Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2001
Size of heritage: 24,600 ha
- Buffer zone: 225,400 ha

Longitude: -6,201°
Latitude: 41,102°


Wine has been produced by traditional landholders in the Alto Douro region for some 2,000 years. Since the 18th century, its main product, port wine, has been world famous for its quality. This long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of outstanding beauty that reflects its technological, social and economic evolution.

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Alto Douro Wine Region: A Historic and Breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Alto Douro Wine Region, located in the Douro Region of Portugal, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the rich history and cultural significance of winemaking in the region. With its stunning landscapes, terraced vineyards, and centuries-old traditions, this region has become a symbol of Portugal's winemaking heritage.


The history of winemaking in the Alto Douro Wine Region dates back to ancient times. The Romans were the first to cultivate vineyards in this area, recognizing the region's unique climate and soil conditions. Over the centuries, the production of wine in the region continued to flourish, with the establishment of monasteries and the introduction of new grape varieties.

However, it was in the 18th century that the Alto Douro Wine Region truly gained international recognition. The Marquis of Pombal, the prime minister of Portugal at the time, implemented a series of reforms to regulate and protect the production of Port wine, which was becoming increasingly popular in Europe. These reforms included the demarcation of the region and the creation of the world's first wine-producing region to be legally defined and protected.

Current State

Today, the Alto Douro Wine Region continues to be a thriving center of winemaking, producing some of the finest wines in Portugal. The region covers an area of approximately 24,600 hectares, with vineyards spread across steep slopes and terraces along the Douro River.

The unique microclimate of the region, characterized by hot summers and cold winters, combined with the schist soil, creates the perfect conditions for grape cultivation. The region is primarily known for its production of Port wine, a fortified wine that has been enjoyed for centuries. However, it also produces a variety of other wines, including red, white, and rosé.

The traditional winemaking methods used in the Alto Douro Wine Region have been passed down through generations, ensuring the preservation of the region's cultural heritage. Many of the vineyards are still owned by local families who continue to produce wine using traditional techniques, such as foot treading in granite lagares.

In addition to its winemaking heritage, the Alto Douro Wine Region is also renowned for its breathtaking landscapes. The terraced vineyards, carved into the hillsides, create a stunning visual spectacle that attracts visitors from around the world. The region's natural beauty, combined with its cultural and historical significance, has made it a popular destination for wine enthusiasts and tourists alike.

To protect and preserve this unique cultural landscape, the Alto Douro Wine Region was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001. This recognition has helped raise awareness about the importance of sustainable viticulture and the need to safeguard the region's natural and cultural assets for future generations.

Overall, the Alto Douro Wine Region stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of winemaking in Portugal. Its rich history, stunning landscapes, and exceptional wines make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing the beauty and tradition of this UNESCO World Heritage site.