Douro is one of the major rivers that runs along the Iberian Peninsula. It stretches 557 miles long, and only the part that runs along the Portuguese territory is navigable by light river craft. The 70 miles of the river forms part of the border that separates Portugal and Spain. This region has narrow canyons which served as a barrier and the dividing line of linguistics. This isolated area is protected by both countries from one side to the other.
Douro, Portugal is chiefly known for two things: the valley and the wine (called the Port wine). The valley is breathtakingly beautiful with the foothills falling down to the river’s edge. The river used to flow here rapidly but over the past 25 years, with the construction of eight dams within the area, the river has been tamed and appears more like a lake than a river. The color of the valley changes throughout the year depending on the maturity of the vines.
A cruise along the river Douro is what brings visitors back again and again. Cruises from Porto allow you to enjoy cocktails and wine-tasting as you explore different historical places. One of these places is the Casa de Mateus and Gardens, an example of Baroque architecture in Portugal built in the 18th century. If you happen to visit in February and March, you can enjoy the lovely sight of almond trees in blossom. Blankets of pink-white are everywhere and this never fails to invite people– citizens and visitor alike– to go out on a picnic and just have a good time.
The valley was the first demarcated wine-producing region in the world established in 1756. And till date, it is very famous for the fortified wine called the Port wine. When you visit the valley now, you will not find modern wine-making machinery and equipment. Their wine industry operates as how it did over a hundred years ago. No wonder that Port remains one of the world’s greatest wine.
So if you enjoy taking a cruise along the river going to Portugal from Spain or vice versa, and you would like to savor excellent wine on either side, Douro is the answer.