Port tasting, sightseeing, a world heritage site, boat cruise, and a choice of either hiking and wild swimming in Peneda Geres, with the most beautiful waterfalls and natural pools, or white water rafting down the most powerful river in Portugal, Rio Paiva – these are just the main highlights of this trip. It is an adventure and experience packed weekend that should not be missed!
Porto is one of the oldest European centres, its historical core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996 and in 2014, it was elected The Best European Destination by the Best European Destinations Agency.
It is insanely beautiful and has been on my bucket list for years. And not just because of the port wine. 🙂 A colourful tumbledown dream with medieval relics, soaring bell towers, extravagant baroque churches and stately beaux-arts buildings piled on top of one another, illuminated by streaming shafts of sun.
We will walk through history with a local guide, discover Porto‘s architecture and amazing landscapes and magnificent bridges, by taking a cruise on the majestic river. Exploring the Wine Cellars, unravelling the secrets of Porto Wine and its traditional ageing process, and finally getting a very direct contact with nature and feeling the force of white water while rafting or discover the amazing beauty of waterfalls during the hiking tour.
One of Portugal’s internationally famous exports, port wine, is named for Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the packaging, transport and export of the fortified wine.
The natural park of Peneda Geres is the only national park in Portugal and it has a lot to offer.
Itinerary for the trip (subject to change):
Day 1: Friday
– Transfer to the hostel (included)
– Lunch (not included)
– Port tasting (included) – A team of tour guides, all dressed as the Don, leads visitors through the Cellars, unravelling the secrets of Porto Wine, and its traditional ageing process. The visit culminates in a spacious state-of-the-art tasting room, where Sandeman Ruby and Tawny Porto Wines can be enjoyed in a unique environment. Visitors taking this tour will have the opportunity to delve deeper than ever into the secrets of Porto Wine. In a special area, exclusive to the 1790 Tour, five select Porto wines are explored in a prolonged tasting experience, affording a detailed knowledge of this unique wine.
– Cruise of the Six Bridges in Oporto (included) – Near Gaia or Ribeira quay, we gather the passengers to do the six bridges cruise. In this cruise, you will enjoy, not only the magnificent overall view, but also the six bridges that unite Porto and Gaia. As we depart from the quay, you will have the opportunity to observe Ribeira, D. Luís Bridge, Monastery Serra do Pilar, Infante Bridge, D. Maria Pia Bridge, S. João Bridge and Freixo Bridge. As we get closer to S. João Bridge, we turn back, allowing you to see Oporto, World Heritage. After passing by D. Luís Bridge, we continue in the direction of Arrábida Bridge, so that you can see the mouth of the river Douro and Afurada, the land of the fishermen.
Overlooking the City from its Iconic Landmark (included) – Clérigos church tower was the tallest structure in Portugal when completed in 1763 (the national record is now Lisbon’s Vasco da Gama Tower), and as the main feature of the city’s skyline, ships used it as a guide when coming into Cais da Ribeira. It has become a popular tourist attraction for the aerial view of the city from the top (76 meters up — after a steep flight of 240 steps). Inside the church, the highlight is a polychromatic Baroque-Rococo marble retable. Opposite the tower is Cordoaria Gardens and an imposing Neoclassical and Pombaline building, that is the city’s former prison. The ground floor houses a photography museum with both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The collection includes the works of a Scotsman named Frederick William Flower, who spent much of his life in Porto in the 19th century, and whose photos (many of them of Porto) are some of Portugal’s oldest. From here it is possible to see the monumental Santo Antonio Hospital, classified as a national monument for being a remarkable example of 18th century Neoclassical architecture.
– Dinner (not included)
Day 2: Saturday
– Breakfast* (not included)
*Please note: The guests may cook their own meals in the shared kitchenette of the hostel. Alternatively, a wide number of popular restaurants, cafés and eateries are available within a short 5-minute walk.
