Douro Valley Wine Tour

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The Douro Valley Wine Tour:  an exclusive tour along a magnificent wine river

— A luxurious wine tour with spectacular views. Many wine regions lie along a famous river. But the Douro in Portugal is the most spectacular of them all! The landscape is dramatic and beautiful. The vines grow on break-neck slopes. We will enjoy two nights in a luxurious hotel along the Douro, a gem of calm and comfort. During the trip, we will get to know both the classic port wines and the more modern “table” wines that today reach world class. As well enjoy Portuguese gastronomy.

Program    |    Travel facts    |    Book    |    More on the tour

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The next wine and food tour to the Douro Valley:

  • Contact us!

This is a sample program, an example. Every wine and food tour that we organise is different and specially adapted for the season and the circumstances. Details in the program, e.g. which producers we visit, will be different each time.

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In this stunning landscape along the Douro River in northern Portugal, the vines grip the steep slopes with their fingernails, often with the help of narrow terraces. In summer it is very hot and dry, autumn is often lovely. The grapes will be transformed into the famous port wine but more and more also into “table” wine.

The new generation of winegrowers in the Douro valley has in a few decades gained a reputation for making excellent, world-class non-fortified “table” wines. It is difficult today to make a living only from port and it turns out that the climate and the soil are also perfect for table wines, both reds and whites.

From its source in Spain, 300 miles east, where it is called the Duero, the Douro River flows west and joins the Atlantic in Porto. Already in Spain it is the source of several wines but it is when it flows into Portugal that it becomes the origin of one of the world’s most famous wines, here in the Douro Valley.

The river landscape is spectacular and wild, but it has been tamed by wine growers many hundred years back. It used to be a dangerous and violent river but since a handful of dams were built in the mid-twentieth century it is now a calm waterway. There are no longer the old-fashioned barcos rabelos transporting wine from the quinta on the water down to Porto. Instead, you see cruise ships today.

We will drive up from Porto on winding roads, over the mountains with breath-taking views and into the wine districts.

Landscape in the Douro Valley with vineyards and terraces and Pinhao
Landscape in the Douro Valley with vineyards and terraces and Pinhao, copyright BKWine Photography

We will get to know both the port wines and the red table wines of the region, and even a few whites. But calling these wines “table” wines may give the wrong impression. They are very serious wines with high ambitions.

The vineyards are very difficult to work and making wine here is a tough task. Making simple wines would hardly be worthwhile here. The winemakers focus on top-quality blends in order to gain an international reputation. Which they have done successfully.

It is good to see that many of the wines are made from genuine Portuguese grape varieties, rather than from international grapes that can be found anywhere in the world today. We will get to know wines made from touriga nacional, tinta roriz, touriga franca, souzão and others. Very exciting wines.

As demand for port is decreasing, more and more red table wine is being made. And the producers are discovering the enormous potential their grapes have for full-bodied and tasty table wines. This mix of port and high-quality table wine makes the Douro Valley a very exciting wine region to visit.

The tour starts in Porto (sometimes called Oporto). It is one of the biggest cities in Portugal although it does not count more than 200,000 inhabitants. The city centre is a gem, very old and winding streets climb the hills with many architectural sights as well as a wealth of restaurant, bars and cafes. You arrive in Porto on the Wednesday.

Porto is on the UNESCO list of Cultural World Heritage and a must to visit. Our hotel is centrally located with only a short walk down to the old harbour. An evening walk and a glass of port while enjoying the view across the river over the sister city of Vila Nova de Gaia cannot be avoided. It is actually in Vila Nova, and not in Porto, where all the port houses have their lodges. If you have the possibility we do recommend that you spend a day or two extra in Porto.

On Thursday morning our bus will pick us up at the hotel and we will start our journey into the Douro Valley, up the river. We will spend the following two nights in Alto Douro, the heart of the valley. Our hotel is a luxury hotel along the river. We will spend two nights here as well as have two dinners together.

