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Property for sale in the The Douro Valley

Northern Portugal is an area of truly outstanding natural beauty for the most part, and yet is inexplicably often overlooked as a tourist destination. Aside from the immense popularity of Lisbon and other major cities; the Algarve and the Atlantic coastline that forms the western border of the country, there doesn’t really appear to be any logical reason why this is so. The Portuguese government find this odd, also, and so are now making concerted efforts to encourage tourists to areas such as the extraordinary Douro Valley.

So beautiful is this region that one particular view of a bend in the River Douro from a hilltop above is widely considered amongst travel writers as one of the world’s Top 5 most breathtaking sights. This is perhaps a little over-enthusiastic, but certainly goes some way to explain the spell that the Douro Valley has cast over those that have taken the trouble to visit the area. This is a part of the world that offers endless views such as the one these people speak of, and this is what the government of Portugal is eager for you, also, to experience.

The Douro Valley covers around 250,000 hectares of land, and about a sixth of this area is draped in vineyards with more land used for the cultivation of delicious olives and almonds. The grapes of the Douro Valley are harvested for the production of table wines and, most significantly, Port. They are grown on the unfeasibly steep hillsides that plunge dramatically down to the River Douro; endless miles of picturesque, terraced vineyards in what was actually the world’s first officially demarcated wine growing region.

Thrilling trips can be taken in the Douro Valley: cruises on the river are a great way to view the beauty of the valley close up, but even better is a train journey on the 175 kilometre Douro railway line - 100 km of which follows the riverbank, offering magnificent views that tag it as one of the world’s great rail journeys.

Although a relatively sparsely populated area, there are certainly towns and sites of note that should not be missed on a visit to the Douro Valley. Régua is the regional capital, and worth a visit to get to the heart of the Port industry. A trip by rail to Vila Real is essential, particularly as the route – zigzagging and twisting through the hills – is simply breathtaking. Close to Vila Real is the stunning Mateus Palace: if the name is familiar from the delicate wine that is made here in Northern Portugal, it is the palace that appears on the label of every bottle. The delightfully-named Vila Nova Foz Coa, on the other hand, is difficult to reach – but a journey that should be taken if possible as it is the closest town to 22,000 year-old rock paintings and carvings that were discovered some years ago during the construction of a dam (since abandoned due to public pressure after the find).

So, the Douro Valley is an area that has an enormous amount to offer and, as yet, is largely free of marauding hordes of tourists. Tourism is certain to increase here due to the pride that the Portuguese government quite understandably has in the region, but the feeling is that little can affect the unique ambience and well-established balance of the region – that even greatly increased numbers of visitors can be managed to maintain the equilibrium of this spectacular, precious area of Portugal. Although the powers that be remain very keen to up the profile of the Douro Valley, they are also acutely aware of what could spoil it, so development is measured and sensitive to what makes the region so magical.

If peace and quiet coupled with inspirational natural surroundings is what you seek in life, it could be that the Douro Valley is for you. Property for sale in Northern Portugal currently represents excellent value for money for very high quality homes. With the intended push towards a greater flow of tourists through Northern Portugal, investment in property in the Douro Valley has enticing long term prospects. But for now, at least, property in Northern Portugal makes for the perfect holiday, retirement or permanent residence. If you are interested in learning more about the Douro Valley, Northern Portugal or property for sale in this region, please do not hesitate in contacting us directly.

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