Maybe the best trip EVER

We fell in love with northern Portugal and its lovely people. I was completely blown away by the natural beauty and the love we felt when spending time with our CDV family.

Written By: Regina H.
Location: Easley - SC - US
Review Source: Website
Type of Traveler: Couple
Itinerary: Portugal - Viana do Castelo

Full Review

I cannot express myself in a way that would tell you how amazing this trip turned out to be. We felt so loved and so welcomed. I knew I would like this trip but I was not aware of how much I would LOVE it. We were introduced to food and wines that were new to us, and we tried it all! The first full day was a 4x4 excursion and picnic with Portonics (port, tonic water, and orange peel) at the Spanish border.After that day I lost track of where we were or what we would be doing. The itinerary changed for various reasons, but I didn't mind. I would have gone anywhere they took me! We were allowed the very first "insider" tour of a bakery that has been open for almost 100 years and whose recipes are much older than that (400 years!). We MADE pastries there! We visited a private estate with a garden, vineyard, and an incredible outdoor wood-fired oven (which are more common than I expected). And everywhere there was wine, cheese, meats, and bread. You cannot leave here hungry - they will not allow it! Then we visited the Duoro River Valley - OMG! I could never take pictures that would do justice to this amazing part of the world. Alvaro took us straight up the side of a hill to view his vineyard and explain his philosophy of how the earth, the soil, and the plants interact in harmony that gives them the opportunity to thrive. I was spellbound listening to his explanation of this phenomenon. We also went to a pottery workshop - likely the only thing I didn't enjoy 100% because I was terrible at it! Still, the owners forgave my feeble efforts and we bought a beautiful piece of pottery as a gift. We visited Porto the next day and it was way beyond expectations. The beauty of this trip is that you discover the local cuisine, the local atmosphere, and the feeling of belonging that our lovely hosts provide. We had dinner at Restaurante Mariana, where we were presented with a plate of the most enormous, melt-in-your-mouth sea bass ever. We visited Quinta da Cancela Winery where we had a relaxing afternoon and dinner. And finally, we had an evening at the home of our hosts, Marta and Ricardo, where we learned to make the traditional Francesinha...and we could not finish the meal. We then were treated to a performance by the TUNA - a college group with amazing musical and vocal skills. Did I mention that we also had some cooking classes? My gratitude to Marta, Ricardo, Vitor, Sam and Inez (spelling could be wrong) for the fun-filled, remarkable week of food, wine, and fellowship. I know this is a long review but it is still not everything we did and experienced. I am in awe of these sweet and generous people who were so eager to share their world with us. Please take this trip with CDV. You will enjoy every moment.

Sample Photo from this Itinerary