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[8 days] Heart & Soul of Douro Valley Douro Valley, Portugal

  • Trip Type: Self-Guided
  • Group Size: Min 2, Max 12
  • Departure Date: Flexible
  • Bookable From: March - October
  • Duration: Weeklong (7-9 days)
  • Physical Rating: Average

This trip is a 1-week, self-guided walking tour and wine-tasting holiday in the Douro Valley. Our route will take you through astonishingly beautiful world heritage landscapes and picturesque traditional villages.

The Douro Valley demarcated wine region is one of the most scenically impressive in the world; as evidenced by its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For generations, thousands of people have built extraordinary terraced staircases on the steep curved hillsides that surround the Douro River, turning almost inaccessible lands into large cultivated vineyards. From this unique terroir come the grapes used to make Portugal’s famous port wine as well as exquisite table wines.

Make your way from Porto into the very heart of the Douro region before exploring the picturesque slopes and valleys of this World Heritage landscape on foot.

Follow unpaved roads and footpaths as you walk from village to village, pausing for picnic lunches and visits to local wine estates where you can sample not only award-winning table wines but also port and muscatel wines.

Museums such as the Bread and Wine Museum in Favaios will give you a greater appreciation of local traditions and wine production. You’ll also witness some of the year-round activities involved in tending the vines and terraces.

Relax after each day’s walk at carefully selected country houses and hotels. You will receive a warm welcome, comfortable accommodation and delicious meals.

End your self-guided Douro Valley walking tour back in the fascinating historical city of Porto. You can visit the port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia as well as explore Porto’s many sights and views.

Seasonal Notes:

You can book this itinerary from March 1st through October 31st each year. The low season is from March 1st to April 30th & from October 16th to 31st. The high season is from May 1st to October 15th. If the trip coincides with the grape harvest, which is usually in September, you will have the opportunity to experience the hustle and bustle of grape picking and transportation to the wineries. With a bit of luck, you can even participate in grape treading or harvest celebrations.

 April, May, June, September and October are the ideal months for a walking holiday to northern Portugal. In spring and autumn, there is always a chance of experiencing some rain. Days can be warm and sunny, or chilly and possibly windy, especially on the coast. So, come prepared for changeable conditions. May, June and September tend to be warmer with less chance of rain. July and August are usually the hottest months, with temperatures regularly exceeding 30 degrees Celsius.

Traveling during the low or shoulder seasons is generally considered to be a sustainable tourism practice as it helps with tourism dispersal: spreading out where tourists go and how their money supports locals throughout the year.

📋 Itinerary

This itinerary is customizable. Contact Yūgen Earthside for more information.

Day 1: Porto [Portugal] (arrival day)
Day 2: Train ride from Porto to Pinhão
Day 3: Walk from Pinhão to Vilarinho de São Romão (9. km | 5.9 miles | +587 meter elevation gain)
Day 4: Circular walk via Pinhão River (13km | 8.1 miles | +512m)
Day 5: Walk from Vilarinho de São Romão to Alijó (16km | 9.9 miles | +626m)
Day 6: Circular walk via São Mamede da Ribatua (15km | 9.3 miles | +369m)
Day 7: Walk from Alijó to Casal de Loivos (14km | 8.7 miles | +233m)
Day 8: Porto (Departure day)

🌱 Sustainability

This walking tour was crafted using extensive local knowledge and designed to respect both the way of life of local populations as well as the natural environment. We firmly believe that travel should be a safe and rewarding experience for all concerned, including the destinations that you visit and the people you meet.

Environment: You will see this UNESCO World Heritage region up close through scenic routes and rural backroads with river and vineyard views. You will see man-made wine terraces, and have the chance to enjoy the local flora and fauna with negligible environmental impact, especially since you will receive a full briefing from us on how to respect the local wildlife and landscape.

We focus on green transportation by taking the train out to the valley, and then beginning the walking tour. When necessary (to avoid some luggage transfers), we'll use local taxi drivers to reduce carbon emissions and support the local economy.

Since the quality of tap water is excellent in Portugal, we supply a refillable bottle that clients can use during their walking holiday and beyond.

Accommodations: To make sure that money stays within the small local communities that our clients spend time in, the accommodation for this program is in a combination of small, unique hotels and family-run rural lodgings, which give clients an insight into local history and culture. Some accommodations produce their own wine, olive oil and fruit, from which they make products that can also be purchased as gifts/souvenirs.

The daily lunch pack contains fresh local produce and we encourage guests to have dinner at hospitable local restaurants where they can enjoy traditional regional dishes, engage with the owners, chef or servers and, of course, sample Douro wines and port.

