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Review: Staying At The 250-Year-Old Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House in Portugal’s Douro Valley
Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House is perched upon the Douro Valley’s hills, overlooking one of the prettiest stretches of the Douro River and its own vineyard terraces. While you can visit for a simple wine tasting and tour, the smart tourist knows this is one of the best places to stay in the Douro Valley.
For me, spending a couple days cozied up in the manor house, reading and sipping wine on the terrace while the sun set over the Douro River, and wandering through the vines and down to the river for a breathtaking sunrise were some of my favorite experiences during my northern Portugal itinerary.
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Quinta Nova’s history (and how to book)
Quinta Nova (full name: Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo) is one of the most historic wineries in the area, listed since the first demarcation of the Douro wine region in 1756. The original wine cellar, manor house, and chapel down by the river were built in 1764-1765, and are still a core part of the winery grounds today.
They were the first wine estate in the Douro to open wine tourism facilities, and though many others have followed suit they’re still one of the highest-rated. The manor house has 11 rooms to rent, and is absolutely beautiful.
One thing that is nice is that It’s not the easiest winery to get to, with a long winding road climbing up through the valley. That plus the fact that the price point isn’t for the casual tourist makes it less crowded (fewer IG lemmings) and gives you great views.
You can find and book Quinta Nova on Booking.com and TripAdvisor, including detailed reviews and price comparison (usually with some kind of cancellation option). You can also book directly through Quinta Nova’s website or call them, to see if there are any extra benefits for booking directly. I booked this part of my trip through a local boutique travel agent and they worked with the winery directly.
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I’ll go into much more detail below on the room, winery buildings and grounds, service, service, and overall experience…with LOTS of pictures so you can really get a feel. The pictures alone are worth the scroll!
It’s a lot of info, but I would have found it helpful when I was planning my trip and figuring out where to stay in the Douro Valley, so figure others will too.
But in case you’re short on time, here’s the TL;DR version…
Bottom line review of Quinta Nova:
- Overall I found Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House to be a wonderful place to stay. The main buildings are set up high on a hill among the vineyards, with stunning views overlooking the Douro Valley and Douro River.
- I wish I’d had even more time just to spend hanging out around the winery grounds, walking around the vineyards (though I did a gorgeous sunrise hike), chillin’ and sipping wine and eating cheese, and being able to take advantage of the tastings and other experiences the winery offers.
- My room was absolutely lovely and very comfortable, with lots of little extra touches that made it a great stay. Obviously its a historic building that’s been renovated, so if you’re looking for sleek and modern that’s not the vibe here. Instead it’s sophisticated but subtle, cozy and comfy.
- The service was was outstanding, just so incredibly warm and welcoming. The people here are part of what made it such a great stay.
- The food—specifically dinner—is the only complaint I had. First off, breakfast was great and the snacks and lunch they offer during the day were also good. The dinner offering is the one place I felt like Quinta Nova fell short (particularly for their Relais & Chateaux designation). The dinner meal was extremely uneven, ranging from fine to meh. Strangely their port offerings are limited as well. Maybe this is just growing pains after COVID downturn, so look for the most recent reviews.
- Bottom line would I stay there again? Yes, I would in a heartbeat. But I also might see if there are other historical winery B&Bs that happen to get amazing food reviews…just to see what my options are.
Okay, diving in to the details…here’s what we’ll cover:
- About the winery
- How to get to Quinta Nova
- The amazing views
- The main grounds and Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House
- The rooms
- The service
- The food & drink offerings
- Pics of my gorgeous sunrise hike through the vineyards
- A few frequently asked questions
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How to get to Quinta Nova
Quinta Nova winery is about 90 minutes by car from the Porto airport. It’s about halfway between Pinhao and Regua, in the middle of nowhere with winding, narrow, hilly roads. These roads are no joke (especially in the dark)!
I had a local driver who not only picked me up from the airport and took me to the Quinta Nova, but took me around to a couple other wineries, an amazing gourmet lunch at Castas e Pratos, along the N-222 scenic route, to multiple viewpoints, and back to Porto. Fernando was amazing, and having a driver greatly simplified my transportation (and drinking).
