Tour Date: 1 to 8 July 2021Location: Portugal

Please note that this tour has been postponed to 1 to 8 July 2021 in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus.

A seven-night, half-board holiday based for six of our seven nights at the Regua Douro Hotel. From our base in Regua, we explore the Douro Valley by rail and by boat, with a trip on a steam train through some of the most beautiful scenery in Portugal, visits to wine cellars to taste their excellent wines, travelling the whole length of the Douro Valley railway line with a visit to a pre-historic rock art location and ending our holiday with a cruise down the River Douro to Porto.

Our hotel has its own pool and restaurant/bar.

Your Tour Manager for this trip is David, who lives in Lisbon. 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.

From Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham (via Barcelona), Edinburgh, London St Pancras

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • Lunches included most days
  • River cruises
  • Stunning scenery
  • Wine and port tasting
  • Steam train
  • Scenic rail journeys
  • No-fly option
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Day 1 Thursday 1 July

(D) Your flight leaves Gatwick at 12:20. Direct flights also available from Luton, Stansted or from Birmingham (via Barcelona) and Manchester* and overland travel from St Pancras via the Eurostar and Sud-Express sleeper. You will be met at Porto airport by David, your tour manager, and we will transfer to the Hotel Regua Douro by rail (morning flights) or coach (evening flights). Dinner at the hotel. * from Manchester you fly out on the evening of Wednesday 1 July (at 19:35) for a pre-tour night at Porto Airport hotel.

Day 2 Friday 2 July (B,L)

In the morning we catch the regional train east along the river to the railway’s terminus at Pocinho. Until the late 1980s, the main line continued to the Spanish border at Barca d’Alva and at Pocinho the Sabor narrow gauge line branched off. You can still see a steam loco from that line that was abandoned in Pocinho when the line closed.

This is a superb scenic journey with stunning views and we might catch sight of the rare Black Kite which still manages to survive in this remote area of Europe. From Pocinho we will make a short road trip to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Park and Museum near the small town of Vila Nova de Foz Côa. As well as visiting the museum, with its spectacular views over the River Douro, we will also visit one of the prehistoric rock art sites, travelling 6 Km through the countryside in an all-terrain vehicle with an easy walk for the last 600 metres. Return to Regua by train. Lunch today is included at the restaurant in the museum.

Day 3 Saturday 3 July (B,L)

Some free time in Régua this morning. Régua is the centre of the Port Wine industry and a visit to the excellent Douro Museum is recommended. Late morning our coach will collect us from the hotel to take us to Quinta da Pacheca, one of the local wine and port producers. Here we will have a guided visit of the wine cellar and production facilities, with the opportunity to taste their excellent wines with lunch, which is included in the visit.

In the afternoon, we join a restored steam-hauled vintage train, formed of five wooden bodied carriages dating from the 1920s.  We travel up the river through breath-taking scenery of terrace vineyards and olive trees, to the riverside station at Tua (about a 90-minute run). En-route we stop for water at the picturesque riverside town of Pinhão. Use the time here to see the famous tiled pictures, dating from 1938, that decorate the station. Many of the most famous names in port production have quintas (port lodges) close to the railway station which is decorated with dazzling tile panels depicting scenes from bygone days of port production. On board, we are treated to traditional singing and served local delicacies and port wine. After a break, we return on the steam hauled special to Regua.

Day 4 Sunday 4 July (B,L)

This morning we once again catch the regional train east along the river to the railway’s terminus at Pocinho. At Pocinho we join our river cruiser and sailing down the river we pass through three of the dams built in the 1970s and 1980s to tame this once wild river. One of the locks we pass through is 32 metres deep and is an unforgettable experience.  This is a stunning part of the valley with steep terraced vineyards and dramatic rock cliffs and is probably the most stunning stretch of the river. A full three-course lunch with wine is served on board and included in your tour price.

Day 5 Monday 5 July (B,L)

We have another chance to see the Douro from the train as we head back west to Penafiel. Our coach will be waiting to take us the short distance to the vineyards at Quinta da Aveleda, one of the region’s top Vinho Verde estates with its fine gardens. Look out for the Goat Tower and the Old Wine Lodge. After a guided walk through their beautiful gardens, we are taken to their dining room where we will be served an excellent three-course lunch with the chance to taste some of their excellent green wines. From here we transfer by road to the pretty riverside town of Amarante, one of the gems of northern Portugal. Rows of 17th-century mansions with their brightly painted balconies line the narrow streets. There will be time to visit the Monastery and other sites during our walk through the town. We return to Regua by train from Livração station, arriving early evening.

