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Starting in 2020, all VBT Walking Vacations will move to our sister company, Country Walkers. For 2020 departures and prices, please click here. 

Pathways of Portugal: Walking the Douro Valley

Favorite

Rambling in Portugal is pure bliss.

Guided Walking

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 4 - 8|
  • Walking: 2 - 4 hr|
4.8 out of 5 stars.
Activity Easy/Moderate
Easy / Moderate
Walking Tour
Walking Tour
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Pathways of Portugal: Walking the Douro Valley

Rambling in Portugal is pure bliss. Ancient shepherd paths and Roman roads weave through the wine-soaked Douro River Valley, past citrus and cypress trees to high mountain pastures with wild horses and rare Iberian flowers. Walking highlights include sacred sections along the Way of St. James and the Way of Faith. We find sanctuary in villages carved into cliffs, at a manor house built for traveling kings, and a 17th-century royal Count’s estate. Enjoy a picnic in the vineyards and a cruising lunch aboard a wooden river boat. A sunset over this romantic land is best savored with a glass of port.

What to Expect

This tour features a combination of paved roads and easy terrain, mixed with moderate hills, uneven footpaths and vineyards. On rainy days the footpaths and vineyards can be wet and muddy. Our transportation is available at specific meeting points for those who need assistance. Both morning and afternoon walking options are available most days. Ideal for enthusiastic beginners and experienced walkers.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 4 - 8|
  • Walking: 2 - 4 hr|
Activity Easy/Moderate Easy / Moderate
Walking
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Walkers
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Walk the pilgrims path along a section of the Way of St. James
  • Taste a flight of elegant wines at the Quinta do Bomfim winery
  • Cruise down the Douro River on a private, traditional rabelo boat
  • Explore high mountain valleys and tiny farming hamlets forgotten in time
  • Follow well-marked hillside trails among cypress, orange and almond trees
  • Visit moorish villages and the birthplace of explorer Ferdinand Magellan
  • Cross over the legendary 2,000 year-old Roman bridge, Ponte de Lima
  • Hike through a medieval village carved into rocky cliffs
  • Stay at a historic, luxury inn on the banks of the Douro River in Porto
  • Enjoy delicious meals featuring family recipes passed down over generations

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

Mar62º/45º

Apr64º/48º

May67º/52º

Jun73º/57º

Jul77º/60º

Aug77º/59º

Sep75º/57º

Oct69º/53º

Nov62º/46º

Average
Precipitation:

Mar3.5 in

Apr4.6 in

May3.8 in

Jun1.8 in

Jul0.7 in

Aug1.1 in

Sep2.8 in

Oct5.4 in

Nov6.0 in

What's Included

Walking Vacation + Air Package

Walking Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfers to and from international airport Check
One night in Porto and one night in Lisbon in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
6 nights in a 17th-century family manor home, historic hotel on the banks of the Douro River and medieval stone houses Check Check
12 meals: 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners Check Check

Walking Packages Include:

Pair of Trekking Poles

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Show Itinerary:

Depart from home and travel to Portugal. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.

VBT Air Package guests: Upon arrival at Porto’s International Airport, proceed through immigration, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is delayed, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area; VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Make certain that your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you. After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative holding a VBT sign. Transfer to your Porto hotel in the city center. Transfer time is approximately 30 minutes depending on traffic.

Your room accommodation is in the classic NON river-view category, however, at time of check-in you may ask about upgrading for an additional cost to a river-view room. Upgrades are only available at time of check-in and are subject to availability upon check-in. They can not be pre-reserved prior to your arrival. Upgrade costs vary and are only quoted at time of check-in.

VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Porto.

Hotel: Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel & World Heritage Site

VBT Air Package & Pre-Trip Extension guests: Please have your luggage outside your room by 8:30 a.m. Make sure the VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bags. After breakfast, meet your VBT Trip Leaders in the lobby of your hotel at 9:00 a.m.

This morning, join your VBT Trip Leaders for a brief orientation before a short transfer to the Minho – one of three regions you will visit in Portugal. In the heart of the Minho region, drive along the Lima River to the attractive riverside town of Ponte de Lima, named after its Roman Bridge. Here you will have lunch before lacing up your walking shoes and tracing a Portuguese segment of the religious route Caminho de Santiago to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Your walk today begins with a crossing of the legendary Ponte de Lima. Seven original Roman arches remain.

After crossing the bridge, begin your journey through a farming landscape. Pilgrims from around the world have been walking this “Way of St. James” for more than a millennium to arrive at Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain where many believe St. James is buried. Soon, pastures give way to huge vineyards surrounding beautiful manor houses. One of them is a Paço, a small country palace and rest stop for the king during his travels through the countryside.

