Kayak the Historic Douro River by Day & Feast at Classic Vineyard Estates by Night
The sun glints on the glassy surface of the Douro River as you dip your paddle, gliding through northern Portugal's historic Port wine district. Raptors glide overhead as we wind our way between rugged mountains terraced with ancient vineyards. Tranquil days on the river give way to festive evenings at centuries-old quintas, the wine estates of the Douro Valley. Within these hospitable mansions and inns, we share warm personal connections with our hosts, enjoying an inside encounter with contemporary rural life in Portugal. Savor the best in traditional European ambience and cuisine on a Dionysian paddling odyssey through romantic wine country, and visit three World Heritage Sites en route. As our hosts say, "A suasaude"—to your health!
“This distinctive journey is not your typical Portugal travel experience. I designed it with an expeditionary spirit in mind, to provide a unique and authentic experience for avid explorers whose desire for discovery goes beyond even that of Nat Hab’s usual guests. Our Portugal paddling adventure requires more independence and self-reliance than our other trips, and, in return, offers even deeper rewards.” – Olaf Malver, Nat Hab’s CEO (Chief Exploratory Officer)
Revel in sunshine, nature, history and hospitality of the Douro Valley in a little-traveled corner of Old World Europe that few travelers are privileged to visit
Overnight in luxurious manor houses and traditional inns on vineyard estates, and join host families for the finest in traditional Portuguese food and wine
In September, departures coincide with the harvest when ripe grapes are hand-picked from centuries-old terraced vineyards, while June brings green slopes and blossoms
A Slice of Old World Europe You Won’t Find Anywhere Else!
Let’s face it, there are a lot of European trips out there to choose from. But there are none we know of like this one! Designed for the active traveler who loves nature, authentic culture and great food and wine, this Douro River paddling odyssey has no peer. Learn why:
No One Else Offers The Trip We Do!
When we say there’s no other trip out there just like this one, we mean it. We were the first to offer kayaking trips on Portugal's Douro River, and we have refined this unique itinerary over the years through personal connections with our friends who make wine in the Douro Valley. To paddle the sun-drenched river by day, then revel in food and wine with our hosts on the quintas each night…well, you can only enjoy this rare opportunity with Natural Habitat Adventures. And that’s what makes this European adventure truly special.
Travel with Just 12 Guests
Our small group offers an intimate opportunity to explore more remote locales and stay in traditional places that bus-based tour groups and river cruise ship passengers don't have access to. With fewer people, we also have a peaceful experience on the river—essential to rewarding nature travel.
A Rare Opportunity to See the Douro River at Eye Level
You're not likely to see other paddlers on the Douro, since boat traffic in this little-visited region consists mostly of small local craft and the occasional sightseeing cruiser on the lower reaches. But no tourist vessels experience the uninhabited wild reaches of the upper Douro, with the quiet, eye-level perspective on the shoreline, birdlife and ancient vineyards that we enjoy.
Visit Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites Our itinerary includes three very different cultural World Heritage Sites of global distinction. The trip begins in the Historic Center of Porto, built along the hills overlooking the mouth of the Douro River with a rich 2,000-year history marked by numerous monuments. The majority of our time is spent in the second World Heritage Site, the Alto Douro Wine Region, which is the world's oldest demarcated wine region (and where we do the majority of our paddling). The third site is the Coa Valley Archeological Park, where hundreds of panels with thousands of animal figures were carved over several millennia, representing the most remarkable open-air ensemble of Paleolithic art on the Iberian Peninsula.
Stay in Authentic Quintas—the Vineyard Estates of the Douro Valley
From luxurious manor houses to traditional farmsteads and boutique inns, the historic quintas of the Douro Valley are a highlight of our trip. Many are centuries old and still run by the farming families who have grown grapes and made wine in this region for generations. Some produce other local products as well. Several have opened their doors to fortunate small groups of visitors—an experience not on the typical tourist track.
Fabulous Food and Wine We know most of our guests don’t choose our nature adventures for the food, although it’s generally excellent. On this trip, it’s a hallmark! Our hosts at each quinta take great pride in filling us with hearty repasts of homemade country fare and endlessly flowing local wines (in addition to its famous Port, the Douro Valley produces up-and-coming table wines, too). From fresh oranges, almonds, honey and olive oil to farm-raised lamb and pork and artisan cheeses, much of what we’ll enjoy is raised right on or near the estates where we stay. If you’re an adventure traveler who’s also a bit of a gourmand, this trip will delight all your senses! (And...all the wine is included! No extra out-of-pocket charges to worry about.)
A Seasoned Expedition Leader & Outstanding Local Guides
Natural Habitat is known worldwide for employing the best-trained, highest-quality guides in the industry, and that’s certainly the case in Portugal. Your Expedition Leader is an accomplished paddler and kayaking instructor, always at the ready to assist with your comfort, convenience and safety. And our local assistants are experts when it comes to knowing the hidden corners and rich history of the Douro region, where they've worked for years—not to mention exceptionally hospitable and attendant to your every need. Read our Expedition Leader bios and traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Outstanding Portugal Experience
With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee, clearly stating that we will meet the lofty expectations we set in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise for yourself!
Feel Good About the Way You Travel
We all care about the planet, and you can travel knowing that the emissions from your trip are 100-percent carbon-offset—Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company. And we continue to set the bar higher in sustainable travel practices worldwide.
Natural Habitat Adventures is WWF's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel as well as the exceptional quality of our worldwide adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world's leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
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