By booking this trip, you'll directly support the local economy. Your tourism money will stay with these communities as you support an older generations reliant on subsistence agriculture.

  • Clear sustainable travel policy
  • Tourism Dispersal
  • Behavioral Awareness Education
  • Small Group Travel
  • Adhere to Strict Environmental Standards
  • Conserve Ecosystems/Preserve Biodiversity
  • Green Transportation
  • Focused on Minimizing Waste
  • Local/Organic Food Served
  • Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
  • Use Water Flow Reducers
  • Supports Local Businesses
  • Tours Benefit Local Community
  • Connect Travelers to Local Products
  • Engage with Local Communities
  • Act Mindfully of Local Health
  • Provide Authentic Experiences

📌 Location

Use the Google map to orient yourself about where in the world this trip is. The location indicates the starting point for this trip.

A specific route map is included in the downloadable detailed itinerary.

🏷️ Pricing

Price varies between high and low season.
Prices for this trip are listed in EUR with USD approximations. Payment will be for the amount in EUR.
Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.
See the full list of price inclusions and exclusions in the downloadable detailed itinerary.

Low season: 1st March - 30th April | 16th October - 31st October

  • Double room occupancy (excl. flights)

    USD an apprx. of price in EUR: 990 €

    $ 1200
  • Single room occupancy (excl. flights)

    USD an apprx. of price in EUR: 1320 €

    $ 1600

High season: 1st May - 15th October

  • Double room occupancy (excl. flights)

    USD an apprx. of price in EUR: 1090 €

    $ 1320
  • Single room occupancy (excl. flights)

    USD an apprx. of price in EUR: 1480 €

    $ 1790

ℹ️ Other Info

If you're ready to book this trip, or if you still have some questions, contact us to let us know!

If you cancel:

  • More than 31 days before the expected arrival date – we'll refund you 90% of the total cost (tour operator keeps 10%)
  • From 30 to 22 days before the expected arrival date – we'll refund you 50% of the total cost (tour operator keeps 50%)
  • From 21 to 14 days before the expected arrival date – we'll refund you 25% of the total cost (tour operator keeps 75%)
  • Less than 14 days before the expected arrival date – no refund is possible

If you do need to cancel, you may reschedule the trip for another date as long as you request the trip a minimum of 30 days before you want to depart. It is free of charge to postpone your trip.

This trip has a variable start date, so you can plan a departure date when it suits you.

Be sure you have traveler's insurance.

Please be fully vaccinated and boosted before traveling. You may also need proof of a negative Covid test before arrival to the country. Keep a mask and hand sanitizer with you at all times.

Special precautions:

As this trip is bookable for 2+ travelers and is an outdoor walking tour, you can book this with your family, pod, or "Quaranteam" to enjoy a safe, socially-distant escape outdoors.

Q: What does the Physical Rating of "Average" mean?
A: With potentially longer walking days and/or several steep climbs and descents, these tours are designed for experienced, regular walkers and can be enjoyed by anyone in good health who has prepared sufficiently in advance.

Distance: Max 25 km (15.5 miles) per day
Elevation gain: Max 700 m per day

Q: What do I need to bring?
A: Most of this walking holiday is off-road on rugged terrain so you will need:

  • Proper walking shoes with cushioning and support.
  • Weather protection (there is little shade so adequate weather protection is vital).
  • Walking poles are recommended.

Q: What is a self-guided tour?
A: On a self-guided tour, you navigate the route yourself with the aid of our Roadbook and GPS with all the tracks. We provide all the information you need including suggestions, maps, instructions, directions, and things to see. Our self-guided tours is a complete and affordable holiday, tailored specifically for independent travelers. They offer the same quality, style, service and comforts of typical guided trips with the freedom and flexibility of making your own decisions about how you spend your time.

Q: How do I prepare for a walking holiday?
A: We recommend that before starting you should adapt your body for long walks. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. You should comfortable with walking 4 to 6 hours for consecutive days with some ups-and-downs on varied terrain, from tarmac roads to dirt paths and rocky or muddy tracks. Hill walking, with a reasonable amount of ascent and descent, is the best training for a walking holiday.

Q: How will it work visiting the wineries?
A: Travelers will need to book the tastings, but we will help facilitate this by providing a list of the wineries, their locations, and contact information. Most wineries are around Pinhão, where you will be on the first and last days. Tastings cost anywhere from 10 € and up.

Duration: This trip lasts 8 days, 7 nights. You'll be walking on 6 days.
Total Distance: 73.5 km (45.7 miles).

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