A cultural connection of walkers to landscapes and local life.
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12 Days, 10 Nights
A unique adventure in Northern Portugal
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per person, double occupancy
$500 USD Due With Registration
Explore the surprising variety of northern Portugal in a unique itinerary that combines mountains, rivers and the Atlantic coast. This trip unlocks some of best kept secrets of the north; from places that seem to be frozen in the past century, to ever-changing scenery, you'll be visiting what are some of the least-known - and most charming - parts of Portugal.
In the very north of Portugal, discover the small town of Sistelo, '7th Wonder of Portugal,' and its gorgeous terraces. Located within the boundaries of Peneda-Gerês National Park, Sistelo has been nicknamed the ‘Little Portuguese Tibet;' walking this forgotten village's old cobbled streets and trails will transport you into the past.
As you trace the flow downstream of the Rio Vez and the Rio Lima during the next couple of days, you’ll be stopping at the gorgeous towns of Arcos de Valdevez, Ponte de Barca and Ponte de Lima, before heading north for a diverse section of the Caminho Portugues. The third part of the trip will take you right up to (and briefly over) the border with Spain, along the Rio Minho and to the coastal towns of Caminha and Viana do Castelo.
The route has been chosen to take you off the tourist trail, to genuine Portuguese towns that still retain their soul and traditional lifestyles. We also include a detour to the better-known, curious Galician town of A Guarda, home to a unique archaeological site. It's just one of many surprising discoveries you'll make on this holiday.
To make sure you get the most out of your time, you will be met on your first day by one of our local guides, who talks you through the maps, walks and information for the week ahead. They will handle the short transfers linking you between the different areas, and are also there to give you on-call support and advice throughout your holiday.
Northern Portugal Highlights
Take in the the landscape and the local culture-- create a unique experience. Your local guides will ensure your trip goes smoothly, while you navigate Portugal at your own pace.
Visit remote seaside villages, impressive cathedrals and ancient walking paths.
BETTER WALKS, BETTER LIFE
The trails through Portugal are hundreds of years old, and for good reason.
Level of Activity
This is a walking holiday, so in that sense active, though it should not be terribly challenging for anyone used to hill walking. Although the itinerary has you walking almost every day, you should also have plenty of time to relax into the slower pace of life in Minho.
Distances on your walking days average around the 20km mark. Except in Sistelo and on the Caminho, elevation gains/losses are not dramatic by and large. In some cases, particularly on the shores of the river Minho and at the coast, the walks can easily be shortened, and your guide can explain these options at your welcome briefing.
The climate in Minho is mild, and generally warm and temperate, with temperates ranging around 20º-25ºc from May to October.
Level of Comfort
In keeping with the varied nature of the places you see on this trip, your accommodation is equally mixed. Most of the hotels you stay in during this trip are historical buildings that have been recently renovated, so have a lot of comfort and character.
In Porto you stay in a recently renovated hotel near the river, perfectly located to explore the city on foot.
For your first couple of nights in the mountains you stay in a local traditional granite house that has been renovated a few years ago. The house used to have the living area upstairs and the lower floor for animals. Today it's an adorable two-room house with great character.
The ones in Arcos, along the Caminho de Santiago and those along the Minho river also include swimming pools. The hotel at the end of the Caminho day is simpler than the others, since it's a pilgrims' hotel, but in truth it's a very comfortable one by many Caminho standards!
We also added a couple of nights in a delightful hotel outside the town of Caminha, so that you can have a full day relaxing at the pool or the spa before heading to Viana, your final destination.
Level of Culture
One advantage of the slow pace of an inn to inn walk is that it allows you to enjoy not only the nature around you, but also gain a deeper insight into the local life of the area.
This holiday takes you into contrasting areas of Alto Minho; from the terraces of the Peneda-Geres National Park, along three different rivers, and to the golden sands of the Atlantic coastline. Life in these regions is very different in many ways, though in any case has changed little over the years.
This itinerary has been designed so that you get a real insight into one of the least visited corners of Portugal. Some short guided transfers have been included both to facilitate the walking route and to ensure you have a rich cultural experience at each stage of your journey.
Of course food and wine will be a big part of your cultural experience in Northern Portugal as you discover the varieties of vinho verde or the stunning sea food of the Atlantic coast.
Please note that the details of this itinerary are subject to change. Many of the planned activities are organized according to availability, events or seasonal dates, appropriate weather conditions or the discretion of our guides. We make every effort to provide the experience described in the itinerary with the understanding that some things may change.
Where We Sleep
Quaint village luxury. The accommodations on this Portuguese walking tour were carefully selected by Jo Ann Taylor and are in the style she has created and the Walking Connection has become known for. The lodges. With luxurious amenities and unique local flavor, you will rest comfortably night after night. Your luggage will be transferred between locations and be waiting for you upon arrival.
Photo Credit: Maasai Wanderings
Photo Credit: Maasai Wanderings
Photo Credit: Maasai Wanderings
A Dream Come True...
"“Thank you for organizing such an amazing trip to Tanzania. Everything was first class and far exceeded my expectations. Each day I kept asking myself, how can this get any better? And each day it did!
- Cindy R., California
"The guides, the food, the service, and most of all our fellow travelers made this a trip of a lifetime."
- Colleen H., Alberta, Canada
"The accommodations were all excellent and unique, perfectly suited to the terrain we visited. For those who count, the numbers of animals, especially the big ones, were amazing."
- Tom M. and Elizabeth D., Arizona
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Call us at (623) 561-0846 to speak with a Walking Connection Team Member.