Boutique & Romantic Hotels in Douro & North, Portugal
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Douro & North
Beautiful, lush, historic and traditional - that’s northern Portugal for you. This wide expanse of area takes in some of the country’s most stunning regions and towns.
In reality, it is made up of three provinces: the Douro, famous for its Port wines, Minho (which produces the exciting Vinho Verde – or green wine) and the much less known Trás-os-Montes (which literally means “behind the mountains” - no wine but pretty wild).
Though there are many similarities between the three, not least of which deeply rooted ancient traditions and a welcoming nature of the people, they are all uniquely nuanced.
The Minho lays claim to being the birthplace of Portuguese nationhood and the country’s oldest region. It is also one of the most beautiful, blessed as it is with river valleys, green hills, trailing vines and a rugged coastline.
The life style here is deeply rooted in ancient traditions and everyday activity is taken at a rather slow pace, though it speeds up somewhat at social gatherings where the Minho's delicious “green” wine, traditionally drank in porcelain bowls, flows freely.
Given its rich history, it abounds with interesting towns and monuments. Guimarães, the country’s beautiful first capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its castle, medieval walls and a beautifully preserved historic centre is particularly enchanting.
The 15th century Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, in particular is impressive and possibly one of the finest of its kind in Europe.
The churches of S. Miguel (Roman), Santos Passos (Baroque) and the Monastery of Stª Marinha da Costa are also worthy of note.
Braga may not be as charming as Guimarães, but it is no less monumental. As the religious capital of Portugal it has numerous fine churches. A visit to the Bom Jesus Sanctuary with its famous staircase is also certainly recommended. Climbing those stairs is hard work though, so it helps if you are fit.
Viana do Castelo boasts the lovely Sanctuary of Santa Luzia, which being on top of the hill commands everything around it. Views are accordingly beautiful and the city itself is rather lovely and inviting.
Lovers of wild nature are recommended to visit the national park of Gerês.
Apart from being a beautiful and monumental region in itself, the Minho is also an excellent base to visit Spain. Winters, however, are typically wet and cold, with average temperatures around 9ºC/49ªF, not the usual image of sunny Portugal. On the plus side the visitor will encounter a lush verdant region of rare beauty and history.
The Douro is blessed with vineyards that produce the world famous Port wine. Evidence of this production is to be seen all its along valleys, with famous names, such as Cockburns, Taylors, Sandeman, appearing on large billboards by the hillsides.
It is a densely populated region scattered with small villages amongst the landscapes, Port wine lodges, vineyards and breathtakingly beautiful hills that seem to fall steeply onto the water’s edge.
A boat trip up the Douro River (the river of gold) provides an unforgettable panorama and insight into one of Portugal’s most stunning provinces.
Like in much of the north, the weather is not as reliable as in sunny southern Portugal. Temperatures can drop down to a few degrees in winter, but it does make for a lush and verdant beauty all of its own.
Literally meaning the land “Behind the Mountains”, Trás-os-Montes is a mysterious and distant land, even to the Portuguese themselves.
Cut off and isolated from the rest of the country for centuries, it was largely free to develop its own idiosyncratic customs, dialects and beliefs. Certain areas, such as Mirandela, even have their own unique language.
Many people escaping persecution found Trás-os-Montes a safe haven where they could freely practice their beliefs, including Jews escaping the inquisition.
Even today, Trás os Montes retains a certain remoteness that makes it, perhaps, the least known region in the whole of Portugal.
Yet it is blessed with some marvellous and rugged granite scenery, numerous rivers, natural lakes and truly powerful landscapes. It makes for a striking and undiscovered region that is definitely off the beaten track.
It also makes it a fine area for trekking and hiking. The natural parks of Alvão, Douro Internacional and Montesinho, for example, are all excellent choices and have numerous trails catering for many levels.
Trás os Montes is also blessed with fine spas. The spa of Vidago is located in attractive grounds, though it closes in winter. The spa in Chaves, on the other hand, is open all year and here visitors can take to the water, which emerges at a piping hot 73º. Drinking it may not be a particularly good idea as it has plenty of sodium bicarbonate. Still, a dip is said to make you feel ten years younger.
Romantic Hotels in Douro & North
- Aquapura Douro Valley
- Casa da Levada
- Casa das Torres de Oliveira
- Casa de Casal de Loivos
- Casa de Juste
- Casa de Santo António de Britiande
- Casa de Vilarinho de S. Romão
- Casa do Barreiro de Cima
- Casa do Rio Vez
- Casas de Pousadouro
- Casas do Côro
- CS Vintage House Hotel
- Paço de Calheiros
- Pousada de Santa Marinha
- Quinta da Boa Viagem
- Quinta da Bouça d'Arques
- Quinta de São Vicente
- Quinta do Abôl de Baixo
- Quinta do Cão
Romantic & boutique hotels by city in Douro & North
- Amarante Hotels
- Arcos de Valdevez Hotels
- Baião Hotels
- Casal de Loivos Hotels
- Cotas Hotels
- Entre-os-Rios Hotels
- Felgueiras Hotels
- Geraz do Minho Hotels
- Guimarães Hotels
- Lamego Hotels
- Lousada Hotels
- Marco Canaveses Hotels
- Meadela Hotels
- Mêda Hotels
- Mesão Frio Hotels
- Mondim de Bastos Hotels
- Pinhão Hotels
- Ponte de Lima Hotels
- Póvoa de Lanhoso Hotels
- S. Lourenço Douro Hotels
- Viana do Castelo Hotels
- Vila de Punhe Hotels
- Vilarinho São Romão Hotels
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