The beautiful and magical Douro Valley

Douro Valley Portugaal

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

A Day in Porto

Today I would like to take you with me on a marvellous Douro trip. I made this trip last year with the amazing team from “A Day in Porto”. I have to admit that normally I’m not really a big fan of group tours, but this time it was a great experience! It was, without any doubt, a very memorable day with lots of information, great food, wine, and last but not least, lots of fun! At 07:30 am, I leave my apartment to meet up with the group  total strangers ….) who will be my company for the day. It is a diverse group with many different nationalities, which makes it very interesting. We depart Porto in 4 luxury cars in the direction of Pinhão.

Douro Valley Portugal

Douro Valley Portugal

On arrival in Pinhão, the first surprise awaits us as we are going to take a boat trip on the River Douro. The scenery is just breathtaking. During this trip, we were pampered with local tapas and a modern version of a local drink. This refreshing cocktail from white port wine with tonic is highly recommended! It is very easy to make, but so yummy !!

Ingredients :

  • White port wine – 1,5 oz / 1 jigger
  • Tonic – 3 oz / 2 jiggers
  • fresh mint – 1 sprig
  • orange – 1 wedge
  • ice – ice cubes

Add ice to a glass and pour the white port and tonic into the glass and stir gently. Add orange wedge and fresh mint as garnish. You can also add a little bit of orange juice. How can something so simple taste so good!

While we enjoy the tapas and the drinks (yes I admit it was quite early for a cocktail -:) ) we travel along the mystical riverbanks of the Douro where the vineyards already show their warm autumn colours. The landscape from the Douro Valley is listed as a World Heritage Site, and when you see it with your own eyes, you understand why.

Douro River Pinhão

Douro River Portugal

This river is the largest in the Iberian Peninsula, it has 897 km from the border with Spain to Porto.

Douro river – Pinhão

The Douro wine region is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. The river carved the deep valleys in the land, and mankind transformed the schist mountains into soil and walls and eventually planted the vines. These vines, bright green in the summer, and flame-coloured in the autumn supply one of the world’s best grapes. The inclined terraces give the vines the best sun exposure, which gives the grapes the warmth that they crave.

Quinta do Croft.


After our boat tour, we continued our trip to the Croft Port Wine Houses, founded in 1588. In Portugal, a vineyard estate is known as a “Quinta”. Croft produces a large ranch of high-quality Port wines. The tour in this Quinta is an exciting experience. I won’t go into all the details of Port Wine producing, but you can find a lot of information on the website from Croft. This short film is showing you the estate, and it is really worth watching Croft Port Wine.

However, there is one thing I would like to explain about Port Wine because it is something people ask very often…. What is the difference between Ruby and Tawny Port Wine?

Ruby and Tawny are both Port wines. The difference is found in the amount of time both have spent ageing in casks before blending and bottling.

Ruby Port is younger, has spent less time in the cask, perhaps only a few years, and has retained more of its natural color, and sweet, fruity characteristics from the grapes. As a result, its colours are more of a deep, ruby colour.

Tawny Port has aged longer in the cask, sometimes as long as 20 years, and as it matures, more of its colour fades to a brownish, red color. In addition, its flavours are less sweet, have deeper, more complex, characteristics.

And if I may make one more recommendation… …the pink port wine is the ideal  summer drink !


So now, after all of this early drinking all kinds of Port Wine, it is time for lunch! Some food in our stomachs before we switch to the red and white Douro wines is a wise idea…… We are driving to the highest point from the little town Tabuaço where you will find the restaurant Tábua d’aço from the excellent cook Thomas Egger. Yes, I know that doesn’t sound very Portuguese, and in fact, he isn’t, but his food definitely is. At this restaurant, you feel like you are at the top of the world, and the food is fantastic. Enjoy the bacalhautelha served in a roof tile or one of the excellent meat or fish dishes.


Bacalhau na Telha

After this meal, it is time for a stroll through the small and authentic town of Tabuaço, one of the eldest cities in Portugal. It’s almost like time stood still in this little town, and you almost feel like you’ve been travelling back in time. Only the electronic sound of the church bells brings you right back to the present time.

Unfortunately, it is time to head home, but not before we say a big thank you to the men from A Day in Porto. With their professionalism and sympathy, they turned this day into an unforgettable day.

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)



  • Nicki 27/06/2020 at 8:51 pm Reply

    What a wonderful release from our Covid lockdown. It looks absolutely wonderful and a definitely on my ‘to do’ list. Fabulous Joke.

    • johanna 28/06/2020 at 1:44 pm Reply

      Thanks Nicki! Maybe one day we can do our yearly dinner in Porto and I will show you around!

      • Nicki 28/06/2020 at 3:22 pm Reply

        I would love that Joke. Stay safe and well.

  • Toni 28/06/2020 at 6:57 am Reply

    Makes me feel like getting on to the next plane to Porto . Absolutely wonderful

    • johanna 28/06/2020 at 1:46 pm Reply

      One day …..we will go together. Finally one apartment ready to decorate!

  • willemien 01/07/2020 at 7:06 am Reply

    Hallo Joke
    geweldig dat je dit doet
    ik kreeg echt een vakantie gevoel

    • johanna 03/07/2020 at 8:44 pm Reply

      Dank je wel Willemien ! Morgen weer een echt Portugees recept. XX

  • Een Blind Date in Porto - La Dolce Vita 12/05/2021 at 4:08 pm Reply

    […] We doen de hele audio-tour en genieten aan het einde van de verschillende soorten Portwijn en heerlijke kaas uit de regio. Geen slecht begin! Ik leer tijdens de zeer informatieve tour ook alles over de beroemde “Rabelo Boten” die altijd aan de kade liggen “.  Deze grappige “Rabelos” zijn boten zonder kiel die gebruikt werden voor het transport van de vaten met Portwijn . Deze vaten werden vervoerd vanaf de wijngaarden in de Douro Vallei naar de Portwijn-kelders in Vila Nova da Gaia. Er waren maar liefst 12 zeilers nodig om deze boten veilig over de rivier te manoeuvreren. Het is trouwens ook erg leuk om deze wijngaarden in de Douro Vallei eens te bezoeken. Meer informatie hierover kun je vinden in mijn artikel -Magical Douro Valley.  Klik hier voor meer info. […]

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