Paddling Portugal's River of Wine

© Mark Hickey

June Itinerary

Itinerary Map
Day 1: Porto, Portugal
Our adventure begins in Porto, Portugal's second-largest city and cultural capital of the beguiling North. Scenic Porto sits amid granite cliffs at the mouth of the Douro River and has long been a cosmopolitan trading center. The compact city is rich in architectural heritage from Roman, Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassic and Renaissance eras. This afternoon, take a brief walking tour through the city’s historic heart and across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia where we enjoy a private cellar tour and tasting at Cockburn’s Port Lodge—the perfect start to a wine-soaked week ahead! We then head over to W. & J. Graham's 1890 Lodge for a welcome dinner at its acclaimed restaurant, Vinum, with its glass atrium and open-air terrace perched high on the southern bank of the Douro overlooking Porto's medieval landmarks. Featuring the best local ingredients of the Tras-os-Montes region, Northern Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean, dishes are created for pairing with fine Douro Valley wines.

Day 2: Pocinho / Felgar—Casa de Santa Cruz
Today we journey by rail 100 miles up the Douro Valley, one of Europe's oldest winemaking areas. UNESCO has recognized the Alto Douro Wine Region as a World Heritage Site, with wine produced here for more than 2,000 years. The Douro Valley, the only place authentic Port wine is made, is the world's first demarcated wine region, established in 1756. This long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of outstanding beauty, shaping the social and economic heritage of the region. Paralleling the riverbank on a small local train on the Linha do Douro line, we reach Pocinho, where we disembark and continue to the sleepy village of Felgar and Casa de Santa Cruz, where lunch awaits. This stylish inn on the main square, originally a historic farmstead, has been beautifully restored by the owners, Ana and Jorge, who share a passion for this place that feels lost in time.

This afternoon, our Expedition Leader offers an orientation to our kayaking equipment before an optional walk down through the village to the Sabor Reservoir, wandering among almond and olive orchards and learning about life in this bucolic region as we go. Head back to our peaceful inn to relax or take a swim, then gather over a welcome drink for an orientation to the adventures planned for tomorrow, followed by a fabulous home-cooked dinner prepared by the Casa's chef.

Day 3: Kayaking on the Sabor Reservoir
We greet the morning with anticipation: It’s time to paddle! Created in 2016 with the construction of the Baixo Sabor Dam, the Sabor Reservoir offers an ideal spot to get fitted to our kayaks and become comfortable with maneuvering them, with plenty of helpful pointers from our Expedition Leader. Until the dam was built to expand renewable hydro power in Portugal, the Sabor River was free-flowing from source to mouth, rising in Zamora, Spain and dropping from a considerable height to meet the Douro River. While the river’s ecosystem changed with the dam, the landscape is still rugged and wild, the water is vivid turquoise-blue, and human presence remains scarce. Finding our paddling rhythm, we wind our way along the fingers of the Sabor Reservoir, the third largest reservoir in Portugal, taking in the grandeur of nature from the seat of our kayaks. After a picnic lunch, there’s time to take a swim or even practice rescue skills (just for fun). Once we’re back at Casa de Santa Cruz, we take a tour of the historic house as we inhale the enticing smells coming from the kitchen, where another delectable Portuguese dinner is being prepared.

Day 4: Barca d’Alva—Kayaking the Douro River / Casa do Rio
After breakfast, we say farewell to our hosts at Casa de Santa Cruz and drive to the put-in on the Douro. We'll spend approximately 4-5 hours on the water, following the river westward as it winds from Barca d’Alva to just east of the mouth of the Coa River, a tributary of the Douro. A picnic lunch provides a peaceful interlude. Our paddle ends at the stunning Casa do Rio, an intimate luxury guesthouse surrounded by the vineyards of Quinta do Vallado, one of the premier producers of table wines in the Douro Valley. Set into a steep hillside with panoramic views over the river below, the contemporary inn enjoys complete solitude. Relax on the terrace or refresh with a swim in the infinity pool following an afternoon amble through the vineyards. And if the fine accommodations and glorious setting aren't enough, wait till you taste the gourmet dinner that comes out of the Casa’s tiny kitchen!

