Trip Duration: 13 days/12 nights, ex Porto
Trip Dates: 17th – 29th September, 2018
Cost: $7495.00 AUD per person twin/sharing. Single supplement $1990.00 AUD
Grade: Moderate grade (5-12km of walking each day)
Group Size: Only 12 places
About the Portugal traverse:
From Porto to Lisbon this comprehensive journey takes us across the historical and natural landscapes of Portugal. We will discover what attracted Iberians, Phoenicians, Romans, Muslims and Christians to fight for this land, and what is the secret for such a small country to have exported their culture and language to millions of people in Brazil, Africa or India.
Alongside the history are the landscapes of forests, mountains and coast, diversity woven into each day of this trip. From the beautiful and lush Northern forests and prairies to the Mediterranean open forest, to the rough Atlantic coast to the calm waters of the Tejo River.
The landscapes and beautiful towns and villages truly come alive when we meet the people who live there. Local guides, farmers, chefs, musicians and wine makers are all part of this experience helping give you a true insight into life on Portugal.
Wines and food play a large part in the journey, with visits to some of Portugal´s most significant and oldest D.O. regions and unique culinary experiences ranging from traditional farm stews to top creative cuisine level.
The pace of the journey has been carefully considered to make it comprehensive without being tiring. Days end in a selection of fine, very comfortable, hotels all with a strong sense of place and a great variety, including stunning historical buildings and small boutique hotels.
Sample Itinerary: The order and selection of walks may change due to local conditions.
Day 1 – Baroque splendour and wine country (7km) Pick up from your hotel in Porto
Travel south today towards the Douro valley. Travel 1 hour to the Vila de Mateus palace for a one hour stop to visit the Palace and Gardens. Inside the palace is a library with a collection of 2,000 parchments and royal charters dating back over 500 years. From here half an hour drive will take you to the to the village of Casal de Loivos to visit a traditional oil farm and have some light lunch with amazing views over the river before taking a gentle walk of 7 km from Casal de Loivos down to Pinhao. On arrival in Pinhao there will be time to visit one of the most emblematic Port wineries of the Douro, the Quinta do Bomfin. Rest for the night at the beautiful Quinta de la Rosa wine Hotel overlooking the river. (B,L,D)
Day 2 – Into the heart of the Douro (7km walk, winery plus boat ride)
Today we spend the day at one of the oldest Quintas in the Douro, Quinta Nova de Carmo, taking the time to hike around the property for 7 km enjoying the views over the Douro river, visit the winery and taste their wines (both Port wines and table wines), even relax at the wine bar reading about the history of the Quinta and the unique Douro Wine region before returning to Pinhao for a relaxing boat ride in a traditional rabelo boat in the early evening. These were the boats used to bring down the wine from the producing area in the high Douro to the aging cellars of Porto. (B,L,D)
Day 3 – The forests of Buçaco (Casa de Santar & Bucaco forest hike)
From the Douro travel south to the old town of Viseu for a short stroll before heading to the Dao wine region. Enjoy the innovative food of Paço das Cunhas before visiting the beautiful gardens and winery of the XVII century Casa Santar or the Casa da Insua. In the afternoon travel to your stunning Palace hotel in the forest of Buçaco where you will take a short hike to explore the forest and garden surrounding your hotel, the National Forest of Buçaco, created and protected by the Carmelite Monks that settled in this area in the 16th century. The area is full of pathways and little chapels hidden in the lush forest and you can choose the length and height gain of you walk. Enjoy a fine dinner in the beautiful Manueline style palace that hosts you tonight. (B,L,D)
Day 4 – Ancient universities & Roman ruins (8km)
Today we dive into the rich History of Portugal, first visiting the old town of Coimbra, home of the Fado music and one of the oldest universities in Europe. After some time at leisure for lunch we go back to Roman times as we visit the stunning ruins of Conímbriga, where we could also hike an 8km circular route. Retreat to the picturesque village of Obidos to rest in its ancient Pousada placed in the hill top castle. (B, D)
Day 5 – Olive groves and Gothic Monasteries (5-10km, Batalha Monastery)
Today we take the morning to relax or take a short hike (different lengths available) around the hotel before travelling a short distance to the Gothic Monastery of Batalha. After some time at leisure for lunch we will visit this beautiful Gothic Monastery. Batalha was built in the XIVth century to commemorate the defeat of the Castilian forces in what was the first act of a new nation.
