• Isabel

The Enchanted Portuguese Valley of Douro | Douro, Portugal


I recently was invited by Eno Taste Tour on a press trip to explore the beautiful region of the Douro Valley. Having undergone various scenic activities and visited fascinating locations, I will be sharing in this article my experience from the trip showing you an area full of history, culture and breathtaking scenery in the north of Portugal.


1. Peso da Régua – Douro Museum

2. Lamego – The city of healing

3. Vale de Coa Archeological Park

4. Douro Views

5. Douro Delfim Hotel & Views

6. Harvest with the locals



The Douro river having its source in Spain flows all the way through Portugal until it meets the Atlantic ocean. Known for its scenic views over the vineyards and the cultivation and production of wine it also holds lots of history about Portugal. Not only does the area give you an incredible insight into a part of Portuguese history but is also home to some archeological findings which are, just as the Douro Valley an UNESCO World heritage site.



“Douro in english means of Gold, therefore the Douro river is seen by some as the Golden river.”

1. Peso da Régua – Douro Museum


The Douro Museum in Peso da Régua, gives you a great overall insight into the history and culture of the Douro Valley. The Museum itself is within the restored building called “Casa da Companhia Velha” which holds great history about winemaking in the area. You learn about how Douro became a wine region due to its ideal growing conditions for grapes since the soil is rocky and the climate is hot and dry and can equally see a former boat very similar to Viking boats which used to transport the wine. Inside you will find different exhibitions showing you the procedures going into winemaking and how over the past centuries, the area’s economy is strongly based on the import & export of wine and has thus been a source of employment for the area. Equally you will find temporary art expos in the Museum.



You will learn about some incredible people such as Joseph James Forrester who was the main cartographer of the Portuguese Douro region and Dona Antonia Ferreira known as the woman who saved the valley.


…a little anecdote Dona Antonia Ferreira the lady who is said to have been a women who strongly funded the region at the time, and Joseph James Forrester who was an expert of the Douro river and made the cartography of the river went out on a boat ride one day. At one point they capsized, Joseph drowned in the river he loved so much and Dona Antonia survived due to her dress somehow floating which is displayed in the Museum.



Did you know? The Douro Valley is an UNESCO marked World Heritage Site as it is one of the worlds oldest wine regions with over 2000 years of winemaking.


P.S. When looking at the valleys, those vineyards which are no longer active grape vines are covered in olive trees 😉



2. Lamego – The city of healing


Lamego known for its historic city center is one of the most stunning cities in northern Portugal. With origins dating back to before the roman era, Lamego holds important and very old history. It is even said that Lamego is the city where the first king of Portugal, Alfonso Henriques was crowned.


Here you will find the shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios (the woman of healing) as well as the Diocese of Lamego.


Santuario de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios

Literally translated, the Santuario de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios is called “the shrine of our lady of healing” as it is said people especially pilgrims came and still come to this area to heal.

This cathedral is built on top of a mountain called Monte de Santo Estevao and has over 686 steps you can mount to the church from the city centre.




You will find different styles of architecture at this cathedral as it was first built in the 18th century and since has been demolished, rebuilt and seen many reconstructions. Non the less it is a fascinating site, especially the sculptures and statues heading down the stairs.



Diocese of Lamego

Built in the 6th century this diocese holds very interesting architecture and allows you to ponder upon its history.



At the top of Monte de Santo Estevao before reaching the cathedral stands an extremely old oak tree which is said to be over 500 years old and is recognized as a natural wonder.



3. Vale de Coa Archeological Park


The entire valley is an archaeological site and the globally famous prehistoric rock art in Vila Nova de Coa put forward by the Coa park is also listed as an UNESCO world heritage site.


Being an active research area, there are 3 sites which are open to the public allowing you to make your own perspective about theses carvings. These being Penascosa, Canada do Inferno and Ribeira de Piscos.


The whole journey starts at the the museum which is constructed with a very particular architecture making it quite the interesting structure to observe. On top of that the views over the valley from the museum are stunning! From here there are different time slots you can take to explore the different sites. The only way to explore these sites are through a guided tour and you are therefore taken on a 4WD drive through the valley to reach the different sites.



The open-air rock gallery at the Site of Penascosa is truly a beautiful site to see and for you to form your own perspective first-hand about these carvings.



Canada do inferno – boat tour

Near a half-constructed dam, you will take a boat tour through time. This journey will allow you to understand how these carvings impacted by nature come to disappear over time. This boat tour takes you through a very quiet location and has truly a very impactful energy!



4. Douro Views


The Douro region is so scenic and beautiful and can be admired form various perspectives. By simply driving through the valleys on a road known as the Portuguese Route 66 “N222” or by taking a boat ride on the river itself. The views on either side are simply spectacular and breathtaking leaving a strong impression on you! Another local tip is to take a rustical train ride through the valley.



5. Douro Delfim Hotel & Views


In the valley there are many different modern hotels which give you stunning views and make your stay in the Douro Valley an unforgettable one.


Staying at the Delfim Douro Hotel was truly incredible. The modern hotel offers you such breathtaking views over the river that for the sunset and sunrise you have a daily spectacle by nature with different colours!



6. Harvest with the locals


For a truly local experience, join a harvesting day and you will gain an even deeper insight into what it is like to work at a Quinta. This will show you more about the process of wine making which is the areas highest source of economy.


On a harvesting day you will pick grapes, stomp grapes and enjoy a day at a quinta!



All in all, the Eno Taste Tour was a truly unforgettable experience having left a strong impression on me!


There is something so magical about this area!


The Douro Valley is a truly enchanted one which can be visited for so many different reasons. Merely for the scenic and breathtaking views giving you a relaxing vacation, for mystery explorers seeking adventure and deeper knowledge about its history culture and archeology.


To learn more about the history of an area and extend your own perspective, exploration is the way to do it.


We are generation change!


Enjoy! Yours truly,


© Isabel


Links:

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https://www.douroenotastetour.pt

https://www.museudodouro.pt/

https://www.museudodouro.pt/espacos

http://www.richardmayson.com/books-and-publications/joseph-james-forrester-and-his-maps-portuguese-douro

https://www.visitportugal.com/en/node/134774

https://www.visitportugal.com/en/node/134152

https://arte-coa.pt/en/

https://www.delfimdourohotel.com/en/Homepage.aspx