW Douro Wine & Spa by TRIUS Hotels – A beautiful hotel with modern design which is located in a small village above Régua. You can enjoy the outdoor and indoor pools, the sun terrace and the fabulous view. The hotel is pretty isolated so take this into account.
Check out prices at MW Douro Wine & Spa
Lamego Hotel & Life – A lovely hotel with modern design which is located at a quiet spot in Lamego. However, it is not as secluded as it might seem from the pictures. We liked the public indoor and outdoor spaces and the friendly staff. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a central location, yet quiet and relaxing atmosphere at a reasonable price.
Check out prices at Lamego Hotel & Life
Hotels Near Pinhão
Quinta Nova Winery House – Relais & Châteaux – This beautiful wine hotel is surrounded by 120 hectares of vineyards. Guests can enjoy wine tasting sessions, relaxing strolls through the property and swimming at the outdoor pool. The hotel is famous for its wine tourism experiences and the outstanding scenery. Note that despite the short distance, it will take at least half an hour to get to Pinhão due to the curvy narrow road.
Check out prices at Quinta Nova Winery House – Relais & Châteaux
The Vintage House – Douro – This beautiful hotel is conveniently located not far from Pinhão’s train station on the north bank of the Douro River. The outside pool has beautiful views of the river and nearby vineyards.
Check out prices at The Vintage House – Douro
Casa do Arco by Douro Exclusive – If you love unique modern architecture, stunning views, and a warm family-like atmosphere, you’d love this place. Casa do Arco offers various unique experiences including wine tasting and gastronomic dinners.
Check prices at Casa do Arco
Ventozelo Hotel & Quinta – This charming quinta is situated on the hills opposite Pinhão, about 15 minutes by car. The rooms are beautifully designed with a mix of authenticity and modern pieces. The quinta has a restaurant, a bar and an outside pool and many activities you can enjoy including hiking along several routes to discover the beautiful landscape.
Check prices at Ventozelo Hotel & Quinta
Quinta da Côrte – Perched on the hills opposite Pinhão on the south bank of the Douro River, the charming Quinta da Côrte offers stunning views of terraced vineyards and a homey atmosphere. The rooms and communal spaces are beautifully design with a rural chic. Guests can enjoy the outside pool and a tour of the vineyard as well as other wine tourism offers. It is a great value for a farm stay in the middle of a vineyard.
Check out prices at Quinta da Côrte
Hotels in Côa Valley
Casa do Rio Wine Hotel – Vallado – If you decide to visit Côa Valley, this beautifully designed hotel is a great choice if you are looking for piece and quiet. It is located about 13 kilometers from Vila Nova de Foz Coa and has stunning views. Guests are welcomed to enjoy the infinity pool, the daily wine tasting, and the free bikes and kayaks.
Check out priced at Casa do Rio Wine Hotel
Hotels Near Amarante
Monverde – Wine Experience Hotel – We spent 2 nights here during our Douro Valley road trip. The hotel is not located close to Douro River (it’s close to Amarante) but it is absolutely amazing. It is surrounded by vineyards and has a fabulous restaurant and a spa. There’s a variety of rooms to choose from, all of them are beautifully designed to blend with the natural environment. You can choose from the various wine tourism experiences or just relax at the pool.
Check out priced at Monverde – Wine Experience Hotel
General Tips For Touring Douro Valley
- We suggest spending at least 2 nights at the same location so you could enjoy the wine tasting experience and tour Douro Valley at a leisurely pace.
- The roads in Douro are not easy to drive, and they can get incredibly curvy, steep, and narrow on the way to some of the viewpoints, wineries, and hillside towns. Drive carefully or take an organized tour if you don’t feel confident driving.
- Book your accommodations in advance, especially if you’d like to stay at one of the wine estates that don’t have many rooms. We visited Douro Valley during the pandemic, and even then, some of our preferred accommodations were fully booked a couple of months in advance.
- It is always better to check in advance with the wineries if you can show up without a reservation or you need to book in advance.
- If you are a wine enthusiast and want to go wine tasting all day long, hire a driver or choose one of the suggested organized or private tours.
- Take your time and don’t plan too much. The Douro Valley is truly enchanting, and eventually, we decided to go with the flow instead of following our detailed plans. You might see less but enjoy your time so much more.
Where To Go After Your Douro Valley Tour
If you want to see more of Portugal instead of returning to Porto, we suggest checking the mountains of Serra da Estrela and the Dao wine region’s Santar village. We visited both areas during our road trip from Lisbon to Porto and fell in love with these hidden gems.
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2 thoughts on “Porto To Douro Valley – Day Trip, Wineries, Viewpoints, Itineraries”
We ever went there during harvest season. It was a great experience we had during our visit.
Yes, such a wonderful experience, and what an amazing place!