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Best of Northern Portugal On Foot 1

Best of Northern Portugal On Foot

Overview

This unique walking holiday takes in three distinctive parts of Northern Portugal: the Douro Valley, Peneda-Gerês National Park and the coastal Minho area enabling you to experience the highlights of this diverse region in nine days. After you arrive in the Douro wine region, your Northern Portugal adventure begins with two days spent walking through the terraced vineyards, traditional villages and rural scenery of the stunningly beautiful Douro Valley. Next, you’re off to the wilder, rugged beauty of the Peneda-Gerês National Park. From your base in a historical village, you’ll discover the breathtaking views from the ancient Lindoso Castle walls. Spend three days exploring the diverse landscapes, traditional villages and communities on foot and breathing in the pure mountain air. From the mountains, you’ll head to the charming riverside town of Caminha to walk alongside the Costa Verde beaches to the historical city of Viana do Castelo at the mouth of the River Lima.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Porto/Pinhão – Alijó

We’ll be at the airport to meet you and drive you to the train station in Porto where you’ll receive a detailed briefing about your self guided walking holiday. Take the train from Porto (ticket not included) to the small riverside village of Pinhão (2.5 hours) where the train station is decorated with painted tile panels depicting Douro wine production. You will meet your taxi driver for a private transfer to the small town of Alijó in the Douro wine region. Settle into your hotel and relax in preparation for your journey of discovery into the myriad of great experiences that Northern Portugal has to offer.

Day 2: Circular walk via São Mamede da Ribatua

Set off from your hotel for a circular walk that takes you through constantly shifting landscapes of vineyards, woodland and fields to the ancient village of São Mamede da Ribatua. From here, you can enjoy stunning views of the calm Tua reservoir below, surrounded by rugged mountains. After lunch, return to Alijó via a different route.

  • Walking for the day: 15 km, 4-5 hours, ↑­­­­358 m
  • Overnight in a 4-star country hotel (Pousada Barão de Forrester or similar); breakfast and picnic lunch included

Day 3:  Alijó to Pinhão

Walk through the pleasant countryside at the outer edge of the Douro wine region to reach a ridge that runs along the hilltops to Casal de Loivos and down to Pinhão. You will enjoy magnificent views of the Pinhão Valley and surrounding slopes followed by splendid vistas of the Douro River and Valley as you make your way down through the vineyards to Pinhão.

  • Walking for the day: 20 km, 6-7 hours, ↑­­­­272 m
  • Overnight in a 3-star hotel (LBV House Hotel or similar); breakfast and picnic lunch included

Day 4: Circular Walk around Lindoso Village

Private transfer in the morning to the Peneda-Gerês National Park (2.5 hours). After arriving in the historical village of Lindoso, stretch your legs with a short yet delightful walk surrounded by nature’s greenery and the blue waters of the River Lima. Lindoso itself is dominated by the granite tones of Lindoso Castle and the dozens of stone grain stores that are clustered beneath it. These granaries are true icons of the village and illustrate the importance of the collective efforts of this once isolated mountain community. The castle, rebuilt in 1278, played an important role in the defence of the Portuguese frontier. You can enjoy superb panoramic views of the Lindoso dam and reservoir from its battlements. The pillory and parish church are other points of interest worth noting.

  • Walking for the day: 3.5 km, 1 hours, ↑­­­­98 m
  • Overnight in a country cottage (Casa dos Espigueiros or similar); breakfast included

Day 5: Serra Amarela Circular Walk

Follow the ancient streets through Lindoso village and into the forest, making your way gently uphill. This day is filled with outstanding views of the Soajo Mountains and an even broader perspective on your descent. Savour the tranquillity and pure mountain air as you make your way downhill to the village of Cidadelhe and then up through the forested hills to return to Lindoso.

  • Walking for the day: 21,5 km, 7 hours, ↑761 m
  • Overnight in a country cottage (Casa dos Espigueiros or similar); breakfast and picnic lunch included

Day 6: Lindoso to Soajo

Today you walk to the village of Soajo. This attractive trail takes you through the village of Lindoso and onto an ancient path through pine, oak and eucalyptus trees with mountain views and moss-covered stone walls. You’ll walk beside a stream with small waterfalls and encounter lots of village life and picturesque countryside. After passing the hydroelectric power station by the River Lima, the route follows the road uphill until you find the pretty path that leads uphill into the village of Soajo.

