Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Porto & the Douro Valley
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Highlights

  • Sauntering through the Ribeira, Porto’s old town and a World UNESCO Heritage Site
  • Sitting on your private terrace in the Quinta da Seixada sipping world-famous wine
  • Partaking in wine-tasting at local wineries, such as the DouRosa Branco from the Quinta de la Rosa
  • Enjoying the mighty Douro River as you slowly make your way downstream on a scenic boat cruise

From the World UNESCO Heritage Site of the Ribeira, Porto’s old town, to the green and gold geometric landscapes of the Douro River Valley, this area of northern Portugal offers a unique sensory experience where the pace of life has been unchanged for centuries.

Follow trails through this timeless terrain, visit wineries that are over a century old and encounter traditional white-washed villages that cling to the hillsides. Also view the captivating landscapes of wine terraces with a legendary train journey from Porto to Pinhão and during a boat cruise along the Douro River. Feel the warmth of the sun on your back as you take in these dazzling and picturesque scenes.

Arrive in the coastal city of Porto which spans the mouth of the serene Douro River. Porto is a fabulous city to explore, with its Baroque churches, village-style plazas, soaring bell-towers, and narrow cobbled lanes. Stroll through the Ribeira district where local inhabitants still mingle and sit on the terrace of a traditional restaurant and see the sun setting over the Douro River; this is indeed a city of romance.

Next you will take an unforgettable train journey from Porto to the Douro Valley, so beautiful that it too is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This journey allows you to soak up the ageless landscapes of the region at your leisure. Also fascinating is the remarkable engineering that went into the building of this railway line as you pass through 26 tunnels and cross over 30 bridges.

On arrival in the Douro Valley you can anticipate enjoying panoramic walks past vineyards that produce world-class wines. Stay in rural accommodations that are within the grounds of these vineyards and perhaps even try some traditional barefoot grape-treading!

Even more thrilling is your journey back to Porto via a scenic river cruise, along the mighty Douro. You’ll get a first-hand view of the thousands of wine terraces and the villages that cling to the cliffs overlooking the river.

DAY 1: Arrive Porto

This self-guided walking tour begins in the city of Porto, set on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Douro River. Explore its old quarter, the Ribeira and its maze of narrow cobbled streets and beautiful plazas. On arrival at Porto Airport you will be transferred to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may wish to begin exploring today and have dinner in one of the many quayside restaurants.


Overnight: Hotel Teatro, Porto


A former 19th Century theatre, the Hotel Teatro is perfectly located in the centre of Porto and a stone's throw away from all the major attractions. Delightfully decorated to a 'theatre' theme, this 4 star hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the city.


DAY 2: Discover Old Porto, train ride to Pinhão

Today you will take a scenic train ride to the Douro Valley, a World UNESCO Heritage Site. The train journey takes around 2 and a half hours. However you have the flexibility to decide when to leave Porto as you may wish to explore more of this amazing city this morning. Marvel at the 14th century ramparts and the Sé Cathedral which dates from the 12th and 13th centuries.


Your memorable train journey from Porto to the Douro Valley is a remarkable feat of engineering as there are 26 tunnels to go through and 30 bridges to cross. Pass through areas of outstanding natural beauty; vineyard-covered hillsides that stretch down to the banks of the Douro River. Upon arrival in Pinhão Train Station take a taxi to your guest house, Quinta de la Rosa which is set in a local vineyard.


Overnight: Quinta de la Rosa, Pinhão


A rural retreat, this Quinta is a small family-owned vineyard which produces top quality table wines, ports and olive oil. The very comfortable and spacious rooms and suites overlook the pool and the Douro River.


DAY 3: Pinhão to Sabrosa

From the doorstep of the Quinta de la Rosa to your accommodation in Sabrosa you will be able to absorb the spectacular scenery of the Alto Douro Wine Region. This is a land of traditions and there is much evidence to suggest that wine production has been a livelihood here for more than two thousand years. It is the first wine region in the world that was demarcated and the harvest here is still as traditional as it used to be and still done by hand and foot (with the squashing of the grapes!).


