Douro Valley Portugal Day Trip

Porto, Portugal is a beautiful walkable city and it is no surprise that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Across the river from the popular Ribiera downtown area is the Vila Nova de Gaia, which is often mistaken for being a part of Porto. This is where you will see the names of famous port houses on top of their buildings and have the opportunity to visit their cellars and tasting rooms.

PortoVilaNovaDegaia_RS
Vila Nova de Gaia

While Vila Nova de Gaia is absolutely lovely, we wanted to see where the grapes that are used to produce this wonderful port is grown!

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour

We opted to take a day trip with a company called Detours (https://www.detours.pt). They offer a huge range of tours in the area (walking, 4×4, surfing, rafting, you name it). The one we went on was the “Douro Valley 4×4 Tour”.

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Our guide, Diogo, with their custom VW 4x4.
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
One of the custom features was this terrific open roof!

8:30 AM Start Time

The day started with our guide, Diogo, picking us up from our AirBnB accommodation. We then picked up a mother-daughter duo from England who were visiting Porto for the weekend and ended up being loads of fun. Now that all were on board we began our drive to the Douro Valley which took around 1 hour 20 minutes. Along the way, Diogo shared information about Portugal, Porto, Port, the Douro Valley, and specific sites along the way.

Did you know?

The Douro Valley, like Porto, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our first stop, Peso da Regua. Here we made a quick stop for some espressos and tea to get energized for the day. It wasn’t long after that we got off the main roads and found out why this is a 4×4 tour! Initially we meandered along the back roads near the river, stopping to pick oranges for lunch, but soon we were told to fasten our seat belts and get ready for a bumpier ride.

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com

Douro Valley Terraces

The roads up the mountain were no joke! We passed through terraced fields of grape vines with epic views and got a close look at the rocky terrain. The landscape was naturally beautiful, but what made it particularly stunning was the fact that every square meter had been altered and touched by human hands.

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Did you know?

Portugal produces 50% of the world’s cork. We’re guessing screw top wine bottles are not in their future!

Fresh Fruit Picking

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com

Lunch Time

Once we reached the top of the mountain it was time for lunch. Diogo set up a nice little picnic while we admired the 360 degree views at Sa`o Leonardo de Galafura. Rows and rows of grape vines as far as the eye could see.

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com

On the Menu

For lunch we had rissol carne, croquete, panados, bolinhos de bacalhau, pastel de nata, and a local wine.

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com

Pinhão

After lunch we traversed back down the mountain by a different route to venture to the town of Pinhão. Here we had the opportunity to visit a top port producer, Croft, and their Quinta da Roêda vineyard. Comprising over 80 hectares (approximately 200 acres), this is a beautiful property. Here we received a tour of the property and were treated to three tastings of port – a pink, ruby and a tawny.

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Did you know?

The grapes used to produce port wine can’t be irrigated and must be hand picked. 

Croft Port & Quinta da Roêda

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Vicious guard dog at the vineyard.
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Did you know?

Several port producers are now making a pink port. The trend is to use it in cocktails. Visit https://croftpink.com/cocktail-recipes/ for ideas.

Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com
Douro Valley 4×4 Tour - Portugal - RTWreset.com

6:30 PM Drop Off

Ten hours after our pick-up, we were dropped off at our AirBnB. We are really glad we got out of the city of Porto to explore the countryside. While you could explore the Douro Valley on your own, some of these roads are definitely not for the faint of heart and not for your typical rental sedan. Plus, having a guide like Diogo who is very knowledgeable of the area, is priceless.

Click here for all of our Portugal-related posts.

Do you have any thoughts to share about hitting the life reset button? Please post below or contact us directly!