Winelover Trip through Portugal: Douro and Serra da Estrela Part III

Imagine: a mixture of Tuscany and Wachau. Gently rolling hills, beautiful vineyards, olive groves and orange trees, with a lovely, meandering green river Douro. This area offers the perfect conditions for the production of the famous port wine. In the Douro region, delicacies of all kinds are created. Not only wine lovers get their money’s worth, but also a large variety of delights are made here, for example cheese, almonds, olives and oranges.

Elena, too, has recently travelled in this magic UNESCO World Heritage river landscape: Check out her food lover post about the city of Porto and follow her on a road trip through Douro valley!


Train ride into the Douro Valley: From Peso da Regua to Pinhao.

During the train ride from Pocinho to Piñhao, we are already able to see the big names of the port wineries in the hills to the left and right of the train. I cannot wait to visit them and learn more about the specific production process of port wines (and of course to check out the quality myself 😉 ).

With Jon Haggins of Globetrotter TV: Waiting for the train to depart in Pocinho!


The train ride was worth it – the views are amazing!


The train takes us to Piñhao, where our enthusiastic guide Álvaro teaches us all there is to know about the sparse soil of the region that forms the perfect foundation for the powerful, sweet grapes of the port wine.

The set of colours spread out in front of us are just unbelievable – all of them in just a single afternoon! We did not even have sunshine that day. This is probably due to the different climatic zones of the river.


You can only tell how oranges should taste, if you have once picked one from a tree yourself! They grow on the slopes to the left and right hand side of the river!


Wonderful views with a glass of Port wine after enjoying the great food at the “Real Companhia Velha” near Piñhao.


By the way, this is one of my favorite wines, light and fine white wine Evel (not “evil”;)!


Full of passion, these Southerners! However, wine is not the only passion of Álvaro, as we are about to find out this evening! Here, you can see him at the tasting of a wonderful “Quinta de Cidro”!


Quinta Seixto high above the Douro: Sandeman produces its famous port wine here since 1790.


Sandeman’s “Don” – as our guide in the typical clothing is called – was invented quite early. The clothing is reminiscent of the Spanish “caballero hat” as well as the former students cape in Portugal. I somehow had to think of Zorro …


A little bit above the town of Peso da Regua is the winery “Quinta do Vallado“. We learned more about their wine production during our visit here. At the tasting that followed, it was particularly the port wine with its fine smoky notes that convinced me!

Fancy bottle rack in the entrance area of the “Quinta do Vallado”.


Yes, I love it, the 10 years old Tawny Port that is maturing here!


Apart from the numerous “Quintas” wine estates which you can visit around the river, there are also some cultural highlights, such as the Museu do Douro. This is where our dinner is set and where we also met Álvaro again. 🙂

The Museu du Douro is perfect for seminars or events in a fancy atmosphere.

The Museu do Douro is perfect for seminars or events in a fancy atmosphere.


Dinner at the Museu du Douro - exceptional restaurant and great kitchen!

Dinner at the Museu do Douro – an exceptional restaurant with a great kitchen!


Álvaro and his band – here we listen to Fado music at its best. Some people relate it to sad female singing – but we now know better! As soon as someone starts dancing, the evening does not end too quickly.


However, at some point, we had to leave this great place and after a fun bus ride we arrived at another breathtaking hotel, the “Douro Scala. For me, it is the last in a range of great accommodation during this journey through Portugal, because unfortunately I had to leave the following day to go back home to Austria.

Douro Scala hotel, including a view from your bathtub into the vineyards… What else?


Once again, this is a successful combination of old and new (monastery and modern hotel) – the Douro Scala! The Portuguese obviously do this pretty well!


If you would like to know more about what to do around Peso da Regua, be sure to check out my final blog post in a series of “sunny entries” from Portugal. What a trip!


Disclaimer: We have been invited by “Douro e Estrela” to join their trip through Douro and Serra da Estrela in Portugal. All opinions are my own.

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