– Day trip (choose one of the following options):
- White water rafting in the Rio Paiva (included) – The Paiva River is known as the best rafting river in Portugal and our rafting trip is a 10km descent from Arouca to Castelo de Paiva e Cinfaes. This route was picked to combine a really exciting stretch of the river with safety and convenience (accessibility). The Paiva River is characterised by its steep granite laced banks, dense green vegetation and unspoilt natural beauty. It is one of the clearest rivers in Europe, and there is an abundance of fish, birds and maybe even a glimpse of an otter or other wild animals. The river’s rocky landscape, considerable slope, winding journey and relatively narrow bed, offers lots of rafting fun and natural obstacles including waterfalls, waves, holes, bends, trees and jumps. It is, however, safe for relatively inexperienced rafters and has varied grades of difficulty. Includes all technical gear and professional guides as well as a picnic after your descent.
- Hiking and Wild Swimming in Peneda Geres (included) – A fantastic introduction to the park! After collection from your accommodation, in Porto or Braga, we will travel to the Peneda Geres National Park, in a comfortable 4×4 Land Rover, for a day’s hiking and wild swimming! During this tour we will take you to some of the most beautiful waterfalls and viewpoints in the park. In the morning, we will hike through the park to the Tahiti waterfalls and explore the village of Ermida. There will then be a stop for a lunch of tasty, traditional Portuguese food. In the afternoon, the hike continues to the stunning Arado waterfalls and natural pools, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim on this sizzling day! The final part of the hike is to the viewpoint of Pedra Bela, which offers superb views over the lakes and mountains. At the end of the day, the guides will drop you back at your accommodation.
– Dinner (not included)
– A late night drink in the “Galeria de Paris” (not included) – The Galerias de Paris street is the centre of nightlife in the city with dozens of open air bars. The “Galerias” as it is known, is situated in the centre of downtown Oporto, and offers an alternative night time programme since all the bars are in the open air.
Day 3: Sunday
– Breakfast (not included)
– Walking tour of the city (included) – This tour covers the old town, train station and the cathedral, ending by the river.
– Free time – our suggestions:
- If you have not had enough of walking, there is free tour you can do at 3:30. It starts at by the statue of Pedro IV and covers Clérigos tower, Lello bookshop, sightseeings, miragaia, ending at Praça do Infante near the river. (takes 2h30)
- Eat lunch out and try the “francesinha”, one of the most typical dishes in Porto. It’s a type of sandwich stuffed with different meats and covered in a spicy sauce – whose secret recipe will never be revealed
- There’s nothing better than a visit to the Mercado do Bolhão (market) to see the most authentic side of the city. It really is worth seeing, in order to admire the colours, sounds, and smells of such a special place.
- Visit the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art and its magical gardens. Admission is free on Sunday morning.
- Visit the Palácio da Bolsa do Porto (stock exchange building), one of the most beautiful buildings in not only Porto, but all of Portugal.
Please make sure to ask the guide for any additional suggestions of what else to do in your free time.
– Meeting at the hostel to collect the bags
– Transfer back to the airport (included)
What’s included in the trip?
– Accommodation (in shared facilities)
– Airport transfers
– Port tasting tour
– Cruise of the Six Bridges
– Guided walking tour
– Clerigos tower
– White water rafting or hiking
– Lunch on the excursion day.
What’s not included in the price of the trip?
– Lunches (except for the one at the excursion)
– Travel insurance
*As we have minimum and maximum numbers for each trip, and we are taking bookings through various platforms, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org once you pay your deposit, to find out if your place has been confirmed, and whether you can book the flights before purchasing them.
Please pay the deposit of £100.00 + paypal fees today. This will reserve your spot.
You can pay the remainder of the money at your convenience, but no later than a month before the trip. To make the second payment, just go back to the website, choose the ‘remainder’ from the list and make the payment.
Please note that, unless the trip is cancelled, the payments are non-refundable, as the costs need to be paid in advance. However, you may be able to sell your place to your friends or other group members if you follow this procedure: http://katsadventures.com/#plx_progress_faq_section
DISCLAIMER and T&Cs:
You also confirm that you will be responsible for your own insurance, so please make sure that it is at an appropriate level for this trip and the activities that you will be participating in.
In addition to your own Personal Civil liability insurance, you will need an individual insurance for multi-risk and multi-activity holidays (expenses of cancellation, research – help, repatriation, medical expenses, theft of luggage, etc.) appropriate for the activities to be undertaken as part of the holiday. The general travel insurance is often minimal and rarely adapted to the active holidays. Please check the details with your insurance provider.