On May, 15, 2012 we decided to travel from Foz do Douro, where we are staying, to Quinta do Portal, a winery located at Alto Douro Region.
The architectural project of Quinta do Portal is from Siza Vieira, and as an Architect, I was interested in visiting the winery.
We left our rental apartment around 10.30AM and enjoyed the views along the Douro river still covered with fog.
We drove along the excellent freeway to Régua where we stopped to take some pictures.
Régua didn’t attract us as a “particularly beautiful” town. It is just “ok”.
From Régua we followed the Douro River by a secondary road, on our way to Pinhão. There were vineyards on both sides of the road.
The vineyards located along the Alto Douro River are steeper than the ones located along the Mosel river. It is a huge difference.
Alto Douro region is beautiful but….. we found the vineyards along the Mosel prettier. The landscape is prettier in Germany and the constructions along the winery route are prettier and more interesting there. German castles and old houses make the scenery more like a “fairy tale” .
Another positive fact in Germany is the walking/biking path along the Mosel. In Portugal there’s no such path.
Finally, the Mosel is prettier by itself as it has and also the river by itself as it has more curves, making the Mosel region
more scenic and more interesting for a tourist, in my humble opinion.
Having said that…. we arrived in Pinhão.
It is a very tiny village, nothing “special” but it is a good stop to stretch the legs along the trip.
While we were walking in Pinhão we saw interesting constructions, made with cement, that was used in the past to store Port wine. Very interesting although it is not in use anymore.
Where to Eat:
Our initial plan was to have lunch in Pinhão, so we asked local people about their recommended places to have a good meal. The answer gave by more than one local people was “Restaurante Veladouro”, a hidden place on a small alley close to the river.
Restaurant Veladouro, Pinhão
Wow…. This is really excellent food! I ate grilled salmon and hubby had pork chops with French fries. Delicious! Unfortunately we were so excited with the excellent wine that we forgot to take pictures of our dishes! Shame on me!
Anyway, when we were leaving I took some pictures of the facade. If you go to Pinhão, do not miss “Veladouro Restaurant” . It is EXCELLENT, cheap and the service is 10+ (by the owners, I guess).
After lunch we drove to Sabrosa. Quinta do Portal
is located near Celeirós
, on the road that links Pinhão
The “Quinta do Portal” has a beautiful building but…. I didn’t feel any “emotion” seeing it.
In my opinion, Architecture must transmit emotions and the place didn’t add any new emotion to my senses.
In fact, although I love contemporary style, I preferred the old cave we visited in Gaia a few days ago because it had like a “soul” . Quinta do Portal building is just a building. There is no “soul” (ok, my opinion, some folks may disagree).
Tour price at Quinta do Portal:
For two people visiting, each of you can taste two wines for free if you buy € 15.00 or more. We spent more than €15.00 (we bought Reserva Porto) so the tour was “free” .
The place was deserted. No one there and no one arrived while we were there.
We should have visited “Real Companhia Velha
” located in the same region, for something more traditional, maybe… ? Ok, next time!
The road along the Douro river is narrow, there are very few places with a proper sidewalk, there is almost nowhere to stop and take pictures, there are no charming towns along the way and no bars and restaurants along the river as well. Maybe if you go on a scenic boat tour you can enjoy more. For driving it didn’t appalled us at all.
On the way back to Porto we saw some interesting constructions along the way.