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Vila Real

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Vila Real
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Near the majestic Serra do Marão, a mountain where it often snows in winter, Vila Real is a small but busy commercial city from where you can start to explore the valley of the river Douro and trace the route of Port wine.

Before, you can visit the village of Bisalhães, famous for its black pottery, or the splendid Solar de Mateus, with its barroque architecture and romantic gardens (the front of the manorhouse is depicted on the labels of the Mateus wine).

To the south of Vila Real lie the wine estates where Port begins its life, in vineyards planted in terraces mostly along steep river banks. Early Autumn is the best time to make this tour: most farms welcome visitors and you can watch the workers picking the grapes, often singing as they move along.

The main centre in this region is Peso da Régua, but you should not miss Sabrosa, with its 15th-century houses and vineyards set above the river Pinhão.

The district offers other fine qualities of wine, as in Mesão Frio, surrounded by the imponent slopes of the Serra do Marão, and Murça, a market town also known for its honey, goat's cheese and sausages.

To the north of Vila Real, the historic city of Chaves is the main centre: lying in a fertile plain, its thermal waters have been famous since Roman times.

| Pousadas (1) | Hotels (22) | Inns (5) | Pensions and Boarding Houses (20) | Manor & Farm Houses (26) | Private Houses (2) |

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