It's the dynamic Rio Douro that brings diversity to the province it has defined, a province with granite bluffs, wine caves, medieval stone houses and steep, terraced vineyards. Romantic Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is at its mouth; one of the world’s oldest demarcated wine regions is close to the source; and scores of friendly villages in between have always relied on it for water, food and commerce. Alongside the river, the region also boasts intricately carved cathedrals, baroque churches, palatial quintas (estates), beaux arts boulevards and 18th-century wine cellars.
Sandwiched between the Rio Douro and the Spanish border in Portugal’s extreme northeast corner, ruggedly beautiful Trás-os-Montes is named for its centuries-long isolation ‘behind the mountains’. Life here unfolds at a different pace, dictated by harsh, pristine nature. Both its food and its people are hearty and no-frills, as you'll soon find out when travelling its towns and wilderness areas.