Tucked in the northern provinces of Portugal, Douro Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Famed as the birthplace of Port wine, people have been producing wine in this breathtakingly scenic region for more than 2,000 years. And there’s no sign of them stopping anytime soon!
The wine in this region is world-renowned for its unique characteristics, including a color and taste that can’t be matched anywhere else. One major factor for the wine’s unique flavor is the valley’s location. Close to the Spanish border, the northern Douro Valley is about 70 miles off the coast, but the many mountains enveloping the region keep it sheltered from harsh Atlantic winds. The region’s soil is chock full of nutrients and produces grape juice that is rich and well concentrated.
Because of the area’s mountainous terrain, most of Douro Valley’s vineyards are atop of terraces. Many of these terraces are held up by ancient stone walls, which contribute greatly to the region’s striking landscape.
In recognition of its rich history and remarkable scenery, UNESCO named the Douro Valley a World Heritage Site in 2001, citing that “the cultural landscape of the[…]Douro is an outstanding example of a traditional European wine-producing region, reflecting the evolution of this human activity over time.”
Fortunately, most of the valley’s lush vineyards are open to the public, so you can try the celebrated wine right from the source. Many of the vineyards will even let you join in on the wine production process and take part in the grape harvest.
While Douro Valley has long been a major draw for visitors, especially among wine enthusiasts, there’s now even more reason to visit. Six Senses Resorts, internationally recognized for their high-end facilities and sustainable practices, opened the doors to their Douro Valley resort in 2015. Six Senses Douro Valley offers a marvelously renovated 19th-century manor house set high on a hill overlooking the vine covered rolling hills of the Douro Valley and the river below. A spa, a selection of rooms, suites and villas, restaurants, wine library, swimming pools, and an organic garden are just a few of the resort’s many features.
We’d recommend visiting the Douro Valley in May or June for the best weather and views of the landscape’s gorgeous colors. Harvest season is in September and October, which is also an excellent time to visit the region and enjoy its unforgettable wine.