The 8 day Portugal hiking holiday in Douro International Natural Park and wildlife reserve encounters monumental cliffs, ancestral traditions and much more.
Explore the splendour of the most remote mountainous region in Portugal and the wildest trail along the Douro River: the Douro International Natural Park! Landscapes of monumental cliffs, natural sanctuaries, majestic birds of prey hovering over the river, towns that have preserved their ancestral traditions, vineyards, olive and almond groves, are the great markers of this 8 day Portugal hiking holiday in Douro International Natural Park.
The Natural Park covers a vast 86,500 hectares along the Spanish border and the Douro River whose rough waters wind their way between spectacular cliffs which rise as much 350 metres high. One of Europe’s most important wildlife reserves in Europe, the region harbours several species of birds threatened with extinction both nationally and internationally: Egyptian vultures (symbol of the park), golden eagles, Bonelli eagles, griffons (the largest European vulture) and black storks.
Starting at Miranda do Douro, a historic, monumental and cultural town, your walk through the Natural Park will take you to the heights of the spectacular cliffs and to typical villages such as Picote and Sendim, rich in handcrafts and traditions. Olive oil, almonds, wine, figs, Mirandesa cattle and Miranda donkeys are all part of the agricultural activities of this enchanting region. In a sheltered valley, you will come across the largest plantation of juniper trees in Europe.
Felgar is a charming, peaceful village with remarkable landscapes. In Torre de Moncorvo, the capital of flowering almond trees, delight in the typical sugar-covered almonds, one of the 7 Portuguese Sweet Wonders. The regional cuisine, based on local produce, will be an outstanding experience.
At the end of your 8 day Portugal hiking holiday in Douro International Natural Park, there is the magic of the view over the Douro River and the majestic metal bridge at Pocinho. A train ride will take you downriver to your final destination, Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage City, one of the most beautiful in Europe. Discover its historic city centre and taste the fantastic Port Wine!
Itinerary for 8 day Portugal hiking holiday in Douro International Natural Park
Day 1 – Miranda do Douro – city with history, traditions, culture and dancing
Your transfer from Porto airport will take you to Miranda do Douro, the easternmost point in your itinerary. You will be amazed with the beautiful landscapes and environments that you will encounter throughout your trip. This small city, located on a plateau above the Douro River and the Spanish border, is surrounded by the International Douro Natural Park and its majestic cliffs. Miranda do Douro, whose traditions are absorbed by its inhabitants, is a welcome retreat from the modern world, beginning with its own regional language, Mirandês, to the colourful typical dance of the Pauliteiros de Miranda.
Day 2 – Miranda do Douro – birds of prey and spectacular cliffs
Start with a walk around this town and its imposing cathedral, historic city walls and spectacular views of crags and precipices. Throughout the day, you will follow trails and tracks inside the Natural Park, past small villages and the surrounding natural environment. As you walk past typical houses with orchards of fruit trees that will attract photographers, you may come across a gentle wild Mirandés donkey that the region is attempting to protect. The highpoint of your itinerary is the São João das Arribas viewpoint and one of the most exceptional views over the Douro River as it winds its way between the high cliffs. Here, you may also catch sight of some of the region’s wild birds such as golden eagles, griffons, Egyptian vultures, black storks and others. You may choose the option of birdwatching with a professional guide. When you return to Miranda, from July to October you will also have the option of a canoe ride along cliffs that line the Douro River. An experience that is not to be missed!
The shorter route includes a transfer.
Day 3 – Sendim - walks through the Natural Park, visits to picturesque villages
The time has come to bid farewell to Miranda do Douro and its marvels and to travel south. Takings trails and paths through the Natural Park you will arrive at Picote, a picturesque village with rustic stone houses and a spectacular view over the Douro River where it takes a sharp natural bend southwards. The trail goes through natural environments with native vegetation – cedars, oaks, cork oaks, loden, gorse and rosemary – and pastures for the local Mirandesa cattle. Today’s destination is Sendim, a village whose population mostly live from farming and handcrafts and are most welcoming to visitors. Take this opportunity to visit the handcraft shop next to the church and discover the local costumes. Your accommodation is in a small, typical local hotel.
The shorter route includes a transfer.
Day 4 – Sendim – traditional handcrafts, wines and olive oil
You will leave the village on a beaten earth track for a circular hike through natural environments, past vineyards, olive and almond groves. The local inhabitants are always happy to speak of their traditions and to share them with visitors. Take note of the extensive plantation of junipers, from when come the famous berries used for seasoning food and making gin. There is a wide range of attractions throughout the year: flowering almond trees in February and March, budding vines from April onwards, grape harvests in August or September, almond harvests in September and olive harvests in October or November. When you return to Sendim you may choose to visit the small local winery and taste its wines, accompanied by specialties from the local cuisine.
Day 5 – Felgar – nature haven and rustic charm
Start the day with the transfer to Felgar. Located on the northern face of the Roboredo Mountain and the Sabor River valley, Felgar is a village of charming houses that spread across a sunny hillside with views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. Begin your walk in the centre of the town and take a circular hike between small fields, olive groves and stances of broom. You will be amazed at the spectacular intense blue of the waters of the Sabor River. This region is a true sanctuary of nature, peace and quiet, broken only from time to time by the cries of a griffon as it circles overhead or by the sound of a farmer working his fields. You will be accommodated in the centre of Felgar in a large, recently restored elegant 17th century manor house. Take advantage of the grounds to relax by the swimming pool!
An option for this day is an exceptional complete program on a 4x4 vehicle with a professional guide to the best places for birdwatching and for walking along the superb Apajares Way, one of the finest trails in Portugal.
Day 6 – Torre de Moncorvo – capital of flowering almond trees and gate to the Douro Wine Region
Leave Felgar on local roads and tracks and continue to walk along the scenic greenway constructed on a disused railway line. Along the entire way you will be accompanied by lush olive and almond groves. In February or March you will be stunned by the flowering almond trees, one of Nature’s most remarkable displays that Portugal has to offer. Your destination is Torre de Moncorvo, a pleasant town that is the gate to the Douro Wine Region where the world-famous Port and Douro wines are made. The centre of the town is most attractive with beautiful manor houses, the Railway Museum, numerous small shops selling all kinds of regional products such as olive oil, almonds, cheese, jams, smoked meats and wine. In one of these shops you can see how sugar-covered almonds are made, a local sweet that won first prize as one of Portugal’s Sweet Wonders. You will be warmly welcomed in the elegant house where you will stay that night, with a tasting of the delicious liqueurs that are produced there, the perfect combination for Moncorvo almonds.
Day 7 – Porto, UNESCO World Heritage City, world-famous for Port Wine
On this last day of your itinerary, you will leave Torre de Moncorvo, continuing along the greenway, a beaten earth track on a disused railway line, towards Pocinho. The greenway goes through a region with superb views over the Douro River, past terraced vineyards and the lush green mouth of the Sabor River. You will know that you are reaching the end of your hike when you catch sight of the majestic railway bridge and Pocinho dam. Here, you will take the train down to Porto (the ticket is not included in the program), a delightful trip past the hills covered with terraced vineyards that are so typical of the Douro Wine Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Property. Your trip will end at São Bento station, in the centre of Porto, considered one of the most beautiful five railways stations worldwide. Your hotel is close to the station and you can walk there or take a taxi.
Porto, famous for Port Wine, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Property. Take advantage of your last day and night to tour the city, visit one of the historic Port Wine lodges and discover the variety of culinary delights in the town.
Day 8 – Departure
Transfer back to Porto Airport.
End of your 8 day Portugal hiking holiday in Douro International Natural Park.