Activities to do in the Douro in winter

Activities to do in the Douro in winter

Winter doesn’t necessarily have to be melancholy and gray. It can also be inspiring and full of color. So, if you’re thinking of going on a little getaway, the Douro is an excellent option. The region has a characteristic glow at any time of year, but it is more intense in winter. It is the ideal place to get out of the routine and that is why it is increasingly sought after at this time of year, both by Portuguese and foreign tourists. It’s not just its sweeping landscapes or natural beauty, so discover several activities to do in the Douro in winter. Winter can really be inspiring and in the Douro it has another color.

1. Cruzeiro das Pontes

Atividades para fazer no Douro no inverno - Cruzeiro das Pontes | Rota do Douro

Cruzeiro das Pontes is a boat trip that lasts approximately 50 minutes. During the journey through the waters of the Douro, you can learn about the history that unites the bridges, as well as their cultures, in a unique journey that combines the grandeur of the Serra do Pilar Monastery with the characteristic features of Ribeira and Afurada. An absolutely breathtaking panorama distinguished with the title of World Heritage.

Since it doesn’t involve passing through any dam, the Cruzeiro das Pontes is done all year round. It is done in the typical Rabelo Boat, during the winter the first boat leaves at 11 am and the last one at 4 pm. The price is 15 euros, and children up to the age of 3 do not pay. Children from 4 to 12 years old have a 50 percent discount, provided they are accompanied by an adult.

2. Museu do Douro

Atividades para fazer no Douro no inverno - Museu do Douro | Rota do Douro
Fonte: Centro Nacional de Cultura – Núcleo do Porto | Flickr

Visiting Museu do Douro is one of the good activities to do in Douro in winter. The building is located in Peso da Régua and was inaugurated in 2008, after being renovated. The Douro Museum is intrinsically linked to the history of the Douro Demarcated Region from the XVIII century and preserves the customs of the wine region, also valuing activities related to viticulture, wine tourism and cultural tourism.

It has an Exhibition Area and there you can see the Exhibition “Douro, Matter and Spirit”. But that’s not all. The Douro Museum has several attractive spaces such as the Restaurant “A Companhia”, the Shop, the Information Center (Archive and Library), the Reading Room, the Conservation and Restoration Center, the Wine Bar and, finally, a Garden Terrace overlooking the magnificent Douro River. The Educational Service of the Douro Museum, another space that you can visit, is located in an adjacent space, cut by black schist.

Besides the permanent exhibition, the Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions of photography, architecture and plastic arts, always with the Douro theme.

3. Pinhão

Atividades para fazer no Douro no inverno - Pinhão | Rota do Douro

Pinhão is a lovely little town located right in the heart of the Alto Douro Wine Region. The place, a World Heritage Site, is flanked by the Douro and Pinhão rivers, and it is from there that most of the Port wine is produced. It is a village with a little more than 600 inhabitants that receives a lot of tourists every year, most of them passionate about wine and the Alto Douro Wine Region. The terraced hills are one of the town’s main points of interest, but those who pass through Pinhão are not without… passing through other places. The railway station and its elaborate tiles, as well as the imposing bridge, are two other must-see destinations.

The region is most visited from May to October, due to the grape harvest. So, if you choose to visit Pinhão in winter you can enjoy its greater tranquility.

4. Estrada Nacional 222

Atividades para fazer no Douro no inverno - EN222 | Rota do Douro
Fonte: Roads to drive

If on one of those very cold days you don’t feel like staying in the comfort of your home, venture along with Estrada Nacional 222, or EN 222, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The EN 222 connects Vila Nova de Gaia to Almendra and is known for its characteristic surroundings, particularly the stretches along the Douro River. Kilometer zero is next to the Santo Ovídio subway station.

 

In all, the already nicknamed Route 66 in Portugal is 226.3 kilometers long and covers three destinations classified as World Heritage Sites: the Ribeira of Porto, the Alto Douro Wine Region, and the Rock Art of Foz Côa. The Régua – Pinhão section is the highlight of the route, a total of 27 km along the Douro.

 

Along the way, you can appreciate the beauty of the region’s land by making stops in Cinfães do Douro, Resende, Régua, Pinhão, São João da Pesqueira or Vila Nova de Foz Côa. It is one of the good activities to do in the Douro in the winter. And with the family.

5. Enoturismo

Atividades para fazer no Douro no inverno - EN 222 | Rota do Douro

The Douro is a very reputable wine region, not only in Portugal but also in the world. It is where distinct wines are produced, with unique aromas and flavors, with history and secular tradition.

By opting for wine tourism, you will have the possibility to taste the traditional Port Wine, but also to be part of its conception through workshops. From the cellars to the kitchen, you can also try the already famous cooking experiences and learn more about the Douro delicacies. A great opportunity to enjoy a good wine while cooking your own meal.

There are famous and exquisite Quintas in the Douro that are open all year round and, as in winter there is less demand, the tastings can be a bit more personalized.

In short, visiting the Douro region is a great idea all year round. But if you don’t like big crowds, doing it in winter might even be the best option. The list of activities is quite diverse, so venture out. You won’t regret it!