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Douro, demarcated region
The Douro is a navigable river that runs through the valleys cultivated in the districts of Bragança, Vila Real and Porto over 210 kilometers, in the northern region of Portugal, the result of the perfect harmony between the work of man and the creation of Nature, visible on the terraces along the valley, in the more than 100 religious buildings, in the dams built to make the river navigable from the entrance in Portugal to the mouth, in the more than 50 viewpoints that allow us to observe the entire route of the Douro River and the more than 200 km of Alto Douro Wine Route in Portuguese territory, in navigable waters, in stunning landscapes or in valleys full of almond blossom. The best definition for the Douro is dictated by Miguel Torga: “The Douro is an excess of nature” classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
The Douro River
The Douro River is the third largest river in the Iberian Peninsula, with an extension of approximately 930 km, with its source in Serra de Urbión, Spain, at an altitude of 2 thousand meters, it enters Portugal by Barca d’Alva, and flows into the mouth of Porto. During approximately ten hours of navigation we can observe:
- the Planalto Mirandês: located northeast of Trás-os-Montes and Douro Internacional, integrates the municipalities of Miranda do Douro, Mogadouro, Vimioso, Freixo de Espada à Cinta and Torre de Moncorvo. It is a region known for being the place where Mirandese is spoken, the second official language of Portugal; for being a favorable place for bird watching, namely Black Storks, Eagles or Vultures; for the civil and religious architectural heritage of Miranda do Douro; for the old tradition and customs, namely the Pauliteiros de Miranda; and for gastronomy, especially Posta à Mirandesa;
- Cachão da Valeira , a rocky gorge of the Douro River, having been the major obstacle to navigation on the Douro River and the site of several shipwrecks until the 18th century. This situation improved in the late 18th century with the destruction of part of the rock, and in the 20th century with the construction of the Valeira dam.
The tributaries of the Douro River
- Corgo river: it is a tributary of the Douro river, born in Vila Pouca de Aguiar, in Serra da Padrela at 918 meters of altitude, and empties into Peso da Régua. The Corgo River flows through Vila Real; Santa Marta de Penaguião; and Peso da Régua.
- river Varosa: it is a tributary of the left bank of the river Douro, it is born in Várzea da Serra, Tarouca, and empties near Lamego. The river has an approximate length of 45 km. Along the Varosa River we find Lamego; São João de Tarouca; Ucanha; the Varosa dam; Varosa Valley; and The Monastery of Santa Maria de Salzedas.
- Pinhão River: it is a tributary of the right bank of the Douro River, born in Raíz do Monte, Vila Pouca de Aguiar, and flows into the Pinhão Valley. It is 30 km long, and along the route passes through Vila do Pinhão; and wine estates.
- Távora river: it is a tributary of the left bank of the Douro, born in Trancoso and has an extension of approximately 65 km. The main highlight is the Vilar-Tabuaço dam, opened in 1955.
- Torto River: it is a tributary of the left bank of the Douro River, born in Trancoso, has an approximate length of 48 km, and along the route passes through Trancoso; and Pinhão.
- rio Tua: it is a tributary of the right bank of the Douro river, with an approximate length of 40 km. The Tua River rises in Mirandela where Tuela and Rabaçal converge and along the route passes through Tua Dam; Mirandela; Vila Flor; Carrazeda de Ansiães; Murça; and Alijó.
- river Coa: it is a tributary of the left bank of the river Douro, born in Serra das Mesas, Sabugal, at 1200 meters of altitude and empties into Vila Nova de Foz Coa. The Coa River is 135 km long and is one of the few rivers that flows from south to north in Portugal. Along the route, the river Coa passes through Vale do Coa; Sabugal; Vila Nova de Foz Coa, where we find paintings of rock art.
- rio Sabor: it is a tributary of the right bank of the river Douro, born in the Montes de León in Spain and empties into the village of Foz do Sabor. The river has an approximate length of 120 km and along the route passes through Torre de Moncorvo; Pocinho Dam; and the Aldeia da Foz do Sabor.
The Alto Douro Wine Region
The Douro Demarcated Region has an approximate size of 250 thousand hectares, of which 45 thousand are dedicated to the production of wine, with more than 200 million vineyards, distributed by more than 40 thousand producers; and only 12% of this production is used for generous and consumption wine. Alto Douro is divided into Baixo-Corgo , with 45000 hectares of total area; and 14501 hectares of vineyards; Cima-Corgo , with 95000 hectares of total area; and 20,915 hectares of vineyards; and the Douro Superior, with 110000 hectares of total area.
The Douro Counties
Mesão Frio: it is one of the smallest municipalities in the country, with 25 km2 and 4500 inhabitants, nestled in a valley with a clear view of the Douro River and the Serra de Montemuro. The name “Mesão” is related, according to the legend, with the French word “maison” and “cold” due to the very cold climate of the region. The points of interest are: Castro de Cidadelhe; the Casa da Vista Alegre; the church of Santa Cristina; the church of São Nicolau; the Pombaline landmarks, some of the original landmarks we can find are: numbers 5 and 6 at Quinta do Piar, number 7 at Quinta da Manuela, number 8 at Quinta da Ferreira de Baixo; the viewpoint of Senhora da Piedade; the Barqueiros viewpoint; the Donsumil viewpoint; the São Silvestre viewpoint; the Imaginary viewpoint; the river beach of Rede; and the Rio Teixeira river beach.
Resende is a small village with approximately 12 thousand inhabitants, located on the south bank of the Douro River, famous in Portugal for being the gateway to the Alto Douro Wine Region ; for being the capital of Cereja in Portugal ; and the birthplace of Egas Moniz.
Resende is a place with a unique landscape, with the Serra de Montemuro where we find the church of Nossa Senhora; the Barrô church; the church of São Martinho de Mouros; the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora de Cárquere; the thermal springs of Caldas de Regos; the Anreade church; the Penedo de São João; the Tapir of Pendilhe; and the Torre da Lagariça;
Santa Marta de Penaguião
Santa Marta de Penaguião is a village with approximately 1500 inhabitants, located in one of the valleys of Serra do Marão, popularly called “Concha Vinhateira”, due to being in the middle of a shell-shaped valley, full of vineyard. Santa Marta de Penaguião was the place where the filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira was born; the gastronomy is rich and traditional, where you can still watch the traditional pig slaughter. In addition to the pork, we can taste various meals, namely dry and cooked chestnuts, smoked meats, sausages, pork preserved in salt and cooked, curd, cream milk and Santa Marta wine. In Santa Marta de Penaguião we can visit the medieval pillory; the palace of the Visconde de Santa Marta built in the 18th century; the statue in honor of the Vintage Worker by Laurentino Ribatua; the Cooperativa dos Vinhos winery, considered the largest and best equipped in the entire Alto Douro Wine Region; the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição; the Avidagos farm; the chapel of São Brás; the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Viso; the chapel of São Sebastião; the chapel of Santa Quitéria; the chapel of Santa Ana; and the Ceramic Oven from the Roman Period.
