8 May 2012

The beauty of Northern Portugal

I have recently returned from a 4 day trip to Northern Portugal, on a job tasting a lot of wines. This post will not talk much about wines. It is just to show the few pictures I was able to take, during a short break from almost constant rain that fell, not to mention the necessity for me to concentrate on the wines rather that shoot pictures.

These photographs were taken on an i-phone, on a wet and windy day in and around a quinta (the word means "estate", or "farm") in the Vinho Verde producing region north of the Douro, in the province of Minho. The wines from this estate are almost as well made as the buildings are beautiful, although I took no notes on them during the lunch we had there, since we were all very hungry and only started eating at 4.30 pm!

This place is called Louredo, and I find that it fully illustrates that strange and fascinating combination that exists in 18th century Portuguese architecture (at least this version) between a form of rural austerity and the baroque flamboyance that can be readily seen in most of the local ecclesiastical architecture.

The blends and alternance between vine and other cultures, internal and external appearance (with the use of the courtyard as an intermediary), the occasional more elaborate decorative detail and the stripped white plainness of the wall space, soft and hard materials, all this is both harmonious and constantly exciting to look at. 

For those of you interested in learning more or indeed in visiting Portugal, which has many more treasures to offer, including the fabulously spectacular landscapes of the Douro valley, the Alentejo and its cork forests, Lisbon and Oporto, and much much more, here is a link to the national tourist site :


  1. Share the same love for this part of Portugal, and possess myriads of pictures – true, not as pretty as yours – with the same skies. Great country. And long live azulejos !!! without forgetting the very name doesn’t originate from the Iberic “azul” (meaning blue) but rather from the Arabic “al zulaydj" زليج, polished stone.

  2. Indeed. And the long-lasting presence of the Moors can be seen in other aspects of the architecture. Three days of solid rain also made me understand that vinho verde is a good name for the green-tinted wine that reflects this very green land.