Quintas to visit in Douro

Post your experiences of travel, especially for the Douro region. Make recommendations for places to stay and visit or ask advice from those that have already been there.
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JB vintage
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Quintas to visit in Douro

Post by JB vintage » 06:56 Tue 10 Sep 2013

Which Quintas offer the best accommodation in Douro? Which is you personal favorite? What is the best way to get there from Porto? Is it possible by train/bus or do you need to rent a car? When at the quinta, do you need your own car to visit other quintas in the same area or is it close enough to walk or affordable with taxi?

Are there any quintas that perhaps are not open for accommodation but would merit a visit for other reasons?

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AHB
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Re: Quintas to visit in Douro

Post by AHB » 14:04 Wed 11 Sep 2013

The two Quintas where I have stayed in the Douro and would happily go back are Passadouro and Tedo. Tedo is conveniently located on the main road between Regua and Pinhao but Passadouro is more rural and picturesque. I have also heard good reports of Romaneira, the Vintage House Hotel and Aquapura but I've not been to any of those places.

My favourite method to get from Oporto up to the Douro is by train and then to catch a taxi from Pinhao or Regua. You can travel by taxi from Oporto up into the Douro, but few Oporto taxi drivers know their way around the Douro valley. I don't recommend hiring a car as part of the purpose of a visit to the Douro is to drink! I think when I last used taxis to travel around the Douro from one appointment to the next I was spending about €30 per trip with 3-4 trips per day. You can hike around the Douro and I have been told it is an extremely good way to get from quinta to quinta. The distances are not great but the hills should not be underestimated! The train is also a very good way to get around the Upper Douro and is well worth the journey from Pinhao to Vargellas and Vesuvio just to walk around the vineyards in the area - just don't miss the last train back!

It's also worth looking at the Rota do Vinho do Porto. This is the closest that the region has got to a wine route. There are 40+ quintas who participate in the route with most being open to visitors by appointment. The only two quintas which come to mind as being open to any visitor during normal hours are Seixo and Panascal. Seixo is an interesting tour, especially if you can go during the harvest time.
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djewesbury
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Re: Quintas to visit in Douro

Post by djewesbury » 17:12 Wed 11 Sep 2013

Hello, from the Douro! At present we are staying at Quinta do Tedo and enjoying it immensely. Can recommend it highly. We will be moving on to Quinta de la Rosa tomorrow and I'll write up what I think of it soon.

To get here from Porto, definitely take the train. Very easy, reasonably regular and a dependable service. As for AHB's thoughts on car hire I would opt for a middle way. We have hired a car from Europcar in Regua which is pretty handy in terms of being able to do anything at all that is not going to involve drinking, and not having to pay €60 just to go and buy some cheese in the nearest shops. AHB's itinerary sounds like it involves €90 - €120 in taxi fares daily, which would limit my port budget somewhat... Yes, you will need to take a lot of taxis, but having a car is convenient.

Whenever you are taking taxis, make sure to get the best deal. Don't do as we did last night, go from Quinta do Tedo to the excellent Castas e Pratos restaurant in Regua, and book a taxi from Pinhao: when the taxi showed up he already had €16 on the clock. He also came into the restaurant, without our knowledge, and asked them to ring him when we were nearly finished, so that he could come back and make even more money from us; the restaurant, thinking we'd asked him to do this, complied, but were very apologetic later. It took 15 mins of trilingual negotiation (he kept speaking to me in French) before we could persuade him that we were just going to get a taxi from Regua. At one point he tried persuading us that it was illegal for us to do this.... The most expensive taxi ride I've ever taken was in Venice; but this came close.

Walking in this heat is extremely tiring. Some of the quintas are quite close by, but not really that close. We are due to go for dinner at Quinta de Napoles in a little while. I am typing this looking at Quinta de Napoles, which is 1.9km away, but the sun is very hot and the road is very steep... I think we might ask someone here to give us a lift....
Daniel J.
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djewesbury
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Re: Quintas to visit in Douro

Post by djewesbury » 17:22 Wed 11 Sep 2013

AHB wrote:It's also worth looking at the Rota do Vinho do Porto. This is the closest that the region has got to a wine route. There are 40+ quintas who participate in the route with most being open to visitors by appointment.
The HQ in Regua, next to the station, has closed down, sadly. The brown signs are all still up though. Finding a good map of the quintas is harder than it should be. Expect general lack of information and a certain amount of headscratching when it comes to the Portuguese approach to tourism. The actual Turismo in Regua is worse than useless. The leaflets are treated as precious objects that need to be protected and our entry merited not even a 'Bom Dia' from the surly girl behind the desk...
AHB wrote:The only two quintas which come to mind as being open to any visitor during normal hours are Seixo and Panascal. Seixo is an interesting tour, especially if you can go during the harvest time.
Panascal is good in giving you an audioguide of the vineyard itself and telling you something about cultivation methods and grape varietals. Even if their MP3 players are a bit tetchy.

What's surprising is the lack of range in most tasting rooms. I don't need to taste many more reserve rubies or 20YOs. I would like to have been offered a glass of a vintage other than F09 today...
Daniel J.
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JB vintage
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Re: Quintas to visit in Douro

Post by JB vintage » 23:41 Fri 13 Sep 2013

Sounds like you are having a good time. I am not surprised. I'd love to hear more about your trip and what not to miss when in Porto and Douro

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Re: Quintas to visit in Douro

Post by gljunglo » 23:19 Sun 15 Sep 2013

Hi JB.

We are currently staying at Quinta de la Rosa for the third time in four years. As I told djewesbury in an earlier thread we really like it here.
I am sure that there are plenty of good places to stay when in Douro but for us Quinta de la Rosa is perfect. That familiar feel, the walking distance from Pinhao and the view across the river really is everything we need or want. (I earlier told djewesbury that the smell from the lagares in the harvest in itself was a reason to stay here but since they now have moved the lagares to another building this unfortunately doesn't apply anymore.)
That they treat you almost like family when you return for the second or third time doesn't hurt either...
We have only gone by car from Sweden to Portugal and I don't think you are interested in that option.
Visits? We have had lots of good visits at Quintas as diverse as Napoles, Vallado, Infantado and Santa Eufemia. In fact we have only had nice visits or even nicer visits in Portugal. You just have to decide what you want to do and who wou want to visit and then book well ahead. I cannot remember ever being turned down when trying to book a visit in the Douro. In the Alentejo this happens a lot, strangely enough.
I would say that that you definitely need a car as well as a good navigational system that you know how to use. The last aspect is in my opinion of the utmost importance. The roads down here is probably not what you are used to...

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