As you walk up and over the hilly slopes you will pass through the village of Provosende where you may rest and admire its old manor houses. Come across a small tavern or “tacsa” that has an interesting exhibition regarding the local wine production. Crossing the plateau, pass by more traditional wineries and villages before arriving in Sabrosa. This is the home of one of the most important world navigators, Ferdinand Magellan.


Walk: 13km; 400m elevation gain


Overnight: Casa dos Barros, Sabrosa



Casa dos Barros has different types of rooms, each one with its own decoration, offering you the comfort and cosy feeling of a home family with the services of a small hotel.





DAY 4: Sabrosa to Alijó

Begin today’s walk by following a trail through  vineyards down to the River Pinhão where you cross an old bridge. Also surrounded by olive groves, you will then pass through Favaios village where the bakeries still use their wood ovens dating from the late 19th century. After discovering Favaios you may then pay a visit to the Quinta do Portal, a vineyard that has won medals in international wine contests.


Make your way to Alijó and to the Pousada de Barão de Forrester, tonight's accommodation.


Walk: 13km; 510m elevation gain


Overnight: Pousada de Barão de Forrester, Alijó


This accommodation offers contemporary décor, whilst still maintaining it’s Douro roots.


DAY 5: Alijó to Vale Mendiz

After walking back into Favaios and perhaps buying bread in a local bakery for a picnic lunch, you pass an iron settlement from the 1st century BC. It is worth paying a small fee to partake in some wine-tasting at Quinta de Avessada. This Quinta has been producing wine for at least a century and has an interactive museum that you may look around. This type of museum is the first of its kind in the country and is full of innovative activities that will surprise its visitors.


Following this visit and after walking through farmland, you will reach a wonderful view point where you can see hamlets perched on outcrops over the river and within the vineyards. The Vale Mendiz, your final destination for today, is one such hamlet set over the River Pinhão and you will be wholeheartedly welcomed at the Quinta do Silval.


Walk: 16.5km; 320m elevation gain


Overnight: Rural Hotel Quinta do Silval, Vale Mendiz


A charming rustic wine hotel offering rooms with panoramic views to the vineyards and a restaurant offering a warm ambience and the finest of food and wines.


DAY 6: Vale Mendiz to Pinhão

This morning you will walk from Vale Mendiz back to Pinhão (along a different route) with stunning views over the Douro River and beyond  to the south, east and west. The scenery of vineyards and mountains carved out by rivers is indeed special and it is no wonder that this area has been designated a World UNESCO Heritage Site.


This afternoon you may like to relax at the Quinta de la Rosa and make use of the swimming pool. Alternatively you may choose to take a scenic boat trip along the River Douro to Rabelo where you can take in more of this fascinating scenery.


Walk: 8km; 200m elevation gain


Overnight: Quinta de la Rosa, Pinhão


DAY 7: River Douro Cruise to Porto

This morning take a short train journey from Pinhão to Regua where you will board your river boat for a peaceful all-day cruise down the Douro River, back to Porto. See the thousands of tiers of vine-lined terraces and the many small towns and settlements perched on the sloping hillsides. On a clear day this scenery is reflected in the waters of the river as you sail along. Many of these villages have retained their medieval simplicity with tiny communities clustered around historic churches, monasteries and castles. Cross 14 locks and descend over 35m at the various dams on this incredible journey. You will also enjoy lunch on board which includes local wine.


Later this afternoon arrive back into Porto and make your way to the hotel. As this city is renowned for its world class cuisine, perhaps you can seek out a great restaurant as a treat on your last night.

Overnight: Hotel Teatro, Porto

DAY 8: Onward Travel

The tour finishes after breakfast and you will be transferred to Porto Airport for your journey home.

Accommodation

Your 7 night, 8 day Porto & the Douro Valley self-guided walk in Portugal includes 7 nights in 4 & 3* hotels and guest houses set on wine estates. All of the hotels have been specifically chosen for their comfort and some also for their great locations with fabulous views over the Douro River and surrounding vineyards. A warm welcome is assured and some have swimming pools or gardens that you may wander through.


