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Douro Valley (Portugal’s premier wine country), Portugal

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Douro Valley (Portugal’s premier wine country), Portugal (5/16-18/2016)

Portugal's Beautiful Douro Valley
Portugal’s beautiful Douro Valley is a pleasurable experience for all the senses (see photos). The port wine produced here in Portugal’s premier wine country is delicious – much better than much of the port exported outside of Portugal.

Wonderful Drive - 
Douro River Valley
Boat Ride - Douro River Valley 
on Traditional Flat-Bottomed Port Boat
Travel tip... The half hour drive east along N222 from the towns of Peso da Regua to Pinhao along the Douro River is rated one of Europe’s most scenic drives. You will be treated to gorgeous views of the meticulously terraced vineyards elegantly sloping up on both sides of the Douro River dotted with historic whitewashed wineries (quintas) and red-roofed houses (see photo). This drive is on the south side of the Douro River on the opposite side of Peso da Regua. Start just east of Peso da Regua, cross the Douro River, and proceed east.

Pat Enjoying Port Wine -  
Sandeman Quinta (Port Winery)
Along this route, Sandeman is very nice place with beautiful views to taste ports and wines from the Douro Valley (see photo). Taking a boat ride on the river from Pinhao on a traditional flat-bottomed port boat is a relaxing experience (see photo). We found it a bit boring so take the hour-long ride instead of the two-hour trip.

Casa de Sao Domingos
Douro Valley, Portugal
The town of Peso da Regua is just OK to visit but good for restaurants. We enjoyed our stay at the Casa de Sao Domingos located about a mile outside of Peso da Regua (the most central town in the Douro Valley). With a pool and views of the river and valley, the Casa de Sao Domingosis like staying in a hospitable home (see photo) and is a great place to base your explorations of Portugal’s Douro Valley port wine region.

Town of Pinhao - 
Douro Valley, Portugal
We suggest that you plan to stay at least two days in the Douro Valley if you are driving through Portugal so you can spend a full day exploring the area east of Peso da Regua stopping at quintas (port wineries) to try some of Portugal’s best ports and wines of the region around the town of Pinhao (see photo). You may want to take a drive upriver into the valley to Sabrosa or Alijo in the Alto Douro (upper Douro) region (an UNESCO World Heritage site) to possibly visit more port quintas and drive through wine villages.

Igreja de Sao Goncalo - 
Amarante, Portugal
The food in the Douro Valley region is normally traditional Portuguese – very filling but somewhat bland. It appears the spice route bypassed Portugal. Ask your hotel for recommendations.

Ponte de Sao Goncalo Bridge -  
Amarante, Portugal

If you are driving to the Douro Valley from Porto, you may want to stop at the pretty medieval center of Amarante. The iconic bridge (Ponte de Sao Goncalo - see photo) and church (Igreja de Sao Goncalo - see photo) are very photogenic. Parking is available near this area not far from the visitor’s center.

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