After a scenic 90 minute journey on the train from Porto Campanha, we arrived at the small, Azulejos-tiled station of Aregos and were warmly greeted by owner Jorge and manager Rosana for the short transfer to the Casas de Pousadouro. En route, we stopped off at a breath-taking panoramic viewpoint overlooking the Douro River.
The path leading to the main house is made of old railway sleepers, and after passing several orange and fig trees, we arrived at the main seating area on the decking overlooking the river inlet where we were treated to some delicious Ramos Pinto Adriano reserve port and typical Cavacas biscuits – the perfect setting to take in the beauty of the view from the Casas.
Upon entering the Pilot casa, the biggest of the 4 casas, we were immediately struck by the subtle luxury of the house, and the perfectly balanced mixture of modern and rustic décor, such as the wood burning stove, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and the way in which the rocks protrude into the living space. The “Pilot” can sleep 6 across 1 ensuite and 2 twin bedrooms (sharing a bathroom), and comes with a fully equipped kitchen, TV, speakers and private terrace.
We ordered dinner from a nearby restaurant (€40 for 2 people, delivered in ready to serving dishes) and we were blown away by the oven-cooked bacalao with mashed potato, as well as bacalao roasted on hot coals, served with turnip sprouts and roast potatoes. It was a sensational meal, and the typical Portuguese dishes, coupled with wines from the region (Dez Tostoes & Quinta dos Bons Ares), enjoyed in the semi-rustic Yellow House was quite the experience!
The following day, we explored the Douro River on a jet ski for 2 hours, marvelling at the mixture of large hotels, private villas and expansive vineyards. For lunch, we jumped on a train to Régua, where we ate at Castas e Pratos, a modern restaurant by the station with high ceilings, exposed beams and views over the Douro river. The sirloin with turnip sprouts and roast potatoes was cooked to perfection, we recommend accompanying it with a Vallado red wine. For dessert, a demi-cuit with tangerine ice cream.
After another short train ride to Pinhão, we jumped into a taxi and began to slowly wind our way up to Sandeman’s Quinta do Seixo Wine Centre, where they have been producing Port since 1790. After a 30 minute tour discovering the history and wine-making process at Sandeman comes the best part: the tasting, enjoyed with panoramic views over the valley as the sun started to set.
There are many more excursions to be made from the Casas, such as visiting the Eça De Queiroz Foundation to learn about one of Portugal’s most famous writers, or simply exploring the local area of Baião.