Alternative accommodation

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Meals

7 Breakfasts and 1 lunch on the Douro River Cruise are included. In Porto you can eat dinner in one of the many restaurants and at the other locales (because they are rural areas) at the hotels. We recommend that you make reservations for dinner, especially at the quintas. We recommend trying the traditional and locally-sourced food, especially the fresh seafood in Porto which is simply delicious. For lunches you can find local cheeses, meats and breads in local shops or markets, or the hotels may make you a packed lunch on request.



 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Availability

This Porto & the Douro Valley self guided walking tour is available to start on any day from May to June and from September to October.


Time of Year

As the summer months can be extremely hot, making walking quite uncomfortable the departure dates are limited to spring, autumn and winter months. In the spring there will be lots of wildflowers and in the autumn it is the grape harvest, so it will be a great time to be in this area. Please be aware that in the winter months some of the hotels and hotel restaurants may be closed however there will be options available in the local area and the accommodation you will stay in may not be exactly the same as that in the detailed itinerary however it will be of a similar standard.


Single Rooms and Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Grade & Terrain 

This tour is suitable for most people that are in good physical condition. The daily distances are not that far, although you should be aware that there are some quite significant elevation gains through the local vineyard terraces in the Douro Valley. However on some of the days there is no walking at all to make way for scenic train and boat rides to and from Porto. As this is a self-guided walk you will be responsible for navigation, decision making and safety during your trip.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

You will be provided with detailed route information to help you find your way. As the local maps in this area are basic you will also be given GPSs and will receive instructions on how to use them.


Baggage Transfers

Your bags will be transferred as per your itinerary. We request that you limit your luggage to 20kg per person and one bag per person.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack. 


Getting to and from Porto

Porto Airport is the nearest airport and is served by many airlines, such as Easyjet, Ryanair, KLM and British Airways. Porto is also accessible from Lisbon Airport.


From Lisbon Airport take an airport shuttle bus to the Santa Apolonia Train Station and then a train to Porto which takes around two and a half hours. Lisbon is also served by many airlines in the UK and from many other gateways in Europe


All transfers to and from Porto Airport (or to/from train or bus station in Porto)to the first and last hotels are included in the price.


Included

  • 7 Nights in 4* & 3* Hotels and Guest Houses
  • Lunch on Day 7 while on the Douro River Cruise
  • The Douro River Cruise
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Baggage transfers (apart from on Day 7)
  • Transfers at the beginning and end of the tour from the hotels to Porto Airport
  • A briefing about the tour upon arrival at your hotel
  • Detailed maps, information pack, route information, and loan of a GPS
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in Portugal and our office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Train tickets from Porto to Pinhão and from Pinhão to Porto (around €11 one way)
  • Taxi from Porto hotel to train station on Day 2
  • Luggage transfers on Day 2
  • Transfer from Pinhao to hotel on Day 2
  • Train tickets from Pinhão to Peso da Regua
  • 7 Dinners
  • 6 Lunches
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Mountain rescue / emergency assistance

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the holiday
  • Single room supplement if single room required.
  • Solo traveller supplement
  • Optional Rabelo Boat Trip on Day 6

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is suitable for most people that are in good physical condition. Although the daily distances are not that far, it has been rated easy to moderate as there are some quite significant elevation gains through the local vineyard terraces in the Douro Valley. However on some of the days there is no walking at all to make way for scenic train and boat rides to and from Porto. 

When is the best time of year?

As the summer months can be extremely hot, making walking quite uncomfortable the departure dates are limited to spring and autumn months. In the spring there will be lots of wildflowers and in the autumn it is the grape harvest, so it will be a great time to be in this area.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this area is extremely popular. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans so just ask.

How do the baggage transfers work? 

Your bags will be transferred as per your itinerary. We request that you limit your luggage to 20kg per person and one bag per person.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. There is a more comprehensive list in your information pack. 

Which is the best airport?

Porto has an airport and is therefore the best airport to fly into as the tour starts and finishes here. On arrival in Porto Airport you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel. On departure you will need to make your own way to the airport, but since it is only 6 miles from the city centre and the metro goes there, it is easy to get to. You could also take a taxi which takes around 20 minutes and costs around €25.

