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7 days in Porto and Northern Portugal discovering the best of the ‘Best of Wine Tourism’ awards

Carlos Cardoso All Rights Reserved

Are you a wine lover who has yet to discover the ‘Great Wine Capitals’? Do you want to enjoy an excellent wine tourism experience in one of the cities renowned for its innovation? Created in 2010, the ‘Great Wine Capitals’ are a global network of capitals which promote synergies and reward private initiatives in the area of Tourism and Wine, focusing on criteria such as sustainability, art, heritage, geography and culture.

To distinguish between these unique, sensorial, refreshing and innovative places (which extend from southern Australia to the United States), the ‘Best of Wine Tourism’ awards were created. The ‘Best Of’ only includes the best, and Porto has been successful in the categories of accommodation, tourist services, architecture and landscape, sustainable practices, and art and culture, as well as being recognised for providing innovative experiences. In previous years, alongside some of these categories, it also won with some of its restaurants.

Porto and Northern Portugal, with good facilities and stunningly beautiful spaces, are open to all those who want to discover wine-producing regions where wines, tourism, and new businesses and services are promoted, as well as training and educational initiatives. Do you want to participate? Go ahead and reserve 7 days to discover some of the prize winners in the ‘Best of Wine Tourism’ awards.

Day 1 - Boeira Portugal in a Bottle - Quinta da Boeira (Gaia)

We begin in Porto, the capital of Northern Portugal, with a stroll through the historical centre, considered a World Heritage site. Take in the ancient monuments, relax in the pedestrianised streets and savour your first dishes on the river bank.

The first wine tasting will be today, at the Quinta da Boeira, one of the ‘Best Of’ companies in 2016. In Gaia, with views over the city of Porto, this Quinta invites you to spend a lively day visiting the market with almost 60 stalls recalling the past, enjoying the tapas served at the bar or the Portuguese dishes at the restaurant, and watching dance and music shows.  

The best part of the day will be quite literally entering a 32 metre high wine bottle, where you will be invited to taste four table wines and a Port wine. An amazing first day!

Day 2 - The Yeatman (Gaia)

Your first night will be spent at The Yeatman, a 5* hotel from the Relais & Chatêau chain, with a superb view over the river and the city of Porto, beautiful gardens, a spa offering vinotherapy and some of the oldest Portuguese wines stored in its cellars.

Gaia has other ‘Best Of’ sites, and we continue our route to visit them. The Vinum Restaurant & Wine Bar, where international, cosmopolitan flavours blend with the best traditional ingredients, is one of them. You will be surrounded by the 3,200 bottles of wine ageing in these 19th century cellars.

Now we head towards the Minho, sticking to the coast the whole way, in order to get a glimpse of its beautiful fishing villages and landscapes, before ascending the Monte de Santa Luzia in Viana do Castelo to appreciate not only the Roman/Byzantine style shrine, but also one of the most beautiful views over the Atlantic Ocean. A little higher, 30 minutes further on, we reach the oldest village in Portugal - Ponte de Lima.

Day 3 - Carmo’s Boutique Hotel (Ponte de Lima)

On the third day, treat yourself to a luxury, romantic experience in a 5* hotel which really stands out. Horse riding, golf and a spa with milk baths and aromatherapy, along with a library and large gardens accompany the vines, the wine tasting sessions and private wine dinners which delight everyone visiting for the first or even second time. A place which fills your days and nights with luxury.

Days 4 and 5 - Morgadio da Calçada (Provesende, Douro)

Next, we’ll convince you to travel almost 2 hours by car for a complete change of landscape and wine. On the way, if you’d like to discover a Quinta proud of its good sustainable practices where you can buy homemade jams, we suggest you stop in Celorico de Basto, at the Quinta das Escomoeiras. This is a rural tourism site which forms part of the Vinho Verde Route and combines vines with 6.5 hectares of forest.

Still en route, and now very close to your destination, you can have lunch at the Adega Quinta da Faísca, which won the Architecture and Landscapes category in 2015. The combination of materials used creates a magnificent building: shale, granite, wood and glass. You can stay to visit the vines and cellars or continue your journey towards one of the largest wine villages in the Douro – Provesende Demarcated Region.

The famous 17th century house, Morgadio da Calçada, also impresses with its architecture, and we suggest you spend the night here. Run by the fifth generation of the Niepoort family (of Dutch origin), the five hectares of vines and olive trees which the family has been cultivating for centuries, are of unparalleled quality. Besides the production of wine and oil, they also maintain an organic vegetable garden and promote leisure activities such as photography and cooking workshops.

Day 6 - The Wine House Hotel Quinta da Pacheca (Lamego)

On the eve of your return to Porto, we suggest you spend a unique day at the famous Quinta da Pacheca, a place which won in the accommodation category in 2015 and for offering an innovative enotourism experience in 2016.

Besides the existing museum, you can visit the traditional wine presses and the winemaking room, take a look around the wine shop, and check the quality of the wine and vines by tasting the most delicious nectars. There are 51 hectares of vines in which to lose yourself next to the Douro. The fifteen existing rooms are all different, and the restaurant takes you on a journey through new flavours.

Being close to Pinhão lends itself to a peaceful walk. Enjoy the tiled panels on the train station, a portrait of life in the Douro in a blue and white style. Many people pass through this station following memorable journeys through the Douro landscape. You should do the same. Buy your ticket, and you’ll be back in Porto in two hours.

Day 7 - Porto Cruz (Gaia)

After your trip through nature, where you can see the grape-gathering and traditional stomping of the grapes (which takes place between September and October), head back to the city to appreciate the architecture of the buildings, the creativity they reflect, the monuments, cafés, viewpoints, churches and shops which display the good reputation of the region’s wine.

Port wine, Douro wine or Vinho Verde: which did you like most?

If you haven’t yet tried them all, Porto Cruz in Gaia is another of the award-winning sites waiting for you to visit. The charming view over the River Douro from the 360º panoramic terrace, the best wines and food, and the possibility of attending films and exhibitions allow you to relax and learn in a space with fantastic interior design. A world-renowned wine experience which will inspire you to return.  

You’ll go home with a complete experience of very high quality, enhanced by our assistance whenever necessary. Contact us and we’ll be happy to organise a personalised itinerary for you.  

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