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PURELY PORTUGAL

Romantic Escape to the Douro Valley

Luxury Food, Wine & Cultural Tour

Description

Get away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life and delve into fascinating Porto and the glorious Douro Valley, UNESCO world heritage sites, for a Romantic Break! Luxurious hotels, fine wines, top class wineries and fantastic picture postcard photo opportunities await you on this self-drive tour!  With mind-blowing views of the terraced vineyards, the beautiful Douro Valley, the wonderful River Douro and the delights of Porto, this short break away will surely give you a renewed spring in your step.

 

DAY 1 PORTO

On arrival at Porto Airport our chauffeur will be waiting for you in a luxury vehicle and will transfer you to your hotel, an elegant 5* wine hotel and spa, in Vila Nova de Gaia in the midst of the famous Port Wine Lodges.

Port houses have aged their wines in Vila Nova de Gaia for over three centuries and today over fifty wine companies are based in its narrow, twisting streets. Here, the ageing and blending of most of the worlds supply of Port wine takes place beneath a sea of red roofs emblazoned with some of the most famous names in wine-making.

What better place to be situated than in the heart of Port Wine History! Many of the oldest Port firms were founded by British merchant families and are owned by their successors to this day. Your hotel descends from a family who entered the Port trade in 1838, and were among the most distinguished and enterprising of the Port families. Their descendants maintain this tradition as owners of three of the most famous Port companies. Your luxury hotel is named in celebration of the family's historic link with the city, and it draws on its owners expertise in both fine wine production and luxury hotel management to become one of the worlds leading wine hotels.

Please note: If you are arriving from Lisbon, we will be delighted to arrange transportation for you

Your officially licensed local guide will meet you at your hotel this afternoon (or morning depending on your arrival time) to take you on a historical tour of the city with gourmet tastings en-route.

The original home of Port wine, winding streets and an interesting old town that is a World Heritage Site - this is Porto. Henry the Navigator was born in Porto and the city had a minor role in "The Discoveries".

On your journey you will see and hear of the city's most emblematic monuments and will visit the 14th century Church Sao Francisco, well worth seeing for its Baroque decorations, as well as the Se Cathedral, a 12th century Baroque church with Gothic cloisters and ornately painted blue-and-white azulejos tiles, Sao Bento railway station, Clerigos tower, Ribeira square and the elaborately decorated Lello bookstore which was recently rated as one of top 3 most beautiful book-stores in the world.

You will pass by some interesting wine shops on your journey and, as you are in the home of Port wine, arrangements have been made for you to taste some of the very special famous ports - your guide will gladly share with you his deep knowledge on the subject.

Relax for the rest of the day and enjoy a dramatic and unobstructed view across the River Douro to the historic centre of Porto from your balcony. You may like to use the hotels luxury spa facilities with its large indoor pool and hot tub or sit around the outdoor pool offering panoramic views of Porto.

You may like to have dinner at your hotel tonight, but if not, we have many suggestions for delicious restaurants for this evening.

In a Nutshell: Chauffeured Porto airport transfer, Private guided tour of historical Porto including Port Wine tasting, Overnight in Porto

DAY 2 PORTO

This morning after a leisurely breakfast and just a short walk from your hotel you are booked for a guided visit to a fantastic Port Wine Lodge which is one of the oldest of the founding Port houses and was established over three centuries ago in 1692. For many, it is the archetypal Port house and its wines the quintessential Ports. It is dedicated entirely to the production of Port wine and in particular to its finest styles. The history of the firm is in many ways the history of the Port trade itself.

Since its foundation the company has remained independent. Now well into its fourth century, it has thrived and prospered, establishing itself as one of the worlds most respected historic wine houses. This has been achieved through the perseverance, pioneering spirit and continuity of purpose of successive generations of family involvement. You will enjoy a private guided tour of the Wine Lodge concluded with a delightful tasting of some of their best ports.

You will then head to the Gaia riverfront, the meeting point for traders and fishermen since medieval times; it was here they crossed the river to sell the products from the Upper Douro. Your next visit will be to another fantastic Port Wine Lodge that combines tradition and modernity. The building dates back to the 18th century and was restored in 1881 with the expansion of the Port wine trade. After your visit of the premises you will discover some of their delicious Port Wines.

For lunch, why not take a stroll over the Dom Luis Bridge, an unmistakable icon of Porto, to the Ribeira district, and sit back and relax on the riverbank of Porto. We have many suggestions for further sightseeing for this afternoon or you might just wish to return to your hotel and enjoy a relaxing session of pool and spa.

In a Nutshell: Visits and Port Wine Tastings to 2 Prestigious Port Wine Lodges, Overnight Porto

DAY 3 DOURO VALLEY

After breakfast this morning a representative of our car hire company will be waiting at your hotel with a luxury vehicle with automatic transmission and GPS. You will then depart for Pinhao in the heart of the Douro Valley, considered one the most spectacular wine regions of the world with its characteristic terraced vineyards as the sloping hills meet the meandering river below.

You will check into your hotel, a charming 5* property dating back to the XVIII century when it was an old Port winery. With a privileged location in the heart of the Douro valley and overlooking the Douro River, this is a delightful hotel offering comfortable accommodation and excellent service.

