Douro, the best kept secret in Portugal
Your next luxury vacation spot can be anywhere in the world and whatever your desire. With this in mind, our travel specialists have created a luxury guide to the best hotels, restaurants, and itineraries in the Douro.
Just a few hours from Porto - the closest airport - the Douro Valley has a spirit of its own. Known for its remarkable wine culture and breathtaking landscapes, which earned it the UNESCO World Heritage list, it has become one of the most interesting places to visit in Portugal.
The Douro, despite being known worldwide, remains one of the best-kept secrets in Portugal. It's picturesque, and the perfect blend of nature's and man's work. Some might say this is the worst kept secret in Portugal, but for us, it's well kept, and we'll show you why in this article, where we will unveil some of the best hotels, restaurants, and activities...
And like any great destination, you'll never run out of things to do. Whether it's a 5-day experience or a 7-day luxury tour, we'll make sure you leave no stone unturned. You'll have the opportunity to stay in the best hotels, visit the region's most iconic wineries and restaurants while crossing a few things off your wish list along the way.
With vineyards, luxury estates, and villages, Douro is the best-kept secret in Portugal
Perched on a mountain among the surrounding vines, Six Senses Douro Valley is the first European property of the Six Senses Group and combines elegance with the region's traditional heritage. This beautifully restored 19th-century manor house offers a selection of rooms, suites, and villas, an excellent spa, several dining options, as well as a wine library, and a beautiful outdoor swimming pool.
The river house at Quinta de Ventozelo, with two bedrooms and a private pool and garden, is a great option for those looking for a luxurious and safe vacation. Only punctually cut by the passing of a train on the other side, or a boat crossing the calm waters. The decor also brings freshness and lightness and recalls its proximity to Rio.
The most coveted selection of restaurants
The dining options at Six Senses Douro Valley are a celebration of the region and seasonality. Many of the products come from the Douro valley and an organic vegetable and herb garden located on the property. The menus inspired by the wood ovens and the Josper Grill delight visitors.
A window over the Douro. The DOC restaurant, located on the road that connects the city of Porto to the wine region, is signed by Portuguese chef Rui Paula. With a glassed-in room overlooking the river, DOC promises to be an idyllic place where the food is modern and inventive, a mirror of the creator.
Pedro Lemos in similarity to the chef we mentioned above is also a strong name in Portuguese cuisine. The restaurant at Casa dos Ecos brings together two strong points of Portuguese gastronomic culture: the Symington family, renowned producer of DOC wines and Porto wines, and the Michelin-starred chef, Pedro Lemos. In this restaurant, the chef serves regional products from the Douro using traditional techniques. Located in Quinta do Bondim, this restaurant seeks to be an authentic Douro/ Duriense experience in a relaxed and luxurious setting.
With a major focus on wine produced in the region, the restaurant Castas e Pratos focuses on local flavor and a regional concept. The recommended experience is wine tasting, which can be savored with gourmet products and a full and rich menu of seasonal products.
What to do
In the heart of the Alto Douro Wine Region, you can get close and personal with the picturesque landscape from a very unique viewpoint with a guided tour through the vineyards at Quinta das Carvalhas. This is the biggest vineyard in the Douro Region, situated in a privileged position overlooking the river. On a one-on-one tour, guided by the in-house agriculturalist, you'll have a genuinely unique experience walking around the side of the vineyard by side with someone who knows them by heart, ending with a tasting of four wines and a cheese platter.
Also, no trip to the Douro Valley would be complete without some time on the water. The journey upriver is one of the most scenic in the world, with staggering views of the dramatic valley covered in bright green rows of grapevines. Relax onboard a private boat while cruising upriver and enjoy the vineyards and terraces leading down to the river. River cruises can last from two hours to one or more days, with or without meals, and are a delightful way to enjoy the landscape. Whether you want to sit back and enjoy a sunset sail ride, an onboard picnic, or dinner catered by DOC Restaurant itself, there are options for all. You may also enjoy a full-day tour with stopovers at a couple of wineries along the way for wine tasting and lunch, or maybe a night's stay. These cruises will cater to all tastes and ensure that you experience the very best of this wonderful region.
Back on high ground, spend the evening at the gorgeous Six Senses Douro Valley. The hotel’s Vale Abraão Restaurant offers a range of dining options, including a chef’s table where you can enjoy an impressive ten-course meal - generously portioned and beautifully plated - as well as wine pairings. Nicely installed in the chef’s table, you will be able to accompany all the cooking of the tasted dishes under the attentive guidance of the restaurant staff. Everything is presented beautifully and a lot of the products come directly from the organic garden.
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