Day 5: Coa Museum & Archaeological Park / Casa do Rio
Today offers an encounter with the layered history and culture of the Coa Valley, which contains one of the world's most important ancient rock art sites. Depart by van for a guided tour of the Coa Museum and Archaeological Park, where we learn from archaeology experts about the extensive Paleolithic drawings near Vila Nova de Foz Coa, discovered in the late 1980s and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. The Coa Valley Archaeological Park contains some 5,000 engraved drawings of horses, bovines and other animals, and human and abstract figures, dated from 22,000 to 10,000 B.C. and documenting continuous human occupation from the end of the Paleolithic Age. The entire region was slated to be inundated by a dam under construction at the time of discovery, but after intense public pressure, the project was halted to preserve the extraordinary discovery. After lunch at the stylish museum cafe, we board vans to visit one of the rock art sites up close, a tiny sampler of the most remarkable open-air ensemble of Paleolithic art on the Iberian Peninsula. As dusk nears, return to Casa do Rio where another starlit dinner on the terrace awaits.

Day 6: Paddle from Foz Sabor to Freixo de Numao / Quinta das Mos / Murca do Douro—Bairro do Casal
We’re back on the river this morning, paddling from the mouth of the Sabor River, a tributary of the Douro, to Freixo de Numao, about 3-4 hours. This scenic stretch of the river narrows considerably and feels a bit as though we're paddling through a rock garden as we guide our kayaks between the granite banks. Be sure to look up periodically, as this area is frequented by an array of raptors—we could see the Egyptian vulture and the Griffon vulture, Europe’s largest vulture species. Other birds of prey overhead might include the golden eagle, Bonelli’s eagle, peregrine falcon and Eurasian eagle-owl.

Going ashore, we make a scenic winding drive through an agricultural tapestry to Quinta das Mos, a boutique winery producing outstanding white and red table wines and acclaimed olive oil. A special lunch and winery tour awaits, and our hosts, the Cabral family, offer a warm and gracious welcome. Before we leave, there's a chance to purchase bottles of both wine and olive oil to take home—you won't find it anywhere else! Continuing to our next accommodation, enjoy a scenic drive through the surrounding mountain countryside, where vineyards are interwoven with chestnut forests, olive and almond orchards, and undulating fields of wheat. Late this afternoon, we reach Bairro do Casal, tucked into the scenic small village of Murca do Douro. Our lodging is a collection of individual stone cottages set high on a mountainside with stunning views—no two apartment suites are alike. Capping off a delightful day of discovery, enjoy dinner at a fine restaurant on the banks of the shimmering Douro later this evening.

Day 7: Ferradosa / Paddle to Tua / Casa de Casal de Loivos
Board a motorboat this morning for a relaxing cruise downriver to Ferradosa. Along the way, we pass some of the Douro Valley's most magnificent quintas, including Graham’s Quinta do Vesuvio, built in 1565, and Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas, established in 1820. Launching from a small beach, we paddle about 3–4 hours through the striking Valera Gorge, a narrow granite canyon carved over millennia by the Douro. Our destination is the village of Tua, where we enjoy lunch at a traditional riverside restaurant. Then, a spectacular winding drive takes us up and over a hill to Casa de Casal de Loivos, an 18th-century manor house set high above the heart of the Douro Valley wine-producing region. The BBC gave it the accolade of one of the six best hotel views in the world, and we concur as we survey the panoramic vista from the terrace. The Douro appears as a narrow blue ribbon far below, wending its way between steep, vine-covered slopes and rows of rolling mountains marked with the red tile roofs of centuries-old farmhouses. Before a grand al fresco dinner (weather permitting), we’ll have a guided tour of this historic manor house that remains in longtime family ownership. And if the weather doesn't cooperate, we'll enjoy an equally appealing repast inside the elegant dining room.

