The Top September Destinations for Unforgettable Excursions Across Portugal

Light snacks, hearty soups, and wines are the highlights for a month of September full of excursions throughout the country. From the Algarve, where the Rota do Petisco takes place, to the Minho region, where Vinho Verde is celebrated, passing through the Douro and Alentejo, where grape harvests and traditional wine pressing animate the days and nights, we also take a leap into nature in the central region of the country, where the biological clock dictates it’s time to listen to the roar of the deer. These are destinations to visit between summer and autumn, throughout the month of September. Quintandona Soup Festival.

Quintandona’s Caldo Festival

Every year, on the third weekend of September, the iron pots start to line up for the biggest celebration in the preserved village of Quintandona, in the parish of Lagares e Figueira, in the municipality of Penafiel. For three days, the usual tranquility gives way to a festive atmosphere, centered around what was the staple food of Portugal in the past: a rich and hearty broth. At the Quintandona Broth Festival, which takes place from September 15 to 17, you can taste the soup, traditionally prepared over an open fire, that fuels days and nights of entertainment, street theater, concerts, and joy that renews the life of the village. The meal culminates with the curious “mijo de jebo” liqueur. The narrow streets of Quintandona reveal a well-preserved village that has managed to improve over the years. It is a delight to admire the restored houses and the many flowers in the windows that bring a special color to the slate and shale buildings, contrasting with the abundant local granite. The pillory and the centuries-old chapel are witnesses of times gone by. If you decide to stay in the village, the Casa Valxisto Country House is a great choice, offering massages in a traditional granary.

Algarve’s Tasty Route: A Culinary Adventure

Starting from September 15th, and for a month, there are 176 stops to stamp the passport that gives access to the most traditional flavors of the Algarve, but also to world cuisine and haute cuisine. Eleven municipalities, Aljezur, Vila do Bispo, Lagos, Portimão, Monchique, Lagoa, Silves, Albufeira, Loulé, São Brás de Alportel, and Tavira, host the Rota do Petisco where you can taste locally elaborated cuisine, including traditional dishes, international dishes, and signature dishes. You can purchase the passport for €1.5. With each visit, a stamp is added that gives access to prizes. The menu, consisting of a dish and a drink, has a unique price of €4. The dessert, which includes a dessert and a drink, costs €2.5. In addition to the traditional route, there is also the Rota do Mundo, which suggests a selection of dishes from various parts of the globe, vegetarian options served in 15 participating venues, and the Rota dos Chefs, which offers a high cuisine dish and a drink in top restaurants for a unique price of €5. Discover all the participating venues on the Rota do Petisco website. Harvest at Quinta das Carvalhas.

Harvesting in the Douro Valley

Quinta das Carvalhas, Quinta da Roêda, and Quinta da Pacheca are three places where you can experience the grape harvest in the UNESCO World Heritage landscape. Owned by Real Companhia Velha, the iconic Quinta das Carvalhas opens its doors to visitors for a harvest program on September 2, 9, and 16. Grape picking, visits to the gardens and Mediterranean forest of Carvalhas, as well as learning about the characteristics of the Alto Douro Vinhateiro and the history and tradition of Real Companhia Velha, are part of the program. The program also includes lunch at Casa Redonda, located at the top of the estate at an altitude of 500 meters, followed by a wine tasting. The harvest program takes place from 10 am to 5 pm and costs €150 per person. Reservations can be made by phone or email. At Quinta da Roêda, owned by Croft, the harvest, with traditional grape stomping in granite lagares and wine tastings, takes place daily from September 2. Picking and stomping grapes, visiting the vineyard, tasting the brand’s references, and enjoying a picnic with the best regional delicacies against the backdrop of the impressive Douro landscape are moments of the program. The visit, wine tasting, and grape stomping experience cost €48 per person. Adding the classic picnic raises the price to €85 per person. Harvest and winemaking are proposed at Quinta da Pacheca, starting at 10 am, with a traditional mata-bicho – onion soup, grilled sardines on cornbread, and house wines – before heading to grape picking. At 12:30 pm, grape stomping and a visit to the estate take place, followed by a typical harvest lunch and a wine tasting. The program costs €105 per participant. Without breakfast or lunch, the experience costs €40 per person. Reserve September 15 and 16 for the music and gastronomy of the Douro & Porto Wine Festival, which brings the sounds of Michael Bolton, UB40, Nik Kershaw, and Mariza to the riverbanks. Grape harvesting at Herdade Clube de Campo Vila Galé.

