The river flowing down the Douro valley is the blood that keeps Porto running, and it has been this way ever since Man first settled in these lands. But before it culminates in Porto and the Atlantic ocean, the river bathes hundreds of kilometres of beautiful, green and yellow lands, most of them vineyards and olive tree plantations.
Considered World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001, the Douro Valley has a striking and unique beauty. Mainly due to the history of the people that roamed this land for thousands of years, it has gathered an history of great endeavours, fuelled by dreams of big money and happiness, but also fuelled by a one-of-a-kind nectar: the magnificent Port wine.
Wine has been produced in these lands for at least the last 2000 years, but it was the Port wine that morphed and recreated this land. From the 19th century to our days, this land developed into some of the most valuable farmlands in the world, all built upon special terraces built on the side of the hills, called “socalcos”.
As you can imagine, these lands are everything but plain and easy. The terrain is harsh and unmerciful: the winters are extremely cold and wet, while in the summer the thermometers scale up to unpleasant peaks. But that’s what make this region so unique: the violent beauty of it all.
Humble, hardworking and religious people, Douro’s people reflect these lands’ conditions. Their faith is sprayed all over the region, in the form of small roadside chapels, but also some of the most amazing Roman architecture in the country, from small churches to great monasteries that time has almost forgotten. A true example of perfect balance between Nature and Manmade beauty.
These are some of the reasons why so many Portuguese great writers and artists tried to capture the spirit of this beautiful land on their work.