SECRETS OF NORTHERN PORTUGAL

Regions

Center, North

Starting Point

Porto, Lisbon

Best time to travel

March - October

Recommended Length

10 -12 days

Minimum Age*

Off the beaten track

Activity Level **

3/5

Discover the hidden gems and unspoiled nature of northern Portugal on our tour to beautiful nature parks, idyllic river valleys and beautiful mountain scenery. Hike in the Serra da Estrela mountains, discover the beautiful wild landscape and wildlife around the Douro Internacional Nature Park, unwind at a beautiful Douro Valley wine quinta and explore Portugal's only National Park Peneda-Gerês while hiking, cycling, kayaking or canyoning in stunning locations.

Family Adventure Holidays

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

✓ explore unspoiled nature in northeastern and north Portugal
✓ hike among Portugal's highest peaks in the Serra da Estrela mountains
✓ explore stunning nature and rare wildlife in the off beat Douro Internacional Nature Park
✓ relax and learn about Douro wines at a beautiful wine quinta in the UNESCO listed river valley
✓ canyoning and discovery tour in Portugal's only national park Peneda-Gerês

 

Family Adventure Holidays

TOUR OVERVIEW

Day 1 - arrival - overnight at a quinta in the Serra da Estrela Nature Park area
Day 2 - hiking in the Serra da Estrela Nature Park - wine tour and tasting - free time at the quinta - overnight in the Serra da Estrela Nature Park area (180km)
Day 3 - mountain biking or river rafting in the Caramulo mountains - overnight in the Serra da Estrela Nature Park area (130km)
Day 4 - eco and bird watching boat tour in the Douro Internacional Nature Park - overnight in Miranda do Douro (280km)
Day 5 - hiking in the Douro Internacional Nature Park - overnight in Miranda do Douro (40km)
Day 6 - Douro Valley - wine tasting and tour at a Douro quinta - overnight at a Douro wine quinta (180km)
Day 7 - free morning at the quinta - Transfer to Peneda-Gerês National Park - overnight in the Peneda-Gerês National Park area (150km)
Day 8 - Peneda-Gerês National Park adventure tour - overnight in the Peneda-Gerês National Park area (140km)
Day 9 - Canyoning in the Peneda-Gerês National Park - overnight in the Peneda-Gerês National Park area (70km)
Day 10 - departure

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

DAY 1 - WELCOME TO PORTUGAL
Welcome to Portugal. You will transfer to a unique rural quinta on the doorstep of the Serra da Estrela in central Portugal, where you will spend the next couple of nights. A sumptuous dinner awaits you in the evening, made from local produce and accompanied by wines grown and produced at the vineyard. Overnight in the Serra da Estrela area.

DAY 2 - HIKING IN THE SERRA DA ESTRELA - CHEESE AND WINE TASTING
Today you will experience some of the most scenic areas of the Serra da Estrela on a self-guided hiking tour. The mountain range is home to Portugal's highest mountain, Torre, and you will follow through picturesque mountain villages and beautiful glacial valleys crossed by some of Portugal’s major rivers. You will return to the quinta in the afternoon, where you will enjoy a tutored tasting of the world famous locally produced cheeses and the wines grown on the vineyard.
Overnight in the Serra da Estrela area.

DAY 3 - MOUNTAIN BIKING OR HIKING SERRA DA ESTRELA
You can choose today to either explore more of the beautiful Serra da Estrela scenery on a hiking tour or alternatively, you will head to the neighboring Caramulo mountains for a mountain biking adventure through the magnificent and varied landscape.
Overnight in the Serra da Estrela area.

DAY 4 - WILDERNESS OF THE DOURO INTERNACIONAL NATURE PARK
You will travel to the Douro Internacional Nature Park, where the Portuguese border meets the Spanish border. Over thousands of years, the waters of the Douro river have carved a deep canyon into the rock, which is covered by local flora and populated by various bird species, making the nature park a paradise for bird watching and unspoiled nature lovers alike. You will get to experience the canyon in all its wild beauty on an ecological cruise, where you get to admire the impressive steep cliff walls and to observe some of the local flora and fauna.
Overnight in Miranda do Douro.

