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Best Small Hotels in the North and Douro

Portugal was born in the North. And arriving in Porto, it feels like taking a step back in time. Red roof tiles tumble from hilltops to the riverfront, the cries of gulls wheel above the river and out to the sea, ancient streets tangle around buildings covered in tile that that saw new lands discovered, kings and queens come into power, and the creation of some of the finest wines on the planet. But make no mistake – Porto may have an ancient soul, but its pulse is every bit modern with some of the best small hotels in Europe.

Porto is often called Portugal’s second city, second in size to Lisbon. But where Lisbon is graceful and full of light, Porto is darker, faster, and an assault to the senses. You can feel the energy – the collision of old and new – in the streets. For me, the best way to explore Porto is to wander. Take time to explore the back streets, visit the Port wine houses, sample the distinct and delicious cuisine of Porto in the tascas, market and specialty stores, and spend the night in one of the best small hotels, historic and charming.

After a few days in Porto, head out of town to the Douro Valley. The rest of the world is just starting to catch on to what the Portuguese have always known – they make great wine. And much of the country’s best wine is made here, in the Douro Valley. The Douro Valley is the world’s first officially designated wine region. It’s known internationally of course for its Port wine, but some spectacular table wines are being made here as well. The scenery is breathtaking with […]

Award winning travel blogger who dedicates his work to the soul and sense of place of the locations he has visited, the people he has met and the food he has tasted.
June 13, 2016|

Provesende

Provesende
The legend says that in the vineyard village of Provesende used to live two different people. One Arabic, in the “Monte de S. Domingos”, and the other Christian, in a different area, once called “Monte de Joainas”. On a particular day, the rulers of both these people got into a fight, on the place where the village now stands, and where the Arabic chief called Zaid perished. The people then started to moan “Pobre Zaide, Pobre Zaide” (Poor Zaide, poor Zaide) and so the village was named “Provesende”. This village still holds the traditions and habits of ancient times. The Church and the Pillory are the village ex-libris, but it’s the life and the village’s tradition that charm anyone who visits it.

August 1, 2014|

Vila Real

Vila Real
The city of Vila Real is the capital city of the Trás os Montes region and the mirror of the north of the country’s historical legacy. There are numerous opulent monuments from which we can highlight the Panóias Sanctuary, the Santa Bárbara’s Church and the Matriz Church, among many others. The spectacular brazened houses are also a symbol of the importance that this region and the Port wine has to these families. The black clay pottery is typical of this region and presents the local gastronomy. Such sweets as the “Cristas de Galo” and the “Pastéis de Santa Clara” are the delights for anyone who is fond of dainties.

August 1, 2014|
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