Saturday evening we are back in Porto where we will spend our last night.

Our visits will be a mixture of big houses and small family producers. We visit 2 or 3 producers every day – travel is slow in the Douro on the narrow and winding roads. We will focus both on port wines and on table wines.

We will also have ample opportunities to get to know the traditional Portuguese food, a gastronomy of its own. Cooking is often traditionally rustic but high-class cuisine has also arrived in the Douro Valley. We will enjoy three lunches together as guests at the vineyards. On the Thursday and Friday evenings, we will also be enjoying two gastronomic dinners together.

The tour is led by one of BKWine’s wine and travel expert guides.

The famous bridge in Porto, Douro Valley
The famous bridge in Porto, Douro Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

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More info

We have written a lot about the Douro Valley and about wine touring in the region, what to do and what to expect.

Here you can find more about travelling in the Douro Valley.

You can also find more information on the Douro Valley wines on BKWine Magazine.


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Program — Douro Valley wine tour

This is a sample program, an example. Every wine and food tour that we organise is different and specially adapted for the season and the circumstances. Details in the program, e.g. which producers we visit, will be different each time.

Preliminary programme.

For more details, contact BKWine.

Program overview

  • Day 1, Wednesday — Arrival in Porto
  • Day 2, Thursday — Between Pinhao and Regua
  • Day 3, Friday — High up in the upper Douro
  • Day 4, Saturday — Tradition and modernity in the Douro
  • Day 5, Sunday — Heading back home

Wednesday, Day 1 — arrival in Porto

Arrival in Porto (read more on Porto on the link) at your leisure and time to check in at our centrally located hotel.

When you arrive in Porto you check in to our very central four-star hotel. It is in “the old town” just next to the old harbour with plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance.

You should absolutely take a short walk down to the river and look across to Vila Nova de Gaia where the where all the traditional port lodges of the big brands are located: Taylor’s, Sandeman, Dow’s, Ferreira, Croft, Ramos Pinto etc.

Along the river, you can also see a few well-preserved samples of the traditional boats, barcos rabelos, used for transporting wines on the river.

There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the quay-side and if you want to stroll over to Vila Nova it is just a short walk across the Eiffel-inspired bridge.

The evening is free to discover Porto. One of the very best restaurants in the region is just around the corner from our hotel. Perhaps a good way to begin the tour?

Landscape in the Douro Valley with vineyards and terraces
Landscape in the Douro Valley with vineyards and terraces, copyright BKWine Photography

Thursday, Day 2 — Between Pinhao and Regua

Our comfortable bus picks us up in the morning and our journey across the mountain and along the river begins.

The road along the Douro River is slow and winding and to get a good start we take the motorway to Vila Real and Peso da Regua. From there we will go along the river more slowly, into the Alto Douro, the heart of the district. When we arrive there and you see it you will understand why this is on the UNESCO list of Cultural World Heritage!

This day we will visit some top quality wine producers who have invested heavily in recent years to gain world reputation not only for the port wines but also for the table wines.

The grape must destined to become port is often fermented in lagares, the traditional shallow stone troughs. Sometimes they are equipped with computer controlled pigeage, mechanical feet that replicates the stomping of human feet. But many producers still do tread the grapes with “real” people.

After a few kilometres along the river, we arrive at Quinta de Tedo, owned by the Frenchman Vincent Bouchard (with family ties to Bouchard Pere & Fils in Burgundy) and his American wife Kay. They bought this 250-year-old property, including 14 ha of vineyards, in 1992.

After a visit to the cellar and a thorough tasting, we sit down for a traditional lunch. We will, of course, taste the range of wines from the winery along the food, including some delicious ports, and we will taste their very exclusive olive oil.

After lunch, we will visit a quinta owned by one of the major port wine companies. It will be a big contrast to the small Quinta do Tedo.

The dimension is very different, but the landscape and the vineyards around this quinta are just as incredibly spectacular.

