“Laughter is brightest where food is best.”(Irish Proverb)
The Douro Wine Route is inspired on a project to promote national tourism, known as Portugal Routes (Rotas de Portugal) which aims to be a showcase of the charms Portugal, and organizes national tourist offers in structural themes of regional and local scope. Douro Wine Routes, intends to highlight the natural, historical, cultural and religious heritage, gastronomy and oenology offers of the region, but mostly their impact on the wine production.
The Alto Douro is the oldest demarcated and regulated wine-growing region in the world, dating back to 1756, the demarcation of the Alto Douro and the regulation of “Douro wine” and “Port wine”, traces this last designation to the XVIIth century. Also, in 2001, a small part of the Alto Douro region, along the Douro River, was classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The riverbanks of the Douro is the territory covered by this route, which provides information about the estates, known as “Quintas”, that are located there and that have regular wine tourism services. It is also important to refer that these Quintas have a family history that shaped not only the traditions that each one follows in the wine production, as well as the continuity of the heritage that gives each brand a very human perspective of the dedication to the quality of their wines.
On the other hand, the gastronomy of the Douro Region is based on the regional products produced in the estates situated along the Douro valley, but mostly in residual available lands, as the demarcated wine areas are used intensively for the vineyards, especially those which are on the riverside.
It is mostly a diet based on meat and vegetables, most of which come from the farms that are not entirely dedicated to the production of wine. Therefore, the local Quintas are proud about their “farm to table” policy when suggesting mostly local products, which also stimulate the local communities to contribute in a very positive way.
This specific Douro Wine Route is directly related to the “Quintas” – Douro wine and often also Port Wine production properties, most of which do not only promote the grape harvesting, grape treads and wine tasting activities for visitors, but also the lodging in the heritage protected Manor Houses to which the vineyards belong to. To complete this experience, many of these estates opened restaurants to enrichen the experience, promoting pairing or harmonization meals with their own wines, bringing well-known chefs from all around Portugal.
The possibility of tasting some of the most prized wines in the world in the precise environment their grapes grew in and the wine was produced is an important element of the enotourism activity. But as the relation of wine and food is obvious, enogastronomic experiences are also developed and promoted internationally.
Among others, tourists may enjoy their time in the Douro Region by experiencing eating and drinking, visits the vineyards, to wine tasting paired with cheese, jams, local food, picnics as well as boat or train tours, cycling through vineyards or canoeing down the river.
On a 3-day tour, and exclusively going to Quintas in the Douro Valley, it is possible to start the trip by car, train, boat or helicopter to the Douro region.
Coming from Oporto and with over 400 years of history, Quinta do Crasto which is located in Sabrosa, is one the most characteristic places where the visitor may have a private meal and taste their six best wines simultaneously commented by a specialist. They provide a guided tour through the estate and
Going further up the river, Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is situated in Covas do Douro, and is one of the remotest Quintas to enjoy a gastronomic experience. Nevertheless, an original possibility of accessing by boat from Folgosa allows a short but interesting stay to the Quinta. The Quinta has also available lodging with privileged views over ancient terraced vineyards. The location allows enjoying a unique experience in their Terraçu’s Winery Restaurant, and offers normally 2 suggestion – the 3 and the 5 moments menus, from which the client chooses the dishes, and the specialist takes into hands the responsibility of choosing the adequate and best wines for each of the selected dishes.
Further up, Quinta De La Rosa, located in Pinhão, offers to visitors an experience in their Restaurant “Cozinha da Clara“, with a meal that harmonizes the regional gastronomy of the Douro region with the best wines produced in their estate. The restaurant offers a beautiful view over the Douro River to enjoy meals and gastronomic experiences. The restaurant aims to preserve the very rich culinary tradition of Trás-os-Monte and Alto Douro, using the products grown in the estate. They make a point of serving at least a white wine with the starter, a red wine with the main dish and a Port wine with desert.
Finally, going back towards Oporto, Quinta da Pacheca is located in Cambres, and besides having a hotel situated in the middle of the vineyards that offers lodging in barrel-based designed rooms, it has a Restaurant that allows clients to harmonize the best of the prize-winning wines with the most traditional gastronomy of the Douro region. As it also produces olive-oil, they provide a meal nearly entirely with products from the estate. The presented menu divides the meals into 3 or 4 moments, each one harmonized with a selection of wines produced and aged in the estate.
All Quintas will sell wine and locally produced products for visitors to take home.
List of Local Producers
All of these Quintas are available the whole year, some of which upon reservation, but the greatest part is done in late spring, summer and early autumn. You can either go by car, train boat or helicopter. You can catch it in São Bento Station in Porto until Estação do Tua.
Aside from two of the suggested estates that have lodging facilities, there are several accommodation options, all with parking. Bellow you can find some examples of it:
VILA GALÉ: Book now
Palacio Nova Seara: Book Now
MW Douro Wine & Spa by TRIUS Hotels: Book now
In this area, there are still other visiting options, such as:
- the Côa Valley museum and archeologic Park;
- the three main viewpoints: São Salvador do Mundo has a sanctuary composed by a set of small chapels and is in the left margin of the Douro; São Domingos with a view over Mirandela, Vila Real and Bragança; Casal de Loivos to appreciate one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world;
- Peso da Régua, the capital of the Douro Demarcated Region – the Douro Museum, the Roman village of Alto da Fonte do Milho and the Casa do Douro;
- Have a train trip along the Douro line.
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