9th October 2015: I've just returned from a fabulous trip to the River Douro and Porto - a magical, unspoilt corner of Europe - with Titan Travel. I knew very little about this area of Portugal and even less about the Douro River Valley. So here are my top 8 highlights for anyone thinking of visiting the River Douro and Douro Valley…
1. Porto - port wine cellars
Porto is synonymous with port wine and historic architecture. A visit isn't complete without a visit to one of the port wine cellars to learn the fascinating history of port wine and its close British connection - and a few samples of course!
2. The Rebeira District
The Rebeira District is a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s lovely to stroll through the mediaeval streets or visit the Cathedral or many museums or relax in one of the numerous quayside cafes watching the traditional rabelo boats.
3. Spirit of Chartwell
In Porto, we board the 'Spirit of Chartwell' or Royal Barge for 3 nights along the River Douro. This boat is better known for playing its part in history by carrying the queen and her family at the diamond jubilee pageant on the Thames. The boat is exquisite and elegant with a fine lounge, piano bar and only 15 cabins.
4. Douro Valley vineyards
The Douro Valley is a stunning and unspoilt part of the world, so undeveloped that it really is something very special. The Douro was once a wild river but has been tamed by a series of locks and dams. As you glide through the lovely Douro River Valley you can marvel at the steep terraced vineyards where grapes have grown for 2,000 years. It is so relaxing and peaceful.
5. Mateus Palace
Titan have included some excursions and our first stop was to the famous Mateus Palace. The Palace is an impressive 18th century baroque Manor House full of priceless antiquities and beautiful landscaped gardens.
Another trip was to the historic and picturesque town of Lamego where we visited Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ramedies Church. An imposing building high above the town reached by 686 steps.
7. Quinta de Avessada
A wonderful night out was to the Quinta de Avessada, a wine estate high up in the valley reached by a meandering and very scary road. Here you can learn about their wine making process and have a sumptuous dinner with wine tasting.
This tour with Titan Travel is a wonderful way to explore this area they make it a real culinary experience.
New tours from Titan Travel
Titan have just brought out their new Europe Compendium brochure that includes a huge selection of new cultural, historical and scenic tours of the UK and Europe.