Portugal : Mainland Portugal

Walk the Highlights of Northern Portugal

Trip code: W08PO 4.8 (4 reviews)

Self-guided walking

8 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2+
Moderate plus

19.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

SUMMARY

  • Explore the Douro Valley, Peneda- Geres National Park & Minho River
  • Walk across vineyards, weave through woodland, and along far-reaching coastal paths
  • Add extra nights in the colourful city of Porto, famous for its namesake fortified wine

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 8 nights accommodation
  • All breakfasts and four packed lunches
  • Headwater navigation app
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Car transfers as per itinerary

TRIP DESCRIPTION

Northern Portugal is a remarkable region, full of diverse and exciting landscapes. This walking holiday leads you through three very different areas beginning in the UNESCO World Heritage wine region of the Douro Valley, to the rugged mountains of the Peneda- Geres National Park, coming to an end on the pristine coastline of the Minho River.

The Douro Valley is a spectacle for the senses, best explored on foot to fully appreciate this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, you enter the Peneda- Geres National Park, a natural jewel of outstanding beauty, home to wild ponies, golden eagles, and the local Castro Laboreiro dog. Lastly, you'll visit the Minho region, coated with vineyards and forest, brimming with history and culture, and bordered in the west by long sandy beaches.

At the mouth of the Douro River lies the energetic city of Porto, Portugal's second city. We highly recommend adding extra nights here to enjoy the elegant architecture, history, and culture, and of course, to sample the rich fortified wine named after the city.

Terrain

The routes follow country roads, tracks, cycle-ways and paths of variable standard. The roads are sometimes tarmacked, gravel or cobbled.

Read more about this holiday in our Meet the Expert blog with Emily.

READ MORE

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Arrive in Alijo

Arrive at your first hotel in Alijo.

You stay at Pousada do Barão de Forrester.

hotel details

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Pousada do Barão de Forrester , Alijó

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Aircon


Located in the centre of Alijó village, this historic building houses 21 rooms all of which represent the beautiful landscapes of the Douro Valley. Their onsite restaurant O Barão (The Baron) serves fresh, quality food alongside local wines, highlighting the Douro as the birthplace of Port Wine.

Day 2: Circular walk via Sao Mamede da Ribatua (15km/9.3mi)

Today’s walk takes you through constantly shifting landscapes of vineyards, woodland, and fields to the ancient village São Mamede da Ribatua. From here, you can enjoy stunning views of the calm Tua reservoir below, surrounded by rugged mountains.

elevation

Day 3: Alijo to Pinhao (21km/13.0mi)

Walk through pleasant countryside at the outer edge of the Douro wine region to reach a ridge that runs along the hilltops to Casal de Loivos and down to Pinhão. You will have magnificent views of the Pinhão Valley and surrounding slopes followed by splendid vistas of the Douro River and Valley as you make your way down through the vineyards to Pinhão.

elevation

You stay at Hotel LBV.

hotel details

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Hotel LBV , Pinhão

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon


Surrounded by nature, this serene hotel is in Pinhão on the banks of the Douro River. Enjoy the stunning views of Pinhão landscapes, classified by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity. With just 11 rooms, you’ll delight in the peaceful atmosphere from your balcony with views over the river or hills. There’s a swimming pool and jacuzzi for all guests to use, as well as the ‘Vintage Bar’ where you can participate in a wine tasting.

Day 4: Peneda Geres National Park and around Castro Laboreiro Castle (2km/1.2mi)

Check out of your hotel and meet your driver for a private transfer to the Peneda-Gerês National Park. Your base for the next 2 days is the historical village of Castro Laboreiro, which originated as an Iron Age settlement and has been occupied ever since, creating a tight-knit community. Enjoy a short yet delightful walk to the ruins of the castle that overlooks the village and the surrounding countryside. The views are well worth the short climb! On your way back to the village, you can visit the small museum to learn about the local culture and traditions of this remote community.

elevation

You stay at Hotel Castrum Villae.

hotel details

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Hotel Castrum Villae , Castro Laboreiro

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

WiFi
TV


The village of Castro Laboreiro has one of the richest prehistoric heritages in the country, dating back over five thousand years. With incredible views over the Peneda Mountains, this hotel within the National Park has a unique beauty. The dining room serves a regional breakfast and a restaurant service option. There’s also a pub onsite with games and books for guests to enjoy.

Day 5: Castro Laboreiro Circular Walk (13km/8.1mi)

Walk through the village and out into the rugged hills and gorgeous countryside, full of quirky rock formations. Once in the valley, a pleasant area of woodland leads to an ancient bridge where you may like to bathe your feet in the untainted waters. Enjoy the shade of the trees and the sound of the stream as you climb steadily to the plateau, full of smooth granite boulders and sweeping views across the valley to other hills, valleys, and ridges.

elevation

Day 6: Castro Laboreiro to Peneda and onto coastal Minho (15km/9.3mi)

Walk to the sanctuary of Peneda, crossing wild, rocky highlands with glorious views over the surrounding mountains on the way to Lamas do Mouro Park Gate, a great place to learn more about the National Park. From here, the enchantment of the forest takes over as you make your way towards the sanctuary at Peneda, at times following ancient stone paths built for local pilgrims. After reaching Peneda Sanctuary, you’ll be transferred to the charming small town of Vila Nova de Cerveira. Once refreshed, enjoy a stroll around the historical centre and look out for artworks – this town hosts a biennial arts festival.