This afternoon we have arranged for you to have a small group Rabelo boat cruise along the Douro River, a great opportunity for you to see the beauty of the area and the many wineries running down towards the river. The replica vintage Rabelo boats were traditionally used to carry the wine down the river from Douro to the lodges in Oporto and if you prefer to a romantic cruise just for you then we can OPTIONALLY arrange for you to have a privately skippered cruise instead.

On your return to the dock, you may like to take a stroll beside the river or visit the iconic train station, just behind your hotel. Pinhao station is considered one of the most symbolic locations on the Upper Douro wine circuit. The picture postcard train station has 25 blue glazed tile panels covering the main building, representing the local landscapes and habits, predominantly of wine making.

For dinner, why not treat yourself to a luxury meal on the terrace of the incredible Rui Paula DOC restaurant, overlooking the grandeur of the vineyard covered mountains and the serenity of the Douro river and the riverside villages. Situated on one of the most beautiful scenic routes in the country, on the road between Regua and Pinhao, the restaurant occupies a building of contemporary lines with an elegant wooden deck terrace. We would be happy to make a reservation for you at Rui Paula, and regarding transportation if you didn't want to drive then your hotel could happily call you a taxi to go as would the restaurant for your return.

In a Nutshell: Rental Car Delivery, Rabelo Boat Cruise, Overnight in the Douro Valley

DAY 4 DOURO VALLEY

After a delicious breakfast at your hotel this morning, get ready to experience the love of the land as you drive out for a day into the valley. Many great photo opportunities and fine wines await you today!

This morning you will be making a wonderful visit to a very special and world famous winery. Sitting in a privileged location in the Douro Demarcated Region, this Quinta is famous for its sophisticated wines as well as for the dramatic views. This single vineyard property dates as far back as the early seventeenth century, long before the Douro became the worlds first demarcated wine region in 1756. Recently they have begun a new venture with Jean Michel Cazes from one of our favorite wineries of the Bordeaux region, Chateau Lynch Bages. At the winery you will have a full private visit of the vineyards (with mind blowing views of the River Douro) and cellars, followed by a tasting of their incredible wines and ports with an exceptional lunch, perfectly accompanied by their top wines from the aperitif through to dessert.

After lunch you will then head to another great Quinta in the fantastic Douro Valley where you will enjoy a private visit to another of our favourite wineries. This family run winery has a small production (for Douro standards), but offers great wines and even better views. A relatively young winery, with its first harvest taking place in 2007, the estate now occupies 30 hectares of land, 14 of which are vineyards. Both sophisticated techniques and traditional methods are used and despite the short number of years that the Quinta has been active; this young estate has now established itself as a quality winemaker! Red, White and Rose wines are produced with love and precision and some innovative and special edition products will delight your senses. After a complete private tour you will enjoy a tasting of their great wines.

Please note: If you would prefer to leave your rental car at the hotel and not self-drive today then we would be delighted to include transportation for you.

As ever, we have many suggestions for you to experience the best of Portuguese food and wine for dinner

In a Nutshell: Private guided visits to two prestigious wineries with tastings of their finest wines and lunch at one. Overnight Douro Valley

DAY 5 DEPARTURE

This morning, after breakfast, you will check out of your Douro Valley hotel and make the return journey to Porto where you will be able to drop off your rental vehicle at the city office or Porto airport.

We do hope you will join us for this short romantic Food, Wine and Cultural break.

In a Nutshell: Drop off rental vehicle at Porto Airport

Please note that if you would like to extend your tour we can happily include other regions and destinations for you.

Your tour includes:

  • Accommodation for two (2) nights in an elegant 5* wine hotel and spa in Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto (executive room, double occupancy)

  • Accommodation for two (2) nights at a wonderful 5* riverside hotel in the heart of the Douro Valley (river view room, double occupancy)

  • Four (4) full breakfasts

  • Provision of a luxury rental car (Mercedes E, Audi A4 or similar) with automatic transmission and GPS for the days as stated in your itinerary

  • Visits to 2 prestigious wineries in the Douro Valley and 2 port wine houses in Porto, with samplings of wines and ports

  • Private guided historical walking tour of historic Porto 

  • Rabelo boat cruise on the glorious Douro River

  • Delightful authentic winery lunch in the beautiful Douro Valley

  • Online Personal Travel Webpage including daily itinerary, general local information, details of places of interest, suggestions for restaurant reservations, and your free time, etc.

  • Handy elegant Personal Travel Journal, which includes the extended information from your Personal Travel Website, that you can take with you as you go and keep as a souvenir to look back on.

  • 24/7 Back Office Assistance

Your tour does not include:

  • Flights

  • Meals and drinks not stated in the itinerary

  • Personal expenses such as telephone, minibar, etc.

  • Tips and gratuities at restaurants etc. at your discretion, NOT obligatory

  • Travel Insurance may be included in your quotation on request. We strongly recommend you to take out separate cancellation insurance.

Prices:

Please note our tours are available for PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY and are not scheduled mixed group tours. Price is available upon request and varies depending on the number of guests and time of year. Feel free to contact us for your personal quote