Vila Real

Here you’ll find travel reports about Vila Real. Discover travel destinations in Portugal of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

34 travelers at this place:

  • Day4

    Day 3 - Pinhão, Alijo, Portugal

    September 1, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 31 °C

    So today was quite interesting! It started off with an uber trip to the train station to head to Douro valley for the day. The train ride was 3.5 hours each way which makes for a long day. The scenery however is absolutely beautiful. One of the most picturesque in Europe they say.

    So the winery I wanted to go visit Quinta de Bomfim was in a little village named Pinhao. I some how missed that and ended up in Pocinhos, 1 hour away. Apparently I wasn't the only one going to the wrong place; these two Romanian girls had also missed their stop. After realizing the next train back to Pinhao wasn't passing until 2.5 hours we decided to try to hitch hike and ask locals for a ride. Not enough that we all had language barriers but locals were looking at us like we were crazy. Apparently no one from that village goes to Pinhao. Ever. Oh well. A few hours went by with absolutely nothing to do and we were back on the train 2.5 hours later. To my surprise my missing my train turned into quite a nice encounter. This man noticed my shell on my bag and said oh you're walking the camino! One thing led to another we ended up talking the entire way back to my stop in Pinaha. He gave me tips about what to do, what not to do on the trail and the most beautiful life advice. " You do not come to Portugal with Canada in mind, or else youre not truly travellig. You don't shed a tear from the past or plan for the future - you only live in the present moment".

    Needless to say missing my winery tour and running into this wise man was probably meant to happen. We said goodbye and he drew a cross on my forehead and wished me a buen camino. I assume that was some sort of act of blessing.

    In Pinaho finally! I get to visit my winery! I missed the tour but get to enjoy the beautiful terrace with a glass of red wine and a glass of port (I have to taste both of their selections, right? 😂). These two Italian boys sitting next to me start asking me if I'm travelling alone. I tell them I am. They asked me why and I responded that I needed to do this at this point in my life. Their reaction surprised me. They said that I was very courageous for doing that and that they wished they had the guts to do that. Coming from a 25 year old guy who moved from Italy to live in Portugal for a year! Ide say that was quite the compliment! They gave me tips about where to visit next, we talked travels and countries and I headed off to catch my train back to Porto for tonight.

    First night spent in a hostel - please no one snore! Please.

    Camino day 1 starts tomorrow! I'm excited! And also found out there is bag carrying service from town to town should I get tired of hauling this 20 pound backpack around. Now that's good news! Let's see if I'll need to use it.
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  • Day24

    Exploring Northern Portugal

    April 17, 2018 in Portugal ⋅

    Last Friday, Mike and I left Porto and turned the Peugeot north to the Minho Region known for its vino verde. Minho is a very mountainous region which borders Spain and has been fought over many times over the centuries. It is also the area which first broke free from Spain and became the original territory of modern day Portugal. I won’t explain any more than that because as best I can make out, the history of Portugal is about as convoluted as Italy’s. Well maybe not that bad, but more than I can take in on this trip.
    Mike planned the week and wanted to focus on hiking first in the National Park which covers much of the north area and includes a number of mountain ranges including the Serra Peneda where we landed. On Friday we arrived almost at the end of the road in the village of Soaja where long- horned cattle and their droppings were plentiful. Turns out tourist season doesn’t start until May when the weather is better. So we were the only guests in a big, stone house - Casa do Andro. They threw us the door keys and told us to report to the cafe for breakfast in the morning. We found the one place open for dinner and then shivered the night away in our very cold, personal casa. Those stone walls sure do retain the cold. Must be great in the summer.
    Next day we drove further east to the very , very end of the road. Up, up,to Peneda where we visited the huge church dedicated to Our Lady of Peneda - mostly a day trip for people coming from other places.
    . There are 12 very elaborate chapels -each one displaying one of the stations of the cross. I guess in September, the place is so packed with pilgrims that you can’t get past on the road . There are lots of well signed walking trails and We bundled up against the cold and did a beautiful hike through the forest. That night, once again , we were the only guests rattling around in the Peneda Hotel.And again, given the remote location, we only had a single choice for dinner - the hotel- but everyone fussed over us and the proprietor was very chuffed that we were Canadian. In a combination of Portuguese and French he explained that he has three relatives in Montreal (or maybe that he had been to Montreal 3 times, not sure. Three of something. ) We just kept nodding enthusiastically and he treated us to a very nice Reserva red from the Douro Valley and then Port. We left Peneda with woolly heads the next morning. Also we didn’t pay the bill because their bank machine wasn’t working but they didn’t seem too fussed . We paid it yesterday as soon as we could find the correct bank.
    Mike has been doing such a great job driving on these roads. They are very steep and there are loads of switch backs and sheer cliffs where we’ve been the past few days. In the park we saw lots of wild horses that roam around the area. ( I’ll enclose a picture of the wild horses for Malcolm and Mason)
    On Sunday we made a stop in the very well preserved town of Guimares which was the first capital of Portugal but was moved because of all the attacks on the area and from the Region changing hands. It is a lovely medieval town a bit like Colmar in France. There was lots to see just walking around including the requisite drafty, medieval castle.Brrrr
    Finally , yesterday we found the sun and warmth back in the Douro Valley. We had a day visiting this area with Laura and Helen and have had another 2 lovely days in the village of Provezende - a very twisty, 12 km drive outside of Pinhao which is the main tourist spot. Wére comfortably settled in a very old country house which is the family home of the vineyard owners. They’ve converted some of the buildings to host visitors. We have done 2 very challenging walks in the area. Each one about 10km with punishing climbs and then steep tracks down, down. They’re is a reason I go to the gym! On every hike we have been rewarded with spectacular views over the wine region. Miles and miles of vineyards on the slopes , all the vines so perfectly lined up and held back on old stone walls. Small villages clinging to the edges of steep slopes. It is very peaceful walking around this area. We’ve met no other walkers and all the Riverboat cruisers get bused directly to the vineyards for tastings. The prevailing sounds are of tractors plowing the areas between the rows of grapes and theunceasing sound of yapping dogs - and their owners yelling at them to shut up.
    Today our hosts gave us an area map that included 5 small chapels and we hiked up and down to see each one. This afternoon we braved the roads again to visit Favairos which is famous for their muscat wines (a bit sweet for me but nice in small doses) and also their bread cooked over very old wood-fired stoves so it comes out more like pizza crust than bread. Tonight our hosts provided a full meal with wines from his vineyard. An enjoyable evening. We have certainly had a chance to taste lots of local wines and ports and to chat with many Portuguese people. Interestingly, our French has come in very handy as it seems that many Portuguese of non-professional classes have immigrated to France, Switzerland and Canada and then returned to Portugal.
    Tomorrow we head south and we’ll be following the sun. Mike is checking the weather forecasts as I write this. I believe he is suggesting hiking around Evora. Our aim is to be back in the Algarve by late Friday
    That’s it for now. Sorry to heat about snow in Alberta, rain in BC and ice in Toronto.
    Love Heather/ Momx
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  • Day40

