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    Sailing the Douro River of Portugal

    We embarked on a Viking River Cruise journey from Lisbon to Porto and sailed through the Douro River to experience all of the beauty that the lovely country of Portugal has to offer.

    Just about wherever you look in Portugal, you will find beautifully colored tiles decorating just bout everything from walls, floors and ceilings, to mailboxes, churches and train stations. The country is filled with beauty from its wine to its dramatic landscapes and not to mention its lovely people.

    Porto
    We had a two night hotel stay in Lisbon {separate guide to Lisbon to come} and made our way to the city of Porto where the cruise departed from. Porto is known as the city of bridges and it’s safe to say that these bridges are quite impressive and huge! Porto’s old world charm is found in every corner. It has many surprises in store with gems of unique architecture, interesting neighborhoods, stunning river views, and local flair. It’s also Portugal’s second largest city located along the rocky embankment carved by the Douro River but it still remains much more peaceful than its sister city, Lisbon.


    Photo collaboration with Ivo & Vanessa, Flytographer

    Coimbra

    We made a pit stop in the town of Coimbra while on a road trip from Lisbon to Porto and it was such a pleasant surpirse. Upon arrival to Coimbra, you may feel like you’ve just walked onto the set of Harry Potter since majority of the students walking around are rocking capes! This is a long time tradition that is still carried on by many students today. It was refreshing to see the students proudly don the capes!


    Located at the bottom of the university hilltop is a charming town and square it is absolutely beautiful. Here, you’ll find tons of cafes, shops and elegant boutique hotels.

    We were treated to a lovely Fado show during lunch at a restaurant fittingly called Saudade.

    Fado is a Portuguese folk tradition and the heart and soul of Portuguese music. Fado is characterized by its melancholic and nostalgic lyrics about loss, love, hope, the essence of missing something. I had first heard the word Saudade in Brazil and was reacquanited with this word once again here in Portugal. It’s one of my favorites.

    One of the most famous Fado songs is Uma Casa Portuguese “ A Portuguese House”. I highly recommend you YouTube it to hear some of the tunes! If you enjoy the Spanish guitar, you will love. Fado.


    The Douro
    It’s hard not to fall in love with the picturesque wine region and river. The scenery is just stunning with steep slopes leading right into the calm river, decorated with red roofed, white housed villages. It’s amazing to think that for over centuries, the wine growers have sculpted and maintained these incredible terraces without the use of modern machinery.
    Régua
    The sleepy town of Régua is located on the never ending vineyard terraces along the Douro Valley stands as the heart of Port Wine production in Portugal.

    Casa de Mateus
    One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the Mateus Palace. It is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful palaces I’ve ever seen. The stunning baroque architecture is home to a grand collection of paintings, furniture, books and history.
    The palace was built in the first half of the 18th century by Antonio Jose Botelho Mourao, whose descendants still live there today. Get lost in the enchanting gardens traditionally tended by one single garderner without the use of modern machinery.


    Pinhão
    The epicenter of the Douro and a UNESCO world heritage site, Pinhão is where the biggest names in port reside with many quintas / wine estates nearby. The village’s railway station, built in 1937, is decorated with 24 amazing scenes depicted in azuleos and is a must see.

    Recommended quintas:

    Quinta da Roeda
    Can you believe that wine growing is still a labor of love here? Quinta da Roeda, one of the port wineries we visited still harvests grapes by hand and stomps on grapes by foot! The grounds were incredibly peaceful, I never wanted to leave.



    Quinta das Carvalhas

    Wines produced: Branco, Tinta Francisca and Vinhas Velhas from the Carvalhas brand
    Quinta das Carvalhas is known for its gorgeous 360 degree views from the mountaintop.

    Quinta de Avessada, a beautiful century old wine growing estate has long produced one of the richest wines of the Douro region.



    Favaios

    With a population of about 1,500 people and an area of 8 square miles, Favaios became best known in the beginning of the 20th century for one thing: wine, namely a sweet muscat wine, Moscatel. It has a sweet honey and jam taste with a shiny golden color.

    The little town of Favaios is home to one of the last traditional bakeries in the Douro Valley. This sweet baker wakes up bright and early at 4am to make the town’s “Four Corner’s Bread” made of wheat and rye and shaped like a four corner pillow. The bread is baked in a traditional oven which is preheated with plants and bushes from the surrounding area.



    Favaios charm

    Lamego
    The pilgrimage town of Lamego is a sacred place. Every August and September, thousands of believers come to pray at the awe-inspiring Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies) which was built in 1791 on the sacred site of a small hilltop chapel. The views are absolutely stunning and worth the trek up or down the 686-step double staircase with nine terraces along the way. I especially loved the every changing blue and white azulejos on each terrace, each one more beautiful than the next.

    See more on Instagram #nastasiainportugal

    All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

    I was invited as guest by Viking Cruises. As always, all opinions are my own

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