DAY 5 - HIKING IN THE DOURO INTERNACIONAL NATURE PARK
A self-guided hiking tour through one of Portugals' most beautiful nature parks is waiting for you today. Pass through small villages, discover ancient ruins and walk along the beautiful canyon on a rural path while learning about history and local traditions, enjoying the local wildlife and the stunning views over the river, the steep cliffs and the surrounding landscape.
Overnight in Miranda do Douro.

DAY 6 - A DAY IN THE DOURO VALLEY
Enjoy the magnificent views over the UNESCO listed Douro valley as you travel along the Douro river to Pinhão. Enjoy a delicious brunch and fantastic views over the river valley on an exclusive boat trip taking you from Pinhão over the Douro along farms, vineyards and green hills. You will visit a traditional Portuguese quinta in the afternoon, where you will learn more about the Douro wines and their history and get to taste some ports, red wines and local olive oil.
Overnight in the Douro Valley.

DAY 7 - DOURO VALLEY - PENEDA-GERES NATIONAL PARK
You will have the morning to relax - laze at the quinta, enjoy a leisurely cycle around the area or kayak on the calm waters of the Douro. Transfer to the Peneda-Gerês National Park in Northern Portugal, the only protected area in Portugal classified as such. The breath-taking landscape is characterized by mountain ranges, lush vegetation and blue rivers and streams, making the park an outdoor paradise to be explored along many hiking and cycling routes.
Overnight in Peneda-Gerês area.

DAY 8 - HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PENEDA-GERES NATIONAL PARK
A guided private jeep tour will take you through the most beautiful parts of the National Park today, where you will discover traditional Portuguese villages, cultural traditions, beautiful waterfalls and untouched natural areas. Enjoy fantastic views over the park from selected viewpoints and take in the national park with all its unspoiled beauty.
Overnight in Peneda-Gerês area.

DAY 9 - ALONG THE RIVERBED
This morning you will get to experience the beautiful rivers in the National Park on a canyoning adventure. Climb, swim, jump and walk in the crystal clear waters as you progress along the river overcoming natural obstacles in a truly enjoyable way. If you prefer to explore the waters in a quieter way, you can also opt for an aquatic walk in a streambed instead. Either way, you will experience the fantastic natural environment of northern Portugal in a fun and unique way. You will have the afternoon to relax.
Overnight in Peneda-Gerês area.

DAY 10 - DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport and departure.

 

Family Adventure Holidays

SERVICES INCLUDED

Family Adventure Holidays

 

- accommodation in good standard middle-class hotels, quintas and/or guesthouses
- private care hire for the entire trip
- activities, visits and tours as outlined, with a certified, English speaking guide where desired/required
- all taxes and insurances for the activities
- expert travel planning, trip preparation and 24/7 on-tour support

Family Adventure Holidays

TIMES & RATES

Family Adventure Holidays

Description

Family Adventure Holidays

GALLERY

Family Adventure Holidays

Family Adventure Holidays

Contact us for a quote

Talk to us to get a quote for this tour or let us design a tour just for you. 

 

Family Adventure Holidays

TRAVEL TIPS

When to travel
Thanks to its mild climate, Portugal is a great destination all year round. March to May is a great season for outdoor activities or sight-seeing. It is not too hot yet, but temperatures can already be nice and warm, especially on the Algarve or in Portugal's southeast. Nature is in full bloom and forests are lush and green at this time of the year. While average daily temperatures in Lisbon are around 18 degrees, it can be cooler in central and northern Portugal.
Summer in Portugal comes with high temperatures and a lot of sun. While Lisbon has an average of 28 degrees over the summer months, temperatures can rise over 40 degrees in northern and central Portugal between June and August and also easily reach around 35 degrees on the Algarve, though a fresh breeze from the Atlantic makes it feel less hot. The Algarve is perfect for a beach holiday, though the water temperatures hardly go over 22 degrees. Generally the waters around Portugal stay cool with not more than 20 degrees. The summer months in Portugal are full of festivities, which take place in every part of the country.
September and October are again perfect for outdoor and cultural activities as the days are still warm and mostly dry. November until February are the months with the most rain over the year, especially in northern Portugal and there can be snow in the mountains. Temperatures would still reach around 15 degrees on the Algarve and would rarely drop below 10 degrees in Lisbon.