…And in Alentejo

Busy time in the vineyard and winery, at Adega Vila Santa, João Portugal Ramos Vinhos suggests the NATURE’ing with WINE program at the property located in Estremoz. The day begins with a visit to the viewpoint, followed by grape picking and the traditional foot treading in marble tanks. After a tour of the winery and cellars, a harvest lunch follows – with three menu options – paired with some of the producer’s best wines. The program costs €80 per person, for a minimum of four participants. Near Beja, until September 13th, you can enjoy a harvest program to pick the fruits that give rise to Santa Vitória wines, at the Herdade Clube de Campo Vila Galé. The program starts with a guided tour of the vineyards by the winemaker to learn how to choose and pick the bunches, followed by a visit to the Santa Vitória winery and a tour of the barrel cellar, ending with a wine tasting accompanied by regional snacks. With a harvest kit and a bottle of wine included, the cost of the experience is €35 per person, with the option to add lunch for an additional €35 per person and accommodation at one of the three units of the Herdade Clube de Campo Vila Galé: Vila Galé Alentejo Vineyards, Vila Galé Nep Kids, and the agrotourism Vila Galé Collection Monte do Vilar. Open Doors Day in the Vinho Verde Region.

Toast to Vinho Verde

Three parties celebrate the joy of the grape harvest season in the Vinho Verde region. This Saturday, September 2nd, 14 vineyards and wineries open their doors to visitors with free admission. In addition to tours and tastings, there are various activities scheduled for the Open Doors Day – some require prior booking – which can be found in detail on the website of the Vinho Verde Regional Viticulture Commission. Among the activities are vineyard walks, wine tastings, tourist train rides, and picnics that allow visitors to learn about the grape harvest and production methods in the different sub-regions. In Gatão, a village in Amarante, the Vinho Verde Festival takes place on September 8th and 9th, offering wines and snacks at the Vinho Verde Interpretive Center, as well as the Wine Cellar Tour, an 8-kilometer route through the parish that includes stops and visits to four producers, where visitors can taste wines accompanied by traditional grape harvest snacks. There is also a party dedicated to Vinho Verde in Porto, with tastings, music, and lots of entertainment. From September 8th to 10th, the Vinho Verde Essência Festival takes place in the Jardim do Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, featuring concerts, gastronomy, and family-friendly experiences. The festival includes around 40 producers from the Vinho Verde Demarcated Region, various Portuguese and international food stalls, and musical performances by GNR and Os Azeitonas. There are also two banquets scheduled, prepared by Chefs Rui Paula, Angélica Salvador, and Tiago Bonito. Admission is €10, including a glass and two tastings. The dinners, which require reservations, cost €50 per person. Port Wine Day is celebrated on September 10th.

…and the Port Wine

Port Wine Day is celebrated on September 10, which marks the establishment of the world’s first demarcated wine region by Marquês de Pombal in 1756: the Douro. The 2023 edition aims to highlight the importance of sustainability and climate issues in the production and trade of Port Wine. On September 10, awards will be presented in the areas of oenology, viticulture, wine tourism, and innovation within the “Douro+Sustentável” project at Teatrinho Reguense in Peso da Régua. On September 22, a Masterclass titled “The New Old Ports” will be held at the Salão Nobre do IVDP, IP in Porto, offering an opportunity to enhance knowledge and palate in the newly created categories of 50-year-old Whites and Very Very Old Tawny (VVO), through the tasting of unique and rare wines that showcase innovation and modernity in Port Wine. The celebrations conclude on September 30 with a sunset party in Vila Nova de Gaia, featuring a wine tasting of wines from the Douro Demarcated Region, accompanied by live music and entertainment.

Listening to the roar of deer in Lousã and Montesinho

September marks the beginning of the deer mating season in Portugal, which lasts until November. One of the best places to witness this unique spectacle is in Lousã. Known as the “Roar of the Deer,” this event involves male deer defending and claiming their territories while attracting females. The best times of the day to observe this are during twilight and dawn. In addition to direct observation, you can use binoculars to spot distant animals or to observe specific individuals and their behaviors. The golden tones of the forest provide a romantic backdrop for this experience. Octant Lousã offers a special two-night program during this time, which includes guided walks in the mountains for deer observation. Another great location to witness the deer’s mating call is in Montesinho Natural Park in Bragança, where you can also request assistance from the guides at Anda D’i.

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