In December 2001, UNESCO elevated the Alto Douro Wine Region to World Heritage Centre. A title awarded unanimously that rewarded the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, ordered by the Marquês de Pombal in 1756. Single region by bringing together the virtues of shale soil and its privileged sun exposure with the unique characteristics of its microclimate along with the hard work of man.
Its landscape highlights three main aspects: the uniqueness of the territory, the natural relationship of wine culture with olive and almond trees, and the diversity of local architecture. Besides these aspects, the candidature highlighted the remarkable work done by man to build walls that extend the shale slopes and above all, authenticity and integrity of the cultural landscape.
The Demarcated Douro Region, where the wines are produced corresponding to designations of origin "Porto" and "Douro", covers 250 thousand hectares, of which 48 thousand are occupied by vineyards, and form part of 22 counties.
The territory of the Alto Douro Wine Region, classified area, includes the Douro River valley, which is already considered World Heritage in their extremes, namely the city of Porto, and in opposite side the Archaeological Côa Park.
The classification of the Douro as a cultural landscape, alive and evolutionary increased the river traffic of cruise boats for tourists. Many traditional farms joined the philosophy of Porto Wine Route, opening its doors to visitors, promoting visits, wine tastings and events.
The train returned to the historic Douro Line, with touristic routes, taking passengers "back" to the beginning of the century.
The nautical sports have become a constant in the waters of the Douro.
The whole region is in metamorphosis and it was with pride, but also with a sense of heightened responsibility, that the Douro Valley celebrated in 2006, with numerous cultural events, the passage of its 250 years as a Demarcated Region.