hit tracker The ‘under the radar’ hotspot next to the cheapest city in Europe – famous for wine and natural river beaches – Newsmix.pics

The ‘under the radar’ hotspot next to the cheapest city in Europe – famous for wine and natural river beaches

HOLIDAYMAKERS have been urged to visit a holiday spot that goes “under the radar” next to one of Europe’s cheapest city break destinations.

Porto in Portugal has grown in popularity in recent years due to its affordability and what it has on offer for tourists.


The Douro Valley in Portugal is often overlooked by tourists[/caption]

Not known, clear with picture desk

Its vineyards are home to some of the world’s best loved wine[/caption]

Douro travel guide

Natural river beaches are one of the most popular places to cool off in the summer[/caption]

However, there’s a place nearby that offers people a great place to dodge the throngs of visitors, while also enjoying the scenery and prices as well as providing plenty of reasons to visit in its own right.

The Douro Valley is the region surrounding the Rio Douro, with towns, villages, natural river beaches and more surrounding it.

The valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a rich history, most of which is wine-related.

In fact it is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world and has been producing and supplying Port since the 1700s.

However, it’s also well known for making drinks like Vinho Verde which are more popular with modern wine drinkers.

The valley offers plenty of places for people to sample its most famous product, however, the Quinta do Panascal was singled out by the Irish Independent, who said the region had “slipped under the radar” of tourists.

They wrote: “There are so many places to go wine tasting it’s almost impossible to narrow it down, but a trip to the Douro isn’t complete without a visit to the Quinta do Panascal, the ‘Bentley‘ of Port wine vineyards.”

The vineyard is the region’s flagship wine producer and its Fonseca Vintage 1994 has been recognised by Wine Spectator Magazine as one of the best wines in the world.

Wine isn’t the only way for people to refresh themselves in the Douro valley however, with natural beaches situated along the river.

Although they’re scenic places set between the hills, far fewer people go to there than the nearby cities, making them the perfect place to dodge the crowds.

The Irish Independent continued: “During the summer the Douro offers a refreshing alternative to overcrowded European beach resorts, although the river remains a welcome refuge for those looking to cool down on a hot day in pristine waters.

“There are numerous natural beaches dotting the river but some of the best can be found at Lomba on the left bank of the river and Congida River Beach near the town of Freixo de Espada à Cinta.”

Kayaking and paddle boarding are also options for people to unwind along the river.

An even better way to explore the Douro valley is via a boat trip, with many of the old Rabelo boats that used to transport wine, now transporting tourists.

Best staycation locations for 2024

1. Bristol

The arty harbour city was the top spot on the list and is bursting with culture and trendy cafes scattered along the River Avon.

A bubbling hub for creatives, Bristol is the birthplace of street artist Banksy, and you can admire some of his best early works on a free walking tour.

2. Hull

The Humberside port city started to get recognition last year, and it has a thriving nightlife scene – if that’s something you’re after.

The old town is crawling with history and classy buildings, whose walls have many stories to tell and The Deep is a fascinating aquarium attraction.

3. Isles of Scilly

Just off the Cornish coast, it’s easy to see why the archipelago made it into the top three.

Here, you can expect golden sandy beaches where you will be able to spot dolphins beyond the shoreline, as well as seafront pubs serving up hearty grub.

A two-hour tour with Magnifico Douro can be booked for €25 (£21.50)

The tour takes visitors from the town of Pinhão, travelling upstream towards Tua, taking in vineyards and the terraced fields and “unique landscapes”.

Despite its beauty, and obvious reasons for tourists to visit, the Douro Valley for now remains relatively untouched by tourists.

However, that’s unlikely to last.

Travel experts Lonely Planet wrote: “The rest of the world is beginning to discover what the Portuguese have known forever: the Douro region is simply one of the most glorious spots on earth.”

Getting to the Douro Valley is relatively simple, with flights from the UK to nearby Porto available from around £70 return.

A room for two in the valley can be booked from £57 per night.

There are several other places in the UK and Europe that are well worth a visit, but often overlooked by tourists.


Shaldon in Devon is a relatively unknown seaside village that was named among the top 10 seaside staycations last year.

Sun-seekers can relax on the red-sand beaches on the banks of the River Teign estuary, one of which is only accessible via an original smugglers’ tunnel.

There are long walking trails and hiking routes available, especially to work up an appetite for some of the delicious food on offer.


The town of Annecy in the south east of France is extremely popular with visitors because of its Venice-style canals and “fairytale” scenery.

However, just a stone’s throw away is Talloires, which is often ignored by holidaymakers, despite it being just as picturesque as its more famous neighbouring town.

Meanwhile, tourists in the UK often overlook this city – but they shouldn’t.

And this seaside village is often unfairly ignored by tourists as well.


The region has been labelled one of the best places for a wine holiday[/caption]


The river Douro winds its way between the hills and vineyards[/caption]

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