Portugal’s wine industry is growing as more folks discover this unique nation and more and more are discovering its wonderful wines. And, while good table wines are grown all over Portugal, we picked a few towns that blend the culture of the soil and grape to make a perfect escape:
Santar is a quint village in Centro’s Dão region. Look for its name on labels of some of Portugal’s most respected wines. Wine has been made here for a very long time, as witnessed by the plethora of majestic wine manors and estates. This wine town has royal ties too, as members of the Portugal royal family cultivate wines here.
Today, Santar has a collection of traditional stone houses — and all are surrounded by vineyards. Look for exquisite inns, hearty eateries, and tours offered at several wine estates.
Vidigueira sits in the midst of the plains of the Alentejo, and to those in the know, produces a wonderful wine. The town draws its name from the wines that have been grown here for thousands of years, and the wine is drawn from ancient volcanic soil. The town makes no secret of its wine industry, but has a lot to talk about as Vasco da Gama was the Count of Vidigueira, and he was buried here for centuries. The town also has several important Roman ruins, as the Romans loved the local wines too.
Madalena, Pico, looks like a baroque port if you arrive by ferry — but this Azores town is the home of the famous Pico wines, some of the best in the Azores. The excellent local white wines are offered at several seaside eateries. And, the grapes are not hard to find as they are grown in stonewalled pens all around the town, and the stones keep the grass warm at night, and block the ocean winds. An intricate wine museum outside of the downtown explains the home and culture of Pico wines. There are several inns, and regular ferry service to Faial, and don’t miss the great local Sao Joao cheese.
Câmara de Lobos, Madeira’s wines are famous around the world- and if you seek their hometown, then come to this fishing village set just outside of Funchal. With its steep cliffs, this is one of the oldest and prettiest towns on the island, and it’s here that the grapes that make Madeira are cultivated on steep hillsides. Barbeito winery has tours and explains the unique way Madeira wine is made. And, the town is being reborn with a new hotel having just opened on the waterfront.
Port is the king of Portuguese wines, and one of the oldest DOC regions in the world. Many folks love the breathtaking village of Peso de Régua - as we do, but here is an off the beaten path idea: Favaios. This ancient town marks one the northernmost points in Portugal where the Moors came. Today it is all about the wines, and not just any wine, but a wonderful local muscatel. One of the best of its kind in Europe, the town has made wines as long as anyone can recall. You can cruise on the Douro River , have a wine tasting lunch, visit the local wineries and wine museum, and enjoy the scenery of the Douro, a breathtaking river scape.