The scent of dried spices and grasses hangs in the air. You look out onto an intoxicating countryside landscape of towering slopes and wine terraces of different shapes and sizes, where bulging vines stretch out towards the sun. The river makes its way gracefully through what is probably the most spectacular wine-growing region in the world – the home of port wine. Coming from Spain, the Douro flows from east to west across Portugal, then out into the Atlantic at Porto. In the old days, skippers still transported barrels to the wineries by boat but today proud vineyards still adorn the river banks and along the river, medieval towns captivate with their beauty. This region attracted Romans, pilgrims and aristocrats, all of whom created idyllic gems here. Then there’s Porto: the origin of the illustrious Portuguese fleet, with its mix of traditional and modern architecture.