Summer holidays are approaching and the Douro is one of the destinations par excellence. With family or friends, start planning your vacation with these suggestions for activities to do in the Douro this summer.
1. Have a wine tasting on a wine farm
Ir ao Douro e não fazer uma prova de vinho, numa das quintas da região, é como ir a Roma e não ver o Papa! Mesmo que não seja fã de vinhos, visitar uma quinta é fundamental, não fosse a Região Demarcada do Douro, a mais antiga região vitícola regulamentada do mundo.
Going to the Douro and not having a wine tasting in one of the region’s wine farms is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope! Even if you’re not a wine fan, visiting a wine farm is essential, as the Douro demarcated region is the oldest regulated wine-growing region in the world.
As for the choice of the wine farm, the offer is vast and there are options for all budgets. Generally, the program is common to all – guided tour with historical context, where you will learn about the history of the farm and learn more about the region; visit the vineyards, where you can observe the landscapes, which always give good photos for social networks; learn how to harvest and produce wine, and finish with a wine tasting and perhaps a tasting of some regional products.
2. Visit the Douro Museum
If you would like to know more about the history and culture of the Douro, its people and the wine of this region, the Douro Museum éis the place to visit. Inaugurated in 2008, this Museum located in Peso da Régua, is dedicated to preserving and disseminating the identity, culture and history of the Douro Region.
In addition to the permanent exhibition, the Museum also hosts temporary photography, architecture and plastic arts exhibitions, always with the Douro theme. In summer (March 1st to October 31st) it is open to the public every day from 10 am to 6 pm. Visit!
3. Traveling on the Douro Historic Train
Between June and October, take a trip to the past on the Douro Historic Train!
Winding along the Douro River, the steam locomotive and the 5 historic carriages make the route that goes from Régua to Tua. The trip lasts about 3 hours and, in addition to the magnificent landscapes, it has some moments of entertainment and culture, which begin even before departure, with a group of music and traditional songs from the region, and a toast with a Ferreira Port. Upon arriving at Pinhão Station, passengers have the opportunity to watch the water supply to the CP 0186 steam locomotive, built in 1925. And also admire the famous tile panels that decorate the Station walls and portray the landscape and the life of people in Douro lands, with images of the production of Port wine, the harvest or the transport of wine in Rabelo boats. At Tua Station, passengers have some time to relax and admire the landscape while the steam locomotive makes the inversion maneuvers. They can also visit the Vale do Tua Interpretive Center, where they benefit from a discount on tickets.
The train runs every Saturday from June 5th to October 30th, and on Sundays from August 1st to October 10th. You can purchase tickets on the CP website.
Take this opportunity to take a unique trip into the past, marked by the beauty of the landscape classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
4. See the rock engravings of Vale do Côa by kayak
This activity, which lasts about 5 hours, begins at the engraving centers of Canada do Inferno and Vale Figueira, where participants can observe the engravings from the water. Next is the Fariseu engraving nucleus, where the largest outdoor engraving in the world was recently discovered, an aurochs measuring 3.5 meters. Here there is time to relax and have a picnic, where participants are invited to taste the region’s traditional products.
In addition to the engravings, you can see the existing biodiversity, which includes birds such as griffins, black storks, Egyptian vultures or golden eagles, plants endemic to the region and, with some luck, the otters that inhabit the river.
An exclusive visit that allows you to enjoy all the Côa’s heritage and natural wealth.
5. Go through the Tunnels Route
The Tunnels Route is the trail that runs along the old train line that linked Barca d’Alva to La Fregeneda, in Spain. This section, deactivated in 1985, has a length of about 23 kilometers, crosses 20 tunnels, 8 bridges and 4 pontoons. The trail takes around 8 hours to complete, with stops for meals and admiring the landscape. But don’t think that doing this route is a “piece of cake”! Going through the Tunnels Route is a challenging experience, where you’ll have to cross tunnels that reach 2 kilometers, in the shadows, and bridges with about 30/40 meters in height. Therefore, this activity is not recommended for people with dizziness, health problems, and children.
Since the beginning of the year, the Route of the Tunnels has been managed by the Diputación de Salamanca and has opening and closing times, requiring you to purchase a ticket online.
If you are looking for an extreme adventure this summer, this is the activity for you!