How to travel
Portugal has three major airports - Porto in the north, Lisbon in central west Portugal and Faro on the Algarve in the south. While Faro is much more frequented with charter and holiday flights from other countries in Europe, Porto and Lisbon offer a well developed network of scheduled flights to destinations all over Europe and overseas as well. With a volume of more than 20 million passengers a year (2018), Lisbon is by far the busiest airport in Portugal. Porto and Lisbon airport are well connected to the city centers by subway.
The easiest way to get around Portugal is by car. As it is a rather small country, distances are never far, for example you can travel from Lisbon to Porto or Faro in less than three hours and from Lisbon to Evora in less than 2 hours. There is a dense network of modern motorways linking the major centers, especially in central and Northern Portugal, which are operated through a tolling system. Apart from the motorway connecting Lisbon to the Algarve and the A22 along the Algarve coast, Alentejo is mainly characterized by national and regional roads.
Further, Portugal has a well developed rail network, connecting every corner of Portugal. The high speed Alfa Pendula connects Braga in the north with Faro in the south and stops in Porto and Lisbon on the way. The bigger cities can be reached by ”Intercidades” and the regional trains link to the more remote areas. Further, the ”urbanos” connect the commuter zones in Porto and Lisbon with the city.
The ”Linha do Douro” follows along the Douro river, passing 26 tunnels, 30 bridges and one of the most scenic landscapes in Portugal. Parts of the route are classified as UNESCO world heritage. The journey takes you along vineyards, quintas, small villages and through stations decorated with blue azulejos.
The “Linha do Algarve” runs along the Algarve coastline, offering panoramic views over the sea and the hinterland while connecting Lagos with Vila Real de Santo Antonio.

Travelling with children
Kids are king in Portugal! Family friendly hotels, great beaches, a large choice of activities and a lot of sun turn Portugal into a great destination to enjoy with the whole family. The varied scenery offers plenty of choice for kid-friendly outdoor activities like cycling, swimming, surfing, climbing or canyoning and the rich historic heritage with medieval castles, grand palaces and traditional villages allows for exciting discoveries.
Many hotels in Portugal are very focused on families and offer many extra services and facilities, ranging from kid friendly menus, babysitting service or activity programs for kids. Alternatively, farms cater for families looking for a more rural escape in the countryside.

What to bring
Depending where and when you travel, there are several things you should make sure that end up in your suitcase before setting off.
As summer is generally warm, if not even hot in Portugal, light summer clothes will be a must, including shorts, t-shirts and light summer shoes. Make sure to bring swim gear and the necessary protection against the sun, including lotion, sun glasses and a sun hat, though all of the items are of course widely available in Portugal at reasonably good prices. Due to the breeze, evenings spent at the sea can feel a bit chilly, so don’t forget a light sweater or cardigan. If you are travelling to the more continental mountain areas, a warm jumper will keep you warm in case you experience a colder evening or two. The terrain is fairly dry over the summer months, so solid shoes for hiking tours will work fine, though proper hiking shoes or boots will give you extra stability and grip when hiking in some of the rocky areas.
Winters are not cold in Portugal, but prepare for rainy days, so bring a waterproof coat or rain jacket. Solid shoes are perfect for exploring towns and cities and, if you are planning on hiking or walking in nature, hiking shoes or boots are highly recommended for this time of year. Also pack a few sweaters and cardigans for the colder evenings. Temperatures in central and eastern Portugal tend to be lower than along the coast. The sun can still be strong, especially in the mountain areas, so it is always a good idea to bring sun lotion, sun glasses and a hat.
To catch Portugal in all it’s historic and natural beauty, you should of course not forget to bring a camera. A small backpack or bag will be perfect for storing your valuables while out exploring.

 

For more practical travel advise and general information on visiting Portugal, please follow the link below.

 

Family Adventure Holidays

* The minimum age is based on the overall tour, some activities can require a higher minimum age, this will be advised at proposal stage. While not all activities are suitable for very small children, we are happy to tailor the tour to meet your specific wishes and needs.

**  The activity level is based on the amount of tours and activities included (1 - few tours and activities with a lot of free time, 5 - a lot of tours and activities with little free time). The activity level does not reflect the difficulty of the activities or tours included. Itineraries can be tailored to match the preferred level of activity.

Image by Sander Lenaerts

We'd love to hear from you!

From our own experience, no two holidays are the same. Talk to us and we will create your own individual holiday just for you.