Pilgrim Trails, Slate Villages, Castle Towns, and Douro Valley Vineyards

Overview

In Portugal’s gorgeous rural landscapes, our trails take us across the rock-built Aldeias de Gois villages, through the vineyards of the Douro, into the forests of Peneda-Gerês National Park, and along medieval pilgrim routes. We balance our hiking with wonderful cultural experiences along the way, tasting wine in a family-owned quinta, exploring 13th century castle towns, and sampling farm-to-table regional cuisine and velvety port wines. We end our journey in Porto, a World Heritage Site of centuries-old lanes and port wine cellars. Our lodging includes a former wine warehouse in picturesque Pinhão and the 17th century Paço de Calheiros, where we are welcomed by the Count of Calheiros himself.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Serra da Lousã / Serra da Estrela

From Lisbon, we head into the Serra da Lousã mountains and the slate villages known as Aldeias de Gois, stopping in at a local home for tea and walking village to village to soak up views of the deep green valleys spread below. In the Serra da Estrela, our trails contour below the rock towers of the glacier-carved Zêzere Valley.

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Days 5-7
Belmonte / Douro Wine Tasting / Pinhão / Peneda-Gerês

Castle-topped Belmonte’s medieval Jewish Quarter is a delight to explore, and we view the Paleolithic paintings in the Côa Valley. A rail journey along the tranquil Douro River brings us to lovely Pinhão, and we hike across a dreamscape of Douro Valley vineyards to the family-owned Quinto do Crasto wine estate. In Peneda-Gerês National Park, with its craggy peaks and wild horses, we may encounter goat herders and their trusty castro laboreiro sheepdogs.

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Days 8-12
The Pilgrimage Route / Ponte de Lima / Porto

An ancient pilgrim trail leads us to the revered sanctuary at Peneda, with its staircase adorned with statues representing faith, love, and charity, and we visit charming Ponte de Lima. Our last hike is across the Camino Portugués, which once brought medieval pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. We end our journey in Porto, exploring the historic quarter and listening to soulful fado songs. Depart on Day 12.

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Highlights

Highlights

Explore from Lisbon to Porto, sampling local cuisine and tasting port wines and vinhos verdes
Hike among the slate villages of the Serra da Lousã and along medieval pilgrim routes, including the Camino Portugués
Meet a Douro Valley vintner, ride the Linha do Douro (Portugal’s loveliest train), discover castle-topped towns
Enjoy unique lodgings, including a traditional spa hotel, a converted pilgrimage hostel, and a 17th century manor house

Details

Length: 12 days
Cost From: $5595  
Arrive: Lisbon, Portugal
Depart: Porto, Portugal
Lodging: 11 nights charming accommodations
Meals: All meals included except 2 lunches and 2 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

9 hiking days on moderate to strenuous trails (some steep sections), 3-6 hours a day with two longer days, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike)