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29°C / 84°F
Built in the 16th century, the neoclassical and Baroque style Casa da Calçada is a member of the Relais & Châteaux Hotel Association and listed as a building of special historical and cultural interest by the Portuguese government. It’s placed in peaceful Amarante, between Porto and the picturesque Douro Valley, and you can hire a bike to explore the surrounding 100-year-old gardens and farmland by pedal power. There’s a private vineyard, 18-hole golf course, games and reading room, tennis court, two swimming pools*, and a Michelin-starred restaurant serving authentic meals and locally grown wines.
*Swimming pools are open from June to September
Having been settled since the 4th century, Amarante harvests a proud historical and cultural background, which is visible in a number of stunning preserved old buildings and churches that can easily be explored on foot. Cross the ancient bridge to the city and watch the Tamega river flow gently underfoot, before visiting the Sao Goncalo Church. This religious building was erected in honour of the local saint, who became famous for miraculously healing the ill. Wander through the narrow streets and explore vibrant shops and cafés that will introduce you to local craftwork and delicacies. For those seeking to cater to their cultural appetite, the Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, which holds numerous modern artworks and paintings, is also found nearby. The artwork spans across a wide array of styles and includes a number of different Portuguese artists.
Venturing further afield than the city centre of Amarante will reveal a number sights and activities to take in. Travel along the Tamega Line Ecotrack, which runs along the river, go for a round of golf at the Amarante Golf Course, or, if you want to keep the entire family entertained, go for a splash in the Amarante Aqua Park, which offers plenty of both waterslides and pools. After a day exploring the city and its surroundings, find the most inviting restaurant for an endeavour into the local cuisine. Mirroring the green surroundings are two things that are essential to the local region: caldo verde and vinho verde. The first is a soup that consists of cabbage, potatoes, and onions, garnished with garlic and olive oil, and the second is a local, lightly sparkling, wine and is best consumed around local chatter, in the evening sun.