Portugal: Walking & Wine Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium Adventures
Destinations:
Portugal
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TSY
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 18

Trip Overview

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.

At a Glance

  • 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

Trip Highlights

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

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

Adult min age:
18
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Porto
End City:
Porto

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Porto; short orientation tour.

    The trip begins in the beautiful historic city of Porto, famous for one of the most appreciated wines in the world - Port wine. 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 is scheduled on the last day of the itinerary. Overnight in Hotel Vila Gale or similar.

    Please note that the 20th April departure 2019 will start at the Douro Scala in Mesao Frio. A group transfer from Porto will be provided at a set time for flight inclusive clients as well as land only clients wishing to join. Full joining instructions and meeting time in Porto will be communicated prior departure.

  • Day 2

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

    After breakfast, we will transfer to Cinfães (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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 7 km / 4 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    295
  • 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 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 beautiful views of the Douro and Tedo river, vineyards and olive groves and plenty of opportunities for some bird watching. After lunch and an included wine tasting at the winery we 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. In the afternoon we transfer back to our hotel.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 4 km / 2 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    90
  • Day 4

    Walk along the Corgo river; visit Baroque Casa de Mateus en route to Mondim de Basto

    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 affluents. 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. We end the walk at Quinta do Vallado winery where we have the chance to enjoy another wine tasting experience (optional). 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. Later we continue by bus through the Alvao Natural Park, stopping to take in the views of the 200m high Fisgas do Ermelo, one of the largest waterfalls in Europe. We stay overnight at a 4-star hotel in Mandim de Basto, where we can enjoy a stunning infinity pool and views. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    60
  • 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. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 5 km / 3 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    280
  • 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. In the afternoon 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
    Distance covered: 8 km / 4 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    220
  • 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 actvities, such as a boat ride along the Douro river; overnight at Hotel Vila Galé.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Porto.

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Please note: it is possible that the order of the itinerary listed above will be changed to ensure the best possible conditions for each activity during the trip. All listed activities and services will be included. Your leader will inform you of any changes locally after assessing conditions.

Accommodation

Premium Hotels

We spend the first and last night at the 4-star Vila Gale or Hotel Cristal in Porto, 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. All come with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen cable TV, minibar and a private bathroom, including a hairdryer. 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.

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.

* Please note that on the 20th April 2019 the trip will start at Douro Scala Agua Hotel and not in Porto. 

Please contact our Customer Operations team if you would like to receive the final hotel list for your departure.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £350.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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.

Transportation

Transport from and to the airport is by minibus. Other transport mentioned in the itinerary as an integral part of the guided walks is also included and it is by private vehicle.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

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.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways or TAP (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Porto and ending in Porto

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Porto in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

 

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

The start hotel Vila Gale is located approximately 15km from Porto airport. If you are planning to make your own way by public transport, take the metro (line E) and stop at the station Campo 24 Agosto, which is only 200m from the hotel. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes and the cost of a single ticket is €2,40. Alternatively a journey by public taxi into the city centre costs approx. €25.

Location start:
Porto
Location end:
Porto

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Walking shoes

warm jacket or sweater in May and October

sunhat, suncream

daypack to carry your belongings on walks

Waterproof jacket

Waterbottle: while mineral water is available at the hotel and shops, it’s safe to drink the local tap water, so remember to bring refillable water bottles and keep hydrated during the day.

Optional Equipment

Umbrella and swimwear for pools

Practical Information

Passport

Portugal

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Portugal

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Portugal's Timezone:
Europe/Lisbon WET (GMT +00:00)

Electricity

Portugal's Electricity:

European 2-pin plug. 

Standard European 2-pin adapter required.

Money

Portugal's Currency

The national currency of Portugal is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

ATM Availability

Cashpoints are available in Porto and the major towns visited. Many restaurants and shops and all the hotels accept credit cards. We recommend travelling with some cash to use in shops and bars in smaller villages and rural areas.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow €15-20 for lunch or dinner (taken in a standard restaurant), excluding alcoholic beverages. You will also need some extra cash for drinks or ice creams in cafés or bars during the day walks or in the hotel bar in the evening. Typically a beer or coffee will cost around €1.5 and a reasonable bottle of wine at dinner about €8-15.

 

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. Most of our clients wish to give a tip to their guides in appreciation of their help and friendliness. This, of course, is in no way compulsory and depends on the service received. For this trip we recommend between €15 and €20 per person for the leader.

Responsible Tourism

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… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.