Peso da Régua is the heart of the Alto Douro Wine Region. Up hill and down hill, the Régua landscape can be compared to the delicate lines of a marble sculpture torn from the hard stone. It was the hands and the fatigue of those who, generation after generation, planted the vines, harvested the grapes, and made the wine.
PESO DA RÉGUA
This astonishing landscape was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and is the source of the best wines of the Douro region, including the famous Port Wine, which is one of the oldest and most distinguished ambassadors of Portugal. Peso da Régua is a city in the Transmontana region, in the district of Vila Real. It is about 116 km from the city of Porto, where the Francisco Sá Carneiro international airport is located. The trip from Porto to Régua takes about 1h15 by car. If you go by cab, the trip can vary between 65€ and 85€. By train, the journey takes 1h45 and costs from 7€ to 11€. You can also travel by bus. In this case, you can expect a journey of almost 2 hours. The bus ticket varies between 9€ and 11€.
Leaving from Lisbon the trip is longer. It is almost 360 km, about 3h30 by car. By bus it takes about 6h35 and the ticket costs between 25€ and 35€. By train, it is a 5h40 trip, and you have to change trains at the Porto Campanhã station. The ticket costs between 31€ and 44€. If you choose the train, you can take the opportunity to stay two or three days in Porto and get to know this beautiful city before going to Régua.
WHAT TO VISIT IN PESO DA RÉGUA?
Peso da Régua has a variety of attractive points from the historical, cultural, landscape and of course, oenological point of view. Here is a map with the locations of the main attractions of Peso da Régua.
ECOPISTA AND RIVERFRONT
As soon as you arrive in Peso da Régua, you will be immediately attracted by the long riverfront. It is the river and the mountainous scenery that attracts and invites you to a long walk along the Douro. If you are a hiking or biking enthusiast, go even further on the tour and enjoy the magnificent Ecopista Ribeirinha.
PESO DA RÉGUA MAIN CHURCH
The Mother Church is located in the upper part of Peso da Régua. It was built in the seventeenth century and dedicated to S. Faustino. In its interior dominates the main altar in gilded woodcarving, where a painting of the Last Supper, by Pedro Alexandrino de Carvalho, stands out. Besides the main altar, there are six others, all of them in gilded woodcarving and each one dedicated to a saint. The altars of greatest devotion are those of Our Lady of Socorro and of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In September the traditional Harvest Mass is celebrated here, the climax of the Harvest Festival, where the year’s wine harvest is blessed. In the vicinity of the church, the manor houses and houses of yesteryear are eye catching, some displaying the coat of arms of the old families.
PESO DA RÉGUA LIBRARY
It is in the old Palacete dos Barretos (a beautiful 4-story building from the XIX century), that we find the library of Peso da Régua. It is located in the city center and was designed for audiences of all ages. A place that has an important role in preserving the memory and the history of the city while keeping a window facing the present and the future!
7 CORNERS CHAPEL
On a small hillside, overlooking the vineyards, is the Capela das 7 Esquinas, the name by which the Capela de Nossa Senhora do Desterro is known. This small temple is a harmonious building that was once part of a farm. Its hexagonal configuration is quite unusual in this area. On the elegant facade, the coat of arms of the family that ordered its construction stands out above the portal.
JOSÉ VASQUES OSÓRIO NURSING HOME
The Casa Asilo José Vasques is one of the emblematic buildings of Peso da Régua. On its facade, we can see the allusion to both the vineyard and the wine, an inseparable theme of these lands. This was the home of José Vasques Osório, who left it in his will so that it could be converted into a home for underprivileged children after his death. To ensure this undertaking he also left the means to ensure the subsistence of this asylum for some time. José Vasques Osório’s will was fulfilled. The ingenuity of architect Teixeira Lopes converted the dwelling into a children’s asylum with spaces for dormitory, classes, infirmary, workshops, and recreation. A chapel was also built, in accordance with the patron’s wishes, as well as an annex, to provide lodging and a meal for the indigent.
THERMAL PARK OF CALDAS DO MOLEDO
The Parque Termal das Caldas is a place of particular charm. It invites us to a pleasant walk by the river, among the bucolic environment of wide tree-lined avenues and the silence of elegant abandoned buildings, that tell the splendor of a vanished time. The history of the spa goes back to the cradle of the nation. In this place, D. Teresa de Leão, mother of the first king of Portugal, established the Barca de Deus, which provided free river crossings, both for those who sought the baths and for pilgrims on the way to Santiago. D. Teresa founded an inn in this place, so that, for free, the most disadvantaged would have lodging and could have access to bathing in these salutary waters.
