A boutique wine hotel only 45 minutes north of Lisbon, Quinta da Lapa provides visitors an opportunity to experience a rural lifestyle and connect with nature. It’s the perfect place to disconnect from the distractions of modern life. At Quinta da Lapa, it almost feels as if time is standing still.
The vineyards were established in 1733 by a Portuguese nobleman with a desire to produce great wines for the region of Lisbon. In 1756, he added a manor house. Then, in 1989, another Portuguese businessman took over the property with a vision to reclaim it as a quality wine estate. All of the vineyards were replanted and the manor house, which was damaged in the 1755 earthquake, was restored. The manor house opened to the public in 2011 as a boutique hotel with an event room, winery, and bottling facility.
Note: My time at Quinta da Lapa was partially sponsored by Surf Wine Tours.
1. Sleep In A Hotel Surrounded By Vineyards
If you have ever desired to sleep in a vineyard, Quinta da Lapa provides that opportunity and more. I think the most luxurious feature of Quinta da Lapa is the view… there are vineyards as far as you can see.
The common areas of the house are open to all guests. There’s a beautiful living room anchored by a big wood-burning fireplace on one end and a large comfortable sofa and chairs paired for easy conversation. The windows overlook the vineyards. Warm wood floors, rugs, and an eclectic mix of modern and Indian-influenced furniture defines the common areas.
In the dining room, a long table that seats at least 20 people is crowned by a spectacular Murano glass chandelier. Breakfast is served here each morning at 9 a.m., or as your schedule allows. Fresh fruits, juices, breads, cheese, yogurt, cereal, tea, and coffee are available. You can also book a package that includes dinner at the property.
The rooms are remarkable in their stark simplicity. The furnishings are minimal and there is no digital anything to distract you from the vineyard views. The bathroom feels luxurious, with double sinks set in marble, a combination tub and shower, a bidet, and — yes — even a view of the vineyards.
2. Taste The Estate Wines
Obviously, if you’re visiting Quinta da Lapa, you must try the estate wines. Jaime Quendera, the consulting winemaker at Quinta da Lapa, has been the Portuguese expert in enology with the European Union since 1995. Throughout his career, he has earned over 1,000 awards, both in Portugal and internationally at the most prestigious wine competitions.
Resident winemaker Jorge Ventura has been with Quinta da Lapa since the estate opened to the public. He has worked to improve upon the already established excellence of the wines. In fact, it was Jorge who perfected the sparkling wine program, now aging in the bottle 2 years before release.
As you can imagine, guided by the exceptional talent of Ventura and Quendera, the wines of Quinta da Lapa represent the best of the Tejo wine region.
Pro Tip: The most popular wines are the red blends. However, the sparkling rosé is delicious as is the Arinto, a beautiful expression of this native grape.
3. Experience A Rural Lifestyle
Quinta da Lapa is above all a place to relax into the beauty of the landscape. In addition to wine tasting, I enjoyed waking up early and walking through the vineyards. There is also a spring-fed tank where you can swim in the summer.
Bicycle to the nearby village of Azambuja, only 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) away. A highlight of the village is the ruins of a government building and church which was never completed.
4. Visit Other Wine Estates
About 30–40 minutes southwest of Quinta da Lapa is the Alenquer region, where you will find more top-quality wine estates.
Quinta Do Monte D’Oiro
Quinta do Monte d’Oiro has been in production since 1997. The winery produces 100-percent organic and biodynamic estate wines inspired by the wines of the Rhone Valley. There are many gastronomic experiences offered so be sure to book them in advance. Quinta do Monte d’Oiro means “mountain of gold.” This hillside is where the best vineyards are planted. I highly recommend a visit to this estate.
Quinta De Chocapalha
Quinta de Chocapalha is a family estate started by Alice and Paolo Tavares da Silva in 1987. The property was completely replanted because the vines that were present were not producing good, quality wines. Today, daughter Sandra Tavares da Silva, recognized as one of the top winemakers in the world and the 2021 best winemaker in Portugal, leads the team in producing exceptional wines which express the terroir.
5. Visit A Medieval Village
Óbidos is one of those tiny and charming medieval villages which enchant many travelers to Europe. Cobblestone streets, white-washed exteriors, and brightly-painted doorways lead you to the Moorish castle, one of the most impressive I’ve seen in Europe. Plus, you can actually spend the night in the castle, said to be one of the most romantic experiences in Portugal. Perhaps it’s because King Dennis of Portugal married Queen Isabel here and gifted her the town as a wedding present. From the town gate, follow the main street to the end to see the castle, but take your time exploring the shops and beautiful tile work along the way.
Óbidos is a UNESCO City of Creative Literature. As you stroll through the town, you will find many unusual places with books for sale, such as a wine cellar that is now a bookstore, a church, and even the post office. If you’re a literary type, you’ll love the entire country of Portugal, where some of the world’s oldest and most famous bookstores can be found.
Pro Tip: Óbidos is usually crowded with tourists. Try to go during the week or early in the day. Better yet, avoid summer if possible. There are three parking lots near the main entrance to the walled city. The one near the aqueduct is free and not far from the city gates. You can also arrive directly to Óbidos from Lisbon by train or bus.
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