Discover the gastronomic delights of northwest Portugal as you visit the beautiful city of Porto. Enjoy five-star luxury in the historic town of Amarante and travel out to explore Porto and the Port-making region of the Douro Valley. Explore Porto’s medieval Ribeira (riverside) district and stroll down narrow cobbled streets that wind past merchants’ houses and cafes and the São Francisco Church - known for its lavish baroque interior with ornate gilded carvings. With a private guide leading the way, experience the best that Porto can offer, including a visit to Grahams Port house to tour its excellent museum and cellars, and to taste a selection of Port wines, followed by delicious tapas.
A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001, the Douro region is a majestic wilderness. It is surprisingly silent place, apart from three bustling weeks of harvest each autumn, and is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. It is a natural growing area where the Douro River carved deep valleys in the land that growers transformed into soil and walls and planted vines. Over generations, terraces were inclined to expose the vines to the rays of the sun. The Douro Valley is best known for its port production, but the region also produces fine, good-value reds. The trip includes a boat trip up the Douro river and a visit to one of the well-known “Quintas” for a tasting and lunch.
Stress disappears in Amarante at the luxurious Casa da Calçada hotel. The hotel, just minutes from centre Porto, was built in the 16th century to be one of the main palaces of the Count of Redondo and is today a member of the Relais & Chateaux group of luxury hotels. The menu of ‘Largo do Paço’, restaurant of Casa da Calçada, is based on the "10 Commandments" of chef Tiago Bonito. They are: creativity, product, evolution, inspiration, knowledge, memories, dedication, flavour, tradition and experiences. Tiago studied at the School of Hospitality and Tourism of Coimbra between 2001 and 2004. He studied at the Vila Joya (Algarve) restaurant in Alinea (Chicago, a three-star Michelin star) and in the DOM (São Paulo, two Michelin stars).
Port is a fortified wine made in the Douro Valley; spirit is added during the wine-making process to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sweetness in the Port, and adding alcoholic strength. The grapes are a blend of local Portuguese varieties. Most are red and long-aged in wooden casks.
Ruby: inexpensive red port bottled relatively young after two or three years in wood.
Late Bottled Vintage (LBV): wine from a single year bottled after five or six years in cask and ready to drink on release.
Single Quinta Vintage: port from the grapes of one estate only and made from one year’s harvest. They are often made by port producers in years which have not been “declared” for a classic vintage
Vintage: Only about three harvests per decade are declared good enough to be a classic vintage. The best fruit from the best vineyards generally goes into these complex and rich wines. They are aged for only two years in barrel, are not filtered and may need ageing for many years until they mellow.
Tawny: Port aged for a notably long time in barrel until it becomes amber-hued, smooth, and nutty in flavour. Aged tawny comes in 10, 20, 30 and 40-year-old styles. A Colheita (or Single Harvest) is a port from one year that has been aged as a tawny.
White and Rosé: White port is enjoyed as an apéritif in Portugal, either chilled and neat or topped up with cold tonic and ice, usually served with salted almonds. Rosé or pink port is a refreshing modern alternative, mixed with cold tonic, soda water or, for a sweeter long drink, lemonade or used as an ingredient in cocktails.
Check into the 5-star Casa da Calçada Hotel (a member of the Relais & Chateau group)
Time to settle
Breakfast at hotel
Transfer to Porto
Private guided walking tour of Porto
Free Time to explore
Transfer to Graham's Port House for tour, tasting and lunch
Return to hotel
Dinner at the hotel's Largo do Paço Michelin star restaurant
Breakfast at hotel
Transfer to the Douro Valley
Guided private tour of the Port Grape producing region
Boat ride on the Douro river aboard a traditional Rabelo boat
Visit local quinta for Port tasting and Lunch
Return to hotel and relax
Breakfast at hotel