Tour added to wishlist!
Opening hours
  • Monday 9.00am - 7.00pm BST
  • Tuesday 9.00am - 7.00pm BST
  • Wednesday 9.00am - 7.00pm BST
  • Thursday 9.00am - 7.00pm BST
  • Friday 9.00am - 7.00pm BST
  • Saturday 9.00am - 5.30pm BST
  • Sunday 10.00am - 4.00pm BST
Trip Search
Loading results
Loading your trip
Menu
Need a last minute getaway? Great savings on
Last minute trips

A travel guide to wine-making regions in Portugal

Portugal is famous for its production of fortified wines, namely Port. But it is also home to a number of flourishing wine-making regions. Here's our guide to six beautiful wine-growing destinations to add to your Portugal travel itinerary.

 

Portugal Wine Regions Travel Guide

Home to some of the most legendary 'Old World’ winemaking countries on Earth, Europe is a wine-lover’s dream destination. But for oenophiles looking to explore (and taste) away from the beaten path, head to the edge of the Iberian Peninsula to discover the wines of Portugal.

Best known for its production of port, an iconic fortified wine, Portugal's sun-soaked valleys, mix of Mediterranean and maritime climates, and mineral-rich soils like schist and granite have proved a fertile ground for winemaking. Wine regions around the country and on islands like Madeira are home to over 250 grape varieties, which produce wines far beyond the famed port variety.

If you want to come to Portugal and dive into the world of Portuguese wine, this ultimate guide has everything you need to know to embark on a wine-filled odyssey, from the most beautiful wine-growing destinations to when's the best time to visit.
 

Top Portuguese Wine Regions

Sitting on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean on the southwestern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal boasts a mostly warm, Mediterranean climate that is highly conducive to grape growing and wine production. Running roughly 350 miles north to south and covering around 35,000 square miles, Portugal may be more on the smaller side for a country, but within those boundaries, there's ample geographic and climatic diversity for distinct wine regions. Each with its own unique soil and climate, Portuguese wine regions produce wholly one-of-a-kind wines well-worth travelling for.

For a mix of the best-known and hidden-gem Portugal wine regions, these six wine regions are a must for any Portuguese wine-themed itinerary.

Duoro Valley

Lovers of rich wines like fortified wines and blended reds will want to have the Douro Valley on their radar. Located in northern Portugal, the Douro Valley is a beautiful region of steep, terraced vineyards overlooking the meandering Douro River. One of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world, as well as a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Douro Valley is most famous for making port. With dry and hot summers, wet winters, and dry schist soil, its top grape varieties include reds like trousseau, tinta roriz, tinta amarela, mourisco tino, and white grapes like donzelinho branco, gouveio, and viosinho.

Vinho Verde

White wine lovers will want to make a beeline for the Vinho Verde region in northwestern Portugal. This Italian-esque region of forested mountains, shimmering lakes, and historic towns gets its name from its trademark ‘green wine’, which is so-called due to the bright, acidic nature of its white wines and fizzy sparkling wines. Made from grapes like alvarinho, loureiro, arinto, avesso, azal, and trajadura, these low-alcohol, bright, and fruity wines -- which come with ‘summery’ notes like green melon -- make this a fantastic summertime destination. The granite soil and cool climate are perfect for white wine, adding minerality and high acidity.

Alentejo

Portugal's largest wine region, Alentejo is in southern Portugal. With a hot and dry climate, the wines produced here are largely full-bodied reds but grapes for whites and rosés can also be found. Along with native grapes that aren't as well-known worldwide, you'll also find high-quality cabernet sauvignon being produced here. Wine-tasting in Alentejo will allow oenophiles to appreciate the views of the region's rolling, vineyard-covered hills, dotted with charming small towns and historic sites.

Madeira

While it's not a designated Portuguese wine region, no list of top wine spots in Portugal is complete without mentioning Madeira. Along with port, Portugal's other most-famous fortified wine is Madeira, which is produced on the volcanic Madeira islands, and ised in wooden casks to give the wine a nutty, caramelized character. Unlike port, though, Madeira wines are made with white grapes as opposed to red grapes. White grapes thrive in the island's volcanic soils and subtropical climates, including sercial, verdelho, boal, and malvasia. It’s well worth visiting Madeira to try its local wines and taste the difference between Madeira and port.

Dão Wine Region

The central Dão region is known for producing elegant and age-worthy red wines. Sitting at higher altitudes, the resulting cool temperatures contribute to the wines' acidity and structure, as well as making for some pretty picturesque landscapes of vineyard-covered hills.

