One of the ways of getting to know Northwest Portugal is by following the Vinho Verde wine, a unique, fragrant and refreshing product, which undeniably characterizes the region.
Geographically well located for the production of white wines, the region of the Vinho Verde wines, whose vineyards occupy an area of 21 thousand hectares corresponding to 15% of the national wine-growing area, is the birthplace of the emblematic variety Alvarinho and the producer of unique blended wines, having celebrated one hundred years of demarcation in 2008.
Visit the wineries and wine cellars, taste the local gastronomy, engage in activities and follow itineraries of cultural interest.
The Demarcated Region of Vinho Verde wines awaits you for a unique and memorable experience, starting with the hospitality of the people, to which no one can remain indifferent.
Enjoy the beaches on the coastline, the River Minho and the mountains separating the North Atlantic from the North Interior. Treasure the region’s unique landscape, with lush vegetation where green is the dominant colour, visit World Heritage cities, with a living culture and a valuable range of monuments from different periods.
And, obviously, taste the wines of the region. From white to red, rosé and sparkling wines, you will have plenty to choose from.
Head to Vieira do Minho, in the sub-region of the Ave. Check-in and have lunch at the restaurant of the Aquafalls Spa Hotel Rural over the Cávado River and Albufeira da Caniçada.
Choose fish and a Vinho Verde white wine, light, fruity and fresh. You will be surprised at how perfectly it matches with fish and seafood.
In the afternoon, set off to discover nature in the National Park of Peneda Gerês, on the border with Spain. Natural beauty, traditions and customs – agriculture and livestock are the basis of local economy – will have you surrender to this place. Plan beforehand with the hotel an easy route with the help of a guide.
Back in the hotel relax at the spa, with a view of the natural setting of the North of Portugal.
The alternative to the walking trail is to visit traditional gold workshops in Póvoa do Lanhoso, at approximately 20 kilometres, and buy a pair of filigree earrings, a very typical technique of Portuguese jewellery.
The birthplace city of Portugal
On the following day, go to Guimarães, the birthplace city of Portugal, whose historical centre has been listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.
Walk around the narrow streets of the medieval town, pay attention to the old houses with their ornamented balconies and statues, and rest at one of the esplanades in Largo da Oliveira. Ask for a glass of Vinho Verde wine and taste the best cheeses and enchidos.
Have dinner in Ponte de Lima, already in the sub-region of the River Lima but only 30 minutes from Guimarães, and complement the famous sarrabulho rice accompanied by rojões à moda do Minho (seasoned pork loin) with a Vinho Verde red wine. It is tradition to drink the wine in a bowl, so don’t be surprised if it is served like this.
Stay at Carmo's Boutique Hotel, a hotel chain integrating the network of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, where the past, modernity and cultural roots blend perfectly. The Indo-Portuguese and art deco furniture, the luxuriant skin rugs and the design items stand out in the architecture of this modern hotel, where the designer Carvalho Araújo has chosen to leave the concrete structure out in the open.
In the village, walk around the historical centre, have breakfast in one of the bakeries in Largo de Camões and listen to the classical music and jazz basting away from the loud speakers placed on street lamps.
Still in Ponte de Lima, visit Quinta do Ameal, one of the main producers of Portuguese varietal wines Loureiro, and buy Vinho Verde wine to take with you and taste when you get home.
Beach and River
Have lunch in Viana do Castelo, one of the most characteristic cities of Portugal, still maintaining manor houses, well preserved monuments and offering protected beaches and, at the same time, mountain landscapes.
Save the afternoon of your last day in the North of Portugal to visit Monção e Melgaço, another sub-region of the Vinho Verde wines. In Melgaço, visit Solar do Alvarinho, which promotes Alvarinho wine, local crafts and the traditional and cultural roots of the region.
How to get there
There are flights to Porto, low cost , for example, London (Stansted and Gatwick), Paris (Beauvais, Orly and Charles de Gaulle Vatry), Marseille, Lille, Tours, St. Etienne, Bologna, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse, Madrid, Barcelona El Prat , Tenerife, Valencia, Venice and Palma de Mallorca.
In the summer there are low cost companies flying from Liverpool, Las Palmas, Carcassonne, Rodez and Nantes.
With normal fares from London - Gatwick, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris - Orly.
The best way to reach the center of Porto from the International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro is by metro. The trip takes about 30 minutes.