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

Trip Level

This trip is rated 3+, moderate to strenuous. Despite its small size, Portugal packs in a lot of varied scenery, rich history, and marvelous trails. We’ve created some great routes to hike on. Our hikes guide us through picturesque slate villages in the Serra de Lousã, high pastures on the Serra de Estrella, vineyards of the famous Douro Valley, and pilgrimage routes in the Peneda-Gerês National Park. As we hike through the various different landscapes, we’ll start to understand the essence of Portuguese life past and present. The trails are well maintained and the majority of walks are moderate. However, the two pilgrim routes (Days 8 and 9) are more strenuous. But since they’re near the end of the trip, we will have built our muscle strength up to enjoy the longer days. Some of the trip highlights include learning about the production of famous wines and ports in the Douro Valley and in Porto, seeing a traditional weaving workshop where high quality blankets are still woven from fleece of the local hardy mountain sheep, viewing Paleolithic rock drawings that still survive out in the open, visiting small descriptive museums, and our guided tour of the beautiful UNESCO world heritage town of Porto. The hotels we’ve chosen are charming, well situated, and comfortable, including a spa hotel, a converted pilgrimage hostel, a revamped wine warehouse, and a manor house. We can be assured of a tremendously friendly reception everywhere we go. Dining is very good in Portugal, with lots of fresh fish and meat dishes, cooked simply so the natural flavors flood through, plus great cheeses, soups, and salads. We’ll get the opportunity to taste some of the many local dishes, such as bacalhau (salted cod, said to be prepared in 365 different ways!). All dinners will be accompanied by local wines, so we’ll become connoisseurs and ambassadors of Portugal’s distinguished products.

Weather

Temperatures are mild, reaching the mid 70s, with cooler temperatures in the mountains. April is the start of the dry season, but rain is always a possibility so be prepared for variety: it can be warm and pleasant, or damp and chilly. It is recommended to bring lightweight rain gear and an umbrella (to protect from possible rain and the sun) that will fit into your daypack.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.