Portugal – Douro River
Kayaking, Culture and Cuisine (and Wine!)
One of Europe’s iconic rivers, the Douro flows across Northern Portugal, from wild rugged mountains on the Spanish border, to the medieval city of Porto. It is the heart and soul of this region, and the life force of its ancient wine growing culture. Our Douro paddling adventure follows the ‘River of Gold’ between steep terraced slopes planted with millions of vines, rolling green hills and sheer granite walls. And it takes us deep into the world of Douro wine and refined cuisine.
We always pride ourselves on finding accommodations and restaurants that authentically and beautifully reflect the area we are exploring. This time, we have outdone ourselves! Our quintas include an architecturally brilliant eyrie perched on a cliff with sweeping views (and raptors riding the currents close to our rooms), a 17th Century manor house, and – trust us, this will be lovely, and very comfortable – sleeping in giant wine barrels in the middle of a vineyard! The carefully crafted itinerary gives us time to settle into each of these lovely places, get to know our hosts and learn about (and enjoy!) the wine they produce and their locally sourced gourmet food.
The trip starts and ends in Porto, where we have a guided walking tour of its medieval centre, one of the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites we visit along the way. We kayak on five days of the trip, going with the flow of the river, on flat water. The kayaking is suitable for beginners, however you should be able to paddle for four hours a day, with breaks. And this is paddling plus: we also have time to wander through quaint villages, take a scenic train ride, visit prehistoric rock art, hike through rolling countryside, sample lots of port and exquisite table wines, learn how to make Vinho Verde… and savour amazing meals in exquisite settings.
What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?
A reasonable level of fitness is required. Typically, we will be kayaking for a maximum of four hours a day (sometimes less) with breaks. The cultural walking tours, which are very easy. Wine tastings require a good constitution!
What are the bikes like?
Mostly we use high quality hybrid bikes. Electric-assist bikes are available for an extra fee. Before the trip we send you a questionnaire to help ascertain your level of cycling, your experience, and the type of bike and accessories that will most suit you.
What is Portuguese food like?
In Lisbon and Alentejo, the food is simple and hearty. As we head to the coast we will savour the great seafood of the Algarve. In all areas, we will have lots of salads, fruits and fresh vegetables.
I'm a vegetarian, is that a problem?
Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on your dietary preferences.
Do I need a visa?
US and Canadian citizens do not require a visa for Portugal.
Do I need any special insurance?
Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
Do I need vaccinations?
Your routine vaccinations (tetanus/diphtheria, polio, etc.) should be up to date.
What does the trip price cover?
Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all cultural tour guiding and entrance fees, all accommodation and meals, water throughout the trip, equipment and guide fees.
What does the trip price not cover?
International and domestic flights, airport transfers not on the first or last days of the trip, beverages except for bottled water, alcoholic drinks, personal insurance and gratuities.
How can I access cash when I'm on the trip?
ATMs are readily available through out the trip.
What clothes and equipment will I need?
No special equipment is required. When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.
I’m travelling alone, is that a problem?
Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups and usually go home with new-found friends. Prices are quoted on a shared room basis. If you require a single room, a Single Supplement will apply.
From US $6920 per person
9 nights / 10 days
Scheduled: May 17 – 26, 2020 (Sold Out)
Scheduled: May 16 - 25, 2021
Private: Sep 16 - 25, 2020
Private: May through Oct
4 and 5 star hotels, historic boutique hotels and comfortable country inns.
12 guests maximum
Kayaking, gentle hikes, wine tasting and culinary adventures, cultural and historic tours
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