Ride a traditional rabelo boat on a Douro Valley winery tour or day trip

Guide to the best Douro Valley winery tours

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If you’re a fan of wine, spectacular landscapes, and fresh country air, then a Douro Valley winery tour is the best day trip from Porto. This beautiful area west of Porto is a stunning destination and is recognised as the world’s oldest demarcated wine region. Its rich winemaking history dates back to 1756 when the Prime Minister Marquis of Pombal established its boundaries.

Fast forward to today and you’ll find terraced green vineyards cascading down to the river banks, charming quintas and farmhouses dotting the landscape, and long-standing traditions that have earnt the Douro Valley a UNESCO World Heritage designation.

Much of the 26,0000 hectares of grapes found in the Douro Valley are still picked manually, and around harvest in September you can even join harvest experiences that include lunch and plenty of vinho.

Can you visit the Douro Valley in one day?

Yes, for sure. It takes around 90 minutes to reach the Douro Valley by car, so you can explore a quinta or three on a day trip from Porto. 

If you prefer to travel more slowly, there’s enough to do here that you can stay overnight or or for a few nights. If you plan to stay overnight, you’ll want to stay in either Regua or Pinhão if you don’t have a car. This is an area of vineyards and wine estates, so the addresses of many beautiful B&Bs are spread out in remote locations.

What to expect from a Douro Valley guided day trip

If you’re staying in Porto and want to visit the Douro Valley on a day trip, here’s what you can expect. 

  • Most small-group or private tours offers a full-day package, lasting around nine or 10 hours. 
  • Usually it includes stopping at two vineyards, a traditional Portuguese lunch, and a one-hour river cruise at Pinhão, plus transportation and commentary from your guide.
  • Sometimes they will stop in a town on the way, such as Amarante.
  • If it includes the boat tour, that happens from Pinhão.
  • If you want a small-group or private tour, expect to pay more than €130pp.

The tours all vary slightly, so look for small differences when booking. Some include an olive oil tasting of extra activities. Some will have lunch as a traditional restaurant in town, while others will eat lunch at a wine estate or quinta. I always read the reviews to make sure I have a charming, funny guide too!

Can I visit the Douro Valley on a day trip without a guide?

Yes, of course. You can just drive out to the Douro Valley yourself but be warned that most wineries require pre-booking and all wineries require payment for tastings.

Unlike in Australia, where cellar doors are a bit of a free-for-all with set opening hours, in Portugal you need to call ahead to reserve a wine tasting. Usually it costs €15-30 for the more basic tasting, and it often includes a tour of the estate and winery too.

So if you add up the price of two wineries (€45), lunch (€25), the boat cruise (€13), and the price of a hire car and gas (petrol is so expensive here), then you’ll find these guided Douro Valley winery tours and day trips are quite fairly priced. 

Need a rental car? I find the best prices using RentalCars.com or Discover Cars – both sites search and compare car rental companies including international and local rentals to find the best rates.

Top 4 Douro Valley winery tours from Porto

Douro Valley Winery Tour with Lunch & Boat Tour

This top-rated Douro Valley day trip includes:

  • Stop in the fairytale village of Pinhão 
  • Visit two family-run wineries for tastings
    Enjoy a traditional Portuguese lunch. 
  • Drive the N222, considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world
  • Take a one-hour traditional boat ride on the Douro River. 

Price: €125 – 4.9 stars based on 900+ reviews. See more details and book here.

From Porto: Tastings at Two Wineries, Chef’s Lunch & Boat Tour

This small-group tour includes a few extras, which I really love the sound of:

  • Visit to two family-run wineries
  • Watch a Vintage Port bottle be opened with fire by a certified sommelier
  • Taste around 11 wines (D.O.C. dry wines, Porto wines including a Vintage and Douro firewater)
  • Farm-to-table lunch at a winery in Douro Valley
  • Taste local olive oils from the Douro
  • Take a one-hour private boat tour on the Douro River

Price: €180 – 4.9 stars based on 900+ reviews. See more details and book here.

Full-Day Douro Wine Tour with Lunch and River Cruise

  • Visit two beautiful Douro Valley wine estates
  • Visit the village of Pinhão for a traditional Portuguese lunch with DOC Douro wine
  • Admire hand-painted tiles at an 18th-century railway station
  • Take a one-hour river cruise in a traditional rabelo boat.

Price: €140 – 4.8 stars based on 1,600+ reviews. See more details and book here.

From Porto: Douro Valley w/ Boat Tour, Wine Tasting & Lunch

This tour really ticks the box with:

  • Two winery stops with tastings
  • A one-hour boat ride on the Douro River
  • A traditional Portuguese lunch with local products. 
  • The option for hotel pickup and drop-off. 

Price: €90 – 4.7 stars based on 9,900+ reviews. See more details and book here.

Read next… Guide to Porto & the North of Portugal

More Douro Valley guided winery tours from Porto

Douro Valley: Small-Group Wine Tasting Tour, Lunch & Boat (€160) – Travel from Porto to the Douro Valley in an 8-seater minivan on this small-group tour. Visit Croft Vineyards to taste Port wines paired with local Portuguese cheeses. Then, visit the village of Pinhão for a one-hour Douro River cruise followed by a traditional lunch. After, visit a small table wine producer for lunch who will share their knowledge and take you on a private tour of the estate. 4.8 stars based on 750+ reviews. See more details and book here.

Douro Valley: Wine Tour with Lunch, Tastings & River Cruise (€99) – You’ll visit two wineries to taste local vinhos, stop by the town of Amarante, enjoy a delicious local lunch, and join a one-hour Douro River cruise. 4.6 stars based on 4,900+ reviews. See more details and book here.

