“You notice how wine makes people wanna feel, like, sexy?” The memorable Clueless line rings oh so true. When the topic is vino—whether red, white, or rosé—romance always seems to follow. No doubt you’re familiar with Burgundy, Tuscany, and Napa. Perhaps, you’ve even heard of (or, better yet, visited) Willamette Valley. But if you’re thirsty for a new wine-centric vacation destination that’s brimming with heritage and natural beauty, we’ve got just the spot. Vineyard walks, grape picking, historic estates, and world-class port await in Douro Valley.
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Situated in northern Portugal, Douro Valley retains this remote, hidden-gem sensibility. In reality, getting there from Porto really just entails a scenic train ride or drive—meaning a day trip is totally doable, though we’d recommend staying for the weekend.
Where to Sip
Douro Valley is, of course, best known as the birthplace of port. Kick things off with the fruitiness of a young Ruby. Craving a glass of seductive, barrel-matured nectar? Aged Tawny sits in wood casks for 10, 20, 30, or 40 years. We highly suggest a side-by-side tasting to find your favorite. For a special treat, open up a late bottled vintage (LBV) from Quinta do Bomfim. Fancy something a bit less boozy? Porto Tónico is a popular aperitif that pairs perfectly with salted almonds and stunning sunsets. Douro Valley grows more than 60 different indigenous grape varieties. Besides sweet, fortified wine? It’s cup runneth over with terroir-driven reds and crisp, refreshing whites. Don’t pass up the chance to sample Touriga Nacional or a wonderfully complex blend of Viosinho and Moscatel Galego Branco at Quinta da Pacheca, one of the oldest estates in the region.
Where to Savor
Douro Valley's top-notch culinary scene easily competes with destinations twice its size. The fertile countryside provides an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs that take center stage on menus across the region. After riding along the river on a traditional rabelo boat, enjoy lunch at Cozinha da Clara. A beautiful waterfront location and contemporary Portuguese cuisine make DOC a fantastic choice for date night. Castas e Pratos lures hungry patrons with its Michelin-starred fare and impressive wine selection. Vale De Abraão invites couples to relish the intimate ambience of the dining room or an outdoor table with spellbinding vistas.
Where to Stay
In the realm of honeymoon-worthy hotels for oenophiles, it doesn’t get better than Six Senses Douro Valley. An idyllic setting in a renovated 19th-century manor house surrounded by vine-covered hills sets the tone for romance. But it’s the unique wine experiences that really take things to the next level. Beyond daily tastings led by trained sommeliers, the concierge will happily organize excursions like treading grapes, helicopter trips to remote producers, cellar tours, and VIP visits to Quinta do Bom Retiro (which isn’t typically open to the public). The property also boasts a gorgeous spa with impressive facilities—including an infrared sauna, a heated indoor pool, and steam room—and an inspired treatment menu. What’s more, guests can learn how to craft custom products using locally sourced, organic ingredients at the alchemy bar.