• Lindsey

Postcard from the Douro Valley


Continuing Stylecamp's four-part travel series exploring parts of Portugal, postcard number two comes from the scenic valley of the Douro River where the grapes for the country's famous Douro wines and ports are grown. If you enjoy drinking and learning about wine, a visit to the Douro region is a must!


Stylecamp in the Douro region

Admiring the stunning Douro scenery in Stylecamp's floral Marlene jumpsuit

So far in our Portugal trip, we've taken in the beautiful Art Nouveau style city of Aveiro (just south of Porto), known as the 'Venice' of Portugal, and explored its beautiful golden beaches that stretched for miles. If you missed my last post, be sure to check out Stylecamp's Postcard from Aveiro to learn more about this charming city.


 

DOURO VALLEY

After a lovely two night stay in Aveiro, we hopped in the car to begin a long drive up into the wine-making region of the Douro Vallley, which would take us almost to the border of Spain.


The stunning hills of the Douro

The stunning hills of the Douro

The winding roads of the mountainous Douro valley brings you to some of the most remote and breathtaking scenery I've encountered so far, dotted with gorgeous historical Quintas that tell the story of this remarkable place.


Wine terraces for miles in the Douro

Wine terraces for miles in the Douro

As you ascend into these amazing wine-producing mountains, rows and rows of impressive grapevines cover every inch of land as far as the eye can see. Around every turn, the different wine producers proudly lay claim to their patch, with tall, logo-bearing signs standing high over the terraces.


young grapevines in the Douro

Young grapevines in the Douro

Wine has been produced in the Douro region for over a thousand years, as the climate in these mountains is ideal for growing the grapes needed for Portugal's famous port wines, whilst the river below was traditionally used to transport the wine back to the coastal city of Porto to be traded. I'm reliably informed that in peak summer it can get as hot as 50°C in the shade!


 

CASA DO RIO

Our first stop in the valley was the Casa do Rio, a fancy wine hotel near the historic Vila Nova de Foz Côa. I've since learned that the area is a UNESCO world heritage site, home to some of the most important open air Palaeolithic rock art in the world. However, that's just another reason to visit this breathtaking region.


Casa do Rio wine hotel

Casa do Rio wine hotel

We booked the Casa do Rio as a very special treat and, my word, it was absolute heaven on earth. An exhilarating 3km mountain track offers glimpses of the river through fields of colourful wildflowers and leafy grapevines, to bring you to this incredibly stylish, modern hotel that sits surreptitiously into the landscape. The main part of the hotel bridges two grapevine terraces offering spectacular views over the Côa river, a vast tributary of the Douro itself.


The mountain track down to the Casa do Rio

The mountain track down to the Casa do Rio overlooks the Côa river

With only six suites on offer, the experience at Casa do Rio is extremely homely and intimate. It's owned by one of the oldest wine estates in the region, the Quinta do Vallad