Tour Date: 24 September to 1/4 OctoberLocation: Portugal

You are invited to join us on a unique holiday to the stunning Douro Valley Port wine area of northern Portugal, the world’s first demarcated wine region (for the production of Port), and to the historic city of Porto itself. Following the Douro upstream, we discover a world of steeply terraced vineyards producing fine wines and ports.

You are invited to join us on a unique holiday to the stunning Douro Valley Port wine area of northern Portugal, the world’s first demarcated wine region (for the production of Port), and to the historic city of Porto itself. Following the Douro upstream, we discover a world of steeply terraced vineyards producing fine wines and ports.

The only way to see this beautiful region is by rail and river (there are few roads in the valley itself). The first half of our tour is based on the river right in the centre of this stunning region and includes several scenic rail trips as well as two half-day river cruises.

We honestly believe that you will not better this holiday for enjoyment and scenery. It is also our longest running tour now in its 21st year.

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.

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

Tour Manager; David Gourlay  david@ptg.co.uk 

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • No fly
  • Stunning scenery
  • World’s first demarcated wine region
  • British port wine estates
  • Two river trips
  • Two vintage train rides
  • Meal included most days
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Day 1 Thursday 24 September (D)

Direct UK flights from Gatwick (12:00), Luton (12:20), Stansted (09:25), Bristol (18:10), Edinburgh (20:35), and overland travel from St Pancras via the Eurostar. From Manchester (10:25) you fly into Lisbon for an Intercity train up to Porto. From Birmingham you fly out on Wednesday 23 September at 07:45 for a pre-tour night in Porto.

You will be met at Porto airport by David, your tour manager, who will accompany you on our coach to Regua. There will be an option to travel to Regua by rail – please let David know in advance.  We stay in the 4-star Hotel Regua Douro, our base for the next 5 nights on the banks of the Douro. Dinner tonight is at the hotel.

Day 2 Friday 25 September (B,L)

Following a short welcome meeting, 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. After a guided walk through their gardens, we enjoy our Welcome Lunch in the Quinta. From here we transfer by road to the pretty riverside town of Amarante, one of the gems of northern Portugal. Here 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 3 Saturday 26 September (B,D)

Morning is free to explore Regua. Alternatively join us on an optional visit to Lamego, an attractive town with Renaissance and baroque mansions overlooked by two hills. On one of the hills are the ruins of a 12th century castle, on the other is the monumental baroque Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. A marvellous granite staircase decorated with tiles, allegorical fountains, small chapels, and statues leads to a baroque church with views over the town. In the afternoon, we join a restored vintage train, formed of five wooden bodied carriages dating from the 1920s – this train is normally hauled by a vintage steam locomotive.  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. (14.30 – 18.00).  In the evening, we visit the wonderful Quinta da Pacheca vineyard for a guided tour, port tasting and dinner.

Day 4 Sunday 27 September (B,L)

In the morning we catch the regional train east along the river to the railway’s terminus at Pocinho. 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. At Pocinho we join our river cruise and sailing down 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 valley of steep terraced vineyards and dramatic rock cliffs. A full three course lunch with wine is served on board and included in your tour price.

Day 5 Monday 28 September (B,L)

Today we have an opportunity to travel on part of the Tua Line between Mirandela and Brunheda, followed by a cruise including lunch, on the lake created by the new dam at the mouth of the River Tua. Sadly the line from Brunheda to Tua is now under water, so this is the only way to see this beautiful valley.

Day 6 Tuesday 29 September (B,L)

Late morning we join our river cruise down the river through the picturesque port wine area of steep terraced vineyards which stretch right down to the water’s edge. A full 3-course lunch with drinks is served on board before we pass through the famous Carrapatelo dam. At 35 metres deep, this is one of the deepest navigable dams in the world; an experience not to be missed. We continue down river and pass through the smaller Crestuma Dam. We are now in an area of woodlands, small vineyards and river beaches. Late afternoon we arrive in the fine city of Porto and enter this ancient city in the best way possible – on the river, sailing under its famous bridges, including the Maria Pia railway bridge (now closed) and the iconic 2 level Dom Luis I bridge.

Day 7 Wednesday 30 September (B,D)

This morning we join a vintage tram for a trip through the old city to the tramway museum. After time to visit the museum we join another vintage tram along the waterfront finally arriving at Infante. From there we walk through the Ribeira district and over the iconic Dom Luis I bridge to visit one of the riverside port lodges complete with port tasting. Free afternoon. Dinner in the excellent Abadia restaurant.

Day 8 Thursday 1 October (B)

Return to the airport by tram at the most convenient time for flights to the UK. To Gatwick (17:25), Stansted (18:05), Luton (10:25), Birmingham (06:35 via Barcelona), Edinburgh (17:35). To Manchester you again take the train to Lisbon for the direct flight back to Manchester (at 17:40).

Optional Minho and Vouga add-on

We head north by rail into the green Minho region. Our first stop is the railway museum at Lousado, dedicated to the metre gauge lines that existed throughout northern Portugal. From there we continue north to the important city of Viana do Castelo. We will explore the historic centre, lined with Manueline, Renaissance and Baroque mansions, and on to the fort, guarding the mouth of the River Lima. A free afternoon to enjoy lunch in one of the many excellent restaurants here. There is also a funicular to whisk you up to the Santa Luzia church with splendid views of the city and coast. Return to Porto at the end of the afternoon.

Day 9 Friday 2 October (B)

We catch a suburban train to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Guimarães where we have time explore the quaint historic centre. This afternoon we travel to Braga where we ride on the Bom Jesus water-powered funicular. Return to Porto by train at the end of the day.

Day 10 Saturday 3 October (B)

Today we head south to the Vouga narrow gauge rail line. 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. If for any reason the historic train doesn’t run today, we will still do the Vouga Line and Macinhata museum, but on normal service trains.

Day 11 Sunday 4 October (B)

We return to the airport for return flights to the UK. To Gatwick (15:45), Stansted (18:05), Luton (16:00), Birmingham (17:20), Manchester (13:55), Edinburgh (17:20 via Birmingham).

This trip does have a bit of walking, including some hills and steps and a guided walking tour. To enjoy it to the full, you should be comfortable walking 800 – 1,000 metres at a leisurely pace.

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • From Gatwick: £1,475
  • From Luton: £1,475
  • From Stansted: £1,475
  • From Birmingham (8 nights): £1,530
  • From Manchester (8 nights): £1,575
  • From Edinburgh: £1,595
  • From London St Pancras: £1,725
  • From Porto/Oporto: £1,275

Options

  • Porto & Vouga Historic Train add-on: £350 (£300*)
  • Single Room Supplement: £220 (8 day tour), £350 (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.
  • * £300 price applies for those flying to Birmingham or Manchester.

Deposit

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

Please note that you cannot book a flight inclusive trip on our website but if you select the flight option you prefer then we will contact you with the flight details and convert your booking into a flight inclusive package.

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We recommend you also check the FCO website for the latest travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Hotels

  • Hotel Regua Douro, Regua (5 nights)
  • Legendary Hotel, Batalha, Porto (2 nights plus another 3 on the Minho add-on)