What happens if I can't walk a stage? 

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop, this is payable locally. Our local partners in Portugal, and/or your accommodation providers will be able to assist with this.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventurePorto & the Douro Valley
 
4.5

(based on 10 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Well organised (8)
  • Great accommodations (6)
  • Once in a lifetime experience (4)
  • Fun (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Holiday (7)
  • Relaxation (6)
  • Trying something new (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • World traveller (7)

Reviewed by 10 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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4.0

Delightful week in the Douro Valley

By P & P

from United States

About Me World Traveller

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Fun
  • Great Accommodations
  • Well Organised

Cons

  • Some trails were in less than desirable location

Best Uses

  • Holiday

Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

This trip to the Douro Valley was really a special time, great food, wine & people made it a trip to remember!
The accommodations were nice, but the only negative was that some of the trails were in areas that were less than desirable! There seemed to be an issue with an awful lot of trashy areas that we found ourselves nervous to walk through.

 
4.0

Great scenery

By LHR

from Santa Fe NM

About Me Occasional Traveller

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Once in a Lifetime Experience

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Holiday
    • Trying Something New

    Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

    Didn't care for rooms at Hotel Teatro in Porto but staff and location were excellent. Rest of the trip was perfect and gps was invaluable for locating trails. Accommodations along hike were all perfect and staff very helpful. Only glitch came at end when we nearly missed boat from Pinhao to Porto because of misinformation on the boat vouchers.

     
    5.0

    Excellent holiday and most enjoyable. Beautiful scenery.

    By Dot

    from UK

    About Me Keen walker

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Great Accommodations
    • Once in a Lifetime Experience
    • Well Organised

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Excellent walking holiday in glorious scenery

      Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

      Transported back to another era. Walking through ancient villages where time seemed to have stood still. Friendly and hospitable people.

       
      3.0

      I would visit Portugal again

      By Nicky

      from Sheffield

      About Me World Traveller

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • The accommodation was generally extremely good

      Cons

      • GPS failed, dark hotel in Porto

      Best Uses

      • Holiday
      • Relaxation

      Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

      The hotel in Porto was theatre themed. We understood that the intention was to provide a unique atmosphere which was acceptable in the communal areas but in our room it became hazardous and I banged my head on a glass panel which was not immediately visible (someone else we met did exactly the same) and we had to use my head torch to be able to open the safe. We complained to hotel staff both times we stayed there and were told on the first occasion that we should enjoy the atmosphere and on the second occasion that the complaint about darkness was a 'theme'. The GPS was good when it worked (the second day it took us to a pile of stones in stead of our hotel) but we would have been assisted by some brief written instructions or photographs of key junctions to avoid taking the wrong path only to have to retrace our steps. The landscape is lovely with stunning views from two of the hotels. We were lucky to be there when the grapes were being harvested but at other times of year the walks might be a bit dull. The Portuguese people were lovely and the staff in all the hotels really helpful. The frequent wine, port and moscatel tastings were a pleasurable distraction,

       
      5.0

      An outstanding experience in a wonderful part of the world

      By Jeremy M

      from Cape Town

      About Me World Traveller

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Brilliant ocal organiser (Helder)
      • Fun
      • Great Accommodations
      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
      • Well Organised

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Holiday
        • Relaxation
        • Tough walking at times
        • Wine and Port

        Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

        Both the location (upper Douro) and the organisation exceeded our expectations

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Experience the peace and beauty of the Douro

        By Jenny

        from St Albans

        About Me Occasional walker rather than hiker!, World Traveller

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Great Accommodations
        • Great scenery
        • Peace and tranquillity of the vineyards
        • Well Organised
        • Wine tasting

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Holiday
          • Relaxation
          • Walking through vineyards

          Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

          Great accommodation in the vineyards where you can enjoy local wine tasting. Beautiful scenery.

           
          4.0

          Douro Valley - great tour

          By Sally & Mike

          from New Zealand

          About Me World Traveller

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Great Accommodations
          • Well Organised

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Holiday
            • Relaxation

            Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

            Well organised - great support systems from local agent Portugal Nature Trails; fantastic accommodation on the walk (Porto hotel not so flash but adequate); friendly people; lovely rural areas and scenery; autumn is a great time of year to do the walk during grape harvesting

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Simply stunning!