Lamego is one of the most important and oldest towns in the Alto Douro region, with approximately 27 thousand inhabitants, famous for being the place where Port Wine was born , in the Santa Cruz dos Lóios Convent, with the original name of Cheego de Lamego or Generoso ; it is a place where we can see almond blossom in February, cherry trees in April and vineyards in November; it is one of the cities that most contributed to Portugal’s independence, and one of the oldest in the country; it is where we can visit the Sanctuary and the feast of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios; the origin of Egas Moniz and Aquilino Ribeiro; taste the best ham and smoked meat in the country, and the veal of Lafões of arouquesa meat; the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios; the Lamego Cathedral; the castle and Alcáçova; the historic center of Lamego: the Porta dos Figos; the Archaeological Center of Lamego; the Lamego museum; the 12th century Almacave church, where Portugal’s first courts were held; the church of the Convent of Santa Cruz; the building of the old seminary; the Ribeiro Conceição theater; the Solar dos Silveiras; the Brôlhas house; the Poço house; and the Visconde de Arneirós house.
Vila Real: it is considered the capital of Trás-os-Montes, the cradle of the popular proverb “Para here do Marão, those who are here send”. This locality is located at approximately 450 meters of altitude, on the right bank of the river Corgo between the mountains of Marão and Alvão. Vila Real is a city of ancient origins, inhabited since the Paleolithic period, and occupied during the Roman Period. The city started to be called Vila Real de Panóias , founded by Dom Dinis through the issuance of two charters, the charter of 1289; and the Charter of 1293. After the issuance of these two charters, the city grew from 430 inhabitants in 1530, to 3600 inhabitants in 1795. Vila Velha Museum is the place of origin of the capital of Trás-os-Montes, which developed demographic and economically because it is no longer a defensive point for the Kingdom of Portugal; the existence of sufficient water for the population within the walls; by moving from the city center to the road between Porto and Bragança, two of the most important means of communication in the region during the Middle Ages; and because the houses of the nobles were on the outskirts of the city. Currently in Vila Real we can visit: the Casa Mateus palace; the Cathedral of Vila Real; the Vila Velha museum; the church of São Dinis; the house where Diogo Cão was born; the church of Misericórdia; the Male convent of São Francisco; the Female Convent of Santa Clara; the Rupestre sanctuary of Panóias; the Natural Park of Alvão; the Carreira garden; the Corgo park; the Quintela tower; and the Botanical Garden.
Peso da Régua
Peso da Régua: classified as International Capital of Wine and Vine and headquarters of Casa do Douro . The municipality of Peso da Régua, with approximately 16 thousand inhabitants, was founded in 1836 and was born from the union of the villages of “Peso” and “Régua” . This city is the heart of the Douro Railway Line, from where we can travel on the Douro Historic Train, one of the most mythical trains in the country. The main attractions of Peso da Régua are: the Douro museum; the municipal library of Peso da Régua; the church of Peso da Régua; the chapel of Sete Esquinas; the chapel of Santo António; the Alto da Fonte do Milho Archaeological Station; the Peso da Régua Railway station; the viewpoint of São Leonardo de Galafura; the Adega das Giestas Negras museum; the Santo António viewpoint; the São Leonardo viewpoint; the Monte Reso viewpoint; the Vale de Cunca viewpoint; the thermal park of Caldas do Moledo; the metallic bridge of Peso da Régua; the fifth 100 Hectares; the Devesa farm; the Jewish farm; and the fifth Dona Matilde.
Armamar is considered the “Capital of the Mountain Apple” in the Alto Douro region, with approximately 6300 inhabitants. It is in Armamar that we find Chef Rui Paula’s DOC Restaurant, a very prestigious restaurant in Portugal, and Quinta dos Frades, one of the oldest estates in Alto Douro, an old Cistercian estate. Armamar is considered the “Capital of the Mountain Apple” due to the production of more than 1,800,000 (one million and eight hundred thousand) apple trees and more than 50,000 (fifty thousand) tons of apples grown over 1400 hectares. Armamar is also one of the border points between Beira Alta and Trás-os-Montes, where we can visit: the Igreja Matriz de São Miguel; the Quinta dos Frades; the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição; the chapel of Santa Bárbara; the Temilobos dam; the Folgosa Tourist and River Wharf; the Folgosa walkway; the Parish Church of Folgosa; the Misarela waterfall; the viewpoint of Misarela; the viewpoint and Chapel of São Domingos; the Naçarães Valley; the Douro valley at Marmelal; and the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade.
Sabrosa is considered a true hidden treasure of the Douro, as it is little sought after by tourists. Sabrosa, with approximately 6400 inhabitants, deserves a visit because it is the birthplace of the navigator Fernão de Magalhães; a municipality where the writer Miguel Torga was born; the place where we can taste the roasted kid with white rice, the Cozido à Portuguesa and the sausages.
Sabrosa’s points of interest are: the home of Fernão de Magalhães; the Barros Lobo house, the Matriz de Sabrosa church, the Santa Bárbara chapel; the chapel of São Miguel; the chapel of São Roque; the Torguiano viewpoint of São Cristóvão do Douro; the Mamoa de Madorras, a funerary construction dated 6000 years ago from the Neolithic period; the viewpoint of the Chapel of Senhora da Azinheira; the Sabrosa viewpoint; the viewpoint of São Domingos de Provesende; the viewpoint of São Domingos do Monte Coxo; the viewpoint of the Sanctuary of Senhor dos Aflitos; and Castro de Sabrosa.
Tabuaço a village with 6400 inhabitants, it is together with Lamego, the heart of the Ribadouro, where we can visit the museum of the Imaginário Duriense; Rijomax , the most complete and exotic watch in the world; the mother church of Tabuaço; the town hall of Tabuaço; the village of Barcos; the village of Granja do Tedo; the Alto da Escrita viewpoint; and the Abel Botelho museum.
Alijó is a municipality with approximately 13800 inhabitants, the place with the highest concentration of vineyards in the Alto Douro Wine Region. Alijó is the land of countless curiosities and historical facts, namely: location of the first school canteen in the country; and the city where Father Manuel da Nóbrega was born, founder of the city of São Paulo, in Brazil. The main highlights to visit in Alijó are: the Igreja Matriz de Alijó; the Municipal library: site of the first school canteen in the country; the Municipal Theater of Alijó; a plane tree over 150 years old, planted in the center of the city, where it is possible to say “Supplication of the tree to the traveler”; the Fonte Coberta tapir; the Fundação Casa-Museu Maurício Penha; the Caldas de Carlão thermal baths; the Casa de Loivos viewpoint; the viewpoint of Nossa Senhora da Piedade; the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Piedade in Sanfins do Douro; the chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres; the village of Perafita the village Vinhateira de Favaios: this small town has several attractions, namely: the Industrial District of Favaios, thus designated as the place where bread is made in Favaios; the building popularly called “The Work” for having been a facade for many centuries and is where the Museum of Bread and Wine is located; the church of São Domingos, which is the highest church in Vila Real; and the Avessada farm.
