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Portuguese: Douro
The Duero and its tributary Pisuerga

The Duero and its tributary Pisuerga

location Spain , Portugal
River system Duero
Headwaters Picos de Urbión in the province of Soria
42 ° 0 ′ 25 ″  N , 2 ° 52 ′ 51 ″  W
Source height 2160  msnm
muzzle Atlantic Ocean near Porto Coordinates: 41 ° 8 ′ 43 "  N , 8 ° 39 ′ 24"  W 41 ° 8 ′ 43 "  N , 8 ° 39 ′ 24"  W
Mouth height msnm
Height difference 2160 m
Bottom slope 2.4 ‰
length 897 km
Catchment area 98,400 km²
Drain MQ
700 m³ / s
Left tributaries Águeda , Yeltes , Paiva , Távora , Tormes , Adaja
Right tributaries Corgo , Esla , Valderaduey , Pisuerga , Tâmega , Tua
Big cities Porto , Vila Nova de Gaia
Medium-sized cities Soria , Zamora , Aranda de Duero , Peso da Régua
Catchment area of ​​the Duero

Catchment area of ​​the Duero

Upper course of the Duero at Salduero

The Duero [ 'dweɾo ] ( Portuguese name Douro [ ˈdoɾu ]) is the third longest river on the Iberian Peninsula . It rises in the Spanish province of Soria , flows through northern Spain and northern Portugal and flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Porto . It is about 897 kilometers long.


The Duero rises in the Picos de Urbión in the northern Spanish province of Soria at an altitude of 2080 meters. It flows through the autonomous community of Castile and León along the cities of Soria , Almazán , Aranda de Duero , Tordesillas and Zamora . At 112 km in length it forms the Spanish-Portuguese border , on which the river landscape lies on both sides in protected nature parks: Arribes del Duero and Douro Internacional . From here it flows 213 km in Portugal, passing the cities of Miranda do Douro , Pinhão and Peso da Régua as well as the Alto Douro wine-growing region . The Duero flows into the Atlantic at Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia .

North of its central reaches in Portugal lies the high plateau of the Serra de Aboboreira with the megalithic complex Chã da Parada . In the Neolithic , the entire area north of the Duero, including Galicia, was a single cultural area.

The most important right tributaries in Spain are Esla , Valderaduey and Pisuerga , in Portugal the Tâmega , the Tua and the Corgo coming from Galicia . Left tributaries are Águeda , Yeltes and Tormes . There are also a number of rivers with very little water flow such as the Riaza , the Duratón , the Cega , the Adaja , the Zapardiel , the Guareña and the Trabancos .

Anthropogenic pollution

The exposure to microplastics in the Duero is serious. In one study, more MP particles than fish larvae were found.


The ancient name of the Duero was Durius ; Numantia was the most important city on its shore.

In the early phase of the Reconquista up to the dissolution of the Caliphate of Cordoba (1031), the Duero marked the border area between the Christian north of Spain ( Kingdom of Asturias / Kingdom of León ) and al-Andalus in the south. Some still-preserved Moorish watchtowers ( atalayas ) in the Spanish province of Soria and the Peñafiel castle in the north of the province of Valladolid give evidence of this former border .


Between Porto and Pocinho , the Portuguese railway runs on the Linha do Douro, mostly along the river bank. The international long-distance hiking trail GR 14 Senda del Duero also runs from the source to the mouth .

East end of the waterway in Vega Terrón , Spain
Ship at Águeda pier

There is evidence that the Duero was used as a shipping route until the time of the Roman occupation. Today the Duero is almost only navigable in Portuguese territory. From its mouth to the border region at Vega Terrón, it is navigable over 210 kilometers of the river through five locks with vehicles up to 83 m long, up to 11.40 m wide and a draft of up to 3.80 m.

Surname Construction year Duero kilometers Max. Drop height
Usable length
Usable width
Pocinho lock 1983 180.5 22nd, 0 83 11.4
Valeira lock 1976 145, 0 33.0
Régua lock 1973 105, 0 28.5
Carrapatelo lock 1971 065, 0 35.0 87
Crestuma lock 1986 021.5 13.9 83



From the Spanish-Portuguese border to Mesão Frio , the area around the Duero forms the Alto Douro wine region , the strictly demarcated port wine growing area . In earlier times, the barrels from this region and its historic center Peso da Régua were shipped on boats to the port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto . Alto Douro was in 1756 the world's first protected wine region in all and since 2001 the World Heritage of UNESCO . In addition to the port wine, the red wines are also important here.

On the Spanish side, near Aranda de Duero, is the Ribera del Duero wine-growing region , where Tempranillo red wine is mainly grown.

Power plants and reservoirs

Looking downstream, the Duero is dammed for the following power plants to form the reservoirs of the same name:

power plant operator Max.
Reservoir Surface
(million m³)
Cuerda del Pozo Iberdrola 7th Cuerda del Pozo 21.76 229
Los Rábanos Iberdrola 4th Los Rábanos 0.98 8th
San Jose 2.2 San Jose 1.92 5.5
Villalcampo Iberdrola 206 Villalcampo 4.45 66
Castro Iberdrola 190 Castro 1.8 27
Miranda EDP 390 Miranda 1.2 28
Picote EDP 426 Picote 63
Bemposta EDP 401 Bemposta 4.05 129
Aldeadávila Iberdrola 1,139 Aldeadávila 3.68 114.3
Saucelle Iberdrola 525 Saucelle
Pocinho EDP 186 Pocinho 8.29 83
Valeira EDP 216 Valeira 7.95 97
Régua EDP 156 Régua 8.5 95
Carrapatelo EDP 201 Carrapatelo 9.52 148.4
Crestuma lever EDP 108 Crestuma lever 12.98 110


Longitudinal profile of the Duero from the source to the mouth

See also

Web links

Commons : Douro River  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. SM Rodrigues, C. Marisa R. Almeida, D. Silva, J. Cunha, C. Antunes, V. Freitas, S. Ramos: Microplastic contamination in an urban estuary: Abundance and distribution of microplastics and fish larvae in the Douro estuary . In: Science of The Total Environment. 659, 2019, p. 1071, doi : 10.1016 / j.scitotenv.2018.12.273 .
  2. Via Navegável - Introdução. Instituto Portuário e dos Transportes Marítimos, accessed March 9, 2014 (Portuguese).
  3. ^ Hans-Joachim Uhlemann: Canals and hydraulic structures in Spain and Portugal. (PDF; 1.5MB) Report on a trip through France and Portugal to study shipping canals, lifts and locks from April 24 to May 21, 1995. In: peter haas. 2007, archived from the original on March 9, 2014 ; accessed on March 9, 2014 .
  4. Distances et durée de déplacement entre les principaux quais, ports et écluses de navigation de la voie navigable du Douro. (PDF; 88kB) Instituto Portuário e dos Transportes Marítimos, accessed on March 9, 2014 (Portuguese).
  5. ^ Canal de Navegação. Instituto Portuário e dos Transportes Marítimos, accessed March 9, 2014 (Portuguese).