Perched atop the hills rising from the Douro River, the famous infinity pool at the Quinta do Crasto was designed at the beginning of this century by architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, winner in 2011 of the world’s most prestigious architecture award, the Pritzker Prize. For more than a decade, this gem has embellished this prized location.

One of the most remarkable characteristics of architecture is its ability to create optical illusions depending on the angle from which a piece is viewed. Although this pool appears to be a rectangle, it is, in fact, trapezoidal. In other words, two sides, the furthest ones, are parallel while the lateral ones are in fact diagonals: one, on the side of the schist wall, slightly penetrates the wooden deck sporting tables, lounge chairs and umbrellas. On the riverside, a more acute angle seems to hover mid-air over the Douro River, forming the famous corner of the pool where no one can resist taking a picture of the enchanting landscape.

In some pictures of Quinta do Crasto, aerial shots or those taken from some distance and at higher elevations, the trapezoidal shape can clearly be picked out. From there it is easy to see that the side of the pool facing the river is longer than that landside. This design maximises natural light throughout the site and makes the most of this premium location.

Located on one of the highest and most privileged spots at the Quinta do Crasto, the pool has attracted many visitors and national and international journalists. In 2011, it appeared at the end of the Portuguese Tourism’s film Portugal, the beauty of simplicity, which has been shown at promotional events domestically in addition to the international campaign that took place that year in countries including Germany, Spain, Great Britain, Denmark, France, Holland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and Poland amongst others. This four-minute film presented the most popular tourist destinations in the country and has won numerous international awards at international tourism and film festivals.

Between 2015 and 2016, the Portuguese TV channel SIC broadcast Coração d’Ouro, a television drama largely set in the Douro Valley. Quinta do Crasto and the swimming pool, particularly, was the setting of scenes played by actors including Rita Blanco, João Reis, Mariana Pacheco, Diana Chaves who brought this truly Portuguese story to life. Coração D’Ouro won the Best World Telenovela at New York Festivals World’s Best TV & Films in April 2016.

The pool appears to stretch infinitely from the deck where visitors pause to admire the Douro River and the hills surrounding the valley. But the pool is no less breath-taking from the opposite side where you can fully appreciate the architectural work of the famous Eduardo Souto e Moura, as well as the schist hills that cradle it. This is a special spot at the Quinta do Crasto, where you can clearly appreciate the characteristics of the Douro terroir, since the natural schist wall found here is a magnificent example of the composition of the soil. In it you can see huge chips of the rock that is characteristic of the soil of this majestic winemaking region.

Here, everything is always quiet, ensconced in the limitless serenity that imbues all who visit the estate, everything in tune with the imposing landscape encircling the pool. It will make you want to dive in, to relax in the corner of the pool facing the Douro River, so that you might contemplate this natural monument sculpted by the human hand. You can breathe in deeply and just live the moment… and savour your time.