Peso da Régua sits on the western edge of the Douro port-wine region. In the 18th century, this town grew rich, serving as a transport hub for wine that was being transferred to Porto for export. Today, visiting Regua from Porto provides a glimpse into a local town that has managed to fly under the radar from tourists.
Why visit one country when you can visit two? Portugal can be a springboard into neighboring Spain and guided tours make exploring Andalucia from Lisbon easy and pleasurable. Multi-day tours of southern Spain also incorporate a visit to Toledo and wind up in Madrid.
By day, Porto is a bustling port city with a healthy blend of locals and visitors that fill the tables at sidewalk cafes and sip the city’s famous port wine along the Douro River. But it seems that the true soul of this historic city reveals itself at dusk, that transitional time reserved for reflecting on the setting sun and longing for the mystery of the night. At least, that’s how it feels in Porto, a city known for its romance, which is seen in its fado music (meaning “destiny” in English), savory dishes and alluring architecture. To take all this in, I decided to see Porto by night, with an evening sightseeing tour and a fado performance.
The rolling Alentjo countryside east of Lisbon was first occupied around 8,000 years ago, a legacy born out by the numerous stone circles scattered throughout the region. Found among cork and olive plantations near the ancient city of Évora, the Almendres Cromlech is the largest and best known of several Neolithic sites near Lisbon.
Arrábida is a wild region fringed with soft, sandy beaches located between Setúbal and Sesimbra on Portugal’s Atlantic coast. At just 40 minutes away, visiting Arrábida Natural Park from Lisbon makes for a great day out in tranquil wilderness.
But being more than an hour drive from my lodging in Porto, and possessing a dizzying number of wineries and restaurants to visit, I turned to Viator’s Douro Valley Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting, Portuguese Lunch and Optional River Cruise tour cover the region’s best highlights.