The holiday combines our 'Portugal Emerald Coast' and 'Wilderness Parks of Northern Portugal' holidays.
Based on the stunning Costa Verde, famous for its mountains, lush green countryside, beautiful beaches and “Vinho Verde”, this is a captivating and unforgettable holiday destination. Our walks are taken along some of Portugal’s finest coast line, as well as meandering through classic Minho villages and lush pastoral valleys.
We’ll explore the dramatic mountains of the Serra d’Ágra, where wild horses roam, and cross the river Minho to Portugal’s Spanish sister, O Muiño, to climb to the sanctuary of Santa Tecla where Celtic history comes alive. This area has been inhabited since pre-historic times and is rich in natural and cultural history ranging from Neolithic to Roman times, with villages full of history for us to visit.
We stay in the coastal town of Vila Praia de Ancora in the North West corner of Portugal. After our walks, there will also be time to relax on the beaches and maybe take a dip in the sea before enjoying the sunset and local cuisine. Our hotel is located in the very centre of this charming town with all facilities within a few minutes’ walk.
The Peneda-Gerês National Park is high country of outstanding natural beauty. Here the air is clear and the waters pure. This park contains some of the most beautiful and varied scenery found in the whole of the country and you’ll find an abundance of rare wild flowers, birds of prey, wild horses and other wildlife.
Our two-centre holiday is centred in the Serra da Peneda and is designed so you visit the most spectacular parts of these mountains. Our varied walks circle dramatic crags and granite landscape of Meadinha and follow ancient trails down the lush river Peneda valley.
Our first centre is in the mountain village of Castro Laboreiro dominated by its ancient castle. Isolated traditional villages with high mountain meadows and rolling moorland stretch to the frontier with Spain to the east. Yet walk out of the hotel to the west and we are amongst towering granite crags and hidden wooded valleys.
We walk across the mountains to our second centre in the remote sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Peneda. Our hotel, once the pilgrims’ hostel, has been imaginatively converted into a high quality hotel. Set with a backdrop of trees, crags and waterfalls, the grand stairway of the sanctuary descends into the valley below.
The somewhat remote location has protected the park landscape. You’ll not only enjoy the beauty of the region, but also visit many of the ancient hamlets dotted about the countryside.
We fly from London Gatwick to Oporto. On arrival transfer by coach to Hotel Meira in Praia de Ancora (approx. 1 hour 15 minutes). Our excellent four star hotel is located in the very heart of this charming town with all facilities within a few minutes' walk, and allowing us to eat out each evening at local restaurants.
The northern coast of Portugal is simply very beautiful. In an area famous for its young wine, Vinho Verde, you will find a lush green landscape, quiet beaches, traditional villages and excellent local cuisine. Our 2 leaders, 2 grades walking programme allows us to fully explore the area as we cross the Rio Minho, into Galicia, Spain, visit the Ancora Valley, and also go up into the Serra d'Agra mountains following ancient tracks.
Today, we leave the coast and transfer into the Peneda-Geres National Park, where you'll find some of the most beautiful and varied scenery in the whole country. Our hotel for the next four nights is the three star Hotel Castro Villae in Castro Laboreiro.
We spend our days at Castro Laboreiro, which is overlooked by its ancient castle, walking in the high mountain meadows and rolling moorland as well as amongst towering granite crags and hidden wooded valleys.
Our second centre in the Peneda-Geres National Park is Peneda. We walk between centres today, across the mountains, with our luggage being transferred separately. Our hotel, once a pilgrim's hostel for the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Peneda, has been imaginatively concerted into a high quality hotel.
Our walking programme from Peneda is set to the backdrop of trees, crags and waterfalls. This remote region has protected the natural landscape of the area.
We leave today, transferring to Porto for our flight back to the UK
See where this holiday travels to.
The Hotel Castrum Villae is a comfortable hotel surrounded by nature and clear mountain air in the centre of Castro Laboreir, a charming village nestled in the hills. There are small shops and cafés nearby. An elegant restaurant overlooks the village and serves highlights of traditional Portuguese cuisine, whilst the bar serves drinks such as cocktails and is a quiet and relaxing space. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. All rooms are en-suite and feature hairdryer, air conditioning/heating, TV mini bar and room service.
Located just a couple of minutes’ walk away from the charming Priaia das Criancas beach and five minutes from the town centre, the modern, yet cosy Hotel Meira provides a relaxing base for our holiday. Its excellent facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, sun terrace, restaurant, bar and complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. All of the recently refurbished rooms feature air conditioning, telephone, hairdryer, safes, and satellite TV. Breakfasts and dinners are included, and are taken at the Hotels own Dona Belinha restaurant, which serves the best in traditional Portuguese cuisine, as well as a buffet breakfast with a large range of choice.
Our final three nights will be spent in the beautifully designed Peneda Hotel, staffed by a friendly team and near to the Sanctuary, making an excellent base for our walks. The hotel enjoys a secluded location, near to the impressive Church that dominates the square, but from where you can enjoy beautiful views over the countryside and verdant mountains as well. Wandering into the village you can find a small café nearby but the hotels facilities do include a cosy restaurant, bar and lounge with wood burning fireplace. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel, although this can be patchy. Simple rooms are en suite with TV and heating.