Alto Támega

By Francisco Rivera

I recently returned from a a few days in the Portuguese region of Alto Támega, located south of the town of Verin (Ourense). I was accompanied by a small group of Spanish journalists in a unique trip that was organized by the Association of Tourism Journalists of Extremadura (APETEX), a member of the World Travel Media Guild (WTMG), with BrandChoice.

Our headquarters for the three days was a beautiful rural hotel set in a baroque palace that dates to the 18th century. Nestled in the village of Casas Novas, it was originally owned by the Count of Penamacor. Today, it is carefully tended by its new owner and director, Fernando Moura, a great and highly professional hotelier.

Their webite is: http://www.hotelruralcasasnovas.com/pt/Hotel-Rural.aspx

The program was both intense and extensive. It began with a visit and full tour of the beautiful hotel, a baroque palace, with elegant rooms and a lovely fireplaces and chimney (lareira). The building underwent a long restoration from 2008 until its opening in 2012, which included its beautiful gardens and bodega, ideal as a venue for Congresses and Conferences. The rennovated structure was transformed into a magnificent four-star hotel establishment.

The hotel has a lovely spa, where Carlos Escalera, who has worked as an expert in various sports clubs, offered us an excellent massage to relax us after a long journey of hundreds of miles.

IMG_8448-2A good dinner, with typical products, excellent wine with designation of origin (a red wine from “Padrao dos Povos”) from the “Quinta de Arcossó” winery, put an end to the first day.

The program continued the next day with a visit to the beautiful city of Chaves, whose the Roman Bridge is the true symbol of the capital. In the afternoon a visit to Pena Aventura Park, in the nearby village of Ribera de Pena. The zip line here is the longest in Europe and second in the world, after the one found in Canada. The length of this zip line is 1,550 meters. http://www.penaaventura.com.pt/

The day concluded with a marvelous dinner offered by María Eugenia Teixeira, an enterprising woman who began as a waitress and later opened her own restaurant. Located in an old, recoverted barn, “House Carvalhelhos” is now included in the network of Alto Támega taverns.

The third day, accompanied by Fernando Moura, began at the Quinta do Arcossó where owner and winemaker Almicar Salgado received the group of Spanish journalists to explain the characteristics of his wines. One of the highlights of the day was the visit to the oldest part of town: the Celtic castro of Curalha.

Without a doubt, I will write more about this interesting Portuguese region of Tras Os Montes.