Explore Douro Valley in Portugal | Favaios

Village of Favaios, Douro Valley in Portugal

 

Guide on how to experience and not to tick box Favaios and its surroundings. 

En route Alijo to Favaios. The town of Moscatel is the destination. 

Sign on the roundabout welcomes you saying. "Favaios Capital Do Moscatel".
Nearly there, few more turns to go... 
Passing bakery on the left. Mountain of chopped wood in front. 

Tall Platanus trees rolling outside the window. Leafy trees are rare in these areas; Primarily, pines grow here. 
Anyways...  

A moment later, a woman washing clothes in a traditional washhouse.  
XXI century and they're still in use. How cool is that...

Bell tower of the church Matriz de Favaios stands out on the horizon, turns out tollest in the county. 
Stonewall on both sides of the street leads you through one last curve. The sound of the paved road underneath the wheels states that we are here. 

 

Favaios, Douro Valley in Portugal

 

The picturesque Favaios was built with granite stone, and white limestone coloured walls. Hugely prosperous in the eighteenth century. 
But now, this charming town looks quiet and peaceful, with its past glory still in evidence. 


Driving through the village, we are passing a man selling potatoes from the back of his truck. An older man on a chair smoking a cigarette just moments later. 

 

Center of Favaios Village, Douro Valley in Portugal

 

The main square is the stop. Cafe Moderno in front, traditional bar, like thousands in the Douro. Some seats and umbrellas. On a hot day like that seems perfect.

Inside, tables, old photos, Brazillian telenovela on TV. Above the bar, on the white wall, a tacky artwork symbolizing the influence of vine in the region. Somehow it fits the general feel of the place.

Cafe Moderno Favaios, Douro Valley in Portugal

 

The bar is filled with locals, mostly men. Sipping on wine, scratching off lottery scratch cards, telling stories. Usual bar life.

You see all of this and think, This is it. 

Land of muscatel, and you, in the heart of it. Can't get any more authentic than this. 

People in the bar of Favaios playing games, Douro Valley in Portugal

 

By the bar; 

The bartender looks at you. His eye seems to be silently asking you, 
What is that you want foreigner? 
Standing, looking in each other's eyes for a second like lovers at romantic dinner. Waiting for the first word to be said. 

You realize that, yes, this is the moment you will have to climb on the Everest of your linguistic capabilities and say:
"Um copo do Moscatel, por favor", meaning One Glass of Moscatel, please.

The bartender's face is half surprised, half-smiling. Looks like trying to speak the language makes all the difference. Gained respect from the locals instantly. You can tap yourself on the shoulder with pride.

A small, non-fancy glass of chilled, golden-brown coloured liquid is being served by your "friend" by now... You are one of the locals today... nice.
Outside, a spot in the shade of an umbrella to escape heat pouring from the sky sound about right. 

Sipping on a delicious, well-balanced sweet, but slightly citrusy wine, chillin', observing surroundings. 


Stray dogs scattered around, trying to find the tiniest bit of shade available on the square. It's like they were playing, "Everything lit by the sun is lava" game. I don't blame them on such a hot day. 

Somehow all of these dogs perfectly fit in the village's landscape, like the locals. Adding more charm to this small town.

Another sip on muscatel.

Old Post Office Building across the square caught my attention;

Turns out it used to be an old Municipality hall building. Build in the eighteen century like most of the buildings in the Favaios. 

 

Old Post office of Favaios, Douro Valley in Portugal

 

Surprisingly, in Baroque style. With the help of "uncle Google". You can find out more about the "Portuguese version" of baroque. And it gets interesting...

It was conditioned by several political, artistic and economic factors, resulting in a distinctive blend, often misinterpreted by those looking for Italian art. 

It starts in a difficult moment, with the financial effort of the kingdom channelled to the Portuguese Restoration War, after 60 years of the Iberian Union.

Another critical factor is the existence of the Jesuitical architecture, also called "plane style". 

It is characterized by minimal interior and exterior decoration. It is an efficient building, allowing it to be built with minor adjustments, and prepared to be decorated later or when economic resources are available.

How cool is that!? Customized Baroque style.

Back to present times, the "Bread and Wine" museum is on the other side of the street. Hmm... I could nibble on something.

Following the advice of one of the locals in the bar, To truly experience Favaios. The bakery should be the next stop; try favaios bread. 

It was time to try this local speciality to complete the "bread and wine village" cycle, only a short walk from the bar.

 

Bakery in Favaios, Douro Valley in Portugal

 

In the bakery, firstly, you notice a wood oven and stood stains over it. Years of making baking bread were preserved on that wall, like a rock art
 in a prehistoric cave. 
750 favaios loaves of bread sold out daily. In only one of eight bakeries in the village. 
Portuguese people do like their bread, I have to say.

The people working there welcome you with a smile. Usually, you get treated with freshly made bread and butter. 

Bread and butter melting in your mouth, perfect crust. 
Simply brought me back to my childhood days. 
I'm pretty sure you can taste it now...

Fabulous aperitif, but it won't last long...
Off to the nearby town of Sanfins do Douro to eat some proper food and try the best beer in Douro. 

It was boiling hot; the idea of a nicely chilled, potentially the best beer in the region was tempting enough to say, yeah!

Bar Café Sanfinense in Sanfins do Douro, 5 minutes away from Favaios.

The place was "packed" with locals. "Finos", ordered.

Sat at the nearby park put the Glass against the sun. The first thing that will catch your attention besides the beautiful golden colour is that it was very fizzy and constantly fresh.

To my surprise, it was as bubbly at the end of it as if it was its very beginning. I was wondering what the secret behind it was; something must be added to it... I couldn't figure it out until.

One of the locals, with a full smile on his face he asked.

Do you know why it is such good beer?

I said, no clue...

Because they never wash the glasses here, he said and laughed...

I have to tell you that I'm not sure if he was messing with me or not, but I have to admit it is the best beer in the Douro by far.

Off we go; it's past lunchtime, and I'm starving. The next stop is Cantinho da Vila. 

 

Cantinho da Vila Restaurant / Bar Douro Valley in Portugal

 

The place is situated on the outskirts of the village, the same as the bar.  
It's a bar/restaurant with a small terrace attached to it with one maybe two tables. Overseeing surrounding vineyards. Shaded with kiwi trees.
To my surprise, I found out that there is no a la carte menu as local restaurants tend to have.

Basically, the owner comes and tells you what they have for dinner themselves and ask if it is ok with you to have the same. 
I love it! Being local to the fullest today!

My first thought was, it is like a Michelin star restaurant. My opinion is to be taken with a grain of salt, of course. You don't know what you get, the chef will cook, you just have to eat. Food is delicious, prices are low, and the atmosphere is very homely. 100% recommended.

Cool concept implemented, most likely unintentionally. But, at the end of the day, it makes this place stand out from surrounding restaurants. 

The only day with a set menu is Saturday witch is tripas(Tripe) day like in all of Douro. 

 Ending the day to watch the sunset at the Capela de St.ª Bárbara back in Favaios. Sounds like a cherry on the top of a delicious cake witch in fairness, this day felt like a fantastic piece of cake. 

 

Capela de St.ª Bárbara, Favaios, Douro Valley in Portugal

 

 

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