Douro Valley, Portugal

At sunrise you tee off at Estela, a links course just north of the historic city Porto. Eight holes cling to its Atlantic border, and you play amid the dunes with a front nine designed to awaken your golf senses, and ensure you’ve earned the indulgence that lies ahead. Then, it’s about the main event, a cruise down the iconic Douro River, into the valley famed for its steep wine terraces, stopping at historic towns and private wine estates.

At the quintas [estates], you can sample the rare wines too good to share with the wider world that are, instead, kept back for visitors to sample where and how they were intended, on a terrace overlooking the UNESCO-protected Douro Valley while trying the best local food of this rich, fertile region of Portugal. Then, it’s either Porto, and Michelin-starred eateries along the cobbled streets that tell a thousand stories or to one of the exclusive boutique estates or hotels in the valley region.

Overall Douro has a generally moderate climate. The best time to visit is April to October when the weather is often sunny and warm.


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