Late afternoon we check in at our hotel, the beautiful five-star hotel, located in the small town of Pinhão, which is one of the main towns in the wine region of Douro. Take a walk, relax in the garden or in the comfortable bar. Perhaps the weather even allows a swim in the pool.

Later in the evening, we all gather for aperitif and dinner in the hotel restaurant in classic English country style.

Pinhao in the Douro Valley with the Vintage House Hotel
Pinhao in the Douro Valley with the Vintage House Hotel, copyright BKWine Photography

Friday, Day 3 — Up, far into the Douro valley

After breakfast, we will continue our tour along the beautiful river, looking calm but actuall treacherous, to reach Santo Adrião .

We head upstream towards São João da Pesqueira where we will visit Quinta de Sra. do Rosario, perhaps better known as Quevedo Wines. Oscar Quevedo and his family have some 100 ha of vineyards in Cima Corgo and Douro Superior.

The road up to São João da Pesqueira is a never-ending series of curves and bends so one tends to grip the bus seat firmly. The views are spectacular.

Quevedo Wines makes both table wine and port, including some very exclusive tawny (barrel aged) ports. We will taste a series of older and older tawnies. Oscar started his career working in finance in Madrid and Geneva but has come back to the Douro some years back and is now working with his sister, who is the winemaker, to develop the family winery.

Oscar, still young, has already created a name for Quevedo Wines all over the world. Being young he has a talent for “social media” on the internet which certainly helps. It will be an interesting visit that will give you an insight into both wines and marketing.

We will have delicious lunch in the nearby town of Ervedosa. This is a family owned restaurant, very ambitious. We will be served different Portuguese specialities, everything delicious. The wine list is superb and we will try several different Douro wines with the lunch.

We stay in Ervedosa for our afternoon visit to a French-owned quinta with a state-of-the-art wine cellar and a breathtakingly beautiful view.

Late afternoon we are back in the hotel and we have time for a relaxing break before it’s time for our dinner together. We recommend a walk in the village of Pinhão to look at the beautiful azulejos, the painted tiles, at the small train station.

Landscape in the Douro Valley with vineyards and terraces
Landscape in the Douro Valley with vineyards and terraces, copyright BKWine Photography

Saturday, Day 4 — Tradition and modernity in the Douro Valley

We will leave our hotel in the morning and slowly begin our slow journey back to Porto. You must never be in a hurry in the Douro Valley!

But we will start the day with going to the small village of Vale de Mendiz. Mendiz is a tributary that joins the Douro near Pinhao. Here we will visit a family estate, specialized in Douro wines, that has received much attention in recent years. Here the grapes are still trodden in traditional lagars.

Then we head back towards Regua.

Our last visit on this tour will be at Quinta Senhora da Graca. This is a small family estate outside the village of Lobrigos, near Regua.

Here we have a beautiful view of the river and some very old vineyards, over 80 years old. We will meet Vasco, the owner and the winemaker, maybe both his father and mother will be there too. After a short visit and a wine tasting, Vasco’s mother will serve us a typical Portuguese home-made lunch.

We always enjoy our lunch here very much and are often reluctant to leave. But after cheese and dessert, it will be time to start going back to Porto.

On our way back we pass once again the mountain range that protects the upper Douro from the maritime breezes and that gives the Douro Valley its very special climate, with sometimes stunningly hot summer days.

The upper Douro was long very isolated and a journey upriver could take many hours from Porto but today there is a modern and rapid highway.

Early evening we arrive back in Porto for a last night.

The evening is free to discover the restaurants and nightlife of Porto. We are happy to share with you our best restaurant addresses! Perhaps a stroll along the quayside, or a walk across the “Eiffel Bridge” to Vila Nova an all the water-front restaurants? Or a short trip to the coast and a visit to one of the fish restaurants? There is plenty to do in Porto.

