- Clear sustainable travel policy
- Tourism Dispersal
- Behavioral Awareness Education
- Small Group Travel
1-week self-guided walking holiday through the unexplored, rural side of the Douro wine region with orchards, vineyards, and typical villages to explore.
Are you feeling exhausted by the daily grind of city life? This week-long holiday walking at your own pace will help you slow down and rejuvenate. You’ll spend most of the week discovering a side of Douro where few tourists venture, hiking through awe-inspiring landscapes, and stopping in small villages along the way. Visiting the Douro region wouldn’t be complete without savoring delicious wines in serene settings, away from the hustle and bustle of tourist hot spots.
On this walking trip through the other side of Douro, you’ll start in Porto and make your way down to the riverside town of Peso de Régua. As you explore the area south of the Douro River, you’ll walk through beautiful natural landscapes past fruit trees and orchards, and through terraced vineyards.
You’ll have the chance to admire the UNESCO World Heritage landscapes of the Alto Douro wine region from multiple vantage points. Our different hikes to Pinhão, Vacalar, and Adorigo, to name a few, offer the chance to overlook gorgeous rolling vineyards, terraced slopes, and the mighty Douro River.
Throughout your hike, you can sample delicious local specialties, and savor the unique flavors of the region’s wines. The wine production here is mostly thanks to smaller producers, which means a greater variety of vineyard patterns and a very local feel to the experience.
As well as its wine industry, the Douro region is well known for its fruit production. Strolling through Armamar, a charming town in northern Portugal, you’ll see orchards full of cherries, apples, elderberries, and figs. Depending on the time of year, the fruit trees may be in blossom or in fruit, adding extra color and flavor to your time in the Douro Valley.
This Douro walking tour also offers the possibility to immerse yourself in Portuguese history and culture. In Salzedas and Barcos, located in northern Portugal, their historical monuments, including a Romanesque church and a Cistercian monastery, will impress you. For example, the monastery of Santa Maria de Salzedas, which dates from the 12th century, has been recognized as one of the most important and beautiful in Portugal.
You’ll also experience the region’s laid-back rural rhythm. In small towns, notice how locals manage their vegetable plots, vineyards, and fruit trees. There will be time, too, to hang out in a cafe and watch life unfold around you.
The final walking day starts in a hillside village on the north side of the Douro River, which gives you an opportunity to see where you’ve already walked from a different perspective. This is a lovely way to end your Douro vacation!
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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 picking of grapes 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. May, June, and September tend to be warmer with less chance of rain, though, in spring and autumn, there is always a chance of experiencing some rain. Come prepared for changeable conditions in case you have a chilly or windy day.
July and August are usually the hottest months, with temperatures regularly exceeding 30°C (86°F).
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.
Day 1: Porto [Portugal] (arrival day)
Day 2: Train ride from Porto to Peso da Régua
Day 3: Linear walk from Peso da Régua to Aldeia de Baixo (Armamar) (15.9km | 9.9 miles | +706 meter elevation gain)
Day 4: Linear walk from Salzedas to Aldeia de Baixo (14.6km | 9 miles | +348m)
Day 5: Linear walk from Armamar to Quinta do Tedo (14.2km | 8.8 miles | +356m)
Day 6: Tabuaço circular walk via Adorigo (16.5km | 10 miles | +417m)
Day 7: Linear walk from Valença do Douro to Pinhão (15.4km | 9.6 miles | +325m)
Day 8: Linear walk from Vilarinho de Cotas to Pinhão (8.9km | 5.5 miles | +131m), return to Porto (departure day)
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. 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.
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.
Community: 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.
Most of the walking days involve passing through small hillside villages where you are welcome to stop at local cafés, bakeries, and grocery or craft stores in order to get a sense of what local life is like and interact with the residents.
This trail is in the heart of the renowned Douro wine region so as well as observing the manual labor that goes into tending the endless grape vines, there are plenty of opportunities to visit local wine producers to taste and buy their wines and learn about the unique family histories of these quintas (wine estates).
Economy: Your tourism money will stay with these communities and you will support older generations reliant on subsistence agriculture. By booking this trip, you'll directly support the local economy.
Use the Google map to orient yourself about where in the world this trip is. The location indicates the starting point for this trip.
Prices do not include flights to/from the destination.
Contact us for single supplement prices.
Instead of traveling by train, you can opt to spend the day on the water and take a river cruise upstream to Régua. This will involve the fascinating machinations of the Carrapatelo Dam (35 meters) and the Crestuma-Lever Dam (14 meters). The boat journey takes around 6 hours to reach Régua with lunch on board.
Instead of the walk from Vilarinho das Cotas, you can take a river cruise downstream from Régua to Porto as above, with a private transfer from Pinhão in the morning to catch the boat in Régua and lunch on board.
Option 1: Instead of returning to Porto by train after walking to Pinhão on day 8, you could spend an extra night in Pinhão and take the train the following day.
Option 2: Alternatively, you could spend an extra night in Pinhão and take the river cruise the following day.
If you would like us to add one or more nights in a Pinhão or Porto hotel, just let us know.
If you cancel:
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.
Q: What does the Physical Rating of "Average" mean?
A: With potentially longer walking days, this trip is ideal for regular walkers and can be enjoyed by anyone in good health who has prepared sufficiently in advance.
Distance: Max 16.5 km (10.25 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:
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 are a complete and affordable holiday, tailored specifically for independent travelers. They offer the same quality, style, service, and comforts of 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, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. You should be comfortable walking for 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.