These lands developed from the hot springs, even before they were called Peso da Régua. The therapeutic properties of the waters gained notoriety in the eighteenth century, but the apogee of the Parque Termal das Caldas do Moledo was in the nineteenth century. Its great development had the hand of Dona Antónia Ferreira, leading figure in the Régua and Douro region and who stood out as a great Port Wine entrepreneur. In the enclosed houses, the palace of D. Antónia still stands out. At this time the fame of this seaside resort crossed borders, and the refinement and excellence of its services competed with the best places in Paris. Nothing was missing in the Park, luxurious hotels, restaurants, a casino, a pharmacy, a railroad station and even a telegraph (which would correspond to the Wi-Fi of our times). It is expected that the Caldas do Moledo Thermal Park, which was once the Régua’s ex-libris, will soon be restored.
SANTO ANTONIO VIEWPOINT
The Miradouro (viewpoint) de Santo António is only 10 km from Peso da Régua. This viewpoint is a terrace that opens onto a privileged view of the city by the river. In the landscape, the typical vineyard terraces of the Douro valley stand out, the three bridges of Régua that connect the banks of the river and also the Bagaúste dam.
VALE DA CUNCA
The Régua’s landscapes are beautiful and always bring us something new. In Vale da Cunca there is another beautiful and quiet viewpoint in Peso da Régua. With the GPS coordinates it is easy to get there: 41.167807 | -7.748740
QUINTA DA DEVESA
Quinta da Devesa is worth a visit, both for its excellent wines, its history and the beauty of the place, from where you can see the vineyards down the hillside. At the foot of the hill follows its course the Corgo River until finally spilling into the Douro. In 1988 the property belonged to the Baron of Forrester, and was already part of the first Demarcated Douro Wine Region. In 1941 the quinta was bought by the Fortunato family who gave it a new impetus by forming a family winery. Initially it produced only Port Wine, but currently, in addition to these, it has other award-winning wines of great quality.
The famous 100 Hectares wines come exclusively from Douro vineyards. In the 1970s, the Brás e Cigarro family acquired and renovated properties in this region and since then their wines have conquered the market. All the grapes come from Quinta do Couraceiro, Quinta da Marialva, and Quinta Nossa Senhora da Conceição. The latter is located a few kilometers from the city of Peso da Régua. Take advantage of your time in the region to visit the 100 Hectares farms. You can walk through the vineyards enjoying a remarkable landscape, do a tasting of splendid wines and still have access to the store, because you will certainly want to take something with you. All it takes is a phone call to one of the Brás brothers to schedule your visit. Here are the contacts: Filipe Brás (+351) 965 434 161; André Brás (+351) 914 446 611
QUINTA DO JUDEU
In Peso da Régua there is another wine estate worth visiting. Quinta do Judeu belongs to the Alves de Carvalho family since 1932. Here tradition and innovation are combined, giving rise to wines of great character. The wines are produced in small volumes, which allows for an enhanced care with each one. After visiting the quinta, you can stop by the store and take with you a taste of Quinta do Judeu to taste later.
The Douro Museum is a must-see in Peso da Régua. Here we get to know the history, culture and character of the region, rooted in the vineyards and wine – the first demarcated wine region in the world. The museum’s majestic building is the former Casa da Companhia Velha, which belonged to the company Real Companhia Velha, established by D. José I in the 18th century. In this space you will find an exhibition center, an archive, a reading room and the pleasant Wine Bar. This bar ends the visit to the museum, culminating with a tasting of splendid wines of the region, enjoying a magnificent view of the Douro. It is worth returning to the Wine Bar, just to enjoy the space and drink a glass of Port. Be sure to visit the permanent exhibition entitled Memória da Terra do Vinho, which is located in the Warehouse 43.
ADEGA DAS GIESTAS NEGRAS MUSEUM
The Museu da Adega das Giestas Negras is a treasure of the wine history of Peso da Régua and the entire Douro region. The visit to the museum takes us back to a distant time, when wine production was entirely handmade. Both the two mills and the vat are made of schist and the press, which has crushed many grapes, is made of solid wood. The winery is very old, possibly one of the first wineries in Portugal. The date inscribed on the door marks the year 1575.