Pinhão is a small town, the center of the Douro Demarcated Region with 700 inhabitants, an old small village where fishermen and wine transporters lived in the Rabelo Boats, which gained notoriety from 1670, with the arrival of the English . The main points of interest to visit are: Pinhão Railway Station, with 24 tiles panels from 1937, which represent the vintage; the Pinhão Wine House; the Quinta das Carvalhas; the Bonfim farm; and the Quinta da Roeda.
São João da Pesqueira
São João da Pesqueira has approximately 7800 inhabitants, being the largest producer of Douro Wine, and the holder of the oldest charter in Portugal issued in 1055-1065 by Fernando Magno, Emperor of France. The name “Pesqueira” is related to the existence of walls next to the river, built with the objective of facilitating fishing, protecting fishermen in the locality from the violence of the river near Cachão da Valeira. São João da Pesqueira stands out for the Praça da República, with the church of Santa Casa da Misericórdia and the Museu Eduardo Tavares; Rua dos Gatos, with schist houses where the Jewish community of São João da Pesqueira lived during the Middle Ages; the Rua do Arco with the presence of a pointed arch that belonged to the old medieval wall and the bell tower of 1652; the Paços do Concelho building; the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Rosário; the Cidró farm; the Episcopal Palace of Trevões; the Solar dos Caiados; the Museum of Sacred Art of Trevões; the seven castles of Paredes da Beira; the Corredoura farm; the dolmen of Areita; and the São João da Pesqueira Wine Museum.
Cachão da Valeira
Cachão da Valeira was a waterfall in a rocky gorge, considered a border in the region, having been the scene of several shipwrecks, namely when Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, known as “Ferreirinha” and the Baron of Forrester, who according to legend, “… followed in a rabelo boat that sank when passing by Cachão da Valeira, and that the Baron of Forrester was pulled to the bottom of the Douro River due to the weight of the pounds of gold he was carrying in his boots. The” Ferreirinha “survived due to the balloon formed by the skirts he wore. ”
In Cachão da Valeira we highlight: a memorial inscribed on the stone to honor the castaways who suffered between 1780 and 1791 during the opening of the canal. The rock of Cachão da Valeira was destroyed in the 18th century, however the Douro River was only navigable with the construction of the dams; the Solar dos Castros, known as Casa do Cabo, built in Baroque Joanino; Rua dos Gatos, with the rest in schist houses; the viewpoint of Nossa Senhora de Lurdes; the viewpoint of São Salvador do Mundo, the main sanctuary of the Douro River reached through a steep climb with several small chapels along the route; the Frei Estêvão viewpoint; the Quinta das Carvalhas viewpoint; the olive oil museum; the fifth Cadão Douro; the Fonte Nova farm; the Gricha farm; the Tecedeiras farm; the São José farm; the farm of Ventozelo; the fifth Dona Doroteia; the Penedo do Salto farm; and the Quinta do Pessegueiro.
Murça site of the Feira de Murça, one of the oldest fairs in the country, which has been held since 1304. Murça, has approximately 2200 inhabitants, is a place known for its sweets, namely Toucinho do Céu and Queijadas de Murça. The attractions to visit in Murça are: the Paços do Concelho building; the Matriz de Murça church; the Vale do Tua Regional Natural Park; the 16th century pillory; the chapel of Misericórdia; the Castro de Palheiros; the Old Filipina bridge; the village of Sobreira; the Casa da Floresta viewpoint; the village of Porrais; the Barroso stream; the Vale de Manhuscal brook; the Serra da Garraia; the Mascanho Forest Park; the castle’s castle; the Alto das Madorras Megalithic necropolis; the diving sources; and sundials.
Carrazeda de Ansiães
Carrazeda de Ansiães is the land of Generous wine, olive oil and dry fruits, with approximately 6400 inhabitants, and points of interest to visit: the castle of Ansiães; the Rural Memory museum; the Carrazeda de Ansiães International Sculpture Park; the Alberto Carneiro gallery; the Vale do Tua Interpretive Center; the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Graça; the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Saúde; the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Assunção; the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Costa; the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Paixão; the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte; Rapa’s cache; the tapir of Vilarinho da Castanheira; and the Zedes tapir.
Mirandela is considered a true oasis in a “hot land” of Trás-os-Montes and the Alto Douro Wine Region. Mirandela, with approximately 12 thousand inhabitants, was the site of construction of the first light rail in Portugal in 1995. The main points of interest to visit are: the castle of Mirandela; the Misericórdia Church in Mirandela; the Sacred Art Museum of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Mirandela; the Municipal Cultural Center; the Old bridge; the Mirandela fountain; the Quadraçal Forest; the Municipal Library Sarmento Pimentel; the Empire park; the Doutor José Gama park; the Meseta Ibérica Transboundary Biosphere Reserve; the Távoras Palace; the Oliveira and Azeite museum; the Rural Adérito Rodrigues museum; the ecoteca; the Armindo Teixeira Lopes museum; the bridge of Pera; the village of Romeu; the Museum of Curiosities; the Quinta dos Bacelares; the Quinta dos Pereiras Cabrais; the manor of the Counts of Vinhais; the Serra de Santa Coma; Mata dos Castanheiros; the picnic park; the Mirandela viewpoint; the Barcel viewpoint; and the viewpoint of Franco.
Vila Flor is a municipality with approximately 6700 inhabitants, land of chestnut, almond blossom, bread, wine and where the first telephone number of Trás-os-Montes appeared. Vila Flor was known for Além Sabor until the 13th century, however Dom Dinis chose to change its name due to the beauty of the region’s natural landscape. The main points of interest to visit in Vila Flor are: the Igreja Matriz de São Bartolomeu; the church of Misericórdia; the Vila Flor Municipal Museum; the Manor and Manor houses of the Historic Center; the door of Dom Dinis; the Roman fountain; Rua Nova, former Jewish quarter; the Manor House of the Sá Correia Family, the Cabeço da Mina Interpretive Center; the Municipal Doctor Doutora Berta Cabral museum; the Peneireiro dam; the Tourist-Sports complex of Peneireiro; the viewpoint of Senhora da Lapa; the old Forca de Freixiel, a monument classified as a Public Interest Building since 1958; the Mourão and Vale Torno dam; the hill of Aldeia de Vilas Boas; the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Assunção; the São Martinho hill; and the São Miguel hill.
