The Duoro Valley is absolutely breathtaking, with its dramatic landscape, the terraced hills climb right out of the the Duoro River. Grapes are growing everywhere you look for as far as the eye can see.
Recommended Length of Stay: I would recommend 3 nights (2 full days).
Getting there: The Duoro Valley is 1.5 hour drive from Porto. It is an easy drive from Porto, no traffic, and beautiful scenery to pass the drive.
Getting around: You need a car to properly see the Duoro Valley. The quaint valley is vast, and does not have great public transportation options. The roads are winding, filled with switch backs, steep inclines and narrow passes. The twists and turns, will make anyone and everyone pay attention out the window at the stunning and dramatic views.
Accommodations: We stayed at the most amazing Air BNB in Castedo it was more like a bed and breakfast. The owner Cidalia was the most amazing host, she cooked breakfast (included in the price) ever morning. 2 people should share one of the rooms, the European beds are all large twins that they push together for a king bed. If you go, make sure you tell her you want to do dinner there. She cooks for you, a 7 course meal. There are 5 rooms available on Air BNB here, make sure to do either room 32, or 31 (a double room with extra single bed) they have the most room, we stayed in 31, and there was plenty of room!
Highlights & Sights: Everything in the area is stunning, the winding roads lead into the hills to tiny villages that dot the countryside. Some of the old villages are falling apart, which adds even more charm. There were elderly women hanging their wash on the lines, elderly men sitting out side their homes doors enjoying the quiet afternoons. We stopped in Pinhão in early morning and popped into the train station, it is a tiled station right in the center of the small town.
Wineries: You can not visit the Duoro Valley without visiting a few wineries, which there is no shortage of. Where you go for a tasting is all personal preference, but we prefer non-commercialized wineries and choose our tasting locations accordingly. We asked our host Cidalia for recommendations and could not have ended up at more perfect locations. We followed a hand drawn map and headed for the most spectacular day.
We started our day at Quinta do Tedo in the late morning, a charming winery with a great variety of Ports, where they still stomp all of their wines as they have done for generations. We did a flight of 3 Ports, my daughter enjoyed playing with the corks in a wine barrel , and sat watching the farm dogs.
We had lunch at the Quinta Do Tedo Bistro overlooking the river. You need a reservation here, it is tiny, and space is limited. They had a vintage highchair for my daughter making this lovely restaurant even more lovely.
From here we drove 5 minutes down the road, back towards our Air BNB, and wound our way up the hills to Quinta do Popa perched high above the River.
Restaurants: We dined 2 nights at a great restaurant in Alijo, about a 12 minute drive from our Air BNB. Pousada Barao Forrester was a more formal restaurant, with great local food and wine. The staff was lovely and didn’t give me any grief for having my 20 month old at dinner.
Six Senses Spa: If you have the opportunity to splurge and be pampered, this is the place to go. A massage here is tailored to you personally and truly is a life changing experience. Included with a booked massage, you recieve complimentary use of the spas, saunas, and indoor pool. We stayed here for most of a day and did lunch in their bar room afterward. It was about a 55 minute drive from the Air BNB, everything takes a little while driving, the roads are crazy with switchbacks. They were beyond accommodated, and allowed me to bring my daughter (20 months), I took an early appointment and they let her use the indoor pool with my brother, they originally said only till noon, but let us stay all day! My brother was with us for the Spa and watched her while I got a massage!