The setting sun is reflected in the gleaming, sinuous expanse of the river Douro as it snakes through a centuries-old landscape of steep terraced vineyards dotted with whitewashed quintas with their names picked out in black, and tiny white churches. The Douro at sunset, you reflect as you sip a cool glass of vinho verde, truly is the “River of Gold”. This used to be a wild, turbulent waterway, very dangerous to the sailors of the flat-bottomed ‘rabelo’ boats that plied the port trade from the quintas to the warehouses of Porto. Now, tamed by man and agriculture, it is simply magnificent.
Walking through vineyards, olive and almond groves carpeted with fragrant lavender, thyme and rosemary and studded with wild flowers, you are immersed in nature and connected to an agricultural way of life that has long gone elsewhere. Socalcos, the stone-walled terraced vineyards hewn into the steep slopes, follow the meandering contours of the valley and create the ‘terroir’ that makes the wine you are sipping so good. This is a landscape you can taste. Perhaps a glass of port as a nightcap?
Your Portuguese journey starts here with Chapters Experience Holidays.