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You stay at Quinta de São Roque.

hotel details

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Quinta de São Roque , Vila Nova de Cerveira

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

WiFi
TV


Within origins in the 19th century, this charming house offers a tranquil and restful stay for all guests. Just a 10-minute walk from the River Minho, there is an outdoor swimming pool at the accommodation and bikes available to hire. The cosy living room has comfortable armchairs and a fireplace where you can enjoy a book from the library.

Day 7: Vila Nova de Cerveira to Vila Praia de Ancora (23km/14.3mi)

Follow the trail along the River Minho, the natural border with Spain, all the way to its mouth at the riverside town of Caminha. Once there, you can visit the beautifully carved Gothic parish church or stop for refreshments in the atmospheric main square with its 16th century fountain before heading to the ocean. After Caminha, you’ll walk through an ancient pine forest before following an easy coastal path to the fishing village and seaside resort town of Vila Praia de Âncora via Moledo beach.

elevation

You stay at Hotel Meira.

hotel details

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Hotel Meira, Vila Praia de Âncora

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon


Built in 1935, this family-run hotel benefits from a unique location between sea, countryside, and mountains – only 2 minutes from the beach. Inspired by the sea, Hotel Meira offers a relaxing spa experience using natural ingredients. There’s also a sauna and Turkish bath available to all guests.

Day 8: Vila Praia de Ancora to Viana do Castelo (20km/12.4mi)

Set off for the fascinating city of Viana do Castelo, crossing a wide sandy expanse of beach as you leave Vila Praia de Âncora. You’ll briefly head inland through patches of forest and fields before following the coast and its stone windmills and fortresses south to Viana do Castelo. Stroll through the beautiful historical centre of Viana do Castelo to reach your hotel. When you’ve had chance to freshen up, you can enjoy exploring the ancient streets and squares of this pretty town.

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You stay at Casa Melo Alvim.

hotel details

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Casa Melo Alvim , Viana do Castelo

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Hairdryer
WiFi
TV


As the oldest urban manor house in the town, this welcoming hotel was originally built in 1509 and has been lovingly restored. No two rooms are the same, each have been individually decorated in the traditional Portuguese styles of the 17th & 18th centuries. A buffet breakfast is served at the hotel restaurant, there’s also a guest bar with a fantastic terrace and gardens.

Day 9: Depart Viana do Castelo

Leave Viana do Castelo for your onward arrangements. We'd recommend adding extra nights in Porto to explore this fabulous city - enquire for prices.

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE DATE

Show prices including flights and onward rail?  

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These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £392.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £392.

OPTIONAL UPGRADES
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Porto with British Airways, then onward rail to the region.
  • Other flights, including regional departures
  • Alternative flights, including regional departures
  • Transfers/trains from Porto Airport to Alijo Hotel and from Viana do Castelo Hotel to Porto Campanha station (with flights)
  • Upgrade to private car transfers between Porto Airport and first/last hotels
  • Extra nights in Porto
  • Add welcome briefing
TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
Out:British Airways London Heathrow to Porto Airport, you'll be transferred from Porto Airport to Campanha Train Station, approx. 20 minutes, take the train to Pinhao, approx. 2hr 15 minutes - included, then you'll be transferred to your first hotel in Alijo, approx. 25 minutes - included. You can arrange a private car transfer from Porto Airport directly to your first hotel in Alijo, approx. 1hr 30 minutes – enquire for price Return: Take the train from Viana do Castelo to Campanha, approx. 1hr 30 minutes - included, then a local taxi or metro to Porto Airport, approx. 20 minutes - paid locally British Airways Porto to London Heathrow You can arrange a private car transfer from your last hotel in Viana do Castelo directly to Porto Airport, approx. 45 minutes – enquire for price. If you’re having extra nights in Porto, we can also arrange a private car transfer from your hotel in Porto to Porto Airport, approx. 25 minutes

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. If you would like to use one of the many 'low cost' airlines, we can book these on your behalf. We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we open again 9am Monday) or email sales@headwater.com

Should you require overnight airport accommodation, airport parking or even a uniformed chauffeur to take your car from your departure terminal and park it for you, we can arrange this for you through Holiday Extras. You can book airport parking, airport hotels and executive lounges through their website or contact us for further details. Early booking is recommended to obtain the best availability and prices.

REVIEWS

The hiking was excellent and unforgettable! The app worked very well. Loved the variety of country that we hiked through. However, four of the nights’ accommodations were well below what we expected.

Sally Cremeens-strong, 23 Sep 2023

 

Navigation app worked brilliantly.

Holiday well managed from start to finish - but accommodation varies in quality.

Emma Veness, 20 Aug 2023

 

A really interesting and thoroughly fascinating taste of North Portugal, providing three contrasting locations. The Douro region was perhaps what we had most anticipated, with rolling vineyards down to the river and certainly did not disappoint - truly stunning walks. The National Park was the best surprise, travelling in and back out of Spain to reach, you are then in granite mountains with amazing rock formations, medieval paths and bubbling streams. Finally, you hit the river and coast for a real change of scene. The walking is quite challenging at times, with climbs and rocky paths for the first two locations, but although the river/coast days are long, the terrain is flat. The hospitality everywhere we stayed was amazing, and wine only 1.30 a glass! We finished with two nights in Porto, a must extension if you have the time. Having had a first introduction to what North Portugal offers, we will certainly be back at some point to revisit some of our favourite places.

Mr BLANCHARD, 12 May 2023

 

Interesting walks in beautiful unspoilt areas of Northern Portugal. The service from the local company Green Walks was outstanding and the navigation app priceless, we wouldn't do another self-guided holiday without the navigation app

Mrs Park, 17 Mar 2023

 


Self-guided walking

8 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2+
Moderate plus

19.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

8 nights from £1399

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE

Call: 01606 720199

 

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