Going up the river

Our trip to the Douro valley

Last Friday we decided to take Marselha and Bruni, and drive up the Douro River with the full family, including the grandparents.

Early Autumn is one of the most, if not THE most, best times to have a motorhome trip! Most of days are still sunny, the temperatures are very nice (we got up to 28º at night!) and there aren’t that many tourists.

We left Friday evening. Just before starting, we put the kids washing their teeth and wear their pajamas. The youngest went sleeping to the lower bunk bed, the oldest went to our bed to watch a movie, while we started our short journey from Porto to Peso da Régua (or simply Régua).

Part of the trip was on highway, so I was glad to be doing it by night, since we had a more peaceful voyage with the kids sleeping and no traffic at all. We arrived in Régua just before midnight. After a couple of minutes after parking we’re all sleeping with the sound of Douro River flowing outside.

Régua, apart from being a very know tourist destination, specially because all it’s tradicion about the Port Wine, has one of the best and free motorhome parking places.Very close to the river, near the old bridge, there are space for more than 30 motorhome, with all the comforts, from free clean water and chemical WC waste facilities.

After waking up and taking our complete breakfast – which must always include scramble eggs, toast, tea and hot chocolate; with a stunning view of the Douro River and listening to some music, we dressed up and went for a short bicycle ride.

 

If I haven’t yet mentioned, bicycles are a most have for any motorhome trip, specially if they are electric :D. You can park the motorhome anywhere and go visit / travel / shopping by bicycle.

From the motorhome park till the center, there’s a bike lane that follows the river, with some children parks in the middle. We went to visit the “Museu do Douro” (Douro Museum), which is located on a beautiful building and has some exhibitions related with the Douro Wine and its traditions.

Our next stop was Pinhão, a very picturesque village, located on the north bank of the river Douro, the center of the wine region and the place where wine estates are located.

The landscape of Pinhão is classified by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity, and when you visit it, you’ll understand why! The vineyards, in ladder, facing the douro river provide a visual painting you’ll never forget.

 

 

The grandparents, that were traveling on Bruni, meet us at Pinhão. Together we drove through the fantastic landscapes of Douro, passing on the hold train town of Ferradosa.

By the end of the day, we headed to Torre de Moncorvo – a very small town, with a lovely townsquare and a very good restaurant – o Lagar, located on the other side of the church. This restaurant servers tradicional Portuguese dishes, such as Codefish, Octopus and, not so tradicional but incredibly tasty, the boar.

To spend the night, we went to Foz do Sabor, a magical place where the Rio Sabor meets with Douro River. It’s one of the best places to spend the night on the Douro – you can park with a gorgeous view over the windows, where you can see the tourism boats go up the river. It provides a very green grass place to take out the tables and chairs – which we provide for free 😉 and have a breakfast or lunch.

We spend the rest of the day enjoying the fantastic weather, taking some sun, swimming on the river, playing with the dogs… these are truly the best moments of being in holidays on the wilderness!

Without noticing, the time went by and, by the end of Sunday, it was time to return and plan our next trip to find more hidden gems that Portugal has to offer.