            By Rosie

            from Wedmore, Somerset

            About Me Occasional Traveller

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Great Accommodations
            • Well Organised

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Holiday
              • Relaxation
              • Trying Something New

              Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

              This was our first experience of a self-guided tour and we loved it from beginning through to the end. Everything was so well organised - from the initial booking in the UK, through to our departure at the end of our holiday.

              The local support (if you needed it) was second to none. The scenery was outstanding, the walks a perfect length and the accommodation was first class.

              Our holiday began when we arrived at Porto Airport and were met by happy smiling Helder (local support from Portugal Nature Trails). Helder drove us to our hotel in Porto and then went through the details of the trip and explained how to use the GPS. Helder had designed the routes for our walks and had arranged the accommodation, which was very reassuring. He also explained how he would be on the end of the phone 24/7 in the event of any problems.

              The next day we set off on a stunning train journey up the beautiful Douro Valley, prior to commencing 4 days of walking from one stunning vineyard to another. We were probably unfortunate with the weather we had during our trip, which was essentially wet and unseasonably cold for May. Despite the weather, we had a fabulous time.

              The routes were very well planned and interesting. We walked on the edges of vineyards, with olive trees dotted amongst them, orange and lemon trees, cork trees, beautiful Spring flowers and the freshest of air. It was stunning.

              The GPS was brilliant - it was our first time walking without an OS map, so it felt a bit daunting at first, but we soon got to trust the directions and enjoyed not having to keep taking a map out.

              Each of the accommodations we stayed at during the hiking days were fabulous. They were all in fantastic locations, with lots of character. They were very well appointed with quality beds and bedlinen and all supplied great breakfasts. We were made to feel so welcome. We loved the food, trying the local wine (and of course the port).

              The four days walking flew by and before we knew it, it was time for us to return to Porto. We were supposed to take a river cruise back to Porto, but sadly, due to heavy rainfall the river was not safe for navigation. Helder however came and collected us and drove us on a very scenic route back to Porto and treated us to a delicious lunch on the way, so all was not lost.

              We then had a final day to wander around the lovely city of Porto before our return home. Porto is a great place to wander and soak up the friendly Portuguese atmosphere - well worth a visit in its own right.

              We would love to go back to the Douro Valley and would definitely recommend this trip. The only thing we would have changed was the hotel in Porto that we stayed in on our first night (Hotel Americas) which we found a bit more basic than we would have liked. Prior to our last night in Porto we had asked Heder if we could pay to upgrade to a different hotel. He was more than happy to do this and we spent our last night at the Hotel Teatro which was in a location nearer the riverside and was just perfect for us.

              All in all we had a fabulous holiday.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Fabulous trip great scenery and excellent support

              By Senior walker over70

              from Canberra

              About Me World Traveller

              Pros

              • Once in a Lifetime Experience
              • Well Organised

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Relaxation

                Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

                Excellent walking magnificent scenery and most helpful support from the local operator Hendley
                We thought the first and last hotel, America, in Porto, didn't match the excellent accommodation on the walking part of the tour

                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Beautiful, undiscovered Europe!

                By Mindy

                from Jacksonville, Florida

                About Me Avid Adventurer, World Traveller

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Fun
                • Well Organised

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Trying Something New

                  Comments about macs adventure Porto & the Douro Valley:

                  The Douro Valley is such a beautiful area and perfect for a peaceful walking trip. This trip was perfectly planned and laid out. We had a great briefing by the local company upon our arrival in Porto and the rest went off without a hitch. It was nearly impossible to get lost as the GPS tracks provided perfect direction for every day of our walk. Don't be afraid to ask for modifications or additions, they will accommodate most requests very easily. We asked for an extra day of walking and it was no problem at all. In addition, the food and wine is fabulous and the Portuguese people are wonderful. Don't hesitate. Book your trip to Portugal with MACS Adventures - you'll be glad you did!

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