You can also get here by boat, train, and (bizarrely) helicopter. In fact, scenic boat or train trips through the Douro Valley are supposed to be amazing and I’d love to do that next time!
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The amazing views
Okay, let’s get into the details. And I’m starting with the beautiful scenery and unbelievable views because i can’t keep these pics to myself any longer.
Quinta Nova’s location offers sweeping views out over the Douro River and Valley from pretty much any part of the manor house area. My first night when I arrived, it was right before sunset so I snagged a glass of wine and parked myself right at this spot to watch the sunset.
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And the view on the other side of the grounds (toward the west) wasn’t too shabby either!
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If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know that I have a real soft spot for the quieter beauty of sunrises, and I fell in love with the ones at Quinta Nova. These pics are literally what I saw the second I stepped outside my door in the morning. How can you not love that?!
I also did a stunning, chilly sunrise hike through the vineyards one morning, more on that toward the end of the post—some of my favorite pics from my entire stay!
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The main grounds and house
The second we drove up to Quinta Nova’s manor house I fell in love. True story. From the pretty little chapel that greets you (different from the historic one on the river), to the expansive patio dotted with with little seating enclaves, the grounds are beautiful and welcoming.
That view from the swimming pool alone makes me do that little emoji with heart eyes!
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The main courtyard is large, and I loved how there were tons of little places to sit and chill, with seats and couches scattered along the low wall that borders the vineyards so everyone gets the best view but feels like it’s theirs alone.
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No matter where you sit, you’ve got a great view. Do be aware, in the evening once the sun went down, it not only got quite chilly (it was late October) and a little windy, but the gnats (or something similar) swarmed me like crazy. They weren’t biting gnats, but they did annoy the heck out of me.
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I had a premium room (I think the lady told me it was their biggest room, or biggest bed?) which made me laugh since I was there alone. The bed was large, with an intricately-carved wooden headboard. It was also decently firm, which I prefer…not rock hard, just not the squishy unsupportive nonsense many hotels (especially in Europe) have.
Quinta Nova lives up to its luxury claim, not with over-the-top glitz but rather warm, welcoming coziness. The rooms are decorated in period style and they provide lots of nice little touches, like an electric kettle with tea bags and some local sweets to snack on.
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I had two armchairs (great for reading!), a desk, and a nice bathroom. It was a little awkward having the toilet room and the sink and shower room be in two separate rooms, but very nicely appointed and couples might prefer that setup.
They provided nice toiletries in the bathroom, though having a shelf or something in the shower to set them would have been quite helpful (I just had to put them on the floor).
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The service at Quinta Nova
This is one of the real outstanding areas, and why it’s one of the best places to stay in the Douro Valley. The service at Quinta Nova is wonderful, with so many great people (like Ana at reception and Alvaro at dinner, just to name a few!). The staff knew me by name and went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed.
If you sit out on the terrace and enjoy the view, someone will eventually swing by and see if you need anything…water, wine, a snack, a coffee. They do have a snack and light lunch menu for guests (and, I’m assuming, visitors?) who are wandering around during the day.
The menu looked pretty decent, but since it was close to dinner I decided on a cheese and jam plate. I ordered a porto tonico, which is a delightfully refreshing cocktail made with white port and tonic. It’s like Portugal’s answer to the aperol spritz (learn how to make your own!).
(Side note, has a phrase ever suited me as much as “cheese and jam plate”???)
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The wine tasting room & retail shop
Because I’d scheduled visits to other wineries in the area, I never did get a chance to do an official wine tasting or vineyard tour at Quinta Nova. But I *did* sit down on the tasting room patio one evening with a glass of wine, to enjoy the view.
This is definitely a great spot for sunset, as it faces west (the main courtyard faces east). The retail shop has a nice upscale selection of items, not only wine but other local things and (I think) a little olive oil they make at the winery.
Quinta Nova offers tours, tastings, a little museum, and several unique experiences…including participating in the grape harvest, “winemaker for the day”, a boat trip, and more. You can see more at their website.
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The food and drink
I loved spending time in the cozy dining room at Quinta Nova, starting with their breakfast offering (which was included in my booking).