Your accommodation for the next two nights is the Paço de Calheiros, which has been owned and operated by the family of Count Calheiros since medieval times. The present-day family home was built in the 17th century. Its stalwart structures and three-foot granite wall have stood the test of time. You may stroll the grounds which offer breathtaking views of the Lima Valley. If the day is clear you may also glimpse the Atlantic Ocean.

In the evening, get to know your host, Count Calheiros at a welcome reception followed by a sumptuous dinner.

Hotel: Paço de Calheiros
Meals: Breakfast (for Air Package guests only), L, D
Daily Options: 5 miles (8 km)

Today, explore the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês in the northern Minho region. With its forested valleys and mountain pastures, this is Portugal’s only national park. The little mountain villages in the park appear lost in time, but have adapted to the new world of tourism with well-marked footpaths linking them together. There will be time to learn about the unique grain storages known as espigueiros. These wood or granite structures were cleverly designed to keep animals away from harvested grains.

You will descend into the valley between the granite peaks of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, arriving in the ancient village of Soajo. This road was originally paved with large stones by the Romans, and for centuries has been walked by pilgrims from Peneda to Soajo; known as the Caminho da Fé, the Way of Faith. Alternatively, it is also referred to as the Caminho do Pão, the Way of Bread, as the inhabitants of this valley have made their living by moving their livestock up and down the mountains with the change of seasons. As you walk past aqueducts used for irrigating fields and powering flour mills, you may even see the indigenous Cachena milk cows or the wild Garrano horses.

Nearing the village of Soajo, with its dramatic backdrop of the Serra do Soajo Mountains, walk under a grape arbor past small terraced gardens and vineyards. Winding your way through the village and past its ancient granite houses, you will soon arrive at the communal granary and its granite espigueiros.

En route back to Paço de Calheiros, the shuttle will stop for those who wish to take an optional walk that will end at our hotel. You will cross scenic rolling hills before returning to the estate. From a distance, the beautiful architecture will look even more majestic. As you amble downhill to your lodgings, a landmark chestnut grove comes into view letting you know the destination is close by.

Back at the manor house, you may opt to venture out and explore the forests that surround Paço de Calheiros on well-kept trails, join a walk through the Count’s gardens or relax by the swimming pool. This is followed by a wonderful dinner that might feature the Count’s own vineyard wines.

Hotel: Paço de Calheiros
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 2.8 miles (4.5 km) and/or 1.5 miles (2.3 km)

After breakfast, say your farewells to the Count and his family and shuttle to Portugal’s birthplace and former capital – Guimarães. The historical town center is an exceptional example of a medieval town transformed into a modern city and hence the reason it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After a short orientation of the town you will have some free time to explore the town on your own.

After our visit to Guimarães we venture to the county of Sabrosa, birthplace of the famous explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Our destination and the start of today’s walk is the charming village of Provesende, dating to the Moorish era. After a brief exploration of town and its Baroque church, we follow paths downhill through vineyards, keeping the Douro River in sight. In 1756, the Douro Valley and Portugal’s wine regions became the first controlled and demarcated winemaking region in the world. It’s all thanks to the Marquis de Pombal who planted granite pillars in 1756 to define the boundary that produced the finest port. Today, the entire valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This magnificent landscape continues to inspire poets, painters, and photographers.

We end today’s walk at your accommodations for the next two nights in the heart of the wine region in the town of Pinhão. The historic hotel is set on the banks of the Douro River, offering spectacular views of the Douro River Valley. Just steps away explore the small shops and restaurants of the small town of Pinhão.

This evening enjoy a wine reception on the hotel patio (weather permitting) overlooking the lovely gardens and river. Afterwards, enjoy dinner on your own in the hotel or one of the nearby restaurants in town.

Hotel: The Vintage House
Meals: Breakfast
Daily Options: 2.5 – 5 miles (4 – 8 km)

After breakfast, we shuttle to nearby vineyards with sweeping views of the Douro River Valley. Walking through paths of some of the most famous vineyards of the region we will we arrive to the small riverfront train station of Ferrão where we will embark on a short scenic train ride along the banks of the river back to Pinhão and its infamous train station with 3,500 hand painted Portuguese tiles. We conclude todays special walk in lovely vineyards of the Quinta do Bomfim where we will enjoy a splendid picnic before sampling some of the vineyards renowned wines. After lunch it is just a short walk back to your hotel.

In the afternoon, spend time at your leisure exploring the town of Pinhão and its train station where the “Wine House” museum is located. Then relax poolside at the hotel and enjoy the river views and its slow-passing boats.

