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The Magical Douro (1700G)

Porto
Guided Tour The Magical Douro (1700G) - The Magical Douro
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Description
GUIDED TOUR
Three Points Of View – Porto, Miranda & Régua

This three-centre holiday travels up the Douro Valley, allowing us to explore its furthest regions towards the Spanish frontier.

Those who have seen the Douro Valley in travelogues will know how beautiful and unspoilt the central and upper reaches of the valley are, with deep valleys and plateaus interspersed with ancient villages and castles that bear witness to struggles over the centuries.

Our journey takes us on one of the world’s most spectacular railway lines, as we follow the great Douro River from its estuary, where the ancient city of Porto is situated, through the famous Port wine vineyards and into the upper reaches of Portugal, where the river forms the border with Spain.

The holiday offers easy walking in this attractive region, particularly noted for its wine production.

We fly into Porto where we stay for our first three nights. Porto, situated on the Douro River, is the capital of the north and the second largest city in Portugal. It is now a World Heritage Site and has been the centre of the port wine trade for centuries.

We will have time to explore this intriguing city where historic buildings and magnificent churches rub shoulders with picturesque old quarters.

Guimarães is a delightful medieval town and the birthplace of Portugal. It was here that the creation of a nation began. Beautiful Vila do Conde lies on the coast and is famous for the construction of traditional wooden fishing boats and lace making.

Leaving Porto we travel up the Douro Valley by train to Pocinho and then continue by road to Miranda do Douro, where we spend five further nights.

Miranda Do Douro is a charming medieval town, and from here our walks pass through villages where people still follow an ancient way of life, still speaking the ancient Mirandese language, that has survived through the centuries.

From Miranda, we travel by road and train to Régua.

Known as the ‘Capital of the Douro’ because of its role in the port industry, we will be able to see how port wine is made and afterwards, taste it for ourselves.

Our walks will take us through the distinctive landscape of vineyards which provide the grapes. Here, we will visit Lamego, a magnificent old town, rich in history and culture and full of charm.

Here we find the shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, one of the greatest baroque structures in Europe.

Finally, we return to Porto by train for the final night of our holiday, a time to look back at our experiences in the distinctive landscapes of the Douro.
Itinerary
WEEK’S PROGRAM
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.

DAY 1
Arrival in Porto
Arrive at Porto airport. Transfer by road from Porto airport to our hotel. Orientation walk time permitting.

DAY 2
Visit Porto
Visit Porto to explore the town which is the ‘capital of the north’ and Portugal’s second city.
Our walk takes in some of Porto´s most iconic monuments and places such as the Cathedral, the Stock Exchange, S. Bento Station, the Praça da Ribeira and the Port Lodges.
We see some magnificent views from the top of D. Luis I Bridge and the viewpoint of the Serra do Pilar.
We also have the chance to taste port in the old Port houses of Vila Nova de Gaia.

DAY 3
Guimarães or Porto
Today we can visit Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal, and a World Heritage site with its perfectly restored medieval centre, the Castle and the Ducal Palace.
Alternatively, we can stay in Porto and have a lovely walk taking in some beautiful parks and gardens, along with leafy quiet lanes.
We go through some picturesque and ancient neighbourhoods and can visit places of interest along the way such as the Museu Romantico, Casa Tait, the Crystal Palace and also the splendid Parque da Cidade.

DAY 4
Porto to Miranda
We leave Porto to take the fabulous train journey along the River Douro valley which is also a World Heritage Site in its entirety.
The journey offers magnificent views and is one of the most famous railway journeys in the world.
At the end of the railway journey, we board a coach for the last part of the journey to Miranda do Douro.
We travel through the wide open landscapes of the remote North East Portugal. Its vast plateaus offer us vistas of almond trees, vineyards and olive orchards.
In its rolling meadows, we see the magnificent cows of this area placidly eating in amongst the sheep and the rare breed of local giant donkeys.
We arrive in Miranda do Douro, a gem of a medieval township, once a frontier post on the edge the dramatic Douro gorge.
Over the next few days, we will spend time exploring the town as well as walking in the surrounding countryside and through the ancient villages in the upper reaches of the upper Douro plateau.

DAY 5
Vale de Mira Walk
A circular walk on undulating lanes and tracks.
A fascinating introduction to the area as we walk through two villages and begin to appreciate the local culture and way of life.
This will be a half day enabling us to have lunch in Miranda and explore the town.

DAY 6
Fresno Walk
Circular walk on undulating lanes and tracks.
This varied walk explores the valley of the river Fresno, a patchwork of fields, smallholdings and woodland.
We pass through the traditional village of Palancar giving the impression of stepping back hundreds of years.

