When you think about the Douro valley, what does immediately pop in your mind? The staircase-like vineyards? Picturesque little villages? The river Douro snaking between the mountains? Steamy comfort food? A glass of Port wine? Probably a few of them since travelling around the Douro is a sensory experience.
No matter the season, Douro is a great destination and below we'll show you why.
Spring in the Douro Valley
Spring paints the Douro in green and there's an obvious choice: Douro Verde. This part of the Douro Valley is located between the urban Douro landscape around Porto and the so-called Douro wine-making region. The Atlantic influence, mild temperatures and heavy rainfall create a green scenery punctuated by the constant presence of water, hilltops and a rich biodiversity, which makes it a delight to drive around and explore hiking.
Another part worth exploring when the temperature is mild is the upper part of the Douro valley, near the border with Spain. There you can find Douro Internacional Natural Park, a remote and interesting area famous for the abrupt cliffs where birds of prey build their nests, and also Vale do Côa, the place that gathers the biggest collection of rock art paintings from the Pre-Historic period in Europe. Both are intriguing and beautiful and a great bet for Spring time.
Summer in the Douro Valley
Summer in the Douro region is hot and dry, which means the best plan is finding a relief. Our solution is easy: boat trips along the river, riverbank beaches, al fresco meals with fresh produce and a port and tonic in hand towards sunset.
Plus usually during late summer the grapes reach the perfect point to be harvested and locals walk along the vineyards to pick them and take them to the wineries. That's what we call vindimas, which is a fantastic period to be based at a local homestead, witness all the process and maybe even take part in some activities.
Autumn in the Douro Valley
Autumnal colours are truly beautiful in the Douro valley. The rolling hills become yellow, orange, red and brown, giving the name Douro a whole other meaning.
It's nostalgic season after all the hustle and bustle of the harvest, so the best plan is going out and enjoying the remains of summer doing some hiking trails or riding a bike. Although the landscape is peaceful, locals are still working hard on the new wines. Some age in inox or wooden barrels and others are bottled to be sold straight away, so why not pick a few quintas to visit the wineries, learn about the wine production in the region and also do some wine tastings?
Winter in the Douro Valley
During winter the landscapes are very quiet and the temperatures drop quite a bit, so our advice is slowing down the pace and enjoying the simple things. Staying indoors in a cosy boutique hotel, doing a cooking workshop, reading a good book next to the fireplace, going for a wine therapy massage and pairing Port wine with nuts and cheese is the absolute perfect bet. It allows you to really disconnect and enjoy the countryside with no crowds whatsoever. It's you and the Douro being thankful and appreciative of the seasons change and what lies ahead.
If you want to explore Douro and need some tips, get in touch and we'll come up with a great plan no matter the season.