Trending Destinations: Why the Douro Valley Is About More Than River Cruises

As part of this month's Trending Destinations cover feature, we're taking a closer look at top up-and-coming areas around the world. Here, we check out the Douro Valley in Portugal. 

Six Senses Douro Valley
Six Senses Douro Valley // All photos by John Athimaritis

Move over, Tuscany. Portugal’s Douro Valley is quickly gaining ground as the wine region to watch. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the valley is flanked by steep terraced hillsides covered in vines. Located roughly 90 minutes east of Porto, this is wine country at its most scenic – a place your clients will want to linger.  

River cruise enthusiasts first discovered this underrated wine region on voyages along the Douro, vowing to return. And a handful of buzzworthy new hotels—such as the Six Senses resort (www.sixsenses.com/resorts/douro-valley/destination), which debuted this summer as the first European property for the renowned Thai brand—are luring travelers to stay and immerse themselves in the good life. 

Six Senses Douro Valley
Wine library at Six Senses Douro Valley

“The Douro Valley is an amazing region that to be properly visited requires a three-night stay,” explains Luis Sousa, who founded Mr. Travel Portugal (www.mrtravelportugal.com) with his wife in 2001. As a luxury DMC, the company has gained a solid reputation for the high quality of service, extensive contact list, and insider knowledge of the country. 

“The location of the Six Senses couldn’t be better: it’s right smack in the center of the Douro Valley with easy access everywhere. Furthermore, there are quite a few excellent properties in the region,” says Sousa. “If guests want something more local and still high-end, Casas do Coro (www.casasdocoro.pt) is my number one suggestion. For guests in search of a full-service luxury hotel and golf, then Vidago Palace (www.vidagopalace.com) is pure quality. It’s located in the region but 40 minutes from the river.” Sousa also recommends booking private cruises on the Douro river, which are available year-round.

Six Senses Douro Valley
Breakfast with a view at Six Senses Douro Valley

As one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, the Douro Valley is ideal for wine connoisseurs looking to discover an unsung destination. 
Tip: The spring months of March and April are a lovely, less busy time to witness the blooming almond blossoms, while September is the month to book for clients looking to be part of the grape harvest.

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