The name Giestas Negras (Black Broom) is a reminder of a shrub that was very common in the region, the purple broom. The Ayres de Mattos family has always owned this winery and in 2006 they restored it and transformed it into this museum, sharing through its heritage the history of wine production in the Douro. Be sure to schedule your visit. Here is the contact: (+351) 254 920 214
VIRTUAL TOUR TO PESO DA RÉGUA
WHAT TO VISIT NEAR PESO DA RÉGUA?
To visit and get to know Peso da Régua in a calm way, we suggest 3 days. If you have some time left, also include the following suggestions in your touristic itinerary. Some of them will stay in your memory forever! Below is a map so you can gauge distances!
Did you know that the road that connects Peso da Régua to Pinhão has already been named the most beautiful road in the world. If you enjoy driving (or riding a motorcycle) through breathtaking landscapes, then you’ve found the right road! Get ready for the zigzags of the 222 and in return you will receive idyllic sceneries with special emphasis on the terraces of the Douro Wine Valley!
Only 10 minutes and 7.3 kilometers separate Peso da Régia from the village of Vilarinho de Freires. A very old village (older than the Portuguese nation) crossed by the river Tanha. It is located on a hillside and assumes itself as a very quiet place where you breathe tranquility. If you go there, be sure to see the main church, the big house, the Carranca house and the Quinta da Ponte chapel.
27 minutes and 19 kilometers separate Peso da Régua from São Leonardo de Galafura. The viewpoint with a fabulous view to the not less fabulous Douro River. A scenery of great beauty and that inspired the great writer Miguel Torga who wrote about this place: “It is not a panorama that the eyes contemplate: it is an excess of nature”.
16 minutes and 10 kilometers separate Peso da Régua from the village of Poiares da Régua. A very old village (so old that it is not even possible to determine its foundation date) with many religious records. If you accept our suggestion and visit Poiares, be sure to see the main church, the chapel of Our Lady of Graça, the chapel of Santa Barbara and the house of Comenda.
PESO DA RÉGUA HISTORY
The history of Peso da Régua takes us to an ancient Roman villa. However, it was in the eighteenth century, with the junction of the town of Peso with the town of Régua, that this region began to gain prominence. By this time, Marquês de Pombal founded the Real Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro and destined these lands to the wine production. Peso da Régua, on the slopes of the Douro River, was the first demarcated wine territory in the world. From the Régua vineyards came the Port Wine. The barrels were filled with wine, the boats were filled with barrels, the boats raced down the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, and in Gaia, the barrel cellars were filled where the wine was aged. From then until today the vineyards are still there and Port wine continues to travel the world.
PESO DA RÉGUA GASTRONOMY
If you’re thinking of visiting Peso da Régua, know that the local cuisine is another reason to pack your bags and go! Here’s a list of delicacies you can’t miss: feijoada à transmontana, fish from the river, oven rice, and bola de carne. If you like sweets try the ferreirinhas, the rabelos, the rebuçados da régua, and the régulas. At the end of the meal you can’t miss the “digestive”. So don’t forget to ask for a “port wine”!
RESTAURANTS IN PESO DA RÉGUA
RESTAURANT TIO MANEL
It is a cheap restaurant with 545 reviews on Google and an overall rating of 4.6 stars (out of 5). There you will find typical regional food and generous portions. Many compliments also for the friendliness of the staff, the cleanliness of the place, the desserts and the house wine!
HOTELS – PESO DA RÉGUA
There are many options for lodging in Peso da Régua. There are also many 4 and 5 star options with very good ratings from those who have been there. If you follow our blog you know that, as a rule, we try to make suggestions of hotels with good value for money. This time we chose a 4 star hotel (a little more expensive than usual in our recommendations). We believe that this is the hotel that presents the best value for money (judging by the many comments and many online reviews we have analyzed).
QUINTA DO VALLADO
4-star hotel with over 250 reviews and an overall rating of 4.7 stars. Highlights include the quality and size of the rooms, the quality of the breakfast, the friendliness of the staff, the stunning views and the impeccable cleanliness. Despite being a 4-star hotel, many customers refer to it as a 5-star option (priced at 4).