Bairrada Wine Region

Best known for its unique red grape variety called baga, this northwestern wine region's clay and limestone soils, coupled with a maritime climate, make for some highly acidic and tannin-rich wines that age beautifully.

 

What wine varieties is Portugal known for?

With over 250 different grape varieties growing throughout the country -- many of which are native only to Portugal -- Portuguese wines range from hearty reds to crisp whites to fizzy sparkling wines. But here are some of the top wine varieties and grape varieties you'll learn about and taste during your wine-tasting travels.


Touriga Nacional


Considered the country's flagship grape, touriga nacional is Portugal's most famous red wine grape variety. Think of it as the pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon of Portugal; it is the stand-out red wine grape. Commonly used in the production of port but also used in table wines and red blends, this grape makes bold, concentrated, and complex wines with intense aromas of dark fruits, floral notes, and hints of spice. You'll get to taste plenty of this variety in the Douro and Dão regions.


Vinho Verde Varieties


Although Portugal's hot climate produces stellar red wines, white wine grape varieties like alvarinho (known as Albariño in Spain), loureiro, and trajadura thrive in cool, northern climes like the Vinho Verde region. These varieties contribute to the crisp acidity and aromatic character of Vinho Verde wines, which are often light-bodied and have flavours of citrus, green apple, and floral notes.


Touriga Franca


Another important grape variety in Portugal, Touriga Franca is widely used in the production of port wines by being blended with touriga nacional and other grape varieties.


Arinto


A white grape variety, the highly acidic and versatile arinto thrives in several Portuguese regions, including Vinho Verde, Bucelas, and the Lisbon region. Arinto wines are typically crisp and refreshing, exhibiting flavours of citrus, green apple, and sometimes mineral notes.


Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo)


Widely planted throughout Portugal, especially in the Douro and Dão regions, the red wine grape tinta roriz is one of the main grapes used in the production of port wines. Wines made from this grape are often medium to full-bodied, with flavours of red and black fruits, spice, and moderate tannins.

Portugal and Port Wine

Port is such an integral part of Portuguese wine making that it merits its own shout-out. Exclusively produced in the northern Douro Valley, it's one of the country's most renowned and iconic wine styles. Port wine holds a special place in Portuguese culture and is celebrated as a symbol of the country's winemaking tradition and heritage. A favourite among wine enthusiasts worldwide, it's cherished for its complexity, richness, and ability to age gracefully.

But what is port? Port is a type of wine that is made by fortifying a grape-based wine with the addition of a neutral grape spirit, typically a brandy. This process halts fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine that creates the sweet, rich taste that port is famous for. 

Similar to the famed chateaus of France, you can visit legendary port producers (also known as port houses) throughout the Douro Valley. With centuries-old winemaking legacies, visits here come with tastings and chances to tour wine cellars and learn all about the history of port and winemaking in the Douro. Some of the most famous port houses include Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman, Fonesca, Graham's, and Sandeman.

As for how to enjoy port, this versatile beverage makes for fantastic dessert wine and also goes nicely paired with cheese, chocolates, and nuts.

When is the best time to go wine tasting in Portugal?

Thanks to its warm Mediterranean climate, Portugal is a great destination for year-round travel. This makes it an ideal place to go on a food-and-wine-centered trip, as there is no bad time to come and enjoy the literal fruits of the country. Winemaking is a year-round activity, so even in winter you can watch wineries in action, doing activities like trimming vines In general, spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) are considered the best times to come and avoid the worst of the summer heat and crowds.

However, some seasons may be better than others for a wine-themed trip, most notably during autumn. For true wine lovers, visiting the Douro Valley during the autumn (late September to early October) coincides with the harvest season. Not only can you see the Douro's signature steep hillsides splashed in autumn foliage colours, but some houses may even offer harvest festivals and activities like getting to help crush grapes with your feet. Visiting a wine region during the spring, you also get the chance to watch the vineyards come to life.

Wine and dine your way around Portugal

Good food and good wine go hand-in-hand, as you'll discover on a culinary trip around Portugal. Visit the Douro Valley, explore fish markets, and learn to make regional foods on a trip to Porto and the Douro Valley, pair your wine-tasting with epic views and some good exercise on a wine-and-walk tour, or head off to Madeira to taste its signature libations along with unforgettable island adventures like hiking and whale watching.

More like this