Hotel: The Vintage House
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 4 miles (6.5 km)

This morning, we embark on a wooden sailing ship similar in style to the bygone rabelos that carried wine up and down the Douro River to other regions. Our privately chartered boat offers a relaxing cruise on the Douro River. Your leaders will prepare a delectable picnic lunch onboard. One of our highlights will be passing through the Douro’s Ferrão lock before disembarking in Ferradosa. From here we shuttle to our lodgings in Marialva, a haunting medieval village carved into a rocky cliff. Enjoy the remainder of the evening and dinner on your own.

Hotel: Casas do Coro
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 2.5 miles (4 km)

After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely stroll between stone walls, through vineyards past fruit trees and cultivated fields.

After lunch, venture out to explore Marialva and its castle. Though its origin dates back to the sixth century BC, it was not officially granted a town charter until 1179. This hillside medieval village seems carved from the craggy slopes, so it’s easy to see why it once served as an important military fortress. Wandering these streets on old stone-paved roads makes for an otherworldly experience; you’ll want to leave no corner ignored. Venture up to the medieval castle for a guided tour, where you’ll learn more about Marialva’s past.

This evening’s farewell dinner is sure to please, featuring family recipes passed down over generations to our hotel’s owner.

Hotel: Casas do Coro
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 2.5 – 5 miles (5 – 8 km)

This morning you’ll shuttle (approximately 4 hours) to Portugal’s capital of Lisbon where the tour ends.

VBT Air Package and Post-Extension guests: A morning bus journey takes you to Portugal’s capital of Lisbon, approximately 4 hours driving. Arrive in Lisbon mid-day at your centrally located hotel; you will have the remainder of the afternoon to explore the historic capital of Portugal. Spend a night at the Fontecruz Lisboa, Autograph Collection, located on Lisbon’s main avenue, Avenida da Liberdade. You will receive City Information with recommendations for transportation options, cafés, museums and restaurants.

Hotel: Fontecruz Lisboa, Autograph Collection
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast,* transfer to the Lisbon International airport (approximately 30 minutes) for your departing flight.** Note: Please be in the hotel reception area at the designated time.

* Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk to verify when breakfast is served.

** Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

Show Itinerary:

VBT-Walking-Vacation-only guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at the Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel in Porto at 9:00 a.m. The hotel is located at Praça da Ribeira, nº 1; +351 22 340 2300. Please contact the hotel to advise them of any travel delays or changes so the staff can pass the message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

This morning, join your VBT Trip Leaders for a brief orientation before a short transfer to the Minho – one of three regions you will visit in Portugal. In the heart of the Minho region, drive along the Lima River to the attractive riverside town of Ponte de Lima, named after its Roman Bridge. Here you will have lunch before lacing up your walking shoes and tracing a Portuguese segment of the religious route Caminho de Santiago to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Your walk today begins with a crossing of the legendary Ponte de Lima. Seven original Roman arches remain.

After crossing the bridge, begin your journey through a farming landscape. Pilgrims from around the world have been walking this “Way of St. James” for more than a millennium to arrive at Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain where many believe St. James is buried. Soon, pastures give way to huge vineyards surrounding beautiful manor houses. One of them is a Paço, a small country palace and rest stop for the king during his travels through the countryside.

Your accommodation for the next two nights is the Paço de Calheiros, which has been owned and operated by the family of Count Calheiros since medieval times. The present-day family home was built in the 17th century. Its stalwart structures and three-foot granite wall have stood the test of time. You may stroll the grounds which offer breathtaking views of the Lima Valley. If the day is clear you may also glimpse the Atlantic Ocean.

In the evening, get to know your host, Count Calheiros at a welcome reception followed by a sumptuous dinner.

Hotel: Paço de Calheiros
Meals: Breakfast (for Air Package guests only), L, D
Daily Options: 5 miles (8 km)

Today, explore the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês in the northern Minho region. With its forested valleys and mountain pastures, this is Portugal’s only national park. The little mountain villages in the park appear lost in time, but have adapted to the new world of tourism with well-marked footpaths linking them together. There will be time to learn about the unique grain storages known as espigueiros. These wood or granite structures were cleverly designed to keep animals away from harvested grains.

You will descend into the valley between the granite peaks of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, arriving in the ancient village of Soajo. This road was originally paved with large stones by the Romans, and for centuries has been walked by pilgrims from Peneda to Soajo; known as the Caminho da Fé, the Way of Faith. Alternatively, it is also referred to as the Caminho do Pão, the Way of Bread, as the inhabitants of this valley have made their living by moving their livestock up and down the mountains with the change of seasons. As you walk past aqueducts used for irrigating fields and powering flour mills, you may even see the indigenous Cachena milk cows or the wild Garrano horses.

Nearing the village of Soajo, with its dramatic backdrop of the Serra do Soajo Mountains, walk under a grape arbor past small terraced gardens and vineyards. Winding your way through the village and past its ancient granite houses, you will soon arrive at the communal granary and its granite espigueiros.