Day 6 Tuesday 6 July (B,L)

A short train journey to begin the day as we alight at the first station east of Régua, Covelinhas. Here we find ourselves at Quinta das Murças, a wine cellar on the banks of the River Douro. We will be shown their production plant and the tanks where the grapes are crushed and then the best part, actually tasting some of their excellent produce. After our visit, we once again join the train to go to Tua station and lunch in the well-known Calça Curta restaurant. Their specialities are venison and wild boar, and of course drinks (house wine, beer and soft drinks) are included. Return to Régua after lunch for a relaxing afternoon in the town.

Day 7 Wednesday 7 July (B,L)

One of the highlights of the holiday, we sail down the River Douro to Porto. We pass through two dams, firstly the spectacular Carrapatelo Dam. The lock in this dam will take us down 35 metres, one of the deepest locks in Western Europe and an unforgettable experience. Later we pass through the relatively small Crestuma-Lever Dam, as we start to see more settlements and finally the city of Porto. The approach to Porto is spectacular as we pass under a series of bridges, including the iconic Maria Pia railway bridge and the Dom Luis I two-level bridge. After docking we will make the short journey to our hotel at the airport, ready for our flights home tomorrow. Our farewell lunch, including drinks, will be on board our river cruiser. Alternatively travel to Coimbra and join our Vintage Central Portugal tour.

Day 8 Thursday 8 July (B)

We are just a short walk from the airport. If you have later flights, you may wish to catch the modern metro into Porto and explore a little more of this fascinating city.

Optional Porto & Vouga Historic Train add-on

Day 8/9 Thursday 8 and Friday 9 July (B)

Armed with your transport pass you will have a free day in Portugal’s second city, Porto. The “Ribeira” district down by the river is one of the most picturesque scenes in Portugal. Make sure you cross the river by the Dom Luis I bridge to the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, home to the wine cellars of most of the famous brands of port wine. For transport fans, Porto has an extensive modern metro and your ticket is valid on the whole system. There are also historic trams and an excellent tram museum.

Day 9 Saturday 10 July (B)

Join the Vintage Central Portugal tour group as we ride on the Vouga Historic Train. After being stored in Regua for many years, the metre-gauge Vintage Train has been brought back into service on the Vouga Line, and today we will take a step back in time to travel on the original rolling stock along this scenic, but often forgotten, line. For so long threatened with closure, it managed to hang on, and is now having a renaissance due to the presence of this train. A visit to Macinhata museum is included. At the time of going to print, the train was being hauled by diesel loco 9004. However, steam loco E214 has been moved to this line, so we are hopeful that she will be ready to haul our train today. Note: if for any reason the historic train is not running today, we will still visit the line, but use the service trains instead. You will travel down to Aveiro by suburban train in the morning, giving you the opportunity to explore this attractive town, considered one of the best in Portugal to live in, and at the end of the day you will return to Porto by suburban train.

Day 10 Sunday 11 July (B)

Return home via Porto Airport or overland.

This tour has some walking, including hills and steps. Some Portuguese railway stations still have low platforms. In Porto you will need to be able to walk a few hundred metres.

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (8 day)*

  • From Gatwick: £1,350
  • From Luton: £1,350
  • From Stansted: £1,350
  • From Birmingham: £1,395
  • From Manchester (9 nights): £1,450
  • From Edinburgh: £1,375
  • From London St Pancras: £1,635
  • From Porto/Oporto: £1,150

Options

  • Porto & Vouga Historic Train add-on: £350
  • Single Room Supplement: £190 (8 day tour), £320 (11 day tour)
  • From St Pancras price is a twin berth sleeper cabin on the Sud-Express
  • Flight inclusive bookings made less that 3-months before departure might mean an increase in price.

Deposit

  • £500 with flights or £300 if joining in Porto
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Hotels

  • Hotel Regua Douro, Regua (6 nights)
  • Hotel Park Aeroporto, Porto Airport (1 night)
  • City centre hotel in Porto TBC for the Porto add-on