I’d never been to Portugal before, and when I thought of Portugal I could only recall friends telling me of their trips to Porto or Lisbon. So beaches and old towns are what sprang to mind.
For this reason, I was so surprised to see the stunning valleys and the Duoro River that snakes its way past Six Senses – the river is fed from central Spain, and flows to to the Atlantic Ocean via Porto, which is due West of the Duoro Valley.
We were picked up from Porto airport in the Six Senses Tesla and watched the landscapes change was we took a beautiful drive inland to the mountains.
The area has a really striking combination of elements: the vineyards are terraced as they step down to the river, which reminded me of the rice paddies in Bali or Vietnam; the beautiful European chateaus and farm houses have the colours and hues of Tuscany; the width of the river in the background and the general setting gave me a sense of Lake Como; and the progressive wine culture in Portugal (even through the industry is 2,000 years old in this area) has a less entitled sense than some of its more popular European producers, so we were particularly warmly greeted and welcomed everywhere we went.
The region where Six Senses is situated is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the resort management take the impact on the environment extremely seriously. The staff maintain old growth trees and grow sustainable local ingredients, which are used for the dining venues, of which The Vale de Abraao Restaurant is the jewel in the crown. But all of the food and wine venues (there are six!) are just beautiful places to spend time. We ate like queens!
There are three resident dogs to keep you company, stunning rooms with views of the river and valleys, and you can spend your days exploring and hiking or relaxing and taking cooking classes at the resort – I absolutely loved this place and can’t wait to go back!
Learn more: https://www.sixsenses.com/resorts/douro-valley/destination
Where: Alto Douro Wine Region, Portugal, about 100kms east of Porto
When: I visited in March, although the peak season revolves around the European summer months of June/July/August
How to get there: Fly to Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport, Porto, and drive for 1hr 20mins (hotel can arrange transport), or take a long leisurely drive up (3.5-4hrs) from Lisbon
My inside tips: Take the guided vineyard tour; visit the forest; ask for a room with a river view; make your own natural body products by visiting the alchemy class; take a river cruise; ask about the ‘Chef’s Table’ experience – enjoy!