Casa do Rio: A Resting Stop in the Upper Douro’s Diversified Landscape
The North of Portugal is experiencing an increase in curiosity. The diversity of the region and the quality of the services attract those wishing to learn about the historical wine producing areas and visit the sights that make the landscapes famous. Whether visitors fly in from Porto, Lisbon, Salamanca or Madrid, the simple yet elegant Casa do Rio, an extension of Quinta do Vallado’s wine hotel, is never too far away. Just secluded enough for guests to benefit from immersive silence, it offers six suites with a view of the river and the possibility to reset. Jose, Eulalia, Ricardo and Claudia of Quinto do Vallado kindly gave us a view into what makes the site’s region special.
Address: N222 KM 213 Quinta do Orgal, 5150-145, Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Portugal
"In Casa do Rio, it is possible to rest and enjoy absolute tranquillity. Guests commonly say it is possible to “hear the sound of silence” here."
A site twice classified as World Heritage
“Casa do Rio is located in a place twice classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. The Douro region is classified as Cultural Landscape, and in Foz Côa we have the archeological park and its Paleolithic engravings. The Douro was the first wine region created in the world in 1756, by Marques de Pombal, Portugal’s prime minister. It is in this region where the world-known Port wines are produced. Made up of more or less 250 000 hectares, the region is composed of 3 subregions, Baixo-Corgo, Cima-Corgo and Douro Superior, the Upper Douro. Casa do Rio is located in the Upper Douro, next to the village of Vila Nova de Foz Côa. The region’s geographic and climatic characteristics provide adequate conditions in which to produce high quality wines. The tourism in this region is growing. The wine tourism, river cruisers or the sightseeing in the vineyard landscapes are the motives why people from all over the world come to visit this region.
A typical stay at Casa do Rio
“Guests who stay in Casa do Rio have the possibility of enjoying a breakfast buffet each morning with a great diversity of products. The orange juice is made with the oranges of the trees that are in front of the hotel. And the eggs are cooked in the moment, how the guests asked. The guests can enjoy this in a balcony facing the Douro River. It’s difficult to find something better than this.
“A dinner at Casa do Rio could be considered a good gastronomic experience. To start, it is possible to try the local Quinta do Vallado olive oil, some butters prepared with different flavours, complemented with different types of bread. The several aperitifs provide flavours from local products. The gastronomic journey continues through tradition products and flavours: the starters and main dish are complemented with Quinta do Vallado wines. But this experience hasn’t finished yet… the dessert and cheese board are usually complemented with a Port wine. Where to have a drink in the evening? Despite the rural location, there are now many special spots to have a drink at night. At Casa do Rio, however, having a tonic Port wine at sunset, for example, facing the Douro river is enough.
An opportunity to reset
“In Casa do Rio, it is possible to rest and enjoy absolute tranquillity. Guests commonly say it is possible to “hear the sound of silence” here. This is perhaps one of the best places in the word to disconnect or to unplug from everyday stress.
“Nearby, the Archaeological Museum of Foz Côa provides a fascinating visit. This museum presents and contextualizes the varied archaeological findings of the region. But even those who aren’t interested in Palaeolithic Engravings should visit for the view from the top of the hill, of the Douro and Côa river alone.
“Another memorable experience in the region is driving through the N222 road, perhaps the most beautiful road in the country. It’s impossible to visit this region and not be impressed by the hard work that was necessary during centuries to create all this wine heritage.
How can travelers benefit from some local tips?
“One of the most appreciated dishes served in Casa do Rio are our roasted kid goat cooked in the traditional brick oven. But that is not the only one, because in Casa do Rio it is possible to have regional dishes cooked according to traditional recipes.
“The train is a good option to get here for the ones that don’t want to drive. A visit to Taberna do Carró should definitely be on the list. It is a secular, olden-style tavern and a fantastic place for lunch or dinner.”