Vidago Thermal Springs

"Try the Tasty Therapeutic Thermals." - Reviewed by Lisa

Douro Valley Portugal

The fascination with thermal springs to cure internally and externally is as strong today as it has been for centuries. Throughout history, mankind has made pilgrimages to areas with hot springs, mineral springs, waters and baths. From the Romans to the Millenials we are all curious how something so pure and so basic can have such restorative powers.

The story that prevails about the history of the springs at Vidago is that a farm worker who was prone to indigestion came across a spring in the fields in 1863. After drinking the water and experiencing relief from his symptoms he went back, again and again, to see if the help was for real.

Before long, the happy news had spread far and wide. So popular were the waters at one point that 500,000 bottles from the Vidago source were bottled annually. Bottling went on from sunrise until midnight, its properties being distributed as far away as the International Exhibitions of Vienna, Philadelphia, Madrid, Paris and Bordeaux – where it won gold medals and certificates of achievement.

Today, the waters are available to anybody who can afford to buy a bottle to drink or who arrives at one of the wonderful sampling houses, complete with attendants wearing long gowns and caps who look as if they just stepped out of the pages of a history book.

The flinty flavours of the carbonated waters with their highly concentrated mineral deposits give the taste buds and senses a nod into action. The whole experience transports the imagination to another era. The Spa, too, offers a list of therapies using the spring waters.

Three springs currently bubble to the surface within the grounds of the Vidago Palace Hotel’s Vidago Park. A walk through the magnificent parkland with its majestic trees, promenade and golf course beckons.

The real test here is to compare the intricate nuances from one water to another. Tastings are available in the bar and the hotel terrace where an expert will explain their mineral properties.