Best Wine Regions to Explore in Portugal Right Now

Best Wine Regions to Explore in Portugal

The wine regions in Portugal go way further than the ones we suddenly remember.
It can be hard to explore them all, though each one of them is very worthwhile!

Most well-known Portuguese wine regions that are still worth the visit!

Portugal’s small territory of 93,000km2 belies the diversity and quality of its wine regions and production.

The country is home to famous wine regions such as Vinho Verde, Douro, and Alentejo, each with their own unique characteristics, that make them mandatory stops while exploring the best Portuguese wine and vineyards.

The Vinho Verde region not only offers high-quality wine but also a variety of activities that go from an adventurous hiking on the Santiago trails, or a relaxed getaway with comfortable hotels and traditional restaurants.

The famous cruises on the Douro River are one of the most well-known experiences when it comes to exploring this wine region. You can always try to go a little further regarding your stay and experience around, by taking a train ride on The Presidential, which gives you the chance of exploring the region while tasting the most out of the cuisine of some of the World’s best Chefs and enjoy the breathtaking views (of course, if you succeed to buy a ticket, as the trips are very limited, as well as the seats on each trip). The Douro Historical Train is another option to explore this Portuguese region. Despite being “just” a traditional train, it is still a great way to enjoy the same amazing views all along the journey.

Located in the southern part of the country, The Alentejo Wine Region, offers a glimpse of the traditional Portuguese life, with its golden plains and a rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore historical sites such as the mandatory Capela dos Ossos in Évora, or taste the Sericaia de Elvas, a traditional dessert brought by the nuns of the Convent of Elvas and Vila Viçosa, which recipe was passed from generation to generation. These are two very different cities, both considered World Heritage sites, with much more to offer.

Whichever region you choose, you will find delicious traditional food and high-quality wine that will allow you to have an unforgettable experience while exploring the best wine regions in our country.

Want to go a little further on exploring the best wines in Portugal?

Despite being the most known Portuguese regions, and perhaps considered the best ones in our country due to their worldwide reputation, the wine map of Portugal goes way beyond the regions mentioned before. Others, such as Lisbon, Setúbal, and even the island of Madeira also have a lot to offer to wine enthusiasts.

Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, is definitely worth a closer look. The city offers a variety of experiences such as beaches, mountains, heritage, shopping and great city tours. Visiting wineries is probably not the first thought when planning a visit to Lisbon, but is certainly a must-do. For example, one can witness the resurgence of Carcavelos wine, which is now being rediscovered as people realize the importance of working with nature, more than an unbridled urban development.
Read more about this resurgence here: Back From The Dead: Carcavelos Wine Gets Second Chance.

If the preference is for mountain regions, Sintra is a great option. Not only can visitors appreciate the beauty of nature and the impressive monuments, but also taste the quality of the rare Colares wine, which has been enjoyed by several generations of the Portuguese monarchy.

Still not convinced of Lisbon’s wine potential? The Parque da Vinha, known as the “Vineyard of the Airport”, due to its location, is a clear indicator of the city’s wine heritage, with no need to go farther from the exact place where you land in the city.

Not far from the capital, Setúbal is also a great destination for wine lovers who aim to explore Portugal. Here, you can enjoy the tradition of having a glass of local wine with cheese from Azeitão, or even with a lovely fish meal by the Sado river. This is the Portuguese wine region that brings to us the famous Moscatel wine (learn more on Vinhos da Península de Setúbal), which used to be consumed only as a digestive, but is now being encouraged by the local experts to be enjoyed also during the meal or even as an aperitif.

For those looking for fortified wines, a trip to the island of Madeira is a must. The wines from this region are produced on slopes, still using a completely manual process of grape harvesting. The island offers not only a variety of good wines but also a lot to explore whether looking for nature, culture or gastronomy, all aspects that turn such a small island into such a great place!

Well-kept secrets, but not for long!

Still in the Atlantic, you can find the pearl of the ocean in what comes to Portuguese wine regions: the Azores islands! Surprisingly for many, we find in this archipelago a vineyard which is considered World Heritage: the vineyard of Pico island, formed by the “Currais”: its famous volcanic stone walls that protect the grapes from the inevitable winds and salty air, while surrounding them in warmth during the day.

This archipelago, famous for hosting the 4 seasons of the year only in one day, is formed by 9 islands. When it comes to wine, Pico shares its reputation with the islands of Terceira and Graciosa. Having to choose only one island, Pico has the highest mountain in Portugal – Pico itself – which challenges you to a tiring climb, with the promise of the reward: the best place to look over the wonderful landscapes!

In addition, we suggest you seize the opportunity to visit the island of São Miguel, mandatory for those who do not know Azores. It may not be difficult since most flights from the mainland connect to the archipelago through this island.

Back on the mainland – proving that the production of good wine in Portugal is all over the place! – we cannot let the areas of Bairrada, Távora-Varosa and Algarve go unnoticed.
It is true that these are not names that come to mind when we talk about Portuguese wine regions. These are, in fact, great regions that are still developing their ability to host wine tourists. A lot has already been done but more is expected to come.

Bairrada is a wine region with great potential. Starting with the well-known “Leitão da Bairrada” and finishing with the also famous “Ovos Moles”, the important thing is that you enjoy your meal with a great local wine. Bringing out the best of the food and the best of the beverage, Bairrada does not disappoint when it comes to quality and variety. Surely a region to be considered if you want to explore Portugal from a great wine point of view.

In addition, the Távora-Varosa wine region is another interesting and less well-known option, but it offers incredible wines. The vineries initially explored by monks, at an altitude of 500 to 800 meters, produce wines for all occasions, including its recognized sparkling wine. This region, which crosses with the so known Douro region in some points, apart from the conventional wine samples, offers you the added opportunity to taste incredible sparkling wine.

Moving to the southernmost part of Portugal, talking about Algarve is the same as saying: sand on the feet, hats on the heads, towels spread out and salty hair. And if this raises Algarve to the number one beach resort destination for many, it is also what moves wine to a secondary plan. The thing is: why not take things to the next level and add to the holiday vibe and good company a nice cool drink?

When visiting these regions, it’s important to remember that wine will be the best companion and it will not leave you disappointed, regardless of your destination. So, pack your bags and get ready to enjoy a unique and flavourful experience on the spot: the best of Portuguese wine in its best wine regions!

In the meantime, you can still enjoy the Portuguese wines at your place. The lack of ideas is no longer an excuse as we made a list of a different bottle for each day of the year for you: Best Portuguese Wines: 365 to Drink All Year Round!

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My name is Sérgio Abreu, a multimedia designer and digital marketing specialist that has spent many years dealing with pixels, color charts and image editing software. Like Jon Snow, the Game of Thrones character, I know nothing… about wine. This is my quest.

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