En route back to Paço de Calheiros, the shuttle will stop for those who wish to take an optional walk that will end at our hotel. You will cross scenic rolling hills before returning to the estate. From a distance, the beautiful architecture will look even more majestic. As you amble downhill to your lodgings, a landmark chestnut grove comes into view letting you know the destination is close by.

Back at the manor house, you may opt to venture out and explore the forests that surround Paço de Calheiros on well-kept trails, join a walk through the Count’s gardens or relax by the swimming pool. This is followed by a wonderful dinner that might feature the Count’s own vineyard wines.

Hotel: Paço de Calheiros
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 2.8 miles (4.5 km) and/or 1.5 miles (2.3 km)

After breakfast, say your farewells to the Count and his family and shuttle to Portugal’s birthplace and former capital – Guimarães. The historical town center is an exceptional example of a medieval town transformed into a modern city and hence the reason it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After a short orientation of the town you will have some free time to explore the town on your own.

After our visit to Guimarães we venture to the county of Sabrosa, birthplace of the famous explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Our destination and the start of today’s walk is the charming village of Provesende, dating to the Moorish era. After a brief exploration of town and its Baroque church, we follow paths downhill through vineyards, keeping the Douro River in sight. In 1756, the Douro Valley and Portugal’s wine regions became the first controlled and demarcated winemaking region in the world. It’s all thanks to the Marquis de Pombal who planted granite pillars in 1756 to define the boundary that produced the finest port. Today, the entire valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This magnificent landscape continues to inspire poets, painters, and photographers.

We end today’s walk at your accommodations for the next two nights in the heart of the wine region in the town of Pinhão. The historic hotel is set on the banks of the Douro River, offering spectacular views of the Douro River Valley. Just steps away explore the small shops and restaurants of the small town of Pinhão.

This evening enjoy a wine reception on the hotel patio (weather permitting) overlooking the lovely gardens and river. Afterwards, enjoy dinner on your own in the hotel or one of the nearby restaurants in town.

Hotel: The Vintage House
Meals: Breakfast
Daily Options: 2.5 – 5 miles (4 – 8 km)

After breakfast, we shuttle to nearby vineyards with sweeping views of the Douro River Valley. Walking through paths of some of the most famous vineyards of the region we will we arrive to the small riverfront train station of Ferrão where we will embark on a short scenic train ride along the banks of the river back to Pinhão and its infamous train station with 3,500 hand painted Portuguese tiles. We conclude todays special walk in lovely vineyards of the Quinta do Bomfim where we will enjoy a splendid picnic before sampling some of the vineyards renowned wines. After lunch it is just a short walk back to your hotel.

In the afternoon, spend time at your leisure exploring the town of Pinhão and its train station where the “Wine House” museum is located. Then relax poolside at the hotel and enjoy the river views and its slow-passing boats.

Hotel: The Vintage House
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 4 miles (6.5 km)

This morning, we embark on a wooden sailing ship similar in style to the bygone rabelos that carried wine up and down the Douro River to other regions. Our privately chartered boat offers a relaxing cruise on the Douro River. Your leaders will prepare a delectable picnic lunch onboard. One of our highlights will be passing through the Douro’s Ferrão lock before disembarking in Ferradosa. From here we shuttle to our lodgings in Marialva, a haunting medieval village carved into a rocky cliff. Enjoy the remainder of the evening and dinner on your own.

Hotel: Casas do Coro
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 2.5 miles (4 km)

After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely stroll between stone walls, through vineyards past fruit trees and cultivated fields.

After lunch, venture out to explore Marialva and its castle. Though its origin dates back to the sixth century BC, it was not officially granted a town charter until 1179. This hillside medieval village seems carved from the craggy slopes, so it’s easy to see why it once served as an important military fortress. Wandering these streets on old stone-paved roads makes for an otherworldly experience; you’ll want to leave no corner ignored. Venture up to the medieval castle for a guided tour, where you’ll learn more about Marialva’s past.

This evening’s farewell dinner is sure to please, featuring family recipes passed down over generations to our hotel’s owner.

Hotel: Casas do Coro
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 2.5 – 5 miles (5 – 8 km)

This morning you’ll shuttle (approximately 4 hours) to Portugal’s capital of Lisbon where the tour ends.

VBT-Walking-Vacation-only guests: Your tour concludes at the VBT hotel in Lisbon at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Meals: Breakfast

Reviews

Guest Reviews 38 out of 38 (100%) of reviewers recommend this tour

4.8 out of 5 stars.

Dates & Prices

Country Walkers, Experience Local

Looking for 2020 Walking Tours?

Find 2020 departure dates, prices and details on the website of our sister company, Country Walkers.

Plan Your 2020 Tour

For more information, call: 800-245-3868

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