Portugal: Walking & Wine

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8 days
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£1,289
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5 / 5 from 2 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
TSYA
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium
Activity:
Walking & Trekking Holidays
Min age:
18
Group size:
4–16

A perfect introduction to Porto and the UNESCO Douro wine region

Portuguese wine is the result of traditions introduced by ancient civilizations; the Basto and Douro regions remain two of the main wine-producing regions of Portugal, complete with wonderful landscapes and a rich history to discover. This walking tour takes us from the atmospheric city of Porto, through the UNESCO World Heritage Douro Valley, where famous port wine is produced and on to the Terras de Basto, home of Portugal’s ‘young’ vinho verde wine. With leisurely walks, wine tastings and cultural visits throughout, this tour is the perfect introduction to the country that once dominated world trade routes.

Highlights

  • Discover ancient wine cellars
  • Walk through quiet countryside
  • Explore vibrant Porto
  • Visit rural Portugal

Key information

  • 7 nights 4 and 5-star hotels, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days short gentle walks and 1 free day
  • Group normally 6-18, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Well marked trails and paths
  • Travel by private air-conditioned minibus

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 dinners and 3 wine tastings
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations

5

Pace:

Leisurely -  (5 km/h)

Terrain:

Manmade paved tracks, tarmac paths and dirt tracks

Day by day breakdown
Day 27.0km/4.0miles
Day 34.0km/2.0miles
Day 46.0km/3.0miles
Day 55.0km/3.0miles
Day 68.0km/4.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Porto
to
Porto
  • Day 1

    Fly to Porto; transfer to hotel and short orientation tour.

    Fly to Porto and transfer to the hotel. Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for its old architectural and landscape value. Today, depending on the arrival time of the group, we might have some time for a quick orientation tour accompanied by the tour leader. A full day of sightseeing in Porto will be scheduled on thre last day of the itinerary. Overnight in Hotel Vila Gale or similar.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Morning private transfer to Cinfaes; nature walk in the Bestanca Valley; transfer to Mesao Frio.

    After breakfast, we will transfer to Cinfaes (approx. 1 hour 30 minutes journey) for our walk in the Bestanca Valley. Within the valley is Portugal's hidden gem, the Bestanca River, with plenty of waterfalls, a medieval stone bridge and villages that have retained the beauty of their rural location. There are many walking paths in the valley, allowing us to combine several different routes, but the highlight is the walking trail of 'Vilar de Mouros', which passes through the medieval bridge of Covelas and Biodiversity Stations. We then transfer to our 5-star luxury hotel at Mesao Frio (approx. 1 hour journey) via a scenic road that follows the Douro River (7 km, approx. 3hrs and 30 minutes walking).

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Drive to Regua to visit the Douro Museum; scenic train ride along the Douro river to Pinhao; visit a local winery for a short walk and wine tasting.

    We start the day with a short transfer to the town of Regua, where we visit the interesting Douro Museum, an ideal place to learn about the history, culture and identity of the UNESCO World Heritage Douro wine region. Regua also marks the point at which the famous Douro Railway turns from a good route into a great one, sticking closely to the river and clinging to the precipitous rocks as the river passes through the Douro gorge. We will have the opportunity to experience this scenic landscape made of terraced vineyards and olive groves as we travel by train to our next stop, the small Port-producing village of Pinhão. After some free time for lunch and relaxation, we explore the Quinta de Tedo, a winery farm from the 18th Century in the heart of the Douro region. We will have a guided tour of the winery grounds, following a walking trail that offers plenty of opportunities for some bird watching. There is also time to enjoy wine tasting before we return to the hotel. (4 km, approx. 2 hours walking).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Visit Baroque Casa de Mateus; walk in the Alvao Natural Park and visit Fisgas do Ermelo waterfall; transfer to Mondim de Basto for overnight.

    This morning we have an early transfer from Mesao to Regua to Vila Real, where we visit Casa de Mateus, a palace set in beautiful gardens considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in Portugal. In the afternoon, we continue to the Alvao Natural Park, home to endangered bird and animal species. Located within the park is the Olo River, a mountain river with several watermills and waterfalls, including the 200m high Fisgas do Ermelo, one of the largest waterfalls in Europe. The walking trail will take us to fantastic viewpoints of the waterfalls and villages and there is also a chance to go for a swim in some of the natural pools along the way. We then transfer to our 4-star hotel in Mandim de Basto, where we can enjoy a stunning infinity pool and views. (5 km, approx. 2hrs and 30 minutes hours walking)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Walk through a traditional winery farm Quinta das Escomoeiras in the green wine region and taste organically produced 'Vinho Verde'.

    Our walk today takes us through Quinta das Escomoeiras, a traditional winery in the green wine region set on the banks of the Tamega River. Here we are greeted with uninterrupted views of the forest-covered mountains of the Terras de Basto region. We will explore the woodlands above the river and return to Lourido and the Quinta's welcome Adega via the Ecopista, a former railway track which is now a walking and cycling route. We finish our walking with wine tasting, to appreciate the organic 'Vinho Verde' or green wine. (5 km, approx. 2 hours walking).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Visit the Senhora da Graca shrine and walk by the famous Levada do Piscaredo aqueduct onto the centre of Mondim de Basto village.

    This morning we visit one of the main shrines to the Virgin Mary found in northern Portugal: the Senhora da Graca, also known as Chapel of Monte Farinha. The chapel is perched in front of granite mountain range at almost 1000m high. We continue by minivan to Levada do Piscaredo, a waterway dating back to the 13th Century where we will start our walk. These rural constructions were indispensable for the irrigation of the fields of the Terras de Basto region, due to water scarcity in the past. We follow the waterway to the center of Mondim de Basto village, where we then take a very short transfer back to our hotel (8km, approx. 3 hours walking).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Transfer to Porto; visit the historic town and the famous Porto wine cellars for wine tasting; optional boat tour and overnight in Porto.

    In the morning we travel back to the vibrant of Porto. After a guided visit of the historic centre and Port wine cellars (wine tasting included), the rest of the day is free for further individual sightseeing or optional actviities, such as a boat ride along the Douro river; overnight at Hotel Vila Galé.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Fly to London.

    Transfer to the airport and fly to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Portugal

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 3 wine tastings and 2 dinners are included.

Porto and the Douro valley are known for their excellent wines and the delicious regional cuisine which makes use of the natural resources found here. All meals have strong links with the land and sea, often prepared following old traditional recepies. Local specialities include the caldo verde, a cabbage soup that originated here thanks to the fertile green fields of the region. Portugal also prides itself in having some of the best fish in the world, and in this region a lot of the fish comes from the Douro river. The Douro region is also well-known for an endless number of meat dishes, which include the famous roasted goat with rice and potatoes, wild boar stew, posta mirandes (veal steak) and cozido à portuguesa (boiled meat, sausages and cabbages). There is another dish too, made on the basis of a sandwich, that is a true institution: the francesinha. Please note that vegetarians meals are available on request although options may be limited. The Douro Valley, birthplace of Port, is one of the oldest and most beautiful historic world wine regions. Wine has been made here for 2000 years. Considering the importance of the Alto Douro Wine Region, in 2001 UNESCO recognized this site as World Heritage. Port wine is a fortified wine produced under peculiar and unique conditions. It is still produced in an old fashioned way, in which the fermentation process is stopped by adding spirits distilled from wine, and the blending of wines and aging still play a vital role. Port wines can be red, white and rosé and during the trip there will be plenty of opportunities to try the different varieties. The Vinho Verde is also an excellent wine produced in this area. Naturally light and fresh, it is fruity, easy to drink, great as an aperitif or served with light meals.

Weather

The Douro enjoys its own micro-climate, which is an important reason for the quality and style of its wines. The most important geological features responsible for this are several mountain ranges sheltering the region from the Atlantic Ocean influence, giving it a continental climate, with hot and dry summers and cooler and wetter winters. As one leaves Porto behind and travels upriver in the region the rainfall decreases and the temperatures increase. In May spring reaches its climax, with flowers and greenery abounding. June still enjoys this flush without having the hotter weather of July and August. September is one of the most favoured climatic months, being mostly dry and warm without being hot. October is still warm and from the second half the beautiful red, orange and yellow hues of the leaves herald autumn.

Is this trip for you?

Grade: 1 (Leisurely) Each day, we walk for 2 to 5 hours (excluding the sightseeing day). The terrain and type of path will vary from manmade paved tracks and tarmac, to dirt roads. The walks are easy and taken at a leisurely pace, although some short ascents and descents should be expected. Please be aware that the Douro region can also be very warm, possibly reaching 30 degrees in the summer months between June and September. Walking hours stated in the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group. Some of the drives, although short, follow twisty mountain roads. You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Accommodation

Premium Hotels

We spend the first and last night at the 4-star Vila Gale in the heart of Porto. The central hotel offers a health club with an indoor swimming pool and the spacious rooms are air-conditioned and feature a bright décor. All come with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen cable TV, minibar and a private bathroom, including a hairdryer. The second hotel used on the trip is the the 5-star luxury Douro Scala Agua Hotel, offering stunning views of the world-famous Douro valley and vineyards. It has a spa with a heated indoor pool, private treatment rooms, and a hot tub. In Mondim we stay at the 4-star Mondim Agua Hotel, a contemporary hotel with an infinity pool and stunning views.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed May 2017
    Grant Howell

    A Great Walking Tour

    A wonderful week of walking with great guides, interesting co-hikers, very nice accommodation in a very lovely setting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were two things that inspired me; first the beautiful panoramic views of terraced vineyards in the Douro Valley and second; learning a great deal more about the history and culture of this area and Portugal overall.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nuno was a wonderful guide and was capably assisted by Ricardo. He was very knowledgeable about the area and was incredibly helpful in choosing meals and wines. He kept us interested and informed and his knowledge of each of our locations meant no disappointments at all. Both Nuno and Ricardo were personable and very helpful. Great guys!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it! It's fun, it's educational and you'll probably meet interesting people on the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is listed as a Level 1 "leisurely" trip. I think it is closer to a Level 2+ in that there are some significant elevation changes, as well as some paths that are a bit more challenging than "a walk in the park".
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Vicky Boughton

    Beautiful region, great walks and wine

    The Douro Valley is a spectacular region to discover with stunning views and lovely walks. On either side of the Douro River terraced vineyards cover the landscape - this is the only area in the world where Port wine is produced and on this holiday we learnt about the Portuguese history and culture surrounding the process. Several of our walks ended up at a local Quinta (wine farm) where we had the opportunity for wine tasting with a lunch on the terrace which everyone enjoyed. It was a very relaxing and interesting week of walking, with varied routes each day. We barely saw another walker on any of the routes so it felt as though we had the region to ourselves!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed the Levada do Piscaredo walk on Day 7 - it was the longest walk that we did but fairly easy walking (no hills), following a waterway dating back to the 13th century. Pretty wildflowers dotted the route and every now and then the views of the river below would come into sight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nuno was great, a keen walker and outdoor enthusiast, he knew the routes inside out and was great company, introducing the group to local restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try the Vinho Verde (green wine) - this was my favourite!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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