Vila Nova de Foz Coa
Vila Nova de Foz Coa is a municipality with approximately 7400 inhabitants, known worldwide for having the largest open air Paleolithic Art museum in the world , over 26 km long; more than 80 rock art sites; with approximately 1200 engraved rocks; and two places classified as World Heritage , namely the Vale do Côa and the Alto Douro Wine Region **. In Vila Nova de Foz Coa we can visit: the Coa museum; the Vale Meão farm; the Matriz church; Paleolithic engravings from Canada do Inferno, Vale Cabrões and Vale José Esteves; the Vale do Coa Archaeological Park; the Ervamoira farm; the church of Freixo de Numão; the Casa Grande manor; the chapel of Santa Quitéria; the Andrades’ house; the viewpoint of Santa Luzia; the Caminho da Costa viewpoint; the viewpoint of Nossa Senhora do Viso; the viewpoint of Santa Bárbara; the São Martinho viewpoint; the viewing point of Anjo São Gabriel; the Mata dos Carrascos viewpoint; the viewpoint of Arnozelo; Numão’s castle; the castle Better; and the Old castle.
Pocinho is a village known for being the end of the Douro railway line since the rail link between Barca d’Alva and Spain was deactivated in 1989; by the Pocinho dam; and the Pocinho high rowing center.
Mêda is a municipality with approximately 5300 inhabitants, a border region, between Douro and Serra da Estrela, where “O Douro meets Serra”. Mêda is a land of almonds, olive trees and vineyards planted on the terraces. The main points of interest to visit are: the city of Mêda, the Casas Novas manor; the source of the Holy Spirit; the Matriz church; the Municipal Museum of Mêda; the historic village of Marialva; the Templar village of Longroiva; the castle of Longroiva; the Longroiva spa; and the Vale do Mouro Archaeological Site.
Alfândega da Fé
Alfândega da Fé is the land of silk, having produced more than 17 thousand tons of silk in 1070. Alfândega da Fé, currently with approximately 5200 inhabitants, was a warehouse during the Muslim occupation in the 8th century, until was founded by Dom Dinis through the issue of a Charter of Charter in the year 1294. The points of interest to visit in Alfândega da Fé are: the Largo do Castelo; the Clock tower; Urban art; the home of the culture of Mestre José Rodrigues; the São Pedro Mother Church; the church of Misericórdia; the chapel of São Sebastião; the sanctuary of Our Lady of Jerusalem; the Lagoinha chapel; the saint Antão da Barca; the Morgado de Vilarelhos manor; the Matriz de Sambade church; the Territory Interpretation center; the sanctuary of São Bernardino; and the sanctuary of Cerejais;
Torre de Moncorvo
Torre de Moncorvo is a town and municipality with approximately 8600 inhabitants, “Where Iron is the soul of the Earth”. Torre de Moncorvo stands out from the rest of the region due to being a site of an old Jewish community; be the largest almond producer in the country; and be a village where you can taste river fish all year round, especially during the Festival of Migas and Peixe do Rio. The name “Torre de Moncorvo”, comes from a military man named “Mendo”, known as “Corvo” , who lived in a “Tower”, on a hill near the village. Torre de Moncorvo received a charter from Dom Dinis, who ordered the construction of a tower for the region to defend itself from the Kingdom of Leão. This tower was destroyed in the 19th century against the will of the majority of the population, with the aim of building the Town Hall. It is in Torre de Moncorvo that we find the second most important granite stone pulpit in Portugal, after what exists in the church of Santa Cruz de Coimbra. The main attractions to visit in Torre de Moncorvo are: the Museu do Ferro and the Moncorvo Region; the Igreja de Torre de Moncorvo church; the chapel and Arch of Senhora dos Remédios; the church of Misericórdia; the old Torre de Moncorvo Castle; the Museum of Sacred Art; the viewpoint of Vale do Sabor; the Center for Environmental Interpretation and Animal Recovery; the Wax press; the church of Nossa Senhora da Assunção; the Vide viewpoint; the Barca Velha viewpoint; the viewpoint of Fraga do Cão; the viewpoint of Senhora do Castelo; the viewpoint of Fraga do Facho; the viewpoint of Póvoa; the Serra do Reboredo; the Sabor ecopista; the river beach at the mouth of Sabor; the castle of Mós; the pillory of Mós; the smithy at Chapa Cunha; the Moors of Urros hole; the arc of Maçores; the Ferro do Reboredo mines; and the Wolfram Mines of Carviçais.
Freixo de Espada à Cinta
Freixo de Espada à Cinta is a municipality with approximately 3800 inhabitants, an ancient and different place in the region due to the birthplace of Jorge Álvares, the first Portuguese to arrive in China; the birthplace of the poet Guerra Junqueiro (1850-1923); the village with the most Manueline doors and windows in Portugal; the only location in the entire Iberian Peninsula with the complete process of natural silk production , from the creation of silkworms to weaving. Freixo de Espada à Cinta had a great economic development between 1450 and the first half of the 16th century due to the importance of the Jewish community, and the production of silk. The main attractions to visit are: the Galo tower; the church of Freixo de Espada à Cinta; the church of Misericórdia; the church of the Convento de São Filipe Nery; the Penedo Durão viewpoint; the Casa Junqueiro Regional museum; the Silk and Territory Museum; the village of Mazouco; the rock painting Cavalo de Mazouco; the viewpoint of Assumadouro; the necropolis of São Paulo; the Cruzinha viewpoint; the Douro River park; the Fluvial beach of Congida; the viewpoint of Carrascalinho; the Bazuco viewpoint; the Maritávora farm; the village of Lagoaça; the village of Ávila; and the Quinta da Batoca.
Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo is a municipality with approximately 6300 inhabitants, the land of the three rivers: Douro River, Coa River and Águeda River, Serra da Marofa and wild horses, with particular importance in the History of Portugal due to Battle of Salgadela held on July 7, 1664, where a victory was achieved over the more than 3,000 Spaniards, defeated by approximately 150 Portuguese. This battle was decisive in the consolidation of Portugal’s independence in the 17th century. The main points of interest to visit are: the Sagrado Coração church; the Francisco Távora Arts and Crafts Museum; the Algodres Interpretative and Museological Center; the Rural and Ethnographic Museum of Vilar de Amargo; the d’Alva ferry; the Cristóvão de Moura palace; the Rodrigo castle; the church of Escalhão; the Serra da Marofa; and the cross of Pedro Jacques Magalhães.
The Historical Evolution of the Demarcated Region
Wine production in the Douro region has existed since at least 2800 BC, cultivated by the Roman, Muslim and Suevi peoples, who developed the cultivation of the vine. The Douro region began to gain importance during the Roman occupation period due to the construction of the Panóias Sanctuary in Vila Real, dedicated to Serapis; and the creation of dioceses during the rule of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305 B.C.), with the Douro integrating “Galécia” (the region located in the northwest of ancient Hispania).
