Douro Verde is our chosen destination for August 2020. This so-called part of the Douro Valley is located between the urban Douro landscape around Porto and the Douro wine-making region in the upper part of the Douro Valley.
Being just over an hour from Porto makes it a great weekend break destination, but it is also a great place to spend some longer holidays immersed in nature, good gastronomy, excellent wine and a valuable historical and cultural heritage.
August is always a tricky month when it comes to travelling, but this area remains quite unexplored and peaceful even during peak season. Plus it's almost harvest time, which means this territory has a special aura as the locals anticipate the vindimas.
The territory known as Douro Verde has about 50 km in extension and is flanked by Porto in the north and Viseu in the south. It comprises the municipalities of Amarante, Baião, Cinfães, Marco de Canaveses, Resende and Penafiel.
The Atlantic influence, mild temperatures and heavy rainfall create a green scenery that is really distinct from the typical image we have from the Douro Valley where the Port wine is produced.
Another plus is the constant presence of water, the hilltops and the rich biodiversity, which makes it a delight to drive around and explore hiking.
Cultural and Historical Heritage
The northern part of the country has been occupied by many different peoples throughout the times and traces of their presence can still be seen and visited. Around Baixo Tâmega and Vale do Sousa there is an impressive collection of megalithic sites, monasteries, churches, memorials, bridges, castles and tower houses.
A valuable concentration of constructions that date back to the pre-historic period, such as dolmens, can be found at Serra da Aboboreira, in the outskirts of Baião.
Throughout the second half of the 11th and the beginning of the 12th centuries the Romanesque style emerged in Portugal and many buildings in this area reflect this architectural style since many noble families occupied and owned these lands. The Romanesque Route comprises almost 60 monuments built in the Romanesque style and the best place to get some insight about it is the Interpretation Centre of the Romanesque in Lousada.
Apart from the buildings, there is another route worth getting to know, specially for those interested in learning more about Portuguese literature. The Writers Route comprises places or sites that were meaningful for some of the most iconic Portuguese writers, such as Eça de Queirós, Teixeira de Pascoais, Camilo Castelo Branco and Guerra Junqueiro. They all wrote about this Portuguese territory and their legacy remains relevant these days.
Good Food and Vinho Verde
Douro Verde is also known this way because of the vinho verde. Despite being located quite close to the Douro demarcated wine region, the soil and climate characteristics create particular conditions which are perfect for the production of vinho verde.
The area where vinho verde is produced is located in the northern part of the country and is the biggest Portuguese demarcated region, which dates back to 1908. Usually vinho verde is light, fragrant and fresh, and works better as white or sparkling wine. It should be consumed while young and pairs beautifully with light meals, such as seafood, fish, white meats and salads.
To match the top notch wines there's a wide array of mouthwatering dishes that are meant to be shared with time (and appetite!). To start there's always smoked meats and a basket of corn bread. Then comes the main dishes, which can revolve around river fish or the delicious Arouquesa meat. For special occasions locals indulges in the traditional roasted lamb served with oven baked rice, which is to die for! To finish it all off it's mandatory to try the typical biscoitos da Teixeira, a sweet biscuit that pairs beautifully with a strong cup of coffee.
Read more and check the video we shot across the Douro Valley region here.
If the green part of the Douro Valley is an area you'd like to explore get in touch and we'll come up with a plan that matches your interests :)