Douro [ˈdo(w)ɾu]; Spanish: Duero [ˈdweɾo];
Proto-Celtic: *Dur, lit. 'water') is one of the major rivers of
the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la
Soria Province across northern-central
its outlet at Porto.
2.1 Human geography
5 See also
7 External links
A 1908 image of boats along the
The Latinized name Durius, likely came from the Celtic tribes that
inhabited the area before Roman times: the Celtic root is *dubro-.
In modern Welsh, dŵr is "water," as well as dour in modern Breton
with cognate dobhar in Irish. In Roman times, the river was
personified as a god, Durius.
Douro vinhateiro (winegrowing), an area of the
Douro Valley in
Portugal long devoted to vineyards, has been designated by UNESCO as a
World Heritage Site. Traditionally, the wine was taken downriver in
flat-bottom boats called rabelos, to be stored in barrels in cellars
in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto. In the 1960s
and 1970s, dams with locks were built along the river, allowing river
traffic from the upper regions in
Spain and along the border. Nowadays
Port wine is transported to
Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia in tanker trucks.
Spain signed the Albufeira Convention, an
agreement on the sharing of trans-boundary rivers to include the
Tagus and Guadiana. The convention superseded an original
agreement on the Douro, signed in 1927, that was expanded in 1964 and
1968 to include tributaries.
A SPOT Satellite image of the
Profile of the
Douro River, from its source in the mountains of the
Sistema Ibérico to Foz do Douro
It is the third-longest river in the
Iberian Peninsula after the Tagus
and Ebro. Its total length is 897 kilometres (557 mi), of
which only sections of the Portuguese extension below the fall line
are navigable, by light rivercraft.
In its Spanish section, the
Douro crosses the great Castilian meseta
and meanders through five provinces of the autonomous community of
Castile and León: Soria, Burgos, Valladolid, Zamora, and Salamanca,
passing through the towns of Soria, Almazán, Aranda de Duero,
Tordesillas, and Zamora.
In this region, there are few tributaries of the Douro. The most
important are the Pisuerga, passing through Valladolid, and the Esla,
which passes through Zamora. This region is generally semi-arid
plains, with wheat and in some places, especially near Aranda de
Duero, with vineyards, in the
Ribera del Duero
Ribera del Duero wine region. Sheep
rearing is also still important.
The drainage basin borders those of Miño to the north,
Ebro to the
east, and Tajo to the south.
For 112 kilometres (70 mi), the river forms part of the national
border line between
Spain and Portugal, in a region of narrow canyons.
It formed a historical barrier to invasions, creating a
cultural/linguistic divide. In these isolated areas, in which the
Dam impounds the river, there are protected areas: the
International Douro Natural Park
International Douro Natural Park (on the Portuguese side) and the
Arribes del Duero Natural Park
Arribes del Duero Natural Park (on the Zamoran margin).
Douro fully enters Portuguese territory just after the confluence
with the Águeda River; once the
Douro enters Portugal, major
population centres are less frequent along the river. Except for Porto
Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia at the river mouth, the only population centres
of any note are Foz do Tua, Pinhão and Peso da Régua. Tributaries
here are small, merging into the
Douro along the canyons; the most
important are Côa, Tua, Sabor, Corgo, Tavora, Paiva, Tâmega, and
Sousa. None of these small, fast-flowing rivers is navigable.
Major Spanish riverside towns include Soria, Almazán, Aranda de
Duero, Tordesillas, Zamora and major Portuguese towns include Miranda
do Douro, Foz Côa, Peso da Régua, Lamego, Vila Nova de Gaia, and
Porto. The most populous cities along the
River are Valladolid
and Zamora in Spain, and
Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. The
latter two are located at the mouth of the
Douro at the Atlantic
In Portugal, the
Douro flows through the districts of Bragança,
Guarda, Viseu, Vila Real, Aveiro and Porto.
Porto is the main hub city
in northern Portugal. Its historic centre has been designated as a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site because of its significant architecture and
These reaches of the
Douro have a microclimate[specify] allowing for
cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes, which are
important for making the famous Port wine. The region around Pinhão
São João da Pesqueira
São João da Pesqueira is considered to be the centre of Port
wine, with its quintas (or farms/estates) that extend along the steep
slopes of the river valleys. In the 21st century, many of these
quintas are owned by multinational wine companies.
Recently, a prosperous tourist industry has developed based on river
Porto to points along the Upper
Douro railway line
Douro railway line (in Portuguese: Linha do Douro) was completed
in 1887; it connects Porto, Rio Tinto, Ermesinde, Valongo, Paredes,
Penafiel, Livração, Marco de Canaveses, Régua, Tua and Pocinho.
Pocinho is near the city of Foz Côa, which is close to Côa Valley
Paleolithic Art site. This is considered important to the
archaeological pre-historic patrimony, and it has been designated as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fifteen dams have been built on the
Douro to regulate the water flow,
generate hydroelectric power, and allow navigation through locks.
Beginning at the headwaters, the first five dams are in Spain: Cuerda
del Pozo, Los Rábanos, San José, Villalcampo and Castro Dams. The
next five downstream are along the Portuguese-Spanish border; the
first three are owned and operated by Portugal: (Miranda, Picote and
Bemposta Dams), while the next two belong to Spain: (Aldeadávila and
The Douro's last five dams are in Portugal, and allow for navigation:
Pocinho, Valeira, Régua, Carrapatelo and Crestuma-Lever Dams. Vessels
with a maximum length of 83 metres (272 ft) and width of 11.4
metres (37 ft) can pass through the five locks. The highest lock,
at Carrapatelo Dam, has a maximum lift of 35 metres (115 ft). The
Pocinho lake reach 125 metres (410 ft) above sea level.
Douro in Zamora (Spain)
River (tributary to the Duero) in Valladolid
Douro valley where
Port wine grapes grow
The typical rabelo boat and
Porto historical district in background
Port wine signs by the
Panoramic view of Oporto
The river between
Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia
The river near Régua, Portugal
Douro near Miranda do Douro
International Douro, "Arribes del Duero" near Salamanca
The river mouth from Porto's Crystal Palace Gardens, facing west
Looking across the river mouth from
Foz do Douro
Foz do Douro to Vila Nova de Gaia
(Atlantic Ocean on the right)
Typical almond tree, mostly seen along the river in Portugal
List of rivers of Portugal
List of rivers of Spain
^ Robert Ferguson (1862). The River-names of Europe. Williams &
Norgate. pp. 26–.
^ "Spanish-Portuguese Albufeira Convention". United Nations. Retrieved
18 February 2015.
^ a b "Rivers in Spain". www.iberianature.com. Retrieved 12 August
^ a b "Guide to
Spain CO-CU". www.iberianature.com. Retrieved 12
Companhia Turística do
Douro Cruises on the
DouroValley.eu—Main tourism website
inDOURO - Tourist Guide of
IPTM—Instituto Portuário e dos Transportes Marítimos, Delegação
do Norte e Douro
Douro Sound Map
Roteiro do Douro—