Douro Valley | How to get there from London & what to do

Discover the best attractions in The Douro Valley, visitors come from all over the world to see the whitewashed Quintas (estates) and their 18th-century wine cellars.

Douro Valley

By Robert Heymell

The Douro Valley is one of the wine meccas of the world. The oldest demarcated wine region in the entire world, this region is the home of the delicious port wine, as well as a wide array of other delightful vintages. Whether you are looking to explore the vineyards and experience the notes and flavours of different grape palettes, or discover Roman ruins and the cultural charisma of this enchanting world heritage site, there is plenty for all.

In this article, we will explain the best process for reaching Douro Valley from London, and dive into the various wine originating there, as well as other potential experiences in the valley.

Reaching Douro

When travelling to Douro from London there are a few options for the latter part of the journey. However, the first leg of the journey remains the same. Getting a flight from London to Porto is the quickest and best-priced way to reach the valley. There are direct flights from Luton, Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow to Porto.

If you are looking to book Luton Airport parking (or any other airport parking), then you should check out Parkhero for a wide variety of prices and options.

Once you have reached Porto, there are a variety of ways to reach the Douro Valley by travelling upstream along the Douro River. Renting a car and driving there is a great way to experience the undulating hills. Another option is to take a picturesque train ride, leaving you free to gawk in awe at the spectacular scenery.

For those with more expensive tastes, there are also helicopter tours, as well as cruises that will bring you up the river to visit each vineyard.

Port Wine Cellar

Types of Grapes

Douro Valley hosts a wide assortment of grape varieties. Below we have listed the principal varieties of the Douro region. Interestingly, the wine produced in Douro Valley now comes from single grape variety vineyards, however in the past, this was not the case. Up until the 1970s, the grape varieties were not studied in detail, leading to many vineyards producing wine from mixed grape varieties. This means that you can find unique flavours all throughout the valley. This has also resulted in a wide variety of Port wines being produced. See the wine tours section below for some information regarding the port wine.

Black Grapes

  • Bastardo
  • Mourisco tinto
  • Tinta Amarela
  • Tinta Barroca
  • Tinta Cão
  • Tinta Roriz
  • Touriga Francesa
  • Touriga Nacional

White Grapes

  • Donzelinho branco
  • Gouveio
  • Malvasia Fina
  • Rabigato
  • Viosinho
Exquisite port wine tasting

Douro Valley Wine Tours

Now this is what you really want to know. Where can you go for the best wine tours and tastings? We have two vineyards that we can highly recommend for Douro Valley wine tours and tastings.

Find them below.

Quinta do Noval

This vineyard hosts a historic port house which is registered as far back as 1715. With such a long history of working with both port and table wine, this is an excellent choice for experiencing the flavours of the local grapes. Quinta do Noval provides both table wine tastings, as well as port wine tastings and comes highly recommended.

Here, you will be able to try the three families of Port that they have on offer. These are as follows:

Extra Dry White:

Usually a port wine that is chilled, and often served with tonic, it makes for an excellent aperitif.

Late Bottled Vintage

Similar to Vintage Port, this Port uses only noble grape varieties and is trodden by foot and unfiltered.

10 year old Tawny Port

This is a blend of old ports from various vintages that have been matured in oak casks to produce their classic flavour.

Quinta Nova Nossa Senhora do Carmo

This unique vineyard established in 1764 and sporting 41 traditional plots is another excellent choice for tasting and tours. Traditionally Quinta Nova produced Port Wines, however in the last 17 years, they have shifted toward producing table wine as well, some of which provides for some fantastic tasting experiences.

In addition to being able to participate in a wine tour, Quinta Nova also has its own wine museum for those interested in a more in-depth understanding of wine production and history.


As far as accommodation goes in Douro Valley, there is plenty of choices. Somewhere that is well worth the price for the luxury is the Six Senses Resort. This luxury hotel provides all sorts of activities and facilities for your pleasure and perusal. Whether you are looking for wellness, go for a walk, or want to experience private wine tasting, they can provide that for you.

Another method of experiencing Douro Valley on a tighter budget is exploring the Airbnb options in the area. There are plenty of hidden gems where you can have fantastic views and more privacy than a large scale hotel.

Activities Outside of Wine

There is plenty of activities and experiences worth exploring beyond just the wine in this awesome valley. With Roman ruins aplenty, hiking trails sprawling all over the hills, and even mountain biking opportunities for the more adventurous, there is a plethora of activities worth checking out.

So there you have it, a brief guide to the Douro Valley and how to reach it from London. We hope you enjoyed it and that we have piqued your interest in this underappreciated jewel of Northern Portugal.

Traditional boat on Douro Valley

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