Douro valley river cruises seem to be on everyone’s bucket list for 2018 and 2019. This Northern Portugal river cruise is being asked for more and more. (The odd enquirer doesn’t even really care where it is, the Douro valley just sounds good!) The weather promises to be good in the summer in the Douro and the landscapes picturesque. And you don’t have to be a seasoned river cruiser or a history buff to enjoy it. We Brits like our bit of European summer sunshine to look forward to and Portugal’s Douro river is benefiting from increased demand.
So, if you want your bit of Douro sun, fantastic light red and white wines and to enjoy the relaxed pace of one of Europe’s southern most navigable river cruise destinations, we do still have availability for summer 2019. To discover our cruises click here
Links between the English and the Douro Valley go back hundreds of years – and partly explain the rise of Port as a popular alcoholic drink worldwide.
England and Portugal have enjoyed close trading links since the Treaty of Windsor in 1386. Some centuries later, a ban on the import of French wine led some English merchants living in Portugal to discover the wines of the Douro valley. The river along which we were now cruising formed the main transport route for those wines.
Sweet and fruity, rich and full of flavour, Port wine is powerful and strong. After all it does have an alcohol content of between 18 and 22%. Yet we were surprised to find just how much variety exists during a river cruise through the Douro Valley – the home of the Port producers. Rosé, white port, vintage port, ruby and tawny, aged in barrels or deep red in colour; tasting sessions at the Quintas proved very enjoyable.
This is one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. Terraces of vines held in place by drystone walls rise in ranks high up the mountainsides while hawks and falcons swoop overhead.
Stopping off at the little village of Favaios, we discovered the delights of Moscatel wine and liqueurs produced with the local Moscatel Galego grape. Aromatic and very special, it is best sipped while eating home made bread and honey. The age-old links between the two are highlighted in the fascinating Museum of Bread and Wine.
Then there are amazing buildings found throughout the Douro Valley such as the massive Castelo de Ansiães. Covering almost 10,000 hectares it is made of solid granite! Over at Serra da Aboboreira is a collection of 40 megalithic tombs while the Dólmen de Chã stand out against the hillsides.