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Porto & Douro Valley Wine Region 40

Porto and Douro Valley Wine Region

Overview

Make your way from Porto into the very heart of the Douro wine region and explore the picturesque hills and valleys of Northern Portugal. Follow unpaved roads and footpaths as you walk from village to village, pausing for picnic lunches and visits to local wine estates where you can sample award-winning port and muscatel wines. Relax after each day’s walk at characterful country inns and hotels where you will receive a warm welcome, comfortable accommodation and taste delicious meals. End your self-guided walking holiday back in the fascinating historic city of Porto, which spans the mouth of the serene Douro River.

Highlights

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Porto/Pinhão

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 in the Douro Valley. Take the train from Porto (ticket not included) to the small riverside village of Pinhão (2.5 h), where the train station is decorated with painted tile panels depicting Douro wine production. Walk or take a taxi to the hotel (which is part of a wine estate) with comfortable guest rooms, stunning views of the Douro River and an outdoor pool. Stroll around the vineyards, sample their wines or take a boat trip along the river (paid locally). Enjoy tasty local dishes this evening in the hotel restaurant or head into the village for other options.

Day 2: Pinhão to Vilarinho de São Romão | 11 km

Explore the Pinhão Valley’s western slopes today as you climb to the hillside villages of São Cristovão do Douro and Provosende and enjoy the views onto the surrounding terraced vineyards. End the walk with a warm welcome and home-cooked meal at a historic country house. If weather permits, take a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool or relax in the comfortable guest lounge.

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 3-4 hours, ↑­­­­689 m
  • Accommodation: countryside hotel in Vilarinho de São Romão (Casa de Vilarinho de São Romão or similar); breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner included

Day 3: Pinhão River Circular Walk | 14 km

With Vilarinho de São Romão as your base, today’s circular route winds down to the Pinhão River via a couple of small villages and wine estates and along the opposite hillsides, through the vineyards, with varied landscapes and splendid views throughout. Relax at a riverside picnic spot before making your way uphill to the village of Celeirós, where you can stop to taste the wines at Quinta do Portal before returning to your delightful accommodation. Take a taxi up the hill if you’d prefer an easier day.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 4-5 hours, ↑­­­­660 m
  • Accommodation: countryside hotel in Vilarinho de São Romão (Casa de Vilarinho de São Romão or similar); breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner included

Day 4: Vilarinho de São Romão to Alijó | 16 km

Enjoy views across the valley on your way towards the pretty village of Sabrosa. Follow an ancient road to Favaios as you head down through the vineyard terraces to the river. Wind your way uphill again across vineyards and olive groves towards a distinctly different landscape. Taste traditional wood oven-baked bread and muscatel wine in Favaios, then continue to the small historic town of Alijó. Settle into your comfortable accommodation for the next two nights. Explore the town or relax by the pool before having dinner at the hotel restaurant or in town.

Day 5: São Mamede da Ribatua Circular Walk | 15 km

Today’s walk is a circular route from Alijó that undulates through an ever-changing patchwork of vineyards and meadows towards the ancient village of São Mamede da Ribatua with spectacular views of the surrounding rock-strewn mountains and the glittering lake below. Leave the village via a different route to return to Alijó or take a taxi back for a more relaxing afternoon. A third option involves a walk down to the lake before calling the taxi.

Day 6: Alijó to Casal de Loivos | 14 km

Spend the day walking in Douro Valley through vineyards, perhaps calling in at a wine estate or two for a tour and sampling session before reaching the ridge at the top of the eastern slopes of the Pinhão Valley. Look back at the terraced slopes opposite to identify the villages you walked to earlier in the week. You’ll have magnificent views of the Douro River before reaching the last village for the day. Spend the night in a 17th-century country house with amazing views and a pool.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 4-5 hours, ↑­­­­260 m
  • Accommodation: countryside hotel in Casal de Loivos (Casa De Casal De Loivos or similar); breakfast and picnic lunch included

Day 7: Casal de Loivos to Pinhão/Porto | 6 km

Today’s short but beautiful walk down to Pinhão leaves you with time for a final winery tour and tasting session (optional, paid locally) in an estate overlooking the River Douro. You could have lunch in the village or a picnic in the vineyards before taking the train back to Porto for a night in the heart of the city in a stylish modern hotel. Take some time to explore the city’s historical monuments, revitalised areas such as Rua das Flores and the riverside Ribeira district. If you have time, cross the river and visit at least one of the port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia to see and smell where the barrels of ageing wine are stored.

  • Walking for the day: 6 km, 1-2 hours, ↑­­­­80 m
  • Accommodation: 3 or 4-star hotel in Porto (Hotel Porto Trindade or similar); breakfast included

Day 8: Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. Private transfer to Porto Airport or you can prolong your stay with extra nights.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is a mix of characterful 4-star hotels and country inns set on wine estates, some with outdoor swimming pools. They have been specifically chosen for their comfort and their great views over the Douro River and surrounding vineyards that some of them offer. They all have comfortable private en-suite rooms and provide a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. 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.

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*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 five picnic lunches and two dinners. Dinners, when not included, are available at the overnight accommodations or in the villages.

Difficulty & terrain

This walk is graded easy to moderate and includes daily walks of 4-5 hours on average; the terrain is undulating, but there are no steep ascents and descents (read more about difficulty grades). The routes are well waymarked, and in general, the itinerary is very easy to follow. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. 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. The best months to visit are April – June, and September – October as in summer months it may become too hot for walking. September has the advantage of being the grape harvesting month. 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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended arrival and departure airport for this tour is Porto.

Airport transfer from Porto airport to Porto train station is included. From Porto, you take the train to Pinhão.  Train schedules can be checked here: https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 nights in a mix of characterful 4-star hotels and country inns set on wine estates
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 5 picnic lunches (Days 2-6)
  • 2 dinners (Days 2&3)
  • Welcome briefing
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days and on Day 7 to Pinhão train station (1 pc up to 15 kg per person)
  • Private transfer from Porto airport to Campanhã train station on Day 1
  • Private transfer from Porto hotel to the airport on Day 8
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Public transport
  • Lunches and dinners not mentioned, drinks and snacks
  • Wine tastings
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Local tourist tax & entrance fees (payable on the spot)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
  • Extra nights in Porto

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