Landscape in the Douro Valley with vineyards and terraces
Landscape in the Douro Valley with vineyards and terraces, copyright BKWine Photography

Sunday, Day 5 — Heading back home

The tour ends after breakfast. Departure.

The program may be subject to minor modifications.

In the wine cellar at Quinta do Tedo in the Douro Valley
In the wine cellar at Quinta do Tedo in the Douro Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

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Fact sheet — Wine tour to the Douro Valley in Portugal

Dates: This is a sample program. Look in the menu “Our Tours > Scheduled Tours” to check what scheduled tours are currently on the program or contact us to discuss a custom made private wine tour.

Price per person: This is a sample program. Look in the menu “Our Tours > Scheduled Tours” to check what scheduled tours are currently on the program or contact us to discuss a custom made private wine tour.

Included in the price:

  • 4 hotel nights, double occupancy, including breakfast
    • 2 nights in Porto
    • 2 nights in the upper Douro Valley
  • Meals as described in the program above (*):
    • 3 gastronomic multi-course lunches, including wines, at wineries or local restaurants
    • 1 gastronomic multi-course dinner, including wines
    • 1 luxurious gastronomic star-chef multi-course tasting dinner, including wines
  • Start and end point: Porto
  • Bus transport during the whole trip
  • All vineyard and winery visits
  • Private, high-quality tastings at wineries, approx. 3 per day
  • Visits will be in English
  • Wine guiding and wine tutoring by an expert BKWine guide

(*) See below for more important information on our meals.

Not included:

  • Travel (flights) to the destination and back from your home location.

You organise your travel to Porto yourself. If you want assistance with organising your flight tickets etc, please contact us.

We warmly recommend that you plan a few extra days here if you have the time! It is a very interesting place and well worth some “non-wine” tourism too! We can assist you with booking additional hotel nights if you want.

For this trip to take place we must have a minimum of 4 participants registered at the “book before” date. Maximum number of travel guests: 8.

Book This Tour

Book before: [this is a sample programme]

Booking is confirmed by paying the booking fee of [sample programme, this varies by trip]. Full payment should be received at the latest [sample programme, one month or 60 days, depending on the trip] before the departure date (see our terms and conditions). Details on how to pay will be sent to you when you register.

It is important that your read our travel booking terms and conditions.

We also invite you to read more on why you should travel with BKWine, about customer protection, and about what you can expect from our wine tours in the section below “More on our wine tours”.

You book by contacting Britt Karlsson, BKWine:

  • phone: +33 1 58 88 04 66 or +33 6 80 45 35 70 (+33 is the country code for France)
  • Skype: “bkwine”. Call us on skype.
  • email: info@bkwine.com, or use the contact form below

“I want to book this tour” or “I want more info.”

(*) = required

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More on our wine tours

Why travel with BKWine?

We are Britt and Per Karlsson. We are specialists in wine and food tours and wine tourism, but also experts in wine in general. We are internationally published wine writers and have written ten award-winning wine books.

No other tour operator has a comparable knowledge and experience of wine, wine regions, wine tourism and gourmet travel.

We have organised hundreds of wine and food tours, and this is what we love to do. We take it very seriously – it is not a sideline or a hobby – and what we want more than anything is to share all these wonderful experiences with you.

All our tours are led and managed by guides who have in-depth wine knowledge, and in many cases we lead the tours ourselves.

Read more on why you should choose BKWine for your wine and food tour.

Thousands of happy customers

Over the years, thousands of wine lovers have travelled with us. Many come back to tour again and again with BKWine to new wine regions. Our record-breaking client has been on more than ten BKWine tours. We are happy and proud to have such faithful customers.

Read more on what travellers have said about our tours.