The breakfast spread was both beautiful and delicious. A huge farm table is laid out with a delicious traditional breakfast, including cheeses, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, deli meats, a delicious light orange sponge cake, croissants, flaky pastries, and much more. I’m sad I didn’t get a pic of the table, it was pretty epic.
As you can see below, I definitely carb-loaded with my three morning espressos! That cake is what dreams are made of, I’m hoping to replicate it at home.
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Okay, now we’ll talk dinner, at their restaurant Terraçu. This is the only part of my stay that doesn’t have glowing reviews. My first night, it was pretty decent, if a bit uneven. (The service was still great.)
I started with a delicious warm smoked trout (or salmon??) appetizer, while my main course was chicken stuffed with pistachio and something else. I did the wine pairings they offered this night as well.
Dessert is where it fell off the rails a bit, I don’t remember exactly what it was but it used an exceptional amount of gelatin (as did the next night’s dessert). I cut my losses and took a glass of ruby port back to my room.
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I’m mostly sparing you pictures of the second night’s dinner because it wasn’t terribly photogenic, but it was definitely not up to the standards that Quinta Nova professes. The leek and cauliflower soup I started with was mostly inedible, and was cold. Not…in a way that felt purposeful? (But if so, blech.)
The rosemary crusted sirloin was…fine. It didn’t taste of much but was edible. The green apple “panna cotta” (heavy use of air quotes) was pretty much entirely gelatin and didn’t taste of much either. Sigh. Another glass of port for my room, and call it a night.
I had wanted to try dinner in either Pinhão or Peso da Régua, but also had wanted to spend some time in the late afternoon enjoying the charms of Quinta Nova, so that’s what made me have a second dinner here.
Next time I’d stick to just one dinner here, and spring for the double cab fare and the time it takes to get to one of the towns and back.
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Just me, the vines, & the sunrise…
On my last morning, I made sure to get up early so I could hike through the vineyards and watch the sunrise. I bundled up (it was about 54 F, my fleece leggings & puffy jacket were lifesavers!) and headed down the little path from my door.
And by down, I mean WOW it was way steeper than I thought so it was kind of a controlled slide-almost-fall for like 15 seconds. This view back toward the main house was totally worth it though!
After my perilous descent, I hit the flatter trail and tried to follow the rudimentary trail map they’d provided. The sky was just lightening as I searched for the historic chapel down on the river (but sadly never found it).
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After giving up on the chapel, I curved around to look downriver, where the sky was turning beautiful pearly pinks. As those gave way to fiery oranges and golds, I took like, a billion pictures.
The winery’s land is dotted with centuries-old trees, including cypresses, native plants, and olive trees (which were used to mark boundaries as well as provide root infrastructure and prevent erosion on the steep terraces).
I couldn’t get enough of the olive trees against the sky, and the grape vine leaves which were just starting to turn for fall. I loved how the sunrise reflected off the water, and highlighted the terraced hills. It was an absolutely perfect morning—I felt like I had the entire Douro Valley all to myself!
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Where to stay in the Douro Valley
So have I convinced you yet that you need to stay a couple nights at Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House??? I loved my stay here, and wished I’d had three nights instead of two, so I could have spent one full day just enjoying the grounds (plus the day I had touring the Douro Valley).
As always, I’ll tell you some of the other Douro Valley winery hotel options I either *did* consider before my trip, or would add to my list for next time. These include Quinta do Vallado, Casa Das Torres de Oliveira, Quinta da Pacheca, Quinta do Crasto (my driver, Fernando’s, reco), and Ventozelo.
And if you’d rather stay closer to town for easier access to restaurants there, I’d focus on The Vintage House, Quinta da Galeira, or Cantinho D’Os Reais in Pinhão, or DouroParadise or Casa da Azenha in Peso da Régua.
Other luxury stays that you’ll love:
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- The Gorgeous “Hotel Unique” In Fethiye, Turkey
- Negril, Jamaica’s, Tensing Pen Resort
- The Cozy Craigellachie Hotel in Aberdeenshire, Scotland
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