Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage since 2001, Alto Douro Wine Region, as well as the whole Douro Wine Region, and the Douro International Natural Park are places of exceptional beauty, with much to see and discover! Come with me and visit Douro and Northern Portugal in a week that you won’t forget!
In an itinerary with over 600 km, I’ll show you some of the must-see places in this Portuguese region: Amarante, Lamego, Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Miranda do Douro, Porto and others.
Thus, if you get to Northern Portugal by train or plane and want to visit Douro, hire a car and get on your way to visit this beautiful wine region.
Visit Douro and Porto in 7 days
If you take into consideration that this day will be shorter than the others, you should take the A4 highway and, before you visit Douro, make your first stop in Amarante. In this amazing city, I recommend that you spend some time exploring the historic centre since there are places you can’t miss:
- Church and Convent of (igreja e convento de) São Gonçalo
- São Gonçalo Bridge
- Church of S. Pedro
- Church of S. Domingos
- Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso City Museum
Apart from these points of interest, lose yourself in the beautiful and narrow streets of the historic centre and go for a walk alongside Tâmega river; you can also try the tasteful delicacies of this region and enjoy a pleasant meal in one of the restaurants that offer great views over the river.
Since you must be tired of your trip to Northern Portugal and Amarante, I suggest that you spend the night in one of the most beautiful hotels in this region that offers a privileged view over the historic centre – Hotel Casa da Calçada Relais & Chateaux (affiliate link).
As an alternative, you can choose Casa do Fontão (affiliate link) to stay for the night. This hotel is located 2 km away from the Church and Convent of São Gonçalo.
After having a magnificent breakfast at Casa da Calçada or Casa do Fontão, it’s time to get back to your travel guide of this Portuguese region. Return to the A4 highway and head to Vila Real, more specifically to Palácio de Mateus.
This beautiful 18th-century palace, designed by the famous architect Nicolau Nasoni, stands out because of its Baroque style and surrounding beauty of its gardens, lakes, forest and vineyard. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this Portuguese monument as well as the cellar and chapel.
- Site: www.casademateus.com
When you finish admiring Palácio de Mateus, head south to finally visit Douro!
Make your first stop at the amazing São Leonardo de Galafura viewpoint, 20 km south of Palácio de Mateus, and enjoy the breathtaking views this viewpoint has to offer. Here, you can admire Douro river, the wine terraces and much more – these are some of the characteristics that make Alto Douro Wine Region World Heritage.
Next, head to the town of Peso da Régua, located next to Douro river, and take the opportunity to visit Douro Museum.
The main goal of this museum is to offer its visitors the opportunity to get to know the identity, history, culture and development of Douro region, especially in what winemaking is concerned – definitely a place to go when you visit Douro region.
After lunch, cross Douro river and visit the beautiful old town of Lamego, located just 13 km south of Douro Museum.
There is so much to see in this town so you should spend the rest of your day here. Visit places like:
- Sanctuary Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios
- Cathedral of Lamego
- Castle of Lamego
- Church Igreja das Chagas
- Church and Convent Igreja e Convento de Santa Cruz
After having explored the beautiful historic centre of Lamego, I suggest you spend the night at Hotel Vila Galé Collection Douro (affiliate link). Located by the south shore of the river, this four-star hotel is a great place to stay when you visit Douro.
Another possibility in this area is to spend the night at Casa Relógio de Sol (affiliate link). Take the opportunity to relax at this beautiful place that is also located close to the south shore of Douro river.
If you want to learn more about Lamego and its surroundings, read my Itinerary of one day to visit Lamego and the amazing Douro Valley.
Your third day of this Douro travel guide begins with an offer you can’t refuse: drive through the stretch of the N222 road between Peso da Régua and Pinhão, considered as the best in the world. Throughout 27 km you can admire, while driving, some of the most beautiful views of Douro Wine Region.
Once you get to Pinhão, drive uphill to the viewpoint miradouro de Casal de Loivos (3 km away) to admire the magnificent view over Douro Valley.
Then, drive down to the centre of Pinhão where you can admire the beautiful glazed tiles located at the train station.
Don’t miss the opportunity to go for a walk along Pinhão quay; you can also go on a one-hour cruise, a perfect way to admire Douro Valley from a different perspective.
To make this day even more memorable, I suggest you visit one of the quintas (wineries) of this region – after all, it’s because of Port wine production (but not only) that this region is known worldwide.
One quinta that you can visit is Quinta do Seixo, a Sogrape’s estate and representative of the Port wine brand Sandeman. This quinta is located on a hill and offers one of the most privileged views over Douro river.
Here, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of this region, in particular about Port wine production.
The other option is a visit to Quinta do Bomfim. Unlike Quinta do Seixo, this quinta is located close to the north bank of Douro river, in the beautiful village of Pinhão.
Belonging to the Symington family, this quinta focus its production on Port wine and Douro DOC and welcomes visitors since 2015. Take the opportunity to visit a small museum, an old ageing cellar, a lagar cellar and much more.
Information: are you going to spend the night in Porto and don’t have more days to explore Douro Valley? Know that you can book one-day guided tours with a pick-up service at your hotel.
These guided tours will give you the opportunity to admire the most beautiful viewpoints, discover authentic villages, savour Port wine in a winery and go on a cruise in Douro river to enjoy the wonderful landscape of the valley in a different and unique perspective.
In the afternoon, I suggest you visit another place listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site – the prehistoric rock art site in the Côa Valley.
The first stop you must make in the Côa Valley Archaeological Park is in the Côa Museum.
