The Douro river is the longest in northern Portugal. It winds its sinuous way past mountains and cliffs until it reaches the Atlantic near the city of Porto.
Many dams have been built to make the river navigable, which for the visitor means that plenty of pleasure and cruise boats depart from Porto to the Douro region.
Between Mesão Frio and Pinhão lies the stretch where the valley sides are lined with terraced vineyards that produce the famous Port wine. This region is also famous for the ancient cave paintings in Vila Nova de Foz Côa, made in prehistoric times. Elsewhere, medieval castles and convents or Romanesque chapels dot the landscape.
History, too, is evoked by the manor houses, such as the Baroque mansion at Mateus, near Vila Real, or in the great 17th century sanctuaries, such as Nossa Senhora dos Remédios in Lamego.