Just across the river from Lisbon is an abandoned winery with some amazing street art.
Quinta da Arealva origin story
Trade along the Tagus River has always been an important part of the economy of Lisbon. Several outposts, used by the military, were built along the river to control maritime traffic. One of those structures was built here at a strategic location which eventually became the Quinta da Arealva. When the military abandoned the area in the 18th century, things got interesting from a culinary point of view.
New owners from the local area secured the property and built several new structures to support a wine making business including warehouses and a cooperage. After all, if you’re going to be producing wine, you’re going to need wine barrels. So why not make them right on the premises?
The Quinta da Arealva was difficult to access by land, but the river provided a way to easily ship the winery’s product to Lisbon, the rest of Portugal, and beyond.
Later, after the winery was abandoned and left to rot, it was vandalized and set on fire. In the last 25 years there have been attempts to revamp the property. A few festival concerts were held here in the 2010s and the local government, working with the current land owners, claim they’d like to make Quinta da Arealva part of a heritage trail, which I think is a great idea.
What to see at Quinta da Arealva
Today, the buildings are crumbling. However, street artists have started to use the walls of the abandoned buildings as canvases for their world. Dozens of interesting murals are on the walls and these works are, in general, far more interesting that those on the more famous Rua do Ginjal, just a short walk from Quinta da Arealva along the riverfront.
I like to wander around the space and imagine what it was like when the winemaking operation was at full production with folks crushing grapes, making barrels, and shipping the product off to other parts of Portugal and beyond.
If you stay till dusk, the sunsets here are magical. However, be aware that once it gets dark, this place can be dangerous since there are so many places to trip, fall, and seriously hurt yourself.
Getting to Quinta da Arealva
A great way to see Quinta da Arealva is to make it part of a walk from the ferry dock at Cacilhas to Cristo Rei. On this route you’ll walk past the street art (tagging mostly, unfortunately) of Rua do Ginjal decorating the abandoned warehouses along the river. You’ll also pass the famous Ponto Final and its neighbor, Atira-te ao Rio.restaurants. As I said above, the buildings at Quinta da Arealva are falling down and much of the area is unsafe. Be sure to exercise caution when visiting.
About the Author
Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides in Portugal to Lisbon, Porto, Monsaraz, and Batalha. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.