First impressions: Rural, quiet, the kind of place where it seems you've stepped back in time.
Tourism wins: Endless terraced vineyards, picturesque river views, all the good Portuguese port and wine the heart could desire.
Fails: A winding road that will make you wish for some dramamine. Also, beware that most wineries stop their tours for an extended lunchtime break, ending at noon and only resuming at 2:30pm.
If you go there do this: Visit Quinta da Pacheca winery, boutique hotel, and restaurant. It is a really stunning location and I would love to stay there next time we visit the region.
Food and drink highlights: The bacalhau (codfish) at Quinta da Pacheca.
Interesting observations: The Douro valley reminded me a lot of Peci, the little village where my family is from in Italy. Not so much in the scenery, but in the general feel of the place, the vegetation, the crumbling stone walls and old farmhouses, the persistent dampness in the air, the slow pace of seemingly everything.
A selection of photos below...