With breathtaking landscapes and a distinctive wine culture, there’s nothing not to love about Portugal’s Douro Valley. It might be wine enthusiasts best kept secret right now, but that won’t last long as more people are introduced to this remarkable region.
To celebrate the local people who have loved and cultivated the Douro Valley for centuries, Solimar supported National Geographic develop a collaborative online Mapguide – DiscoverDouroValley.com. The aim of the website is to promote and preserve the unique culture and history of the Douro Valley while offering visitors a chance to experience this destination as the winemakers, farmers and traders of Douro intended.
The website features historic and natural landmarks, wineries, hotels, and many other sites that are nominated by the local people as being distinctly Douro. As the website touts, “The best travel advice comes from the people who live there,” and that invaluable advice is exactly what you’ll find on the website.
The website officially launched in December at the Douro Museum in Regua, overlooking the Douro River and celebrating Port wine. (Port is a fortified sweet red wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley – one of the Valley’s many claims to fame.) The event was part of the 10th anniversary of the Douro Valley wine region being granted cultural landscape status by the UNESCO World Heritage Center. The Minister of Tourism along with local partners, National Geographic representatives, media and press were in attendance.
Solimar’s Jim Dion described the launch as "an inspiring event in an inspiring locale. Beyond the promoting tourism aspect of these projects is the inspiration of local people in the pride of their geography and special sense of their own place that makes these projects Important." Another event is planned this spring at the start of the tourist season.
And we aren’t the only ones excited about the Douro Valley these days. Afar Magazine just listed Portugal as a must-see destination for 2013:
"… It’s the beautiful Douro Valley that’s getting all the buzz these days, emerging as the next great wine destination—and not just for the country’s namesake Port. At the mouth of the Douro sits the beautiful city of Oporto, dating from the Roman period and offering diversions both modern (fresh new boutique hotels) and ancient (the baroque Torre dos Clérigos bell tower). And in the rural Alentejo region to the south, hotels like Villa Extramuros offer visitors home-away-from-home style and comfort."
To learn more about our geotourism projects in partnership with National Geographic, visit our sustainable destination program page, where you can request a proposal or check out other geotourism websites!