Finish the day in Obidos where you will have time to explore the town for dinner on your own. (B,L)
Day 6 – Fortress of the Alentejo (10km)
Travel South today for two hours along the Tejo river to enter the Alentejo region, the essence of Southern Portugal with its open landscapes of cork oak trees and distant hill top villages and fortress.
We will visit the beautiful town of Castelo da Vide and have some lunch at leisure before an afternoon 10 km walk up to Marvao, the beautiful fortress village perched on a hill overlooking the border land with Spain. (B, D)
Day 7 – Smugglers route in the Spanish border (12km)
Transfer to the tiny village of Galegos, right in the border with Spain, to hike the 12km back to Marvao along ancient paths surrounded by giant cork oak fields. These trails were used in the past by smugglers who took coffee between Portugal and Spain. The views of the hill top village of Marvao guide our way on this great introductory walk to the landscapes of Southern Portugal.
Stroll to the castle this afternoon for fantastic views over the surrounding landscapes. (B, L)
Day 8 – Alentejo wine country (7km and winery)
Transfer this morning towards Evora stopping on the way at the hilltop village of Monsaraz, a picturesque fortress in the border with Spain. A gentle 7 km walk will take us to the top where we will enjoy the views and a traditional lunch. In the afternoon we enter wine country as we explore the area around Reguengos, (European Wine capital in 2015) and visit one of its most famous wineries. In the evening start exploring Evora as you have dinner at leisure. (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Évora and Montado forest (city tour and organic farm)
Enjoy a morning city tour of Évora. With its Roman temple, its Bone Chapel and its narrow streets and quiet corners there is plenty of interest in and around the peaceful town of Évora. Travel mid morning to a very special farm, Herdade do Freixo, to learn it all about the Montado ecosystem. The montado is the traditional open forest of Southern Portugal and at Herdade do Freixo they manage it with strong social and environmental values. We will enjoy a traditional lunch at the farm as well as sharing their experience. On the way back to Evora we will stop at the Iron Age monuments of Cromlech des Almendres. (B, L)
Day 10 – Costa Vicentina (8km)
Today’s walk of 8km is a strikingly beautiful cliff-top path established by the fishermen. After the two and a half-hour drive from Evora you will start walking in the Cabo Sardao Lighthouse to follow the coastal path of the Rota Vicentina. Along the way guests will see deserted beaches with nearly no means of access, in fact to get to some of them, fishermen use hanging ropes to clamber down and gather shellfish. The 12km route passes any number of beautiful beaches: Alteirinhos, Carvalhal, Machados and Amália.
After finishing your walk at Odeceixe beach with the view from the majestic Ponta em Branco. Travel a short distance to your hotel to rest and enjoy dinner. (B,L, D)
Day 11 – Costa Vicentina Natural Park (12km)
After a relaxed morning enjoying the hotel we do a late morning departure to travel north towards the Mira River and the town of Vilanova de Milfontes where we rest tonight. Explore the town for dinner this evening.
On the way we enjoy another hike along the Costa Vicentina. (B, L)
Day 12 – Hotel Lisboa Plaza, Lisbon (city tour plus Fado show)
Transfer this morning by road to Lisbon, a journey of around 2.5 hours. After dropping bags at their hotel you are taken on a private walking tour of the city centre and Alfama neighbourhood to arrive at the evening venue.
This evening enjoy a traditional Fado music show and dinner as a farewell to southern Portugal. (B, D at Fado show)
Day 13 – End of services after breakfast
After breakfast guests make their way to the airport at their own time and expense
Included in the tour cost:
- 12 nights twin/share accommodation in charming small hotels. All rooms are en suite
- All breakfasts, 9 lunches, and 8 evening meals
- Bilingual Spanish driver/guide
- Walking Matilda leader
- All local transport to walks and attractions
- A fully organized program of walks and visits
- Full time Pura Aventura guide
- Full time transport/driver at disposal.
- Meals, twin share hotel accommodation, entrances, activities as per itinerary.
- Tips for long distance drivers.
- Portage of bags at hotels.
- Alcoholic drinks with meals
- Admission to attractions not included in this itinerary
- Travel insurance (required)