A Rare Slice of Old World Europe
Revel in the Douro Valley's sunshine, nature, history and hospitality in a little-traveled corner of traditional Europe few get to see—including the rock art sites of the Coa Valley
Paddle Through Nature & Time
Kayak calm waters through wild mountains, granite canyons, olive and almond orchards, and centuries-old grape terraces, watching raptors circle overhead
Authentic Inns, Fine Local Food & Wine
Overnight in luxurious boutique inns on vineyard estates, joining family hosts for indulgent repasts of classic Portuguese cuisine and wines
A Slice of Old World Europe You Won’t Find Anywhere Else!
- No One Else Offers This Trip!
When we say there’s no other trip 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 at historic
quintaseach night…you can only enjoy this special opportunity with Natural Habitat Adventures!
- A Rare Opportunity to Experience 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 vessel on the lower reaches. Periodically, we pass a larger river cruise ship farther upstream. But no touristboats explore the uninhabited wild reaches of the upper Douro, with our quiet, water-level perspective on the shoreline, birdlife, orchards and ancient vineyards.
- Travel with Just 12 Guests
Our small group offers an intimate opportunity to explore more remote locales and stay in small, traditional settings that bus-based tour groups and river cruise ship passengers don't have access to. Far from the bustle of Porto and the lower Douro, which most visitors limit their travel to, we have a peaceful experience on and off the river, essential to rewarding nature travel.
- Visit Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Our itinerary includes three very different World Heritage Sites of global distinction. We begin in the Historic Center of Porto, built along the hills above the mouth of the Douro River with a rich 2,000-year history marked by various conquests and 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 the third is the Prehistoric Rock Art Sites of the Coa Valley—see #5 below.
- Guided Tour of the Coa Valley Museum & Archaeological Park
Learn from archaeology experts about the extensive Paleolithic drawings discovered in the Coa Valley in the late 1980s, which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Start with a guided tour of the museum, then travel by van and on foot into the Archaeological Park containing thousands of engraved drawings of horses, bovines and other animals, and human and abstract figures, dated from 22,000 to 10,000 B.C. With our local guide, we examine several rock art sites in detail, evidence of continuous human habitation in the valley for millennia.
- Fall Trips Visit Douro International Natural Park
Our August–October departures paddle through this protected wild terrain with Portugal on one bank and Spain on the other. The region is home to numerous birds of prey, plus wild boar and elusive Iberian wolves, although they live inland and we do not expect to see them. (June departures do not visit this area because it is closed at this time for raptor nesting. )
- Stay in Authentic Quintas—the Vineyard Estates of the Douro Valley
From luxurious manor houses to traditional farmsteads and boutique inns, the historic
quintasof the Douro Valley area 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, such as olive oil, nuts and preserves. Staying on a quinta is an experience well off the typical tourist track!
- Indulge in 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
quintatake 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 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 Adventures 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,
convenienceand safety. And our local guides are resident 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 Your Carbon-Neutral Journey
We care deeply about our planet, as we know you do. When you travel with us, the carbon emissions from your trip are 100% offset—including your round-trip flights from home. Natural Habitat Adventures has been the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company since 2007.
- 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 Adventures as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!