Awards and Mentions

We’re pleased and proud to have received many accolades, including:

  • “World’s Top Wine Tours”, Travel+Leisure Magazine, the world’s biggest travel magazine
  • “Best wine tasting holidays”, AOL Travel’s list of top wine tours
  • “Recommended Wine Tours”, Munskänkarna, the world’s biggest wine appreciation association
  • “World’s Best Wine Book for Professionals” as well as “Best Wine Book of the Year”, Gourmand International awards, and many other book prizes
  • Three OIV book awards, International Organisation of Vine and Wine
  • “Wine Personality of the Year”, an honour bestowed on Britt Karlsson by Munskänkarna in 2011, the world’s biggest wine appreciation association
  • Inclusion on the Wine Media Power List, by Wine Business International magazine

About the wine producers and wineries we visit

Our aim is for you to experience some of the very best and most interesting aspects of the wine world, in terms of wine and food.

We put great effort into creating outstanding winery visits, and in this way we are quite different to many wine tour organisers. It is not always the most renowned, internationally known estates that offer the best experiences. Organising a wine tour featuring famous names of the wine world is relatively easy: it is merely a question of making lists and ticking boxes. On those kind of “bucket list” wine tours, you rarely meet the winemaker or the owner. You will simply be one of thousands of visitors they receive each year.

We do things differently. With BKWine Tours, you will meet the people behind the label, often the winemakers and/or the owners. Thanks to them, you will have a unique, truly personal experience and an insight into the wine world that no one else can offer. When you travel with BKWine, you are more like a special guest than a tourist.

We have personal connections and unparalleled knowledge thanks to more than 20 years as wine journalists, with 10 wine books published, and as wine tour organisers with more than 30 years’ experience. You can be sure of getting the best wine travel experiences with BKWine Tours.

Read more on the wine producers and wineries we visit.

A true gourmet experience: food and gastronomy

For us, wine and food are intimately linked, and this is a fundamental part of our wine travel philosophy. For this reason, a wine tour with BKWine is always an outstanding culinary experience both for the wine enthusiast and for the gourmet. A BKWine tour is a gastronomic voyage that explores the deep relationship between food and wine.

Read more On Meals: Food and Gastronomy on Our Tours.

Customer Protection,  Financial Travel Guarantee, and Terms and Conditions

You can always feel safe when you book your tour with BKWine. BKWine has a bonded bank guarantee that gives full protection according to EU and Swedish law. BKWine is a Swedish limited company and as such is regulated by strict rules.

Read more on Customer Protection, Financial Travel Guarantee. and our Terms and Conditions.

When you book a tour it is important that you read the terms and conditions. BKWine’s booking terms and conditions follow the guidelines developed by the Consumer Protection Agency.

Health, vaccination and allergies

Our tours have no particular health requirements although inevitably we will be walking a certain amount in wine cellars and vineyards. Sensible footwear is a must.

Most of our travel destinations have no particular health guidelines or requirements for vaccinations or medical certificates, but if in doubt, you should always consult a medical professional, vaccination centre or relevant embassy in your country of origin.

We can always accommodate food allergies. However, in order for us to manage such requests you must let us know about any allergies before the tour starts.

Read more in our FAQ and in our Terms and Conditions.

Travel insurance

BKWine does not sell travel insurance. If you want travel insurance, check if your regular home insurance policy includes some kind of travel insurance, or contact your regular insurance company or a travel insurance specialist.

Custom Tours

We also offer custom wine and food tours if you want to travel on different dates, or if you want something different to what we currently offer on our scheduled tours. This tailor-made service can be offered for individuals, companies, professionals, wine tastings clubs etc.

Important information

Our groups are always small. The number of people in the group may vary. The maximum can range from 8 to around 20; check the details in each programme. But our groups are always modest in size. This is important because it guarantees a quality experience and a personal welcome at the wineries we visit.

Read the BKWine Booking Terms and Conditions here. They are important to you!

You are expected to organise your travel independently to the destination for most of our tours, but once you are at the location, we take care of everything.

For more inspiration

Read our wine travel blog. For more, read our online wine magazine the BKWine Magazine with articles from all over the wine world.

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