Follow the path of the Douro River as it meanders through an enchanting landscape of ever changing colour. Relax on one of the world’s great train journeys as you look out over terraced vineyards carefully folded into verdant hillsides. Walk through gently rolling meadows and lush green valleys bursting with springtime almond blossom and the sweet smell of grapes ripening in the midday sun. We follow the Great Douro River from its estuary in the ancient city of Oporto, through the famous Port wine vineyards and into the upper reaches of Portugal, where the river forms the border with Spain. Experience this journey with Ramblers Walking Holidays.
We begin our journey in Oporto, where we explore the historic buildings and magnificent churches that comfortably rub shoulders with the picturesque old quarters and squares. You will have the opportunity to take an optional excursion while in Oporto, perhaps to Braga, founded over 2,000 years ago; the fascinating medieval town centre of Guimaraes or the beautiful coastal town of Vila Conde. Leaving the coast, we travel by train along the Douro Valley as far as Pocinho and continue by road to the charming medieval town of Miranda do Douro. Sitting high above a magnificent gorge of the Rio Douro our walks from Miranda do Douro pass through villages where people follow a traditional way of life and still speak the Mirandese dialect that has survived the centuries.
From Miranda we again travel by road and train, to Regua, to walk through a distinctive landscape of vineyards. We’ll also be able to see how Port is made, and taste it too! During our stay here we visit the magnificent old town of Lamego, which is rich in charm, history and culture. We return to Oporto, by train, for our final night.
We arrive at Oporto's airport and make the short transfer by private coach into the city. Depending on our arrival time, there may be time for an orientation walk before dinner at a local restaurant.
We start our exploration today with a walking visit of Oporto's old town seeing the Clerigos Tower, Bolhao Market, and cathedral. Narrow cobbled streets open onto shady squares and the river front is a nice spot to have lunch or a coffee. This afternoon, we plan to visit a port wine house and return to the hotel via the Stock Exchange. Porto is a city best explored on foot and you will get your bearings in no time.
We'll head to Porto's Sao Bento station this morning to catch our train to Guimaraes. The station is beautifully decorated in blue tiles and is definitely worth a stop before we board the train. Once in the World Heritage city of Guimaraes, we explore the lanes and plazas of the medieval centre.
Porto is situated on the River Douro, at its outlet to the Atlantic Ocean. Taking the tram out to Castelo do Queijo, our walk takes us along the Atlantic coastline to Foz, where we can walk back into the city or take the tram. This afternoon you may want to visit a museum, enjoy a boat trip on the Douro or do some shopping
We leave Oporto today and take the train to Pocinho, along one of what is considered the most scenic train journeys in the world. We meet our coach here and continue to Mirando do Douro, almost at the border with Spain. The train journey provides provides glimpses of rural Portuguese life with tiered terraces of vineyards, small farms and villages. Mirando do Douro sits high above the Douro valley, offering wonderful views and walks.
Malhadas: This is a linear walk, mostly on the flat or with a slight descent. The walk is on good dirt tracks and passes through a number of quaint villages, as well as the ruins of Nossa Senhora do Pico, where, it is said that the Virgin Mary appeared several times to a little girl, prior to the Fatima apparitions. The waters of the well here are said to have healing properties. Ascent/Descent: Mostly flat/ 9 miles/5+ hours
Ifanes: taking taxis from the hotel, the Ifanes walk is approx. 9 miles long, one of our longer walks, however it is easy walking through good paths and either flat or mostly downhill. A scenic spot overlooking the Rio Douro, is ideal for our picnic lunch. Ascent: 150 m/ Descent 275/ 10 miles / 6 hours
Cercio: A circular walk starting at our hotel, with no transport needed, follows undulating lanes and stony dirt tracks. There is an excellent museum in Miranda's main square that is worth visiting when you return. Ascent/descent +/- 200m; 7 miles; 3.5 hours
We return to Pocinho where we take the train again today to travel to Regua, located in a region famous for its young wine, the Vinho Verde. We arrive in time for lunch followed by an orientation walk and possibly a short boat ride before we get ready for dinner.
Fontelo walk: This walk starts at the hilltop Chapel of S. Domingos from where the views of the surrounding countryside are stunning. On our way back down we pass through vineyards, before we reach the river Douro and the dam. This walk offers an excellent cafe and coffee stop en route. Ascent 250 m/Descent 250m/ 8 miles/ 5 hours
Corgo: A lovely walk offering great views as we go. We follow a disused railway track into the village of Alvacoes do Corgo, ending at a quinta - or farm - where we climb up through the vineyards to meet our transport back to the hotel. Ascent 100m/Descent 225m; 8 miles; 5 hours
Galafura: From the view point of Santo Leonardo de Freires in Galafura, our scenic walk takes us through vineyards and offers magnificent views. The old school house in Covelinhas offers a good lunch stop. The route takes us downhill to the river and there is the opportunity to opt out here and return to Regua by train, or continue to the end of the walk. Ascent 100m/descent 600m; 9 miles; 5 hours
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast , some last minute views and time in the Douro Valley before our coach transfers us to Porto airport in time for our flight back to the UK
See where this holiday travels to.
We stay at the Best Western Hotel Inca, which is in the centre of Oporto and only a 15 minute walk away from the old town, a World Heritage Site, and its many attractions. Simple clean rooms come with bathroom, air conditioning, mini-bar, satellite TV, hairdryer, safe and telephone. Breakfast has a good range on offer, and in the evenings we will sample excellent Portuguese cuisine in local restaurants. Once back in the hotel there is a bar should you wish to unwind with a drink. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Set right on the banks of the Douro River and with panoramic views of the unspoilt rolling green hills beyond (pictured), the Hotel Regua has everything you need for a great stay in the famous wine country. After a days walking, enjoy a cool off in the outdoor pool a drink at the bar and lounge. Plentiful breakfasts are taken in the restaurant that has magnificent views of the river; this hotel really does have the best location in town. Bedrooms come with TVs, en-suite facilities and balconies with city or river views. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
The Residencial Planalto is a simple, yet comfortable residence located in the heart of Miranda do Douro, close to the cathedral.
Including satellite TV, all rooms at Residencial Planalto come with a private bathroom and a/c. A breakfast buffet is available in Planalto's lounge every morning, which provides views of the historic centre. For local eateries and bars, guests can take a 5-minute walk to Costanilha Street and the historic centre.