    Day 40: East to the Alto Douro

    March 27, 2017 in Portugal ⋅

    Time to leave Porto for our last couple of days in Portugal! We were heading eastwards to the Alto Douro wine growing region (so named because it's around the Douro River), where they grow and manufacture the port wine that Portugal is famous for. In a two-for-one deal, it was also a UNESCO World Heritage site, since wine has been grown here since Roman times, and the sides of the canyons around the river have been turned into thousands of terraces.

    We left Porto around 11am and headed east, first on the freeway and then soon afterwards following the course of the river. Arrived in the first of several towns along the river at around 1pm and had a light lunch of sandwiches and wraps before checking out the museum dedicated to wine-making and port in general. Quite interesting, and some good info I'll be able to use in my video of the area!

    Drove further along the river and checked out a couple of view-points before eventually deciding to stop at a winery. We recognised the name Sandeman from one of the port caves in Porto, so we drove up their comically long driveway and had a look. Did the tour which was good, interesting to see that because the terraces are so narrow their grapes are all still hand-picked, though the process of crushing is now done with robots rather than human feet.

    Then of course came the tasting which was the best part. Had a good chat with the Canadian retirees who were on our tour, though had to cut it a bit short when we realised our Airbnb host Antonio was waiting for us in a carpark about 30 minutes drive away. We'd missed a previous message from him, though were still in the wrong as we said we'd be arriving between 3 and 5pm, and it was now just before 5pm. Whoops.

    Drove back in a very safe hurry, met him with no problems (he gave no indication he was at all put out by the delay) and then followed him up the hills to our accommodation. We're staying in the downstairs floor of his house, where I think port was once produced. They still have a small vineyard out the front and produce a few hundred bottles each year. He gave us a welcome drink from the 1959 vintage! It's apparently family tradition that you drink the previous-but-one generation's port. So he drinks his grandfather's port, while his son drinks his father's port. And one day his (eventual) grandson will drink his port.

    He was very clear that the 1959 bottle was for tasting only, though we were welcome to shell out 95 euros for a bottle if we wanted! He also had vintages available going back to 1910!! We politely declined, though it was very nice.

    Decided against going into town for dinner since we'd only just arrived and we don't like leaving Schnitzel in totally unfamiliar places. So I popped down to the supermarket and picked up supplies - pizza and egg tarts, naturally. Early start tomorrow, as we have a 2 hour drive to our next world heritage site! Though we're staying here again tomorrow night.
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  • Day11

    Casa de Souto Velho

    September 14, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    We left Leon in the morning, and started driving to Porto. After 3 hours driving, Yam woke up and we looked for a nice place to stop. We arrived to a Restaurante Cozinha Regional, which happen to be a beautiful farm house, that have a small restorant. We were the only clients, I think for at least today. The food was great, with homemade jamon :)Read more

  • Day10

    Peso da Régua

    March 10, 2018 in Portugal ⋅

    Samedi, 10 mars 2018
    Quelques timides rayons de soleil nous accueillent ce matin après deux jours de tempête et de pluie. ( pour hier étaient annoncés 25mm). Un des "must" de tout voyage au Portugal est au programme aujourd'hui: la haute vallée du Douro avec son vignoble, berceau du Porto. De nombreux producteurs invitent à la visite de leur leur "Quinta". Nous essayons chez "Sandeman", mais l'accueil n'est pas à la hauteur de l'endroit. Depuis cette cave on jouit d'une vue à 360°, trop beau! La route suit le fleuve jusqu'à Pinhão, ensuite faudrait continuer en bateau ou en train. Nous restons dans ce petit village avec port d'où partaient les fûts de vin en direction de Porto pour l'affinage. La gare est décoré de magnifiques azulejos. Nous testons la cuisine de "grand-mère" locale au Restaurant Ponte Grande: saucisse à rôtir fumée, porc au vin rouge, agneau et une sorte de cassoulet, superbon. Le tout précédé d'un verre de porto rouge et suivi d'un blanc avec le dessert. La sieste s'impose! Nous retournons sur la même route jusqu'à Peso da Régua où nous profitons de la nouvelle place pour camping-cars au bord du Douro.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Distrito de Vila Real, Vila Real

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