The Douro during the Middle Ages
The Douro region had a great development from the Middle Ages due to the investment of the French counts that accompanied Count Dom Henrique in the production of the smelling wines of Lamego, and in the trial of the sparkling wine production to implement in France; the donation of the oldest charter in Portugal which included the locations of São João da Pesqueira, Paredes, Linhares, Penela and Ansiães, issued by Fernando Magno (1016-1065); the implementation of the Cistercian Order , with a decisive contribution to the economic evolution of the Douro from the 12th century onwards with the cultivation of vineyards. The Cistercian Order spread throughout the country, however in the Alto Douro Region there are the monasteries of Salzedas, São João de Tarouca or São Pedro das Águias; and the settlement policy of Dom Dinis (1279-1325), with the donation of charters to Vila Real da Terra de Panóias in 1289, now Vila Real, Vila Flor and Torre de Moncorvo.
The Douro between the 16th and 18th centuries
The Douro region intensified its connection to the city of Porto with the Age of Discovery, due to the increase in maritime transport between the Douro Valley and Foz do Douro, where there were taverns that bought the vast majority of the wine produced in the Douro, later consumed by the sailors of the caravels. During the Reign of Dom Manuel I (1495-1521), the Douro Region increased in importance due to the emission of more than 50 charters, namely Couto do Peso, (current municipality of Peso da Régua), Santa Marta de Penaguião, São João from Pesqueira or Lamego. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the most sought-after wines were the “Cheirantes” wines from Lamego and the Generoso wine from the Douro Valley, mostly exported from Vila Nova de Gaia to England and France; and from Viana do Castelo to Germany and the Netherlands. Wine production grew until the middle of the 18th century, when production started to be controlled by the British and Scots, and to be the target of several frauds due to the feeling of easy money. Port Wine began to change when in 1675, it was mentioned for the first time as “Port Wine” in a speech by Duarte Ribeiro de Macedo (1618-1680), diplomat and judge of the Port Relationship; and in 1678, when an Englishman added brandy to wines in order to prevent the deterioration of wines on sea and land travel.
Port wine from the 18th century
The regions of Porto and Douro went through an economic crisis from 1753 onwards due to bad agricultural times during the 1740s and 1750s; to the constant fraud in the production of Port Wine, resolved with the First Demarcated Wine Region in the World through the creation of Companhia da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro (now Real Companhia Velha), by Marquês de Pombal in 1756. The creation of the Companhia da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro protected the genuine production of wine ; created geographical limits through the demarcation of zones and installation of Marcos Pombalinos; yet indignation at the owners of the vineyards and taverns in Porto and Gaia; and it caused some revolts in the region, namely the Taberneiro Revolt, which took place in Porto, including the more than 700 taverns forced to buy wine from the Company. In the revolt, more than 400 individuals were sentenced, 26 were hanged in public in Miragaia, and 600 innkeepers were forced to close the establishments. The revolt ran through the Cordoaria square; the Largo de São Domingos, where the Judge of the People lived; Rua Chã, where Beleza de Andrade, the Company’s Ombudsman, was forced to place the city of Porto under Martial Law after popular dissatisfaction generated by the foundation of the Company.
The Companhia da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro had several designations, namely: Companhia dos Vinhos do Porto , Companhia do Alto Douro , Company of Douro , Company of Vinhos do Alto Douro , Real Companhia dos Vinhos do Porto , Real Companhia do Porto , Real Companhia dos Vinhos and the current name of Real Companhia Velha , with several important actions in the Douro region, namely the establishment of geographical limits , through the use of stone marks issued by Feitoria; regulation of wine production sites ; a wine production processes and techniques ; conducting regular inspections of wine and spirit producers ; price regulation ; the creation of wine transport rules ; registration of the names of the crew of the Rabelos boats ; creation of the Nautical classes in 1762 in Porto, the base of the future Royal Academy of the Navy and Commerce, current Polytechnic Academy of Porto .
The Companhia da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro had the privilege of exclusively selling brandy and vinegar to Brazil; the monopoly on the sale of wine to taverns in and around Porto; and the exclusive production and sale of brandy in Porto and Northern Portugal.
Port Wine in the 19th century
Wine production went through a crisis in the 19th century due to pests in the vineyards. The most serious pest was Filoxera, which appeared in the Douro in 1858 and decimated much of the vineyards, leaving uncultivated land and forced the replanting of a large part of the vineyards, with the protection of rootstocks from the USA, immune to the pest.
Antónia Adelaide Ferreira and Barão de Forrester were two key figures for the development of the Douro Valley during the 19th century:
Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, known as “a Ferreirinha” (1811-1896)
Ferreirinha was known as the “mother of the poor”, an admired and beloved figure of all Douro people. The admiration was so great that over 300 thousand people attended the funeral in 1896. The businesswoman Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira was instrumental in eliminating the plague of Filoxera in the vineyards of the Douro Valley; expansion of wine estates to the border with Spain ; creation of more than twenty farms along the Douro , namely Quinta de Vale Meão and Quinta da Leda; in construction of the railway in the region, which employed more than a thousand workers; in the building of the hospitals in Peso da Régua, Vila Real, Moncorvo and Lamego; and in the donation of funds to Santa Casa da Misericórdia in Porto.
The Baron of Forrester (1809-1861)
Joseph James Forrester, known as Baron of Forrester of Scottish nationality, was a photographer, watercolorist, cartographer, scholar of the region, producer and exporter of Douro wines . He arrived from Great Britain in 1831 to work at wine company that his uncle had in the Douro. The Baron of Forrester was a multifaceted and highly cultured man, having introduced himself easily into the British community of Porto. The Baron had great importance in the region, acting in the cartographic survey of the Alto Douro Wine Region , producing the “Map of the Paiz Wine Region of the Alto Douro” of 1843; the map “Douro Portuguez e Paiz Adjacente” from 1848, where it identified 210 difficult navigation points for navigation, located between the border with Spain and the mouth of the Douro; he painted 31 watercolors to represent the traditional costumes of the inhabitants of the Douro Valley in 1855; and was responsible for representing the Alto Douro Region at the Universal Exhibition in London in 1851 and at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1855;
The shipwreck of Barão de Forrester and Dona Maria Antónia in the Cachão da Valeira of 1861
The Baron of Forrester and Dona Maria Antónia left Quinta do Vesúvio towards Peso da Régua on the 12th of May 1861. A total of 17 people were on board, with the Baron of Forrester dying in the wreck in the Cachão da Valeira. This place where there was a big rock was known to be a place of countless accidents, and feared by the most experienced crew of the Rabelo Boats. According to legend, the Baron died due to the weight of the pounds of gold he carried in his boots, and Dona Maria Antónia survived due to the fluctuation of her skirts.