In this modern building, perfectly integrated with the surrounding nature and offering a privileged view over Côa and Douro rivers, you can admire the permanent exhibition as well as temporary exhibitions related to rock art; you’ll also have access to a library with specific books on the matter.
Apart from the visit to Côa Museum, you can also visit one of the three rock art sites: Penascosa, Ribeira de Piscos and Canada do Inferno.
- Site: www.arte-coa.pt
Finally, to conclude this wonderful day in this region I suggest you go discover São Gabriel viewpoint, 16 km southeast of Côa Museum. From here, you can admire the magnificent landscape, both of Douro Valley and Côa Valley – definitely a place to go when you visit Douro (one of my favourites)!
To spend the night, you have two options to choose from: or go to Torre do Moncorvo or stay in the vicinities of Vila Nova de Foz Côa.
Close to Vila Nova de Foz Côa, my recommendation is that you try this wonderful place: Casa do Rio (affiliate link).
One other possibility is Longroiva Hotel Rural & Termal Spa **** (affiliate link).
After a well deserved rest and if you have chosen Torre de Moncorvo to spend the night, go explore this authentic town (otherwise, drive to this place, you won’t regret it).
This small town on the north bank of Douro river will amaze you, especially its historic centre from the medieval and Renaissance periods where you can admire:
- Church Igreja Matriz (Portuguese monument)
- Church Igreja da Misericórdia
- Museum of Sacred Art
- Ruins of D. Dinis medieval enclosure
- Chapel Capela Sagrado Coração de Jesus
- Chapel Capela Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres
The first stop is at the viewpoint miradouro de Penedo Durão, a magnificent viewpoint where you can admire the beautiful Portuguese and Spanish landscapes, a dam. From there you can also gaze at the birds of prey like the Egyptian vulture, the golden eagle or the peregrine falcon.
Next, discover the beautiful town of Freixo de Espada À Cinta, located 12 km away from Penedo Durão viewpoint. Here, spend some time admiring the historic centre and its:
- Tower Torre do Galo
- Old castle’s walls
- Church Igreja Matriz
To wrap up your day, I recommend you go to three viewpoints located 20 km away from Freixo de Espada À Cinta.
The first one is the viewpoint miradouro do Colado that offers an amazing view over Mazouco location and the International Douro Valley.
The viewpoint miradouro do Carrascalinho will give a different perspective thanks to the vertiginous view over the river (the viewpoint is very close to the cliffs).
Information: the last kilometre of the itinerary to the viewpoint is made on a dirt road. Don’t hesitate to leave you car away from the viewpoint to avoid any problems (part of the dirt road has big rocks that can damage your vehicle).
Lastly, discover the viewpoint miradouro da Cruzinha with views over Douro river but also over the Spanish village of Aldeiadávila. In this viewpoint you’ll find tables where you can have a picnic.
Information: to admire this view (check photo above), you’ll have to climb down a few metres through the dirt path close to the viewpoint.
To rest after this exhausting but rewarding day, I suggest you choose the hotel Casa das Águas Férreas (affiliate link), located close to the centre of the town of Mogadouro.
While in Mogadouro, don’t hesitate to discover places like:
- Church and Convent Igreja e Convento de São Francisco
- Ruins of the castle of Mogadouro (built in the 12th century)
- Town centre
In the afternoon you can choose to head to Porto (thus having the possibility to spend two whole days at the capital of Northern Portugal) or go discover Miranda do Douro, located 30 minutes away from Mogadouro.
In Miranda do Douro, lose yourself in the historic centre and take the opportunity to discover:
- Church Igreja Matriz (a cathedral up to 1762)
- Ruins of the Episcopal Palace
- Ruins of the old castle of Miranda do Douro
Next, go down to Douro river and visit Douro International Biological Station. Here, you can try something different: go on an environmental cruise in Douro river and enjoy this experience that provides interesting and relevant information.
Days 6 and 7
This trip is 261 km long and will take you around 2h45 to complete it (if you leave from Miranda do Douro) or 218 km, 2h20, (from Mogadouro, if you have chosen not to visit Miranda do Douro).
Once in Porto, discover the magnificent historic centre, World Heritage since 1996, and surrounding area and admire amazing monuments, fountains, churches, chapels, viewpoints and, of course, authentic quarters.
Take the opportunity to go to places like:
- Clérigos Tower
- Cathedral of Porto
- São Bento Train Station
- Bolsa Palace
- Church of São Francisco
- Luis I Bridge
- Serra do Pilar Monastery
- Port Wine Cellars
- Bolhão Market
- Santa Catarina Street
- Ferdinand Wall
- Church of Santa Clara
- Lello Bookshop
Apart from these wonderful locations, there are many others to be discovered! Read this article to get to know my detailed travel guide in Porto.
Tip: If you have hired a car, take the opportunity to return it once you arrive to Porto in order to save some money for the remaining days in this city.
To spend the night in Porto, I recommend you read my article on the best hotels in Porto. My suggestion is that you choose a hotel close to or in the historic centre so that you don’t have to spend too much time in public transportation.
Information: the map shows the points of interest and places where you can spend the night. You can choose what you want to see in the map by clicking the icon in the top left corner of the map.
Average cost of holidays in Douro and Porto for a couple (7 days):
Car hire: 180 euros (with comprehensive insurance)
Fuel: 75 euros
Tolls: 15 euros
3-star hotels: 536 euros
Restaurants: 420 euros (30 € per meal)
Tours / monument tickets: 202 euros
Total: 1428 €, meaning 714 euros per person
Information: if you spend your holidays in July or August, probably your budget will have to increase around 30 % (especially because of the car hire and accommodations booking).
Are you going to visit Douro and Porto? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room, your car or the best activities by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!
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- lamego dam staircase