‘Portugal has a peaceful feel about it. I sit on the terrace overlooking the vineyard there and I feel cut off from the world. You need that sort of thing’ – Cliff Richard
The rest of the world is beginning to discover what the Portuguese have known forever: the Douro region is simply one of the most glorious spots on earth. One of the world’s oldest demarcated wine regions (since 1756), the Douro Valley showcases steep terrace vineyards carved into mountains, granite bluffs, whitewashed quintas (estates) and 18th-century wine cellars that draw in visitors from around the world. Come for the ports and wines, winding scenic roads, postcard-pretty villages and excellent regional restaurants.
Slow down, relax and savor. Allow your senses to awaken amidst the natural beauty of the Douro Valley. The week is designed to nourish and support you with daily yoga and meditation, delicious food and drink, and space to relax or wander as you wish.
Our luxurious accommodation is Hotel & Quinta Ventozelo in the Douro Valley. A scenic train ride will transport us up the river to the enchanted valley where time seems to flow more slowly. Indeed there’s nothing to rush to or prepare for as you begin to take time to re-treat yourself and soak up the energy and beauty around you.
Hotel & Quinta Ventozelo, Douro Valley
“Stop… and observe. You are overwhelmed with sensations when staying at Quinta de Ventozelo. It is not just the view of the River Douro, or the neatly aligned vines, that surprise. It is also the stunning, penetrating silence and the unmistakable richness of scents that fill the lungs with every step. The magnitude of what one feels when visiting the farm inspires you to discover this place in depth.”
This 500 year old wine estate (Quinta) is perched on a hill overlooking olive orchards, lavender bushes, herb gardens & over 200 hectares of terraced vineyards to the winding river below. Whitewashed former farm buildings are scattered around the property to make up 29 rooms including our two private houses near the river, Casa Grande and Casa do Rio, a small chapel, an olive oil press and a winery, all of which brim with authenticity and embodiment of the history of the place. In our largest house, Casa Grande, there are beautiful spaces both inside and outside for our yoga classes. There are several hiking paths around the property with the hotel having their own informative app on the paths.
Yoga practice will be offered each morning before breakfast and a meditation practice on selected evenings. Appropriate for beginning and intermediate level students, classes emphasize the wisdom in honoring your strengths and limitations and to be grateful for all that your body can do. Classes are a combination of asana, breathing practices and deep relaxation.
Whether we’re walking the paths at the estate, enjoying a river cruise or tasting a delicious glass of port wine, our yoga practice helps us to be in the present, engage our senses and to savor the moment. Yoga doesn’t stop after savasana and some would say it’s where yoga begins.
Appearing in the National Geographic Traveler Hotel Awards 2021, Ventozelo received the distinction of one of the three best gastronomic hotels in the world; A perfect combination of the region’s historical and cultural heritage, with wine tourism activities and gastronomic experiences.
Using produce and ingredients from the Quinta’s gardens and from other regional producers assures not only sustainability but also the purity and quality of the products. In addition to wine and port, the estate makes its own olive oil, honey and gin.
Breakfasts are abundant with fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, tea, yogurt, granola, eggs, cheeses, charcuterie, breads, pancakes, butter, jams and pastries. Dinners offer a variety of seafood and lean meats, vegetables (the best tomatoes you’ve ever tasted) and scrumptious desserts.
The Douro Valley, Portugal
A Riverside Paradise
The Douro Valley is the only place in the world that can legally produce what’s called “port wine.” Visiting here, you can appreciate just how much hard work it was, and still is, to produce traditional port wine.
Quinta Ventozelo uses about half of its grapes for table wines and the other half for making Port wine. During our tour and wine tasting, you’ll learn about the different types of port, how long they’re aged and the differences between a ruby vintage, LBV and a tawny.
Port wine is a big part of Portuguese culture and history. Originally casks of wine were transferred via rabelo boats (flat bottom boats) to the cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia across the river from Porto.