DAY 7
Vale D’Águia and the Douro Arribas
A linear walk following good dirt tracks and occasional quiet tarmac lanes. We visit S João das Arribas, where a tiny chapel perches high above the River Douro offering dramatic views.
Again we visit traditional villages and, at one point, the site of an ancient Castro (prehistoric settlement).

DAY 8
Senhora do Picão Walk
This is a linear walk, mostly on the flat or with a slight descent.
The walk is on good tracks and passes through a number of quaint villages, as well as the ruins of Nossa Senhora do Picão, where, it is said that the Virgin Mary appeared several times to a little girl, prior to the Fatima apparitions.
The waters of the well here are said to have healing properties.

DAY 9
Miranda to Régua
From Miranda, we travel by road and rail back to Régua giving us the opportunity to admire and enjoy once again the fabulous scenery.
Régua is the centre of the Douro valley, famous of course for its wines, not just the famous port wine but also many very fine table wines.
Our walks over the next few days will go through this fantastic landscape of steeply sloping and terraced vineyards and olive groves.
We will visit the ancient town of Lamego with its fine ancient buildings, beautiful churches and magnificent cathedral and, of course, the fantastic stairway leading up to the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios.

DAY 10
Quinta de S. Domingos Walk
This walk starts at the hilltop Chapel of S. Domingos catching stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
On our way back down we pass through a patchwork of vineyards before we reach the river Douro and the dam.
En route we will have the opportunity to visit a family-owned Port winery where we will learn a lot about the trade and, of course, we’ll taste some fine ports.

DAY 11
Lamego Day
Today we will visit this old town that can trace its history back to before Roman times and has been at the centre of Portuguese history since the implementation of the fledgeling kingdom.
The town’s impressive cathedral is almost 900 years old.
There is a beautiful and very interesting museum as well as many beautiful churches and chapels.
The sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios dominates the town. The stunning staircase of 686 steps leads up to the sanctuary from the wide, shady avenue that bisects the town.
We will spend our day here discovering this town’s many delights.

DAY 12
S. Leonardo walk
Our walk starts at the hilltop viewpoint of S Leonardo de Galafura.
From here the vistas over the slopes of vineyards and the blue ribbon of the river Douro at the bottom are awesome.
Our route descends through the vineyards arriving at the riverside village of Covelinhas our mid-way point.
After lunch, we can choose to finish the walk here by taking the train back.

DAY 13
Corgo Walk
This is a lovely day with great views on the way.
We begin walking down the route of an old railway line with spectacular views over the Corgo valley with terraced vineyards either side that seem to defy gravity.
After lunch, we descend through vineyards and back down through the old streets of Régua’s upper town.

DAY 14
Régua to Porto
Transfer by rail to Porto and free afternoon.

DAY 15
Departure
Transfer from hotel to Porto airport.
The Hotels
  • Hotel Moov Porto Centro** (or similar)
Situated in a refurbished Art Deco cinema, Moov Hotel Porto Centro offers modern rooms with free WiFi and is an excellent base for our tour. The modern, acclimatized rooms are decorated in soft colours and feature black and white photographs. Each has a desk and a private bathroom.

A freshly prepared buffet-style breakfast is served daily. There is an inner courtyard terrace with tables and chairs for relaxing with a coffee.
  • Residencial Planalto (or similar)
Situated 300 meters from Miranda do Douro Cathedral, this Guesthouse offers simply furnished rooms with air conditioning. The lounge offers views of the historic centre.

All rooms at Residencial Planalto include a satellite TV and a private bathroom. Rooms have wooden furniture from the Douro region.

A buffet breakfast is served each morning in the Planalto's lounge. A 5-minute walk to the historic centre, guests can find local restaurants and bars all around. A computer with free internet access is available for viewing emails and weather.
  • Hotel Régua D’Ouro**** (or similar)
This hotel is located in Peso da Régua and offers a splendid view over the Douro River and the lush mountainous landscape. Its luxurious facilities include an outdoor pool and massage treatments.

Rooms at Hotel Régua Douro feature satellite TV and air conditioning. Each room is simply decorated and equipped with a minibar.
What's Included
Accommodation:
  • 14 nights in a twin room (two stars hotel, guest house and four stars hotel)
  • Single supplement applied in single rooms
Guide:
  • All guided tours
Meals:
  • 14 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)
  • 14 buffet breakfasts at the Hotel.
Transport:
  • 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:
  • ON REQUEST