The Douro Valley

Portugal: Walking & Wine with Madalena Patacho

8 days
from
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Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
TSYZ
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium Adventures, Private Group Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
4–16
Ages:
18+

An upgraded take on one of Exodus bestselling adventures

Learn the history of Portugal from grape to bottle on this exclusive gastronomic journey led by award winning guide Madalena Patacho through the spellbinding city of Porto and the Bastro and Douro wine regions. Naturalist by day and passionate oenophile and culinary aficionado by night, Madalena grew up outside of Lisbon in the cultural and historic area of Belém, and while she has spent the last 10 years guiding expeditions across the globe for museums such as the Smithsonian – she always returns to her first love, Portugal. 

An upgraded take on one of Exodus bestselling adventures enjoy leisurely walks through winelands and olive groves with visits to vineyards, wine tastings, wine caves, farms, Douro River cruise, museums, birdwatching and historic towns in between.  Dining alfresco, gentle ambles and cultural visits led by Madalena provide the perfect introduction to this fascinating country, once a dominant world trading power. 

 

Madalena Patacho

Madalena Patacho

Madalena grew up surrounded by Portugal’s maritime history in Belém, where she dreamed about exploring the oceans. Her love for the sea led her to study marine biology and receive a master’s degree in Natural Resources Management, specializing in Ecotourism. After graduating, Madalena moved to Príncipe Island, off the west coast of Africa, and worked with local communities on the implementation of a responsible tourism project.

Madalena’s biggest passion is traveling the world and connecting with different cultures, exploring the wilderness, and embracing local experiences. Since graduating, she has traveled to Central & South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Arctic. When she is not on an expedition exploring the world, she is a naturalist at the aquarium, Oceanário de Lisboa, raising awareness on ocean conservation and biodiversity.

Highlights

  • Award winning guide Madalena Patacho
  • 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 6-16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Well marked trails and paths
  • Travel by private air-conditioned minibus
  • Countries visited: Portugal

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 dinners and 3 wine tastings
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Leisurely -  (5 km/h)

Terrain:

Manmade paved tracks, tarmac paths and dirt tracks

Day by day breakdown
Day 210.0km/6.0miles
Day 34.0km/2.0miles
Day 47.0km/5.0miles
Day 56.0km/4.0miles
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

Mesao Frio
to
Porto
  • Day 1

    Start Hotel Douro Scala in Mesao Frio.

    Our group flight usually arrives in Porto in the early afternoon. A single group transfer from Porto city centre (Hotel Cristal) to the start hotel will be provided for flight inclusive and land only clients. Full joining instructions will be provided prior to departure, but the transfer usually leaves Porto city centre between 4pm and 5pm and will reach the start hotel before dinner. If you are planning to join this transfer, please contact us prior to departure to request it.

  • Day 2

    Walk along the Corgo river; visit Baroque Casa de Mateus

    This morning we transfer (approx. 40 mins) from the hotel to the start of today's walk in Povoação, driving through the beautiful roads along the north slope of the Douro Valley and its side tributaries. The Corgo walking trail is located on the heart of the Douro wine region and here we will be walking most of the time along terraced vineyards with unique views of the Corgo river. In the afternoon we transfer to Vila Real (20 mins) to visit Casa de Mateus, a palace set in beautiful gardens considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in Portugal. After the visit we transfer back to the hotel (approx. 50 mins).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Short walk around Quinta do Tedo winery followed by wine tasting; visit Douro museum

    We start the day with a short transfer (30 mins) to Quinta de Tedo, a winery from the 18th century in the heart of the Douro region. We will have a guided tour of the grounds, following a walking trail that offers beautiful views of the Douro and Tedo Rivers, vineyards and olive groves and plenty of opportunities for bird watching. After lunch and an included wine tasting at the winery we transfer to the town of Regua, where we visit the Douro Museum to learn about the history, culture and identity of the UNESCO World Heritage Douro wine region. In the afternoon we transfer back to our hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Nature walk in the Cabrum Valley; transfer to Mondim de Basto

    After breakfast, we transfer to Ovadas (approx. 1 hour) for our walk in the Cabrum Valley. This region, set on the mountain of Montemuro, marks the transition from the coastal temperate and humid regions to the dry and hot regions of Tras-os-Montes. We discover the landscape of terraces, stone-built walls and villages that have retained the beauty of their rural location. In the afternoon we transfer to Mondim de Basto (approx. 1h50), on our way we cross the Alvao Natural Park, a protected area that offers a haven to endangered bird species. We’ll stop to visit one of the villages within the park's boundaries, an opportunity to see a truly traditional way of life. We stay overnight at a 4-star hotel offering an infinity pool and wonderful views.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Walk in the green wine region of Mondim de Bastos and taste organically produced “Vinho Verde” at Quinta das Escomoeiras

    Our walk today takes us to the surroundings of Mondim de Basto in the green wine region, along the banks of Cabril river. Here we are welcomed with uninterrupted views of the forested mountains, side by side with the lands worked for the daily food and the vineyards of the Terras de Basto region. We finish our walk in the medieval bridge of Vilar Viando, which is still used by the pilgrims walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. We will then go to Quinta das Escomoeira where we will do the wine tasting, to appreciate the organic 'Vinho Verde' or green wine. In the afternoon on our way back to the hotel 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Walk by the famous Levada do Piscaredo aqueduct to the centre of Mondim de Basto village; visit the Senhora da Graca shrine.

    This morning transfer by minivan (10mins) 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. The afternoon is free to enjoy the hotel amenities or the hotel surroundings.  

     

    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 activities, such as a boat ride along the Douro river; overnight at a Hotel in Porto.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Porto.

    Our trip ends in Porto in the morning of day 8.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

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

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, often reaching 30 degrees in the summer months between June and September. Walking hours stated in the itinerary are given as approximations only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of the group. Some of the drives, although short, follow winding 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

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Premium Hotels

We spend the first three nights at 5-star luxury Douro Scala 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 three nights the 4-star Mondim Agua Hotel, a contemporary hotel with an infinity pool and stunning views.

Our final night is spent in Porto at the 4-star Vila Gale or Hotel Cristal, depending on your departure date. Hotel Vila Gale offers a health club with an indoor swimming pool and the spacious rooms are air-conditioned and feature a bright décor. Hotel Cristal Porto is a new 4-star hotel in a central location in Porto. Rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, mini-bar, a flat-screen TV and a safety deposit box. A garden gives guests the tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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Please call one of our experts to discuss your private group requirements on 0203 993 4668, or fill out the form below and we will give you a call back.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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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]

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest

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