Tour Date: 8 Days | 28 May – 4 JuneLocation: Portugal

We are once again offering you the chance to relive the experience of travelling on now closed railway lines in northern Portugal, albeit at a much slower pace than was possible by train! But the scenery is the same, and now we have much more time in which to enjoy it.

This year we will take in three lines in the north of Portugal, the line between Guimarães and Fafe, the line from Valença to Monção and of course the main focus of the trip, the Sabor Line in north eastern Portugal.

The Sabor Line is in a very rural part of Portugal, and the idea behind it was to try and help development of a very remote part of Portugal – the region is known as “Tras as Montes” (literally Beyond the Mountains), and road travel there before the days of motorways was difficult at best. The idea for the line was first mooted in the 1890s, but the first section, from Pocinho across the bi-level bridge over the River Douro to Carviçais opened in 1911. It opened in sections, but progress was slow and the section to the terminus at Duas Igrejas only opened in 1938. The line had a total length of 106 km, but almost all of it went through remote countryside, so passenger usage was never high. Passenger services survived until 1981, with occasional freight trains running until 1988.

Our walk will take in the sections of the line that have been converted to cycle paths or are still safely walkable, just under half of the total length. Though the rest of the line is overgrown and very isolated, we will try to see some of the more accessible stations.

We are also including optional pre- and post-tour walks on two other lines, the Guimarães to Fafe line and the Valença – Monção Line. We will walk the full length of both of these.

Your Tour Manager for this trip is David. Should you have any queries about the itinerary or if you wish to have a chat with him about the trip, please feel free to e-mail him on david@ptg.co.uk.

The main objective of this trip is to enjoy the scenery we pass through and the company of the group, so the pace will be leisurely, and a balance will be struck depending on the abilities and desires of the participants in the group. Normally we limit our walk to a maximum of 20 km in one day.

From: Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • Well off the usual tourist trail
  • Beautiful scenery and time to enjoy it
  • Experience local restaurants
  • Seeing parts of Portugal you wouldn’t otherwise visit
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Linha de Guimarães

Day 1 Thursday 28 May

Fly to Porto from several UK airports, and transfer by metro to our hotel in Porto. The flight from Manchester is on evening of Wednesday 27 May so you have a pre-tour night at a airport hotel in Porto.

Day 2 Friday 29 May (B,D)

This morning we catch a suburban train to the town of Guimarães, considered to be the birthplace of Portugal. Nowadays it is the terminus of the broad-gauge suburban line, but until the early 2000s, it was still a metre-gauge line. Until 1986 it was possible to travel by train beyond Guimarães to Fafe and it is this line that we are going to walk today. On arrival at Guimarães station we find the beginning of the 20 km long cycle path that we will follow. At the end of the walk we return to Guimarães on a local bus and catch a train back to Porto in time for our welcome dinner. You can also join the tour today by flying into Porto.

Linha do Sabor

Day 3 Saturday 30 May (B)

We head up the Douro Valley today, to our home for the next three nights, the small town of Torre de Moncorvo. The railway journey is one of the best in the world, and we alight at the last station, Pocinho. Until 1988, Pocinho was a hive of activity, with the main line continuing to Barca d’Alva and onwards to Salamanca in Spain, and it was also the southern terminus of the Sabor Line. On arrival at Pocinho, our luggage will be taken directly to the hotel by road, but we will walk! The Sabor Line crossed the River Douro on the upper deck of a bi-level bridge, with the road underneath. Nowadays road traffic crosses the river by the nearby Pocinho Dam, one of a series of dams built in the 1970s. Our walk today is about 12 km, and as we climb above the road, we have spectacular views of the River Douro below us. On arrival in Torre de Moncorvo, we will check in to our hotel, and find a local restaurant for dinner.

Day 4 Sunday 31 May (B)

Two sections of the Sabor Line have been converted to cycle paths, and today we will walk the first of these, from Torre de Moncorvo to Carviçais, a distance of around 20 km. This is a very twisty section of line. Our transport will meet us at Carviçais at the end of the afternoon to take us back to our hotel.

Day 5 Monday 1 June (B)

We have a long day out today, with our transport taking us all the way to Miranda do Douro, the town that was the intended destination of the Sabor Line. Though the line didn’t actually reach this town it is worth visiting, as it is in a scenic location next to the River Douro and we can look across the river to Spain. There is also a dam here. After having lunch, our transport will take us to the former station at Duas Igrejas (literally Two Churches), the furthest the line got. There is now a cycle path from here to Sendim, a distance of around 11 km. At Sendim our transport will be waiting to take us back to Torre de Moncorvo. Many of the former stations are very isolated, but we will try to visit some of them on our journey today.

Day 6 Tuesday 2 June (B,L)

A walking-free day to day, as we return to Porto by train. However, we will stop at Tua, for lunch at the famous Calça Curta restaurant, overlooking the River Douro. This restaurant has been a big favourite with PTG clients over the years! After lunch, we join another train for the journey back to Porto.

Ramel de Monção

Day 7 Wednesday 3 June (B)

One of the first closed railway lines to be converted to a cycle path was the Monção Line. It branched off from the main Porto – Vigo line just north of Valença station. We will catch the Celta international train from Porto as far as Valença, and from here we will begin our walk towards Monção. This line is much less rural than the other lines we will walk and is often not far from the banks of the River Minho. The station at Monção is remarkably complete with several buildings and the water tower remaining. In fact, all that is missing is the track. We’ll make our way back to Valença on service bus, ready to catch the train down to Porto.

Day 8 Thursday 4 June (B)

Transfer to Porto airport for your flights home.

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • Full 8 day holiday from Gatwick: £999
  • Full 8 day holiday from Luton: £999
  • Full 8 day holiday from Stansted: £999
  • Full 8 day holiday from Bristol: £999
  • Full 9 day holiday from Manchester: £1,065
  • Full 8 day holiday from Edinburgh: £1,025
  • Full 8 day holiday from Porto: £799

Options

  • Single room Supplement: £200

Deposit

  • £300

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • En-suite accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted.
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Hotels

Hotel Mercure Roma Piazza Bologna – Rome (3 nights)
Hotel Mercure Firenze Centro – Florence (3 nights)
Hotel Pisa Tower – Pisa (1 night*)

* 3 nights if staying on for our Pisa and Corsica trip

Flights

BA2540 12.00 London Gatwick to Rome (arr 15.30)
BA0605 15.15 Pisa to London Gatwick (arr 16.40)

FR3072 13.20 London Stansted to Rome Ciampino (arr 16.45)
FR0589 18.00 Pisa Ciampino to London Stansted (arr 19.25)

FR3204 06.30 Manchester to Rome (arr 10.10)
EZ1848 11.50 Pisa to Manchester (arr 13.20)