Exploring Alto Douro and Pico Island, Places Designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Despite its comparatively tiny size, Portugal is one of the world’s largest producers of wine, despite its relatively small population. Portuguese vineyards are gaining a worldwide reputation that is only growing in importance. While port wine continues to be the star of the show, winemakers in this area of the world are expanding their horizons. They are now cultivating a diverse range of grape types in order to maintain a diverse portfolio of exports.

Alto Douro and the Pico Island Vineyard are two wine-producing regions in Portugal that are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Both are located in the country’s northernmost region. Both of these locations are steeped in rich historical significance. If you have the opportunity, you should pay a visit to the vineyards.

Vineyards in the Alto Douro Region of Portugal

What are the benefits of visiting the Portuguese Vineyards in Alto Douro?
Alto Douro is unquestionably the most famous wine area in Portugal, and it is a must-visit for any tourist, whether or not they are a wine connoisseur. Across 24,600 hectares of land, vineyards line the vast, steep hillsides, creating an absolutely breathtaking landscape.

This particular region is likely to be one of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions, dating back thousands of years. According to historical records, landowners have been producing wine in this region for approximately 2,000 years. Furthermore, the Douro is the world’s oldest official wine region, having been granted official status and legal protection in 1756 after gaining independence from Portugal.

It is the ideal day trip from the city of Porto, thanks to the abundance of stunning wine and mesmerizing views available in the Alto Douro region. Whether it’s learning about the production of the region’s world-famous port or taking in the scenery from one of the many viewpoints in the area, a visit to this wine region is a must on any trip to northern Portugal.

How to Get to the Alto Douro Region

Despite the fact that the train ride from Porto to Alto Douro will take approximately two and a half hours to complete, it is one of the most scenic train journeys available anywhere in Portugal. The alternative is to rent a car, which will make the trip from Porto much quicker, albeit with fewer scenic stops. Aside from that, taking the train allows you to sample all of the wine that is available in the surrounding area.

What Exactly is Produced Here?

The Douro Valley is at the heart of Portugal’s port wine production, and port wine continues to be the region’s most important export product. The environmental conditions found here are favorable for port production. The particular flavor associated with this sort of wine is created by the soil and climate in which it is grown. However, the Douro is also well-known for its production of unfortified wines, with a wide range of red, white, and even rosé varietals being produced in this region of Portugal.

Pico Island Vineyard Culture is a Way of Life

Why Should You Visit Pico Island?

Pico is the second-largest island in the Azores, and it is located more than 900 nautical miles west of Lisbon. It is also the location of one of the most distinctive wine areas on the planet.

Even today, it is considered a marvel that the early settlers at Pico Valley were able to raise anything in such a difficult climate. The activity of Mount Pico, a volcano that last erupted in 1720, has had a significant impact on the terrain.

There are a few dedicated museums on the island, which are located in some of the island’s largest growing districts. There, you may learn more about the manufacturing process, the history of the region, and even partake in a few samples to round off your visit.

Getting to Pico Island is Not Difficult

Because of the island’s remote location, there are only two ways to get to Pico — either by sea or by air. A ferry service connects the main islands of the Azores, namely So Jorge and Faial, and runs between the two islands every day.

If going from the mainland, however, air travel is the most convenient mode of transportation to Pico Island, with direct flights linking Lisbon and Pico. Pico Island’s airport is located around 8 kilometers east of the island’s major town of Madalena and in close proximity to the island’s largest vineyards.

Pico Island is Home to Portuguese Vineyards

As opposed to the typical method of growing vines (upright against trellises), the vines on this property run along the ground. Wind and ocean are protected from the vines by sprawling rows of black stone walls that surround them. The similar thing happened to me in the Geria section of Lanzarote island, which is also a volcanic location.

The first examples of this type of production date back to the 15th century. As time went on, the region became famous with the production of fortified wines, particularly those made from the Verdelho grape variety. This ancient kind of grape is still used extensively in the winemaking process on Pico de Gallo. There are a variety of different types available, such as the Arinto grape, which is often seen in white mixes and is also available.

Leave a Comment