The Douro Region from the 20th century to the present
The Alto Douro Wine Region was reorganized in 1932 through the creation of three institutions: the Casa do Douro; the association of Port Wine exporters; and the Port Wine Institute. As of 1974, these institutions were re-founded, with the Port Wine Exporters’ Association becoming the Association of Port Wine Exporters. Alto Douro Wine Region had a great economic development since 2001, with the classification of UNESCO World Heritage . The importance and national political recognition led to the creation of the Mission Structure for the Demarcated Douro Region, at the Ministry of the Environment in 2006.
Landmarks of Pombaline demarcations
The granite landmarks were built at the behest of the Companhia da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro from 1758, the first landmark had the inscription “Nº I Feytoria”, Feytoria or embarkation. “Feytoria” was the name given to the best quality wines in the region, which corresponded to the current Port Wine.
The first landmark was discovered accidentally in 2001, after a storm destroyed the plaster on the wall of the Quinta de São Gonçalo da Ribeira house, in the village of Barrô, in the municipality of Resende. This was the first landmark established on the left bank of the Douro River, and the whereabouts of the first landmark on the right bank are still unknown. The Companhia da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro created a total of 335 marks, of which 131 have been found to date.
The Rabelo Boat
The Rabelo boat was the means of transport used to load the barrels of Port Wine between the Alto Douro Region and Foz do Douro. There were thousands of boats, making a trip for three days, arriving in some sections of the trip needing to be pulled by men, or by oxen due to the violence of the waters. The Rabelo Boat will have been inspired by the boats of Northern Europe, studies point in this direction due to the several similarities of the swordfish, the trunk that replaced the rudder; both used sailing and oars simultaneously; the Rabelos built in the 18th century were decorated with animal skin; and the ships’ funds had no keels.
The name “Rabelo” is related to the swordfish in the shape of a tail. This aspect gave rise to the first name “rabudos”, and later, “Rabelo”.
Rabelos boats were used to transport wine until 1870, when the train arrived in the Douro region, and became the main means of transport to Vila Nova de Gaia . The boats were built in the coastal Douro due to the proximity to pine and eucalyptus, used as raw material.
There were essentially two types of Rabelo boats, the “Matizes” , the larger Rabelos boats with a transport capacity of up to 100 kites; and the “Trafegueiros”, the smallest boats with a transport capacity of up to 50 kites. The Rabelos crew, known as “Campanha” , could reach up to 13 crew members, according to the size of the boat. Most of the sailors were recruited in Mesão Frio, Baião, Marco de Canaveses, Resende, Cinfães and Castelo de Paiva. It was a family job, which passed from generation to generation, with various functions, namely: the Arrais , owner of the boat and the person responsible for the “adjustment” (the transport capacity of each boat), done in agreement with the farm owners. The arrais were an important source of employment in the Douro Valley, responsible for hiring workers for Rabelo boats; the Master of the Espadela , commander of the boat; the Foreman , helped the Espadela master in the most dangerous moments of the trip; Sailors , responsible for the hardest work on the boat, especially hoisting and holding the sail; o Waxed , responsible for the protection of sailors during the night; withdraw water from the boat; lead the oxen when the river waters were too strong; and Moço , who cooked and tidied. Often the boy’s role was performed by a child.
The Douro Dams
The Crestuma-Lever dam is the closest dam to the mouth of the Douro, approximately 22 km away, with a 44 km reservoir. The dam was inaugurated in 1995, it is the first dam on the way up the Douro, and it includes a lock that allows to overcome a water gap with 13.9 meters high , the smallest difference along the river; nine pillars 25.5 meters high; and eight floodgates water discharges.
The Carrapatelo dam , located on the border of the districts of Viseu and Porto, in full municipalities of Marco de Canaveses and Cinfães, was the first hydroelectric project to be built in the national Douro, has one of the largest locks in Europe, with a difference of 35 meters in height , opened in 1972;
The Bagaúste dam located approximately 4 kms from Peso da Régua, has a 27-meter high drop . The dam was inaugurated in 1973 and is close to Régua quay, one of the places where we can embark on a cruise in the Douro.
The Valeira dam was the third dam to be built in the Douro, inaugurated in 1976. The dam’s reservoir extends over 36 km, passes through the municipalities of Carrazeda de Ansiães, São João da Pesqueira, Torre de Moncorvo and Vila Nova de Foz Côa. The dam lock is 90 meters long and has a 32 meter difference , taking about twenty minutes to climb the lock;
The Pocinho Dam is located between the Côa River and the Sabor River, approximately 180 km from the mouth of the Douro River, and includes a reservoir approximately 40 km in length along the municipalities of Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Moncorvo Tower, Freixo de Espada à Cinta and Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. The dam was inaugurated in 1983, with 12 meters wide and a difference of 22 meters . The time to rise the lock is approximately 15 minutes.
The Quintas do Douro (Top 10)
1. Quinta da Pacheca
Quinta da Pacheca , located in the municipality of Lamego, has a view over Peso da Régua, the Douro river and the hillsides with vineyards and olive trees. Quinta da Pacheca integrated the grounds of the Monastery of Salzedas, and São João de Tarouca in the 16th century, with the oldest known registration dating from 1551. The name “Pacheca” was first referenced in 1738, with the property registration on behalf of Dona Mariana Pacheco Pereira, the first in Portugal to produce the white wines Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer, at the request of Dom Eduardo Freire de Serpa Pimentel. Quinta da Pacheca is currently one of the most visited farms in the Douro Valley due to the view over the Douro River and Peso da Régua; the possibility of spending the night in luxury suites created from processed wine barrels; the quality of gastronomy and wine; the possibility of observing one of the first granite landmarks established in the region by the Marquis of Pombal, in 1758.
2. Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo
The Nova Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo with approximately 120 hectares of extension, is located in Pinhão, in the heart of the Alto Douro Wine Region. The farm was part of the Casa Real de Portugal until 1725, the year it was created through the union of the two properties: Quinta Nova and Quinta de Nossa Senhora do Carmo. The farm has been managed by the Amorim family since 1995, it was here that the first monovarietal plantation of the Douro River took place, between 1979 and 1981 with the production of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca. The main highlights of Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo are: the original 1764 cellar; the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Carmo; the Wine Museum Center; the Garrafeira store at Patamar Kitchen; and the Conceitus Winery Restaurant.
3. Quinta do Vale Meão
The Quinta de Vale Meão with 300 hectares in length, is located in Vila Nova de Foz Côa, is one of the most important in the region due to being owned by the descendants of Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira “A Ferreirinha” great figure of the Douro . The Vale Meão farm is currently managed by the great-grandfather Francisco Javier de Olazabal, and the place where the Barca Velha wine was created; it has a stunning landscape over the vineyards and the Douro; and has the possibility to fraternize with the direct heirs of a historical personality.
