The Douro region stands out for its landscape and cultural versatility. From the river mouth, which separates the city of Porto from the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, to the Spanish border, where the navigable part of the Douro River ends, there are 210km of diverse landscape. In this route we can cross five Dams (Crestuma, Carrapatelo, Bagauste, Valeira and Pocinho) with gaps up to 35 meters, finding several reasons to fall in love with this region.
In the city of Porto, most known as “Invicta”, the historical buildings built along its banks constitute a landmark and an indisputable cultural richness. On the left bank of the Douro River, in Vila Nova de Gaia, wine history plays a crucial role as we can find the most famous cellars of the Porto Wine. These cities, separated by the Douro River, are connected by six magnificent bridges, which almost all of them have received architecture awards.
Continuing our journey, another mandatory stop is the city of Peso da Régua. Here, our view is dominated by terraced vineyards where the combination of this region’s characteristic microclimate with the secular know-how associated with the grapes’ harvest leads to the production of some of the best wines in the world. This scenery and cultural environment extends to Pinhão, a small village full of traditions. Navigating upstream, we can observe the rapid transformation of the landscape, where the vines give way to great rocky heights, of indescribable beauty. Miguel Torga, one of the most illustrious Portuguese poets, when passing through Valeira is thought to have said that “The Douro is a nature’s excess”. To navigate in these waters, previously untamable, was only possibly after the cut of the Cachão da Valeira (in 1780) and, subsequently, the construction of the dam of Valeira. As we reach the final of the navigable part of the Douro River, the panorama is once again filled with vineyards as well as secret and relaxing places, where you can enjoy the best gastronomy accompanied by a sky full of stars and a background music starring Nature.
There are countless reasons to visit this region and its people. Cruising the Douro River is a unique experience where the magnificent landscapes are blended with the unique history that led to Douro region being considered World Heritage by UNESCO.