First day in Portugal an Amarante and Douro Valley Sojourn| Amarante, Portugal | Two weeks ago, I joined a week trip by Relais & Chateaux Hotels and Restaruants, to visit all their current properties in Galicia, Spain and all over Portugal. After a lovely stay in Santiago de Compostela at A Quinta da Auga Hotel & Spa, our journey continued onwards to Portugal, and our first stop was in the charming town of Amarante…  This is my report on the second night. Stay tuned for the rest in upcoming blog posts. After my week in Portugal, I am confident to say I have become an expert in the destination and curated a portfolio of amazing local suppliers. You may see all my photos and videos at my Instagram @carlosmeliablog 
After a lovely time in Santiago de Compostela, Galiciaand stay atA Quinta da Auga Hotel & Spa, we drove for 3 hours – enjoying a magical scenic drive – crossing the border between Spain and Portugal and to our first stop in Amarante and Casa da Calçada by Relais & Chateaux.

Amarante, a settlement since the 4th century BC, municipality in the northern Portuguese district of Porto by the Tamega River. The architecture of the Amarante is mainly in the Romanesque style. Located only an hour away from Porto and 45 minutes from the Douro Valley.

Our Relais & Chateaux Hotel and Restaurant for the night was Casa da Calçada. As we arrived, we enjoyed a lovely glass of vinho verde, the young semi-sparkling ‘green’ wine unique to Portugal, and taken to our rooms. It was already noon and we had plenty to explore, see, drink and eat… The Casa da Calçada, declared by the Portuguese government building of special architectonical, historical and cultural interest, maintains its original Baroque style and its neoclassical elements in a romantic atmosphere that invites you to a trip to the past, in a familiar and welcoming environment.

I was hosted at one of their Executive Rooms. Approximately 20 square metres and are decorated with an elegant, classic and romantic style. These rooms have windows without views, which was rather disappointing I must say, being such a charming town. But quite frankly I did not spend any time other for sleeping in the room. We were there only for one night, and it was indeed the perfect hub to our sojourn exploration of Amarante and the Douro Valley.

Of course, I never miss a meal, specially when in countries know for the outstanding cuisine and fantastic wines. This time we came to a local restaurant – Quelha Restaurant, 10 minutes walk from our hotel along the charming town of Amarante. Local dishes and wines from the Quita do Vallado, which was the vineyards we would be visiting right after our lunch.

After our lunch, we were ready to take over the Douro Valley, located only 45 minutes away from Amarante. Our next destination was the Quinta do Vallado Vineyards.

Douro Valley, one of the most prominent wine regions of Portugal, along the breathtaking scenery that flows along the Douro River. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. One of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world. Plenty of Quintas – country estates – located along the way, where you can enjoy wine tours and tastings, to some of the most amazing wines and ports.

We visited Quinta do Vallado. Established in 1716, is one of the oldest and most famous “Quintas” in the Douro Valley. It once belonged to the legendary Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, and still belongs to her descendents. For almost 200 years, Quinta do Vallado´s main activity was the production of Porto wines. But moving from the centuries-old tradition they’ve decided to diversify by bottling and marketing their own-label wines.

After a short visit to the vineyard where we learnt about their vinification process, we sat down for a one hour Wine Tasting. Which included Reds, Whites and of course Portos.  Quinta do Vallado produced Reds: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Barroca, Tinta Amarela and Sousão. Whites: Viosinho, Rabigato, Moscatel, Verdelho (Gouveio) and Arinto. Thank God we had drivers taking us back to Amarante. Our drive back was rather fun, singing along a 80’s hits.

Back in Amarante and at our hotel for the night Casa da Calçada, was time for a relaxing hot shower and get ready for our evening at the hotel, with dinner at One Michelin star restaurant Largo do Paço.

Of course my evening could not begin, if with my classic Filthy Vodka Martini. And since I am very particular about it, I took over the bar to prepare one for each guest.

Dinner at One Michelin start restaurant Largo do Paço was a lovely experience. Regional and Mediterranean cuisine by Chef Tiago Bonito.

Exhausted was time to call it a night. Following day, we were moving on to Porto, continuing our week exploration of Portugal.

Early morning and ready for breakfast overlooking the charming town of Amarante, before heading onwards to Porto.

Such a lovely day and evening spent in Amarante. I would have loved to have more time to explore the town, but was time to Check OUT from Casa da Calçada and continue our journey to our next destination in Portugal. Our second stop was Porto and the iconic The Yeatman Hotel.  Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator –

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