PESO DA RÉGUA (usually just Régua) was known for over two centuries as the “Capital of the Upper Douro” because of its role as the first capital of the demarcated port-producing region. While the centre for quality port wines has shifted to Pinhão, half an hour further east, Régua is still a popular stop – not least because it’s the hub of the Douro river cruise trade, with the boats disgorging hundreds of passengers for lunch, train trips and wine-lodge visits. Although it’s not a particularly pretty place, and is dominated by a vertiginous motorway bridge, for most of the year there’s an agreeable hubbub along the waterside promenade, where ornamental barcos rabelos lie anchored on the wide river. What’s more, wine trade patronage means some excellent local restaurants and enticing quinta accommodation.
There are only two streets of note – the riverfront avenue with the boat quay and the long town main street which runs parallel, one block inland. On the former is the Museu do Douro, which tells the history of the river and its people, rather than just rehearsing the port wine story. For this you need the Solar do Vinho do Porto, housed in a converted warehouse on the main street. This is the Douro Wine Institute’s showcase centre, offering not just wine tastings but also thematic exhibitions and events about port wine and the Douro. A little way further down is the imposing granite Casa do Douro, the headquarters of the port wine growers’ organization – duck inside to see the enormous medieval-style stained-glass window depicting the port trade.Read More