About the Region

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Photo © iStock / Bjorn Hotting

Portugal’s Douro Valley MapGuide

The Douro Valley Region coalition has partnered with the National Geographic Society to capture the history and heritage of Portugal’s Douro Valley through an interactive Web site and print map. The Douro Valley Geotourism Project seeks to celebrate the Douro Valley region as a world-class destination, while contributing to the economic health of the region by promoting sustainable tourism. History buffs and adventurers, foodies, and wine aficionados can discover unique destinations based on recommendations from those who know best—residents of the Portugal’s Douro Valley region.

Portugal’s Douro Valley residents and visitors, community organizations, tourism stakeholders and local businesses nominate sites for inclusion in a print MapGuide and interactive Web site. Unlike any other mapping project, a favorite local restaurant, farm, winery, hiking or biking trail, museum or artist gallery are samples of the type of nominations National Geographic and its project partners will be seeking. The web site will target a variety of growing travel niches—adventure and nature tourism, cultural heritage travel and agritourism—and allow for residents to select the one-of-a-kind places integral to a distinctive character of place.

What is Geotourism?

Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. Geotourism incorporates the concept of sustainable tourism—that destinations should remain unspoiled for future generations—while allowing for ways to protect a place’s character. Geotourism also takes a principle from its ecotourism cousin—that tourism revenue should promote conservation—and extends it to culture and history as well, that is, all distinctive assets of a place. Through this site we invite you to visit and experience the distinctive landscape and communities of Portugal’s Douro Valley region. Visit National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations to find out more about Geotourism and discover other places where local communities have come together to encourage responsible tourism.