Wine voyage through Portugal
This 10-day self-drive road trip, visiting 5 Protected designation of origin (from here on PDO) and starts off at the gastronomic city of Porto, from here you will drive to your first region, Minho, famous for its Vinho Verde, the green wine.
You will pass the historic cities of Braga and Guimares. From here you will drive to the hilly Douro Valley, with spectacular nature with its hills made into terraces. Next, you will drive to the Alentejo wine region, with a stop in the Bairrada region, staying in the historic city of Estremoz.
Your final destination is the cosmopolitan city of Lisbon where you´ll spend the final evening.
Day 1 | Porto | Arrival and orientation Porto
On the day of arrival to the coastal city of Porto, a private taxi takes you to your hotel. Depending on the time of arrival, you may have the option to walk around the city for some first impressions of its surprisingly steep hills and grand squares.
Porto is absolutely spellbinding with its tenaciously textured buildings, valorous variety of architecture, and Mesmerizing mix of color shades. Enter this laid-back city with a few great options to check off the travel list.
Take a cruise of the Douro River and connect with the Portuguese nautical triumphs and kindred relationship with the water. You’ll pass under the 6 bridges connecting both sides of the city, including Ponte de Dom Luís I, designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Every city has its token market, and Porto has the Mercado Bolhão, an identity on its own and a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Indulge in a gastronomic array of Portuguese delectables,
and the shop owners will be happy to share their stories with you here.
Day 2 | Porto | Its blue-tiled houses and Port wineries
Today charters an alluringly full day of marching around the city and taking in the various aspects of this old-world, rejuvenated city, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996.
Porto is a decorated playground of mazes and cobbled, tangled streets and hills. Brimming with brilliantly blue-tiled buildings adorning the center, the streets eventually widen into well-manicured, wide walkways.
Stroll along the boulevards and reach the Ponte de Dona Maria Pia, connecting Porto and its friendly neighbor across the Douro River, Vila Nova de Gaia. This bridge was completed in the late 1800s by Gustave Eiffel (already famous for his Eiffel Tower in Paris) and is a star of the city still today. Cross the Douro river to visit the Port wineries on the other side in Vila Nova de Gaia. We’ll share our expertise on which wineries to visit and which Ports to try.
Visit the Livraria Lello Library which will surely hold a special place in your memories for years to come. Let the same inspiration that found J.K. Rowling here for her Harry Potter books, find you as well, with its magical woodwork, ornate interior, and crimson carpet.
Day 3 | Porto – Ponte de Lima | First sight of Portugal´s vineyards
In the morning you pick up your rental car and start your drive towards Ponte de Lima. We suggest you make a stop underway in the city of Guimaraes, often referred to as the “birthplace of Portugal” and a Unesco site since 2001. Guimarães offers a 10th-century castle built in the style of a French chateau. for some sightseeing.
From here on it is another 45 minutes to de town of Ponte de Lima, most famous for its Roman bridge.
Day 4 | Ponte de Lima | Minho wine capitals of Monção and Melgaço
Packed with a list of our winery suggestions, you drive up north to the Spanish border. There are two towns on the menu today, the first one being Monção and the second one Melgaço. You´ll drive along the Minho river, with Spain on the other side, passing hamlets, that only live off the wine making.
The Vinho Verde region, literally translated as the Green Wine region, gets its name from the grape, which is picked even though it is still green. They mainly use the Alvarinho grape, which gives the wine a slight sweet, but also refreshing flavour.
After you have explored the region and visited the wineries you wanted to see, make sure to plan in at least a few hours on your way back to Ponte de Lima to make a stop in the fortified town of Valença.
The Valença Fortaleza is being said, to be the most impressive fortifications in northern Portugal, still standing after having endured so many battles. An impressive viewing poing is from Spain, 5 kilometers away, crossing a bridge, which was designed by Eifel.
