The Douro region in Northeast Portugal is near the border with Spain. Even with the advent of modern civilization, this area is characterized by a sort of frontier spirit that tenaciously preserves a traditional way of life handed down through many, many years.

Thinly populated and remote, the Douro is not unlike Galicia in Spain in that its people speak a dialect that is markedly different than the rest of the country; in the Douro, it is closer to Latin vulgate than Portuguese. Along with speaking a traditional language, pottery and weaving are still important cottage industries. Long-held folk practices include a dance with wooden staves called the Dance of the Pauliteiros, which takes place on the third Sunday of August, during the Feast of Saint Barbara. Curiously, this dance is less related to Saint Barbara than it is to Roman martial pomp – the Dance of the Pauliteiros is an outgrowth of the old Roman sword dances.

Notable ruins in the town of Miranda do Douro include the watchtower of the Miranda do Douro castle and the Baroque courtyard left behind from the long-since-destroyed Archbishop’s palace. The city’s cathedral is also of interest; it features a magnificent marble high altar as well as a 19th century ex-voto centered around a piece called “Infant Jesus in a Top Hat.”

Practical Info

About 17 kilometers (11 miles) northwest of the town is the village of Caçarelhos. Here are large marble and alabaster quarries and beautiful caves, making it a popular destination for professional and amateur spelunkers alike. Another village, Vimioso, has an old church, quaint town square, Roman bridges and its own ruined, 12th century castle.

Tours & Tickets

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Douro Valley Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting, Portuguese Lunch and Optional River Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 157 Reviews

Visit Portugal’s prestigious Douro Valley on this full-day wine tour from Porto! Famous for its production of port wine, this UNESCO World Heritage-listed ...  Read more

Location: Porto, Portugal
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $103.95

Douro Valley Wine Tour from Porto Including Lunch

4.5 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

Spend a day in Douro Valley, visiting two beautiful wineries to sample sparkling wine, Port, local wine and ‘vinho verde’ – a young or green wine. Called ...  Read more

Location: Porto, Portugal
Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $123.44

Porto Sightseeing Tour at Night with Fado Performance

4.5 star rating: Recommended 11 Reviews

Take a guided drive through Porto at night, and then enjoy dinner and a Fado show in a traditional Porto restaurant. See Porto’s avenues, churches and Douro ...  Read more

Location: Porto, Portugal
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $71.46

Day Trip to Douro

4.5 star rating: Recommended 23 Reviews

See one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, where Man has overcome the slopes of the land, planting vines in what can be considered open air ...  Read more

Location: Porto, Portugal
Duration: 11 hours (approx.)

From USD $123.44

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