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The Douro Valley Harvest Route

When you’re planning a city trip to Porto in the autumn, it’s a waste not to plan a route to the Douro Valley as well. The Harvesting Season in September is the most beautiful time of the year in the north of Portugal when the vineyards are ready to crop on the set of a landscape slowly starting to show off its autumn colors. Watch how farmers harvest their grapes or even help the farmers for a day.


Route info

  • Route name: The Douro Valley Route
  • Suggested duration: 2-3 days
  • Best time: Harvest season in September
  • Total Distance: 277 KM
  • Best by: car
  • Start and end point: Porto
  • Highlights: Harvest tours in the Douro Valley, grape picking tours, driving along the Douro River, and the views over the valley.


A more extensive version of this Douro Valley Route can be found in the travel guide Porto en de Dourovallei (NL language), written by Tineke Zwijgers and Dorien Koppenberg. Download the guide for €4,99 for all spots, interactive maps, offline usage, and images.





The Douro Valley Route


PORTO – AMARANTE (60 KM)

Porto, the capital of the northern region of Portugal is a beautiful city to visit for a few days. The historic heart of Porto is the medieval neighborhood Ribeira, where streets are tangling and laundry is drying above your head. The must-sees in the city vary from the São Bento station tiled with 20,000 tiles, to the magical ‘Harry Potter’ bookstore Livraria Lello where J.K. Rowling got inspired for her stories, and the futuristic Casa da Música.


You’ll need some days to discover the city before you head down the Douro valley. First stop: Amarante, one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal. The village plays a heroic role in the Portuguese history. On the Bridge of Tâmega, the Portuguese were able to stop Napoleon’s army. When you’re standing on the new bridge, you’ll have a perfect photo opportunity for the old historic landscape.




Bridge of Tâmega by Dorien Koppenberg


AMARANTE – VILA REAL (40 KM)

Continue your route in the Douro Valley towards Vila Real, the village you mainly visit for the Casa de Mateus. The elegant country house is known for its appearance on the label of the well-known flat bottle of rose. You can visit parts of the house and the garden.


Drive from Casa de Mateus towards Pinhão, a beautiful route through the hills of the Douro Valley. The sunny slopes are blanketed with vineyards where you’re invited to stop along the route to taste some of the farmers’ wines!


VILA REAL – PINHÃO (40 KM)

When you’ve arrived in Pinhão, you have actually crossed the river. The most important sight in this town is the train station, covered in azure blue tiles. The famous port wines are from the Pinhão region, and during this season there are several farmhouses you can visit for a harvest tour in September. If you want to help out with the harvest, you’ve got to make sure to book your tickets for a harvest tour well in advance, as this is a popular activity for food and wine lovers.


There are several places you can visit to get the authentic harvest season experience. For instance, close to Vila Real at Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House, you can sleep in a country house on the slopes with a beautiful view over the valley. The harvest tour starts in the morning after you’ve received training on grape picking in the vineyard. Afterwards, you’ll have a lunch and a wine tour.




Harvest Tour at Quinta Nova by Filipe Teixeira


In the Pinhão region you can find Quinta Das Carvalhas, one of the most spectacular properties in the Douro Valley. You’ll spend a full day picking grapes, side-by-side, with the Viticultural Manager, a passionate person is knowledgeable about the vineyards and environment. The harvest tour also ends with a lunch in the vineyards and a wine tour on the property. A perfect day for this unique experience!


PINHÃO – PORTO (137 KM)

Returning to Porto, the route takes you through one of the most spectacular parts of the valley. From Pinhão to Porto, you take a beautiful route along Mãsão Frio to Porto on the N222 route. Take your time on this route, since every curve will amaze you with beautiful views of the valley. You’ll drive close to the river, and high up in the mountains with mesmerizing views. The Douro Valley is on the UNESCO World Heritage List for this particular reason!


A more extensive version of this Douro Valley Route can be found in the travel guide Porto en de Dourovallei (NL language), written by Tineke Zwijgers and Dorien Koppenberg. Download the guide for €4,99 for all spots, interactive maps, offline usage, and images.





Suggested reading for Portugal:


Pinhão by Dorien Koppenberg




Douro Valley by howtospendit.ft.com




Douro Valley by wonderful.uk.com




Harvest Tour by Filipe Teixeira

Aanbevolen reisgids: