Thursday, April 7, 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016: Douro River Valley, “Wine Country” Portugal

After breakfast we left the city of Porto to drive east to the upper Douro Valley where the grapes are grown for the Port Wine famous to this region.  In fact, all Port Wine comes from the Douro Valley. To get to the Upper Valley as quickly as possible we drove on the 4-lane Toll Road to this area.  On route to the valley we stopped at the village of Amarante, which has a very nice church and 16th century bridge.


Once in the Valley we decide to check-in to a hotel as we had no idea to the time we would be returning in the evening and we did not want to leave the Valley to find a Hotel.  So we checked into Hotel Regua in Peso da Regua.  We are in a beautiful suite tonight – the cheapest way to go with 3 adult persons.  We are almost over the Douro River! We have a balcony and when standing on it, we look right down on the river. Across the river we see terraced vineyard.  This is just the beginning of what we will see this afternoon!
Views from the Hotel

After a bite to eat, we begin driving east along the river, winding and twisting our way up (east) the river.  Around every corner were more picture perfect terraced vineyards.  Stopping for photos was a slight problem, as there were not a lot of pull-outs.  Thank goodness the traffic was very light today.  Only photos can explain what all we saw today.  We not only drove along the Douro River, but other rivers which flowed into the Douro.  We climbed ridges, some higher than others, on narrow curvy back roads, drove through little villages, saw millions of grape vines just beginning to break their buds for this season on terraced hillsides, and saw lots of terraced olive trees as well. It was a fun day of exploring.  It was 7:00 before we returned to Peso da Regua, and we were so glad we already had the hotel room. 

The Douro Valley was more than we expected. We had no idea how large of an area it covers, nor the depth of the river gorge.  Please enjoy the photos. 

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