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The Hidden Rivers of North Portugal (1600G)

Guided Tour The Hidden Rivers Of North Portugal (1600G) - Passadiços do Paiva
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The Tamega, the Paiva & the Vouga
Featuring the world prized Passadiços do Paiva

This one week tour features three of the most beautiful and remote rivers of Northern Portugal - the Tamega, the Paiva and the Vouga.

They flow through wild and hidden landscapes and extremely ancient areas, both in historic and geological terms. The areas are of difficult access and this has preserved the large diversity of the local fauna and flora.

Our tour brings us into closer contact with the hidden secrets of the rivers, and the natural and historical-cultural surroundings.

We use old trails, historic rail routes and newer innovations such as the remarkable Passadiços do Paiva which allow access to previously unexplored areas.

Our two centres, at either end of the tour, anchor the rivers and are intimately connected with them.

Our first centre, Amarante, also known as the princess of the Tamega, is a beautiful town with an amazing combination of tradition, history and nature.

The river Tâmega runs through this town which has a magical fairytale feel to it, with elegant turreted buildings and trees drooping into the river.

From Amarante, we travel to our second centre, Aveiro. But, en route, we stop by and walk the extraordinary Passadiços do Paiva.

The Passadiços are in the middle of a classified area by the European and Global Geoparks Networks, under the auspices of UNESCO, a remote and wild area of rugged beauty bisected by the fast flowing, “frisky” river Paiva of the cool, clear waters.

Finally, at the end, we come to the Ria of Aveiro where the river Vouga meets the ocean in the wide estuary that has been worked for centuries for fishing, salt collection and seaweed harvesting using the colourful “barcos moliceiros”.

Aveiro has often been called the Portuguese Venice due to its canals and charming bridges. The town itself is famous for its ceramics, many examples of which are visible everywhere. This is truly a sensational tour combining the best of what nature and humankind working in harmony together can create.
Each day breakfast will be taken in the Hotel before leaving for the day’s program.
We will usually leave the Hotel between 9.00 am and 9.30am.
On our return to the Hotel each day we will have time to relax and change before dinner which is usually taken at 7.30pm.
Each evening the guide will give a preview of the next day’s program.
Day’s program is subject to alteration due to weather and local conditions.

Arrival to Amarante
Transfer by road from Porto airport to Amarante.

Ecovia do Tamega: Canedo – Cruz de Baixo
This is a beautiful and scenic walk along a paved Ecovia, once one of the most spectacular narrow gauge railway lines in the country. The route passes through isolated villages, field systems and vineyards and offers breathtaking views over the Tamega River.
We pass through the attractive small town of Celorico de Basto where those wishing for an easier day can finish the walk.

S. Salvador do Monte and the Tamega River
We begin at the lovely small stone church of S. Salvador do Monte and descend on quiet lanes and wooded tracks to the edge of the River Tamega.
A riverside path then leads along the grassy margins of the river Tamega before arriving at the S. Gonçalo Bridge in Amarante.
This walk is specially designed to arrive back in Amarante in time for a late lunch and provide more time to explore this fascinating town.

Transfer day to Aveiro via Passadiços do Paiva
A big and full day in every way. Spectacular journey down the Tamega Valley & across the Douro River.
We then travel into the mountains to walk the famous Passadiços do Paiva. This 8km stretch of wooden boardwalks gives access to an otherwise inaccessible section of the glorious Paiva river cascading between crags and frothing over rocks as it navigates through some of the most beautiful and rugged scenery in the north.
After our walk, we have a well-deserved break in a café before continuing our journey to our next centre, Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal.

Sernada Ecopista
Today we meet the Vouga River. We shadow this gentle river as it meanders to Sernada do Vouga surrounded by woodland and rolling hills.
Sernada do Vouga where we finish our walk is an old railway junction and a stop on Portugal´s only remaining narrow gauge railway line.

We return to Sernada do Vouga and continue to follow the river as it quietly flows through a rich open valley.
Little villages enrich our walk, farmers tend their fields and trees offer shade as we accompany the river Vouga towards the sea.

Salreu nature circuit /boat trip Ria de Aveiro
The Rio Vouga now forms the grand estuary of the Ria de Aveiro.
This massive area of wetlands has been a haven for thousands of years for animals, birds and people alike.
Our walk is designed to appreciate and understand the importance of this natural habitat.
But, of course, the only way to finish our week is to take a boat ride through this stunning watery landscape.
A fitting climax to our exploration of northern Portugal’s hidden rivers

Transfer from hotel to Porto airport.
The Hotels
  • Hotel Navarras by Tamega Club *** (or similar)
Situated in Amarante’s historic centre, Hotel Navarras by Tamega Clube is 350 m from the Tâmega River.

It offers air-conditioned rooms with a terrace with panoramic view, modern wooden furnishings and a private bathroom, a TV and a telephone. In the morning, the hotel serves a buffet breakfast on the terrace. There is also a bar serving with refreshing drinks and snacks.
  • Hotel Aveiro Palace**** (or similar)
Founded in 1937, and set in a historic building in the centre of Aveiro, this recently renovated hotel overlooks the Central Canal and the famous Aveiro's moliceiros.

The bright rooms are equipped with modern facilities such as satellite TV and an elegant bathroom. Hotel Aveiro Palace serves a rich buffet breakfast prepared with seasonal ingredients in the breakfast room with a 1937 tile wall. Guests can also enjoy refreshing drinks in the lounge with a flat-screen TV.
What's Included
  • 7 nights in a twin room (two stars hotel)
  • Single supplement applied in single rooms
  • All guided tours
  • 7 Dinners taken in local restaurants with drinks included. We are always able to cater for vegetarian or other special diets (Lunches can be bought from local shops)
  • 7 buffet breakfasts at the Hotel.
  • Transfers from Porto airport at 12 a.m on the first day
  • Transfers from the Hotel to Porto airport at 12 a.m on last day
  • All land travel (as outlined)
  • Dedicated driver and guide
Not Included
  • Any services not listed as included
  • Flights to and from Portugal 
  • Meals, tips/gratuities, baggage or personal insurance (except as outlined)
  • Admission fees to castles & attractions or events (except as outlined)
  • Personal expenses
  • Supplements
  • Guide services inside monuments
More Info
The land only option allows you to book your own transport to and from the holiday. You will normally meet the group at the arrival airport at 12 a.m as long as you arrive there no later than the group. Similarly, on the way home, you can return to the airport with the group as long as your departure time is no earlier than that of the group.

This guided tour already includes a transfer departing from Porto airport at 12 a.m. on arrival day and returning to Porto airport at 12 a.m. on last day.

If none of this option suits you, please add to your booking a transfer that does. You can also rent a car.

To this tour, we only accept transfers departing from Porto Airport or Porto.

Departure dates: