Situated on the banks of the River Douro, São João da Pesqueira owes its name to a natural lake that was once full of different species of fish. This turned the spot into a paradise for fishermen and it therefore became known locally as the "pesqueira" (fishing-ground).
The lake was created by a series of rocks that formed a dam across the river, causing it to continue its course in the form of a waterfall known as Cachão da Valeira, where a number of boats were wrecked. The uneven and rather treacherous course of the River Douro was eventually tamed by the various dams built here in the twentieth century.
In the heart of the Douro demarcated wine region, the landscape in this area is marked by extensive vineyards, resulting in some truly breathtaking views that are best admired from the shrine of São Salvador do Mundo or Monte da Frágua.