With even its name predicated on its rich trading past, Porto’s merchants have seen the vineyard delights of the picturesque Douro Valley attract everything from Moorish palaces to Baroque grandeur. Our tailor-made self-drives and river cruises take in the best of this spellbinding region. Speak to our specialists to start planning your perfect Portugal holiday.
A rich history in Porto
As the country’s second city, Porto has a charm all of its own. Centuries of a hands-off approach to town planning have resulted in a maze of historic alleyways that twist among a tumble of terracotta rooftops. They lead down, past grand squares, to the glittering good looks of its waterfront, where riverside cafés look out to that great architectural marvel – the Gustave Eiffel-inspired Dom Luís I Bridge. Its double decker construction brings railway passengers, motorists and pedestrians alike to Gaia, a district on the city’s southern banks where centuries-old merchant houses still host port tasting sessions.
But, it’s on the northern side that you’ll find Porto’s centrepieces. Highlights include the golden Baroque glam of the Igreja de São Francisco, the neoclassical severity of the city’s cathedral and the 17th century blue-and-white tiles of the Igreja da Misericórdia, depicting grand, classical artwork.
Porto's Old Town, Portugal
Portugal's Douro Valley
The same river that flows through Porto carved the Douro Valley – a route mapped by scenic railway journeys, drives and cruises. And, as you swap city bustle for World Heritage verdure, you’ll be greeted by row upon row of rolling hills. It’s all host to nearly three millennia of winemaking heritage, found across vineyards carved right into the region’s green undulations.
The Douro Valley
This spectacular scenery is punctuated by an equally appealing human history. Culinary traditions still thrive among backcountry villages and banquets laid out in 300-year-old aristocratic houses while medieval fortifications line rivers and perch atop cragged escarpments.