  • Walking for the day: 14.5 km, 4.5-5 hours, ↑432 m
  • Overnight in a country cottage (Casa da Avo Rosa or similar); breakfast and picnic lunch included

Day 7: Caminha to Vila Praia de Âncora

Private transfer to the riverside town of Caminha (1 hour). Once there, you can visit the beautifully carved Gothic parish church, discover what remains of the old fortress, pop into some traditional shops or stop for a coffee in the charming main square around a 16th-century fountain. Walk beside the river from the medieval centre of Caminha to reach the mouth of the River Minho with stunning views of Spain and Portugal. Then walk through an ancient pine forest before following an easy coastal path to the fishing village and seaside resort town of Vila Praia de Âncora via Moledo beach.

  • Walking for the day: 9.5 km, 2 hours, ↑47 m
  • Overnight in a 4-star hotel (Hotel Meira or similar); breakfast included

Day 8: Vila Praia de Âncora to Viana do Castelo

Today you set off for the fascinating town of Viana do Castelo. Cross the wide sandy expanse of the beach as you leave Vila Praia de Âncora. You’ll briefly head inland through patches of forest and fields before following the coast and its stone windmills and fortresses south to Viana do Castelo. Stroll through the beautiful historical centre of Viana do Castelo to reach your hotel.

  • Walking for the day: 19 km, 6 hours, ↑131 m
  • Overnight in a 4-star hotel (Hotel Melo Alvim or similar), breakfast included

Day 9: Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. You can extend your stay or return to Porto by train.

Hotels

Accommodation is in a mix of welcoming 3 and 4-star hotels and country cottages. All of them have private en-suite rooms and provide a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. Some have a swimming pool. The country cottages offer more basic facilities, but their authenticity provides for a truly local experience. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

All breakfasts are included as well as four picnic lunches. Dinners are available at all overnight accommodations or in the villages.

Travel

You are best to fly in and out of Porto.

 

Transfers to/from Airports

Airport transfer from Porto airport to Porto train station is included. From Porto, you take the train to Pinhão and at the end of the tour you can take the train from Viana do Castelo back to Porto (about 2 h). Train schedules can be checked here: https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en

Check public transport options

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance WorldNomads

We strongly recommend protecting the cost of your trip and other non-refundable travel expenses with travel insurance. Our Signature Travel Insurance allows you to insure all of your expenses. While a Signature Travel Insurance policy can be purchased at any time, purchasing a policy within 20 days of making your initial trip deposit gives you the widest range of policy options, including a Cancel for Any Reason coverage. For complete peace of mind, we also recommend enrolling with Global Rescue, the worldwide leader in field rescue, evacuation and security extraction services.

Read more and get a quote online

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 15 kg per person). When arriving at hotels, sometimes your luggage will have been taken to your room awaiting your arrival. However, don’t be surprised if in some places your luggage is waiting for you at the reception desk. Please politely ask someone from the staff if you need assistance to bring it to your room.

Country Info

Up-to-date travel advice on Portugal is available here. Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info

Difficulty Grade: Moderate

This walk is graded moderate and includes daily walks of 5-6 hours on average; the terrain is undulating but there are only a few steep ascents and descents (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

The routes are not well waymarked, but we will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available from the beginning of March until the end of October. Best months to visit are April – June and September – October as in summer months it may become too hot for walking. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 15 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
  • Swimsuit

Included

  • 8 nights in a mix of welcoming 3 and 4-star hotels and country cottages
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 4 picnic lunches
  • Welcome briefing
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 15 kg per person)
  • Private transfers from Porto airport to Campanhã train station and from Pinhão train station to Alijó (Day 1), Pinhão to Lindoso (Day 4) and Soajo to Caminha (Day 7)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers

To see the price of the holiday for your desired dates, including the cost of different options and supplements, please click the SEE DATES AND PRICES button above.

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums
  • Local public transport

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfer on Day 9
  • Travel insurance
  • Dinners and lunches not explicitly listed as included
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • Extra nights along the trail bookable upon request

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Best of Northern Portugal On Foot
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by Chester on King Ludwig Way

Delightful moderate walk building up slowly to an interesting climax over the days. Varied and friendly hotels. Kirchberger in Wildsteig deseerves... Read full review

We are a retired couple of 73 and 70 years old. We enjoyed the trip very much. The trip was well organised; all went smooth, the accommodation... Read full review

This holiday not only had erupting volcanoes, fabulous hospitality and a plethora of dramatic landscapes to walk in, it also featured gorgeous... Read full review

We had a really great holiday and appreciated the good organisation from your company. Everything went to plan, very well organised and good... Read full review

We just completed the Catalan Coast and Mountain week-long self-guided walking tour. February was perfect in the off-season! [The] itinerary... Read full review

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