Drawing a trip to a region as rich and extensive as the Douro will inevitably mean a thing: cities, towns, villages and other places that only the locals and most daring travelers know will be left out. All About Portugal dared, however, to point the way. Follow the winding of the river, dazzle yourself with the landscape sculpted by Nature and brave men, and stop whenever your heart tells you to do so. Choose a nice soundtrack and make your road trip worthy of the best author cinema!
Porto and Gaia
Let us then begin at the end, in the city where the river ends its journey. Porto is fashionable, and it's easy to understand why. Stay there for as long as you can and let yourself fall in love with Invicta's magic. Extend your visit to Gaia, visit the Porto wine cellars and engrave in your memory the colorful waterfall that extends to the river. It's the perfect prelude to the next adventure!
Ilha dos Amores
It's time to hit the road! The EN 222 is a sort of Portuguese version of the Route 66, a charming road in the shape of a river, which unites three World Heritage Sites: the Historic Center of Porto, the Alto Douro Vinhateiro and the Rock Engravings of Foz Côa. In Castelo de Paiva, discover Ilha dos Amores. A well-kept secret and a landscape worthy of the most beautiful love stories.
If you are a fan of Eça de Queirós writings or if you want to get to know better this Portuguese writer, make a leap to the other shore to visit the House of Tormes, headquarters of the Foundation that celebrates the life and work of the author. Immerse yourself in the pages of "The City and the Mountains", discover the places that inspired him, look at the titles of his private library. There is also the iconic monocle and the desk where Eça wrote while standing on his feet.
Peso da Régua
Head towards Peso da Régua, capital of the demarcated region of the Douro. It was from here that the rabelo boats that carried the kites to the cellars of Gaia, where the wine would grow old and gain character, would leave. The city invites you to a walk with your head held high. Enjoy the manor houses and palaces, walk along the hundred-year-old Metallic Bridge, visit the Douro Museum or venture on the wine producing farms.
S. Leonardo da Galafura Viewpoint
The Douro landscapes, marked by the river that quietly runs in the deep valley and by the geometrically drawn terraces, are even more beautiful when seen from above. Therefore, it is not surprising that it has so many viewpoints. At 640 meters of altitude, S. Leonardo da Galafura is one of the most famous ones and of obligatory visit. The writer Miguel Torga called it "an excess of nature".
Get back to the 222. The 27-kilometer section connecting Régua to Pinhão is considered one of the most beautiful in the world and one of the best roads to drive. After dozens of curves and counter-curves, stop at Pinhão. Enjoy the tile panels of the nineteenth-century railway station, and indulge yourself in the aromas and flavors of the region in the bars and restaurants overlooking the Douro.
São Xisto Village
Let's remind you that this is an open itinerary, subject to last-minute enchantments. Along the way you will find farms, villages and enchanted places. The São Xisto village is one of them. Stroll through the alleyways along the typical shale houses, visit the oil and wine mills, go down to Ferradosa dock and fall once again in love with the surrounding landscape. It's breathtaking!
Foz Côa Engraving Rocks
And we arrive at the Archaeological Park of Foz Côa, a true open-air museum of Paleolithic art and a treasure of the Humanity. The tens of thousands of years old engravings survived time and oblivion, man and even the threat of a dam. There are hundreds of them, divided by nucleus, and they are waiting for you! To understand them better, go to the Côa Museum. Advanced booking is recommended.
The Mazouco Horse
Head to Freixo de Espada a Cinta, where it all began. The Mazouco Horse was the first example of outdoor Paleolithic art to be found in Europe. It is not easy to get there, because the road is narrow and winding and the last few meters have to be made on foot. Next to the river, the only 62 cm long engraving almost goes unnoticed in the middle of nature, but, as you get closer, you will see that it is amazing!
Environmental Cruise in Miranda do Douro
In the Natural Park of Douro Internacional, we invite you to leave the car for a few hours. In Miranda do Douro, where the river marks the border between Portugal and Spain, embark on a cruise and let yourself be overwhelmed by the beauty and strength of nature. End this trip with a goblet of Port wine.
Penedo Durão Viewpoint
Finish the journey between majestic cliffs, with only the sound of the birds breaking the silence and enjoy the shady mountains of the Douro.