Visiting Porto and the Beautiful Douro Valley

Last weekend was full of beautiful views and tastes. I told you earlier that I tried visiting Porto on my way down. Due to all the parking spots being full that didn’t work out then, but now it went like a charm. On the same trip we visited the port wine area of Douro valley and also got to taste plenty of yummy ports.

Porto panorama
Panoramic view of Porto and the Douro river from the Luis I bridge.

On early Friday morning we headed to Porto, but since we took a few breaks on the way it took us until afternoon before we arrived. We parked at the spot close to the downtown area that was full the last time I tried, but now they were able to accommodate us. The owner of the place was a real character and we really enjoyed our stay there. Therefore if you ever want to find a hassle free parking close to Porto, a big recommendation to Parque Dantas.

The weather played along nicely and we enjoyed the day walking and looking around. We mainly stayed close to the river and enjoyed good food and nice street musicians we encountered on several street corners. And I thought Lisbon had a lot of hills, but it pales in comparison to Porto.

A small alley in Porto.
Pretty and colorful houses along the Douro river in Porto.
Downtown Porto
The Douro valley and port wine

On Saturday morning we headed towards Peso da Regua and Pinhão in the Douro Valley. We booked a tour on Quinta do Tedo and got to know the process of making port wine. Now I feel like I understand a little about port wine in general too. If you are interested in learning more, this website has is a nice image that explains the port wine types and their differences in an easy way.

The tour ended with a tasting of three ports out of the Quinta do Tedo’s wines. I enjoyed the LBV (late bottle vintage) most but Ana preferred the rose one. After the tasting we needed to wait a little before driving. The stuff is delicious, but also strong! The weather and the scenery were both really nice and therefore we didn’t mind the wait at all.

Quinta do Tedo vineyards. Waiting felt pleasant with this scenery.
Naranja too enjoyed the view of the Douro valley.
Port barrels in the basement. The smaller ones are filled with tawny and the bigger ones have ruby/vintage/LBV ripening.
Vintage port being stored.

When finally I had deemed myself fit to drive, we then headed to Pinhão. We enjoyed the pretty views there and along the way. Ana – my officially appointed court photographer (thanks for the pictures again) – took a time lapse video on our way back to Peso da Regua. It’s a bit wobbly but you get the idea of how beautiful the valley really is.

Pinhão train station, sun and hills
A time lapse video shot from Naranja while driving in the Douro Valley
The view from our park in Peso da Regua. Notice the slightly creepy Sandeman figure watching over the town.
A visit to the Douro Museum

On Sunday we visited the Douro Museum in Peso da Regua. It was a tight and interesting package of information about the area’s history and the traditions of port wine making. We also got to taste a port after touring the exhibitions here. Interestingly it was much easier to differentiate the tastes after being able to sniff at some of port’s base aromas separately in the museum earlier.

Traditional tools needed to take care of the vineyards on show at the museum.
Back in Costa again

Sunday it took us a lot longer to get back than we both realized. A little after nine PM I dropped Ana off and continued straight back to Costa da Caparica. The waves are way too big for surfing, but this place still feels like home somehow.

After the long return trip I don’t feel like doing much driving in a while again, but there’s a big stretch of just that waiting in a few weeks. But that’s part of this lifestyle too and you can’t just have the nice things.