Five views of the Douro

Cinco olhares sobre o Douro
Photo: Câmara Municipal de Alijó
Five views of the Douro


1 - São Leonardo da Galafura
Close to Régua, and in the vicinity of the village of Poiares, there is the São Leonardo da Galafura viewpoint. The landscape below encompasses both the Douro valley and the Serra do Marão and was described by writer Miguel Torga as geological poetry. There is also a small chapel and a charming park.

2 - Quinta do Noval
Both given its favoured location and the coloured geometry of its vines, this estate remains both very much a showcase for the entire Douro and one its most famous producers of fine wines. It is here that, according to the American magazine «Wine Spectator» one of the 12 best wines of the 20th century was produced (the 1931 Noval Nacional vintage). Located on the left bank of the river Pinhão, the farm is built over schist walled terraces, divided up by flights of stairs carved in the same white as the buildings and the sloping road that makes its way across the estate.

3 - Casal de Loivos
This veranda looks out over Pinhão and the open, curving Douro valley. Right next to the village cemetery, the views take in some of the most beautiful landscapes of the entire Douro demarcated wine region. There is the imposing Quinta das Carvalhas in front with the Roêda estate down below. The Foz is over on the right as the river twists its way through an «s» right by Pinhão.

4 - São Salvador do Mundo
A sacred and mythical site located just a few kilometres from São João da Pesqueira, São Salvador do Mundo is a place of worship and pilgrimage, particularly for devout females. Women wanting to marry a decent kind of man, so tradition goes, have to tie knots in the genistas found along the road leading up to the chapel. From there, look right down to the Douro. At the bottom of the abysm, twisted by rocky outcrops, runs the river now calmed by the Valeira dam. Gone are the famous rapids that, through to the end of the 18th century, represented an impassable obstacle to navigation. This stretch of river was so dangerous that sailors, on reaching here, would offer up their souls to the creator among other supplications to St. Salvador. Among those shipwrecked at Valeira, the baron of Forrester is probably the most famous.

5 - The Vale Meão Estate
It was here that the almost mythical Barca Velha wine was produced throughout decades. It now gives its name to different grapes and to another red wine, Quinta do Vale Meão 1999. Located on the gently sloping right bank near to Pocinho which is the northern limit of the UNESCO classified area. This huge, grandiose estate very much bears the determined hallmark of its founder, Antónia Ferreira. In just nine years, he took apart the Meão hill to plant around 900,000 vines. Some 800 people worked on building houses and setting up the vineyard. Antónia Ferreira was to die the very year the estate was inaugurated, 1896. Vale Meão is thus the culmination of a life that is unparalleled in the region. It contains the very essence of the Douro: the beauty, the dream, the legend and the genius behind its creation.

Five views of the Douro

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