Testing port in the institute’s tasting room
Stop 1: The Port Institute and Port Museum
The renowned Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto has been guarding the quality of port since 1933. Visitors can take a guided tour of the lab packed with futuristic testing equipment and visit a tasting room that is full of port professors with a nose for fine wine. The institute’s wine shop stocks hundreds of types of port, either to sample or to take home. Through films, scale models and exhibits, the Port Museum provides an overview of the history of port production. That glass of port will taste even better if you know how it is made.
Port casks in Graham’s Lodge in Gaia
Stop 2: the port houses in Gaia
The epicentre of the port industry is not actually in Porto, but across the river Douro in the town of Vila Nova de Gaia. Here you will find the port houses of famous labels such as Cálem, Croft and Cockburn's, which produce and store the port. The Tourist Information Office hands out a useful map of all the port houses that are open to visitors. For a modest contribution, you can take a tour of cellars stacked with oak casks, followed by a tasting. We highly recommend visiting Graham’s Lodge, but please note that tours are by appointment only.
Panoramic train ride through the Douro valley
Stop 3: the vineyards along the Douro
No wine lover will come to Porto without visiting the Alto Douro, the breathtaking river valley where the grapes are grown. One of the most beautiful train rides in the world winds from the monumental São Bento station in Porto to Pocinho on the Spanish border. Get comfortable for a 3.5-hour-long view of the meandering blue river wedged among green mountains covered in rolling wine terraces. Step inside the wine bar of the Port Institute in Régua, visit the vineyard Quinta do Bomfim in Pinhão, and spend the night in the port hotel Vintage House.