From Porto: 3 Douro Valley Vineyards Tour with Lunch (€99) –The main difference here is that you’ll visit three (!) wineries on this guided day trip to the Douro Valley from Porto. You’ll stop for coffee on the drive to the valley, then visit your first family-owned vineyard for a tour and tasting of hand-picked port and DOC wines. Stop for lunch at a winery, then visit the facilities. Finally, visit a bigger corporate winery and discover the high-tech facilities before tasting their port wines to a backdrop of sweeping countryside views. 4.8 stars based on 600+ reviews. See more details and book here.

Read next… 48 hours in Porto

From Porto: Douro Valley Tour with Wine Tasting, Cruise and Lunch (€99) – Visit two unique wineries to sample Port wine and DOC table wines. Enjoy a traditional Portuguese lunch, then finally glide down the Douro River.  4.7 stars based on 1,800+ reviews. See more details and book here.

From Porto: Douro Valley Excellence Tour, Cruise, Lunch & Winery (€130-160) – You’ll taste 11 different types of wine, from DOC to Port, moscatel to aguadente on this small-group full-day Douro Valley day trip. Have lunch at a family farm, then visit their winery for a tasting. Visit another historic quinta for a tasting, then relax on a premium Douro River cruise with snacks and drinks. You’ll travel in a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. 4.7 stars based on 27 reviews. See more details and book here.

Private Douro Valley winery tours and day trips

If you like the idea of it just being you and youor partner, friends, or group, take a look at these private Douro Valley winery tours.

Read next… 22 most beautiful castles in Portugal

Douro Valley day trip from Porto by train or boat

Yes, you can take a boat from Porto up the Douro River to the town of Regua in the heart of the wine region. If you’re considering this option, know that the boat will take the majority of the day – I’m talking like 9 hours. That makes this option more about sightseeing and enjoying a slow day out on the water, rather than tasting wines.

With a boat cruise from Porto, you’ll board in the city and make your way along the Douro River, passing through a few dams on the way. This Douro Valley boat trip includes breakfast and lunch onboard, gives you free time in Regua and then sends you back to the city by bus. This Douro Valley all-day boat trip takes you deeper – dropping you in Pinhão where you’ll visit a traditional wine estate before taking a bus back to Porto.

Douro River from Ribeira in Porto

Douro Valley winery tour from Peso da Regua

If you’re staying in the Douro Valley, there are few experiences based there so jump on this experience to explore the Douro deeper. Enjoy a full-day guided Douro Valley tour, visiting two unique wineries to taste Port wines, stopping for lunch at a renowned local restaurant, and finishing with a relaxed one-hour boat ride. 4.5 stars from 100+ reviews. See more and book here.

Douro River rabelo boat rides from Pinhão

If you’re planning to DIY your Douro Valley day trip, you can still lock in a boat ride ont he Douro River. Take a look at your options below. 

Read next… Cork masks, a burning effigy and plenty of wine: the traditional Schist Villages carnival

Easy-to-book wine experiences in the Douro Valley

As I said, if you’re planning to do the Douro Valley on a DIY tour you’ll still need to plan ahead and lock in wine tastings ahead of schedule. Here are a handful of easy-to-book wine experiences. I’ve been to Quinta do Tedo Winery, a beautiful winery (with dogs!) that offers a simple €20 tasting or a fancy tasting with vintage ports. Or you could try Quinta da Portela de Baixo, which offers a six-wine tasting for €30.

      Is it worth visiting Douro Valley?

      Absolutely. There are two reasons to visit – the first is the scenery. The nature of the Douro Valley is spectacular no matter what time of year you visit. In spring the vines will be sprouting fresh green buds, by summer the first fruit will appear across the vineyards, ready for harvest in September. Then in autumn the leaves charge to fiery hues of yellow and orange, and rich maroon.

      If you love wine, visit wineries on one of the Douro Valley winery tours. If you don’t love wine, go for a hike, go kayaking on the Douro River, or visit little villages.

      What is the prettiest town in Douro Valley?

      Most people say Pinhão is the prettiest town in the Douro Valley. This little village sits at the river’s edge, surrounded by terraced vineyards. The train station is covered in beautiful hand-painted tiles that show scenes from the region, and it’s the best town to depart on a one or two-hour rabelo boat cruise.

      Read next… 16 most beautiful villages and small towns in Portugal

      What is special about the Douro Valley?

      The Douro Valley is famous for being the oldest demarcated wine-growing region in the world. That means the boundaries of the Douro Valley have not changed since 1756, when then-Prime Minister Marques de Pombal drew the borders.

      In 2001 a large section of the Douro Valley was also marked as a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognising the cultural significance and long tradition of viticulture. People have been making wine in the Douro Valley for more than 2,000 years!

      How many hours from Porto to Douro Valley?

      Douro Valley is a region, not a singular place, so it depends where you want to visit. If you plan to hire a car, it’s an 80-minute drive from Porto to Regua, and from Porto to Pinhão it is a 95-minute drive. 

      Have you visited the Douro Valley on a guided winery tour or a DIY trip? Leave me a comment with any tips!…

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      Daniela Sunde-Brown

      I'm an Australian travel and food writer who has called Lisbon home since 2018. To help others explore Portugal, I write deep stories about Portuguese traditions, regional dishes, local artisans, and sustainable fashion and ceramics
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      Headshot of Daniela Sunde-Brown in a tiled dress with a straw hat on

      Olá, I'm Daniela

      I’m an Australian travel and food writer who has called Lisbon home since 2018. To help others explore Portugal, I write deep stories about Portuguese traditions, regional dishes, local artisans, and sustainable fashion and ceramics 🙂

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