Following the river Douro upstream, you reach the Alto Douro Wine Region. This is a land of traditions, a place of enchantment and mysticism, a great stretch of land where Nature reigns in perfect harmony with the inhabitants that have shaped the valley slopes and organised the land into vineyards.
Each of these vineyards can be accessed by winding roads that pattern the landscape. There has been evidence of wine production for more than two thousand years in the region but it was only in 1756 that the Demarcated Douro Region was created and wine production in the region was organised and became internationally recognised. It was the first region in the world to be demarcated and it is a land where traditions and modernity go hand-in-hand. This combination is still evident today in the traditional harvest that is still done by hand and the squashing of the grapes by foot and the most modern vinification processes that accompany these traditions.
Further to the East in a picturesque region where the river Douro meets the river Côa, Prehistoric Rock Art can be found in the Côa Valley, a large archaeological heritage site that has been preserved for thousands of years. It is a unique example of Man's first creations of symbolic expression and the beginning of culture that dates back to the Palaeolithic time.
The course of the Douro river winds through the valley, carving its way through the rock and rushing furiously towards the sea. The construction of dams has made the river navigable and nowadays cruise liners are a common sight. In the wine region, the train follows the Douro river along the majority of its stretch, giving its passengers a privileged view of the stunning landscape.
In addition to its wine, this region's fertile soil also yields other plant life in the form of olive trees that produce high quality olive oil and almond trees that fill the valley with colour and perfume in the months of February and March and produce the almonds that are used to make several traditional sweet treats. Farming is common in most villages which results in flavoursome dishes made from traditionally cultivated produce. Roast kid goat and veal are some of the main dishes in the region but those passing through cannot miss the wide range of smoked meats, artisanal cheeses and typical desserts.
Stunning landscapes that yield produce and wines of excellence, a unique cuisine rich in homemade products, a history that makes you dream of days gone by and a warm welcome that makes you want to return. These are the reasons to visit the Douro, but living these experiences is much better than listing them. Come and discover the Douro, come and live the experience!
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Alto Douro Wine Region | Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde