Luxury breaks in the Douro Valley in PortugalThe Douro Valley in Portugal is ideal as a destination for a luxury break, particularly in the autumn or winter months. The Douro Valley in Portugal promises its visitors a peaceful, traditional alternative to Portugal’s popular areas, with stunning rural retreats, authentic wine lodges, and great historical monuments. Along the Douro riverside, wine towns and villages cling to the hilltops, mediaeval castle-towns line the rocky gorges, and the vineyards that produce the country’s famous Port cloak the steep slopes. Visit wine towns such as Vila Nova de Gaia and Amarante, which is believed to be the most beautiful, with its clusters of tall, stone, red-roofed houses on the willow-clad riverbanks. At the centre of Amarante lies an 18th century triple-arched bridge that crosses the River Tâmega, and at its top sits the Convento de São Gonçalo, a granite church with red-tiled roof. From Amarante, board the Tâmega Railway and travel further into the north, through valleys and fields into one of the most enchanting landscapes in Europe. Vila Nova de Gaia, just south of Porto, has the highest concentration of Port wine lodges in the region, a consequence of its being, before the end of the 20th century, the only place that Port could officially be matured. Forested gardens hide some of the wine lodges from sight at the top of their vineyard slopes, and the narrow winding roads of the town make for excellent exploration. Aside from the wine heritage, the Douro Valley has much in the way of history to explore, particularly in Porto. Seek out the beautiful examples of 17th century architecture, particularly the Sé Cathedral, in which every column capital, every archway, and the altar, are lavishly decorated with gold floral ornamentation. Uncover ancient Portugal at Vila Nova de Foz Côa, home to the largest outdoor gallery of Stone Age remains in the world, or travel to the pilgrimage town of Lamego, known for its iconic and intricately painted zig-zagging steps that lead up to the revered Baroque Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedios. The range of scenery, history and gastronomy make the Douro Valley in Portugal an ideal destination for a luxury break.How you get thereA luxury break to the Douro Valley in Portugal is very manageable for just a few nights throughout the year. There are flights to Porto with British Airways from London Gatwick and with Easyjet from London Gatwick and from Luton. The three hotels we feature here are between 60 mins and 90 mins drive from Porto. These holidays work for as many nights as you want and can be just short breaks of a few nights or longer stays of a week or more. If you don’t want the use of the hire-car, then we can arrange private transfers for you.Expressions Holidays Special OfferBook a holiday of at least 5 nights to any of these hotels in the Douro Valley before 30 November 2016 for travel before 31 March 2017 and receive a reduction of £100 per person off the holiday price.Our suggested luxury hotels in the Douro ValleyStay at one of these luxury hotels in the Douro Valley that offer a range of luxury leisure facilities including golf, spa, wine tasting and gastronomy.Casa da CalcadaAmaranteThe four-star Casa da Calcada in Amarante is a Relais & Châteaux property that retains evidence of its Baroque and Neo-Classical origins. The distinctive yellow façade contrasts the green of the vineyards and trees and the blue of the river waters around it, and the warmth of its design recreates the ambience of a family home. Inside, a very traditional feel is achieved through the plush furnishings and feature walls, and guestrooms are decorated in thematic colours, ranging from deep purple to warm Tuscan orange. Surrounding the hotel are the one-hundred-year-old gardens, complete with lawns and blossoming trees. Two swimming pools overlook the valley, river, and vineyards below. Guests can enjoy the 18-hole golf course, which meanders around the trees, river, and private vineyard. Tennis courts and bicycles are on-hand to provide a new means of experiencing the landscape. Dine in the Michelin-starred Largo do Paco Restaurant on traditional Portuguese fare. Prices from £860 per person for 7 nights on a bed and breakfast basis, flights to Porto, and Group C hire car.More details about this hotel can be found here.
Six Senses Douro ValleyNear LamegoThe five-star Six Senses Douro Valley is housed within a 19th century manor house on eight hectares of land. Peach-coloured walls and white-stone window frames are crowned by a red tiled roof and tall tower. The majestic exterior opens up onto a sleek interior through heavy and aged iron doors. Monochromatic spaces are enlivened by vibrant views, warm lighting, and furnishings built from natural materials found in the valley. The hotel restaurants, fed by their own organic garden, offer a wide array of regional dishes. The Vale de Abraao offers fine-dining and gourmet cuisine in a subtly classic dining room with wide open fireplace and open kitchen. Pair delicious tapas with wine from the extensive cellar, fresh Portuguese air, and the accompaniment of a tinkling water fountain in the courtyard. The Six Senses Spa specialises in a range of different treatments, many including the grapes and wines produced nearby. The Six Senses offers the height of luxury in a stunning rural location.Prices from £1,490 per person for 7 nights on a bed and breakfast basis, flights to Porto, and Group C hire car.More details about this hotel can be found here.
Vidago PalaceVidagoA grand pink-fronted palace in northern Portugal, the five-star Vidago Palace first opened in 1910. Since then, it has gained status as a member of the Leading Hotels of the World group, offering luxurious elegance. 70 rooms are majestically decorated in the Belle Epoque style, with rich colours, textured fabrics, and large windows framed by floor-length curtains. Guests can dine in the appropriately named Grand Ballroom. Ornate carpets cover the floor, pillars with gilded capitals support an indoor balcony, and duck-egg walls keep the room light. A quirkier dining experience can be had at breakfast at the Winter Garden, an indoor mezzanine restaurant with the additions of tall potted plants. Soak up the sunshine and fresh country air on a sun lounger beside the outdoor pool. Sample treatments from the thermal spa, fed by famous Vidago mineral waters, renowned for their therapeutic properties. After relaxing in the spa, perhaps take to the 18-hole golf course, which undulates across the sweeping Douro countryside. Prices from £1,040 per person for 7 nights on a bed and breakfast basis, flights to Porto, and Group C hire car.More details about this hotel can be found here.
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