Greater Côa Valley
Upper Douro Valley & Serra da Estrela
Min 5, max 8
Portugal: Greater Côa Valley
Min 5, max 8
Greater Côa Valley
Greater Côa Valley, Upper Douro Valley, and Serra da Estrela
- Historic Centre of Oporto UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Alto Douro Wine Region UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Douro Internacional Natural Park & Arribes del Douro National Park.
- Parque Natural da Serra de Estrela.
- Symington Family Estates Graham’s Port Lodge and Quinta do Bomfim.
- Ermo das Águias & Vale Carapito Rewilding sites.
Day 1 Porto
You’ll be met at Porto International Airport and transferred to our city center hotel. Free time until our early evening group orientation with a preview of the week, accompanied by aperitif and hors d’oeuvres. We’ll then walk the short distance to Graham’s Port Lodge for port tasting followed by dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 2 Douro Valley
Early breakfast followed by a 30-minute walk (luggage taken directly to our accommodations in the Côa Valley) to the São Bento railway station. Here we’ll board the train to Pinhão at the heart of the Douro Valley. The railway line follows the scenic Douro River travelling past small villages and vineyards arriving at Pinhão in time for lunch and estate visit at Quinta do Bomfim. After lunch we transfer to Longroiva Hotel & Spa in the Côa Valley, arriving mid-afternoon. There’s time to relax in the spa and in the early evening the group will gather for drinks and a short trip briefing. At sunset we take an evening visit and picnic dinner at the Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rock art is best viewed in the dark when light from torches makes the rock art more easily viewable and enjoyable. We return to our hotel for the evening.
Day 3 Douro Internacional
After an early breakfast we’ll depart to spend the day in the Douro International Natural Park visiting some of its wildest corners and enjoying a range of birding. We’ll enjoy a long ‘loop’ walk of approximately 7.5 kilometres near Freixo de Espada à Cinta including a picnic lunch while enjoying the spectacular views. In the late afternoon we’ll return to Longrovia where we’ll enjoy dinner together with the group.
Day 4 Ermo das Águias
After breakfast we say goodbye to Longrovia and Ermo das Águias which is a key area for landscape connectivity in the Greater Côa Valley. Here Rewilding Portugal is implementing ecological restoration in a landscape that has in the past been heavily impacted by heavy grazing and wildfires. We’ll hike along trails through native oak forests which are now home to semi-wild reintroduced Sorraia horses. Golden eagle, black stork and griffon vulture can often be seen flying high above the rugged cliffs and escarpments. After exploring Ermo das Águias we’ll drive to Juízo for lunch before transferring the short distance to the Termas do Cró where we’ll have dinner and spend the next 2 nights.
Day 5 Vale Carapito
After an early breakfast we’ll transfer to Vale Carapito which is a key area for landscape connectivity in the Greater Côa Valley. It’s located north of the historic village of Vilar Maior, just two kilometres from the east bank of the Côa River. Mixed forests of hardwoods and softwoods, scrub, and dry and wet meadows, create conditions for the existence of a wide range of plants and animals. Here the fauna’s return to its former state is quite evident, as is the presence of a herd of reintroduced Sorraia horses. In the early afternoon we’ll leave Vale Carapito and enjoy a leisurely Slow Food experience with a local chef. In the late afternoon we’ll return to the hotel to relax and enjoy a walk or spa treatment. Dinner is not included tonight due to the Slow Food feast enjoyed earlier. For those that want to dine the hotel has à la carte restaurant.
Day 6 Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela – Vale do Zêzere
After breakfast we’ll transfer to the Parque Natural da Estrela where we’ll spend the morning and early afternoon hiking in the glacier-scoured Vale do Zêzere. The trek takes us past ancient shepherds’ huts through a wide-open landscape with spectacular views. We’ll meet our vehicles along the trail and enjoy a late lunch at restaurant A Cascata. By mid-afternoon we arrive at our final destination, the stunning Pousada Convento de Belmonte where we’ll spend 2 nights. Once we check in the group are free to relax and enjoy dinner by themselves or with others from the group.
Day 7 Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela – Ribeira de Beijames
After an early breakfast we’ll transfer to the Vale de Beijames, one of the most spectacular valleys in the Serra da Estrela. We’ll trek for several hours enjoying a picnic lunch of local produce including artisan cheese, rye bread and local wine. By late-afternoon we’ll return to our hotel to relax before enjoying a farewell drink and group dinner.
Day 8 Departure to Porto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport
We’ll depart early for our two hours, thirty minutes’ drive to Porto’s airport for your international flights.
27-3 March-April 2023
17-24 April 2023
8-16 May 2023
6-14 November 2023
- Arrival transfer Day 1 Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport to Porto hotel.
- 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners.
- 7 nights’ accommodation in double/twin room with en suite bathroom.
- Local guide Days 1 to 8.
- Tours and activities as outlined in the itinerary.
- Train Porto to Pinhão.
- Port tasting at Graham’s Port Lodge, Porto.
- Departure transfer Convento de Belmonte to Porto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport.
- Alcoholic drink other than those mentioned in the itinerary.
- Dinners taken independently.
1 night at Pestana Vintage Hotel, Porto.
2 nights at Longrovia Hotel & Spa.
2 nights Termas do Cró.
2 nights Pousada Convento de Belmonte.
Special Dietary Requirements
Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten-free and other allergy free meal options are available on request. Please inform us of your dietary requirements in advance of travel.
What to bring
- Rain proof jacket and trousers.
- Long sleeved top and trouser.
- T-shirts and shorts.
- Fleece or warm sweater and hat for cooler evenings.
- Hiking boots, or hiking shoes.
- Extra underwear and socks.
- Sunglasses, sun cream and mosquito/tick repellent.
- Head lamp with extra batteries.
- Swimming trunks/suit and towel.
- Electricity adaptor (Europlug type c and F 230 volts).
- Personal water bottle and any favourite snacks and personal medication.