Steep terraces of the Douro Valley
Vineyard workers in the Douro
Pinhão Train Station
A picnic on a previous Douro Walk
Douro Vineyard Walk
11 - 17 May 2014
The Douro remains as one of Europe’s unspoilt paradises and is classified as a World Heritage Site. On this stunning walking tour we’ll explore the vineyards, quintas, villages and towns of the dramatic Douro valley on foot.
The Port industry is famous for its hospitality, its lunches at the Factory House in Porto and its house parties at the remote Quintas of the Douro. A Quinta is a working farm complete with winery and some have accommodation for staff and visitors up from the Port Lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia. For this tour we are based in the homely surroundings of the top quality Quinta do Passadouro in the classic Cima Corgo region.
The Quinta is famous for both red table wines and its Ports all made by their superb winemaker, Jorges Serodio-Borges. Each evening we relax over dinner at the Quinta whilst enjoying these and other wines with tasty dinners of Portuguese specialities.
Every day, we go out walking in the vineyards either in the quiet side valleys or down by the river. The views as we walk are really quite stunning and during the day we will enjoy picnic lunches.
We visit leading firms such as Niepoort and Quinta do Noval and rising stars like Quinta do Vale D.Maria and Quinta do Portal.
At the visits you taste many of Portugal’s top non-fortified wines, as well as Port. Quinta do Vale D. Maria’s and Passadouro’s red wines are amongst the most exciting in the Douro. Quinta de Nápoles is at least as famous for their superb wines as for Port. Portal makes good wines too. You may also taste from ‘table wine only’ Quintas such as Passadouro’s neighbour, the excellent ‘Fojo’ and ‘Lavadores do Feitoria’ that you taste at the famous Solar do Mateus, a baroque masterpiece.
You’ll also take the train which hugs the side of the Douro River up to the Douro Superior. Here we’ll explore the Vila Nova de Foz Côa and visit Quina de Ervamoira. The train journey is an exciting experience in itself and is one of The Great Train Journeys of the World, with views of this now mostly calm but once turbulent river.
The Douro is extremely rural but there are one or two small towns. We visit Lamego, the prettiest and most interesting. The last day is free in Porto to explore this atmospheric city; or perhaps fit in an extra visit to one of the many port lodges that line the riverbank at Vila Nova da Gaia.
Despite the huge gradients which the terraces of the Douro conjure up, this walk is not overly strenuous. There are steep sections but the distances covered remain reasonable. Indeed there are optional extra sections on a couple days which can increase the amount of walking if you wish.
Walk Rating: Moderate, but with steep sections (due to the terrain some cannot be opted out of). There’s a support vehicle on hand if required.
The Walk Guide is the manager of Quinta do Passadouro, Ronald Weustink.
NB: Ronald has recently led a private wine walk in Ribera del Duero for us and we are including two escorted walks in this wonderful wine region for 2013 – 15-21 April & 6 – 12 October, see Ribera del Duero, Rueda & Toro Vineyard Walk).