Day 5 | Ponte de Lima - Douro Valley | Leaving the white wine for the red, off to the Douro Valley
Going from Ponte de Lima to the Douro Valley we do recommend having a stop in Braga, an important town in Portuguese culture and a success story from the time of the Romans, through the medieval era, to the present day. It warrants your visit with its medieval-style settlement, its Cathedral, a sacred art museum, and the Gothic-style Kings’ Chapel. Markedly, the Cathedral on the hill is one of the oldest in the country.
Another interesting stop is in Amarante, known for its saint Gonçalo, related to curing fertility, which attracts many people from far with symptoms of not being able to get pregnant.
Day 6 | Douro Valley | Exploring the Douro wine region
A great day for exploring the precious hills with the Douro river serpenting its ways towards the city of Porto.
The region has 8 grape varieties for red wine and 5 for white wine, even though the majority of the wine produced here is red. Also, a large portion of the grapes is transported to Porto, to make the port wine.
You´ll receive tips on which bodegas to visit.
Day 7 | Pinhao – Lamego - Anadia | From the famous Douro wine to the lesser known Bairrada region
In the morning you´ll leave the precious Douro Valley and head off in the direction of the Bairrada wine region. On your way, you have a stop in Lamego, and climb the impressive 686 steps staircase to reach the sanctuary Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, which attracts many pilgrims from across the country.
You will stay in the area of PDO Bairrada is known for the Baga grape, cultivated in clayey soils, giving the red wine a lot of colors and very rich in tannins, while the Bical and Fernão Pires are cultivated in sandy soils, producing very aromatic white wines. The natural sparkling wines are also widely served with food, especially with the local delicacy, the suckling pig.
In the afternoon we have arranged a winery visit for you, to one of the best bodegas in the area. Explore the cave tunnels underneath the ground where the wine is continuously at a constant temperature. See the spider webs dangling from the oldest bottles in the storage room. This bodega is specialized in sparkling wine.
Day 8 | Anadia – Coimbra - Estremoz | Heritage towns and medieval castles
While driving through the interior of Portugal there are some unforgettable must-visit sites on your way.
The first stop is the UNESCO historic city of Coimbra, famous for its university, one the oldest in the world. Founded in 1290, the building has changed little, and the town is still a hub for academics and a student-life culture unique and strong to its own device. Students dressed as they were centuries ago give you a taste of tradition with song and dance.
The drive continues through a natural park with hidden villages with black tiled roofs.
You´ll arrive in Estremoz, besides the wine, it´s also known for one of the largest marble mines in the world. One notable building in the city is its marble tower dating centuries back.
Day 9 | Estremoz | A full day dedicated to wine
Today you have a day to explore the PDO wine region of Alentejo. Alentejo has a few dozen types of grapes, and the Portuguese tend to blend the grapes while winemaking. There are two types of soil, clay, and schist. The region is known for the Talha wine, a way to make wine as the Romans did, two millennia ago. So, there is a big variety, from using the technique of two thousand years ago, or with very modern technology.
In the morning we have already made your first appointment. You will visit a very modern winery that has installed the latest techniques to make wine. The bodega has a modern architecture and uses 7 different types of grapes and from two different soils. For this bodega, energy use and sustainability are very important.
We will give you a lot of winery options today, so you can plan the rest of the day yourself.
Day 10 | Estremoz - Lisbon airport | Flight back home
Today you drive to Lisbon for your return flight home.
Should you wish to extend the trip further and experience more of Spain’s gems, or adjust the itinerary we would be delighted to tailor this to your wishes.
Total price: € 845,- / $ 1025,- per person
- 9 Nights in 2 or 3 star hotels including breakfast. Please note that there is the option to upgrade to 4 or 5 star hotels for just € 495,- per person for all 11 nights.
- 7-days car hire including all-risk insurance
- Access to insider tips about what to see and where to eat. Let us know if you have any special diets like vegetarian, vegan, halal, kosher or any other and we´ll give you free advice
- 24/7 help line for the duration of your trip.
- Air tickets. Please note that we can arrange these should you wish.
- Travel insurance. Please note that we can arrange these should you wish.
- All other food and drinks not mentioned in the above description.
- City tourism taxes
- Personal expenses such as extra hotel services or gratuities
- Entrance fees unless otherwise stated.