4. Quinta dos Frades
The quinta dos Frades is a farm with approximately 200 hectares in length, located in the village of Folgosa, in the municipality of Armamar, near Lamego, at the foot of one of the slopes of the Douro River. Quinta dos Frades, formerly Quinta da Folgosa, is so named because it was owned by the Salzister Monastery of the Cistercian Order since 1256, the date marked on the coat of arms at the entrance to the farm. The farm was sold to Barão da Folgosa in 1841, after the extinction of Religious Orders in 1834. The farm belonged to the Barão da Folgosa family until 1941, the year in which it was acquired by Comendador Delfim Ferreira (1888-1960), considered at the time the richest man in Portugal during the 1940s and 1950s, and responsible for several developments, namely Hotel Infante Sagres in Porto, responsible for the country’s main textile factory in Vila do Conde, Barragem da Varosa, Serralves’ house or the Hotel Sheraton in Lisbon. The highlights of Quinta dos Frades are: the 18th century chapel dedicated to São Bernardo; the granitic landmark of the Company of Agriculture and Alto Douro Wines; the location in a central valley of the Douro River, from where we can observe the grandeur of the Alto Douro Wine Region, the clarity of the river waters, and the landscape of the vineyards planted between 50 and 250 meters in altitude; and the tea house.
5. Quinta das Carvalhas
The quinta das Carvalhas is the headquarters of Real Companhia Velha, considered the oldest wine company in Portugal created with the royal charter issued by Dom José I on September 10, 1756, with approximately 600 hectares of extension, located in São João da Pesqueira on the left bank of the Douro River, in front of the parish of Pinhão, the center of Alto Douro Wine Region. The Quinta das Carvalhas was mentioned for the first time in 1759. The quinta stands out for planting vineyards between 80 and 400 meters in altitude; 75 hectares of vineyards produced in the 18th century; the breathtaking view of the Douro Valley; and the Redonda house located at approximately 550 meters with a panoramic view over the Douro.
6. Quinta de Lubazim
The quinta de Lubazim , is a traditional winery that has been owned by the same family since 1385, located in Serra da Lousa, with approximately 50 hectares, with vineyards planted at 100 meters of altitude, however in the 1980s much of the land flooded due to the construction of the Valeira dam. The production of wines consists of the brands “Quinta de Lubazim”, “Lupucinus” and DOC Douro. Initially the property was donated by Dom João I to João Gomes de Castro, due to his participation in the battle of Aljubarrota. This family played an important role in the History of Portugal, namely participation in the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, battles in India in the 16th century, or participation in a Portuguese contingent that fought alongside Napoleon and was in Moscow. The main attractions of Quinta de Lubazim are the view over the Valeira dam and the Douro river; the Mortories (uncultivated land due to the plague of Filoxera); and the Atlântico winery.
7. Quinta da Ferradosa
The quinta da Ferradosa is the first farm in the Douro Superior, covering approximately 350 hectares, located in Carrazeda de Ansiães. The farm was first mentioned in the 19th century, when it belonged to the Borges family. This property was purchased in the 20th century by Real Companhia Velha, and by Joaquim Manuel Cálem in the 1990s, owner of Caves Cálem. The highlights are the original cellar; and the main house, where we can stay overnight and enjoy the view over the Douro.
8. Quinta do Bonfim
The quinta do Bonfim , is a winery located in the parish of Pinhão, with an area of 98 hectares. The farm belongs to the Symington family, established in Portugal since the 19th century, the largest owner of farms in the Douro with a total of 26 farms in its possession, namely Quinta do Vesúvio, Quinta do Bonfim, Quinta da Madalena, Quinta Malvedos, Quinta Cavadinha, Senhora da Ribeira farm, Tua farm, Canais farm, Retiro farm, Ataíde farm or Roriz farm. Quinta do Bonfim was purchased by George Warre in 1896 under the name Quinta do Bonfim, originating from the expression “Vale do Bonfim”, which means “well placed valley”. The main attractions are: the visiting center; the winery; and the viewpoint.
9. Quinta da Roêda
The quinta da Roêda is a farm bought by Croft in 1889, having become the main producer of Porto Vintage wine from this company, has an approximate extension of 130 hectares and 5 km of land along the river, with a stunning landscape over the Douro and the village of Pinhão. The name “Roêda” is related to the fact that the river is very violent before the dams, and the water causes a “noise” in a curve of the river. The highlights of Quinta da Roêda are the panoramic view over the Douro and Pinhão; the chapel of Espírito Santo; the Vintage House Hotel; and the cellar.
10. Quinta Maria Izabel
The Maria Izabel farm is a farm located in Folgosa do Douro in Armamar, with approximately 130 hectares, the result of a Brazilian project in Portugal in the year 2000, when businessman Carlos Paes Mendonça decided to invest after a visit to the region. The highlights of the Quinta Maria Izabel are the panoramic view over the Douro River; the hotel with terraced suites; the hanging gardens; and the cellar.
Other farms in the Douro
- Quinta do Cachão
- Quinta dos Ingleses
- Quinta do Porto
- Quinta da Veiga
- Quinta do Valado
- Quinta das Varejelas
- Quinta da Boavista
- Quinta das Covelas
- Quinta do Paço de Monsul
- Quinta do Crasto
- Quinta do Seixo: Sandeman: Tabuaço
- Quinta do Côtto: Mesão Frio
- Quinta do Portal: Sabrosa
- Quinta do Panascal: Tabuaço
- Quinta do Tedo: Santo Adrião
- Quinta da Avessada: Alijó
- Quinta das Baldias: Lamego
- Quinta do Crasto: Sabrosa
- Quinta da Erva Moira: Vila Nova de Foz Côa
- Quinta de Santo António: Tabuaço
- Quinta do Noval: Alijó
- Quinta do Ventozelo: São João da Pesqueira
- Quinta de Nápoles: Armamar
- Quinta da Casa Amarela: Lamego
- Casa de Santo António de Britiande: Lamego
- Quinta da Gaivosa: Santa Maria de Penaguião
- Quinta de Santa Eufémia: Lamego
- Quinta Monte Travesso: Tabuaço
- Quinta de La Rosa: Pinhão
- Quinta do Vallado: Peso da Régua
Main Douro activities
With several routes available, namely:
- Porto / Régua / Porto;
- Régua / Porto / Régua;
- Régua / Pinhão / Régua;
- Régua / Pocinho / Régua;
- Régua / Barca d’Alva / Régua;
- Porto / Barca d’Alva /Porto.
