Tour Date: 22 September to 29 September/ 2 October 2022Location: 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 (D)

Fly out from one of several UK airports to Porto where you will be met at Porto airport by David, your tour manager. Transfer to the hotel in Régua. Alternatively travel overland from London St Pancras (departing on Wednesday 21st).  We stay in the 4-star Hotel Regua Douro on the banks of the Douro, our base for the next 5 nights. Dinner tonight is at the hotel. It is also possible to travel out overland via Eurostar, TGV and Sud-Express sleeper train.

Day 2, Friday (B,L)

Following a short welcome meeting, we join our coach to head north-east to Bragança, the former terminus of the metre-gauge Tua Line. Bragança station still exists, and in 2019 the long-stored rolling stock was put on display in an excellent new museum, which we will visit. We will then have lunch in a local restaurant and free time to explore the attractive historic centre, before heading to Vila Real and Casa de Mateus, famous as the palace that appears on the labels of Mateus Rosé wine (though Mateus Rosé is not actually made here). The visit includes a guided tour in the palace, as well as time to explore the beautiful gardens.

Day 3, Saturday (B,D)

This morning we catch one of CP’s service trains consisting of 1940s Schindler carriages hauled by a class 1400 diesel locomotive. This is almost standard for trains along the Douro Valley now. Our destination is the beautiful village of Pinhão, nestled at a bend in the river in the heart of port country and of course we will taste a sample of the produce here! We return to Regua by train with free time for lunch before the afternoon’s highlight of the tour, the Douro Historic Steam Train. 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. 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. We end this exciting day with a short trip across the river to Quinta da Pacheca, another local port producer, where we will have a fine dinner and more opportunity to taste their wine and port.

Day 4, Sunday (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 even 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 three-course lunch with wine is served on board.

Day 5, Monday (B,L)

We have another chance to see the Douro from the train as we head 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 an excellent lunch in the quinta accompanied by their very own vinho verde. 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. Our coach will drop us at the former railway station, and after time to see it, we will walk slowly through the town’s narrow streets to St Gonçalo Square. After some free time to explore, our coach will take us to the former junction station of Livração, where the line from Amarante connected with Douro Line trains. We should have a little time to look around the old station yard, where two diesel railcars and two steam locos are stored. We return to Régua by train from here.

Day 6, Tuesday (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 wine 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. Our coach will have collected our luggage in Régua and will now meet us to take us to our hotel in central Porto.

Day 7, Wednesday (B,D)

This morning we begin with a scenic walk from the hotel to the Cathedral where we have wonderful views down to the river. From here we continue our walk across the upper deck of the Dom Luis Bridge from Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, the city on the south bank of the river. After time to enjoy the view, we board a cable car that takes down to the quayside where we will have a guided tour in one of the famous Port Wine Cellars that fill the area. We meet up again after lunch for our historic tram ride, firstly on the line alongside the river, including a visit to the tram museum, and then up to Carmo.

Dinner in the excellent Abadia restaurant.

Day 8, Thursday (B)

Those of you leaving today will return to the airport for flights back home.

Optional Minho & Vouga add-on

Day 8, Thursday (B)

Today we head north by rail into the green Minho region and 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. Free time 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. On the return journey, there will be an option to visit the railway museum at Lousado, dedicated to the metre gauge lines that existed throughout northern Portugal.

Day 9, Friday (B)

We catch a suburban train to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Guimarães where we have time to explore the quaint historic centre. Guimarães is considered to be the birthplace of Portugal. This afternoon we continue 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 (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 does not run today, we will still do the Vouga Line and Macinhata museum, but on normal service trains. There are currently two available locomotives on this line, diesel loco 9004 and steam loco E214, though E214 can only operate in times of low fire-risk.

Day 11, Sunday (B)

We return to the airport for return flights to the UK.

This trip does have a bit of walking, including some hills and steps. 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 London Airports: £1,550
  • From Birmingham (8 nights): £1,625
  • From Manchester (8 nights): £1,675
  • From London St Pancras: £1,825
  • From Porto/Oporto: £1,350

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)

Flight Options

  • FR8343 09.25 Stansted to Porto (arr.11.50)
  • TP1331 12.00 Gatwick to Porto (arriving 14.20)
  • EZ2097 07:20 Luton to Porto (arr. 09:45)
  • BA2872 14:15 Heathrow to Porto (arr.16:35)
  • EZ6147 18:10 Bristol to Porto (arr 20:20)
  • FR1175 18:55 Manchester to Porto (arr 21:15) – going out Wednesday
  • FR8514 06:55 Birmingham to Porto (arr. 09:15) – going out Wednesday