Grande Douro International Route and Douro Wine Region:
The Grande Rota do Douro Internacional e Douro Vinhateiro is a route of approximately 200 kms along the municipalities of Torre de Moncorvo; Mogadouro; Miranda do Douro; and Vila Nova de Foz Côa.
Douro Historic Train
The historic Douro train is a steam locomotive from 1925, which departs from Régua Railway Station, stops at Pinhão and ends at Tua Railway Station. The main points of interest along the tour are the passage through Peso da Régua; the Douro museum; passing through Pinhão; the Pinhão Railway station; and the Tua Interpretive Center.
Cister Wines Route
The Rota dos Vinhos is a tourist itinerary created in 1999 with visits to properties that formerly belonged to the Cistercian Order, namely:
Itinerary “The Way of the Monasteries”
- Lamego with visit to the cathedral of Lamego; and sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios;
- Balsemão with visit to the Visigothic chapel of São Pedro de Balsemão;
- Armamar with visit: to the main church of Armamar; and the Temilobos waterfall;
- Cimbres with visit: to the monastery of Santa Maria de Salzedas;
- Ucanha with visit: to the cellars of Murganheira; the fortified bridge of Ucanha; and the toll collection tower, the only one in Portugal;
- São João de Tarouca with visit: to the monastery of São João de Tarouca;
- e Britiande with visit: to Santa Cruz farm.
Itinerary “Entre Vinhas e Castanheiros”
- Moimenta da Beira with visit: to the monastery of Nossa Senhora da Purificação; and Solar dos Carvalhais;
- Fonte Arcada with visit: to the historic center; the Romanesque church; and Casa da Loba;
- Tabuaço with visit: to the church of São Pedro das Águias;
- Serra da Lapa with visit to the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Lapa; and the monastery of Nossa Senhora da Assunção de Tabosa;
- Sernancelhe with visit: to the mother church; the Baroque manor of Carvalhos; and the castle of Penedono.
Screenplay Miguel Torga
A tour through the places Miguel Torga passed through during his life, namely:
- Vila Real with visit: to Solar de Mateus; Panóias; to Diogo Cão’s house; the town hall; the Vila Real cathedral; the Chapel of Mercy; to the Brocas house; the church of São Pedro; Pelourinho; the church of São Paulo; and the Carreira garden.
- São Martinho de Anta e Ferrão with visit: to Miguel Torga’s house; the Miguel Torga space, the Paradela; and Quinta do Crasto.
- Sabrosa with visit: Castro de Sabrosa; to the Pereiras house; the chapel house; and Solar dos Canavarros.
- Peso da Régua with visit: to the viewpoint and sanctuary of São Leonardo.
The Apple Roadmap in Armamar
The Apple route in Armamar, Capital of the Mountain Apple, is a circular route of approximately 15 km with a visit to the apple production plant; tasting of various types of apples; visit to the cheese factory with artisanal manufacture and tasting; visit to the historic center of Lumiares; visit to the historic center of Armamar; visit to the viewpoint of São Domingos.
Gastronomy of the Douro
The gastronomy of the Douro is intense, with strong and varied flavors of traditional foods produced in the region:
- The bread: Padronelo bread; and Regueifa or Pão Domingueiro;
- Starters and soups: Caldo Verde; the Flour Broth; o Greaves in the Cinfães fashion; the Tarouca Bazulaque; and Lamego ham.
- meat dishes: Arroz Malandro de Entrecosto; the Spare Corn; the Bôla de Lamego Baked Rabbit; the Armamar kid; Posta à Mirandesa; and Butelo (pork or pork stomach) from Vinhais.
- fish dishes: Roasted Octopus with tomato; the Shrimp Sauté; the Shrimp Pie; the Lamprey Rice; and Lamprey à Bordalesa.
- desserts and fruits: Cavacas de Resende; the Régua sweets; the Bolo-Rei do Tabuaço; Rabanadas, which originated in the Douro; the Biscoito or Doce da Teixeira; and Cherry.
The Douro Wines
The wines of the Alto Douro Wine Region stand out in the following grape varieties:
Red grape varieties :
- Touriga Nacional;
- Touriga Franca;
- Tinta Roriz;
- Tinta Barroca;
- Tinto Cão;
- Tinta Amarela;
White grape varieties :
- Malvasia Fina;
- Códega do Larinho.
Douro wines can be divided into three types, according to the slopes:
- Wines from Fundo da Encosta: the most suitable place for the production of Port Wine;
- Meia Encosta Wines: where they grow the wines that give rise to the best reserves;
- Encosta Alta Wines: where essentially white, table and sparkling wines are produced; The main sparkling wines produced in the Douro are the brands Raposeira and Murganheira .
Port Wine is a liqueur wine appreciated as an aperitif, or at the end of the meal, with an average alcohol content between 16.5 and 22 degrees, produced with the addition of brandy to the wine during an interruption of the fermentation process. Some Port wines can be kept for several decades, maintaining their excellent qualities. According to the Douro and Port Wine Institute (IVDP), the largest importers of Port wine are the countries of France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, USA, Canada, Germany, Denmark and Spain.
There are four styles of Port wine: rosé , white , tawny and ruby .
- Rosê Port Wine: produced using a light tread of red grapes. They are more fruity wines than normal, which must be consumed new, since they are little resistant to aging.
- Port White wine: the wine is produced with white grapes, giving rise to sweet, very sweet or tear and dry wines.
- Ruby or Vintage Port Wine: wines aged in the bottle, and preserved in stainless steel or wooden vats to prevent oxygenation. Ruby wines are darker in color and more intense in flavor;
- Tawny wines: they are aged in wooden barrels, have a brownish tone and fade due to oxidation.
Curiosities related to the Douro
- The expression “Port Wine” first appeared in 1675 in a speech by Duarte Ribeiro de Macedo;
- In October 1990, the Douro became navigable between Porto and Barca d’Alva;
- Dams are also known for locks due to the passage of vessels;
- Santa Marta is the patron saint of the wine region;
- Port wine started to be designated as “Fine Wine” by producers, “Generous Wine” by merchants, and as “Port Wine” from the 17th century, to be exported more easily;
- Port wine was formerly transported on Rabelos boats, however currently port wine is transported in tank trucks;
- The first school canteen in Portugal appeared in the current building of the Municipal Library of Alijó;
- planting rose bushes near the feet of the vineyard is currently a technique used to detect pests such as Filoxera.
Douro Quick Facts
- Along the Douro River there are 254 farms and couples;
- In Alto Douro Vinhateiro there are 111 chapels and places of worship;
- 2% of farmers have more than 20 hectares, consisting of 600 producers who hold approximately one third of the total area of vineyards;
- 2% of the farmers have vineyards between 1 and 2 hectares in size;
- 77% of Douro wine farms have less than 1 hectare of vineyard.