Day 8: Tua / Paddle to Pinhao / Porto
Our sojourn on the river comes to a close with a paddle from the Tua River to scenic Pinhao, a journey of about 3 to 4 hours. We are in the very center of the Douro demarcated Port wine region, with neat rows of grapevines terracing down the schist mountainsides and stately white stucco quintas dotting the hills high above the river. After a picnic lunch, there’s time for a walk to see the splendid hand-painted ceramic tilework in the charming little train station in Pinhao, which is decorated with hundreds of blue and white early-20th-century azulejos showing pre-dam river and harvest scenes. We drive back to historic Porto for a festive farewell dinner, reveling in the memories we've made on Portugal's famous River of Wine.

Day 9: Porto / Depart
A transfer to the airport is included today to meet your departing flight.

Physical Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Repeater Layout : vertical
Questions?
We've Got Answers!
Talk with an Adventure Specialist
Call Our Boulder Office at 800-543-8917 or contact your travel advisor.
We're Proud of the Reputation We’ve Earned
Outside
Voted "World's Best Travel
Company"
by Outside Magazine
Outside
Natural Habitat Adventures Ranked
“Best Outfitter”
NatGeo
Voted Best Winter Trip: Natural Habitat Adventures' Monarch Butterfly Migration, Mexico
VIEW MORE AWARDS
Physical Requirements
WWF Logo

Learn More

Customize Your African Safari

Let our in-house safari experts create your perfect African adventure. Whether you'd like to travel as a private group on this safari or you'd like to create an itinerary all your own, simply fill out the form to the right or give us a call at 800-543-8917.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Learn More
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for your interest!
We'll be in touch soon to help with your custom African safari!

Learn More

Customize Your Trip

Let our in-house trip experts create your perfect adventure. Whether you'd like to travel as a private group on our ${tripName} or you'd like to create an itinerary all your own, simply fill out the form to the right or give us a call at 800-543-8917.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Paddling Portugal's River of Wine
Learn More
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for your interest!
We'll be in touch soon to help with your private trip!

Download Trip Details

Discover the World's Best

Nature Travel Experiences

Get our downloadable trip details in PDF format, a handy resource for your travel planning. Inside, you'll find all the info from our website—highlights of the trip, itinerary, accommodations, and full details on dates, prices and logistics—plus a few extras!

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Download Trip Details
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Your download awaits…

Thank you for your request! Click here to see your trip details PDF now. You’ll also receive it by email momentarily.

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

Fill out our form to receive additional information about our ${tripName}, or give us a call at 800-543-8917.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Paddling Portugal's River of Wine
Ask a Question
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for your note!

We’ll be in touch soon with more details.

Send Me Travel Emails

Get the Inside Scoop on the

World of Nature Travel

Our weekly eNewsletters highlights new adventures, exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography tips and more. Sign up today!

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Send Me Travel Emails
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Privacy Policy
Thank you for joining our email list

Look for a special welcome message in your inbox, arriving shortly! Be sure to add naturalhabitat@nathab.com to your email contacts so you don’t miss out on future emails.

Request Your 2023 Catalog

Discover the World's Best

Nature Travel Experiences

Nathab 2024 Catalog

Together, Natural Habitat Adventures and World Wildlife Fund have teamed up to arrange nearly a hundred nature travel experiences around the planet, while helping to protect the magnificent places we visit and their wild inhabitants.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Request Your 2024/2025 Catalog
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Continued - Page 2 of 2
To help us customize your catalog request, please tell us more about your travel needs:
Thank you for requesting a catalog
We’ve received your request. If you have any questions about our trips, please feel free to contact an Adventure Specialist today by calling 800-543-8917.

Get Weekly Updatess

Discover the World's Best

Nature Travel Experiences

Our weekly eNewsletter highlights new adventures, exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography tips and more. Sign up today!

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Send Me Travel Emails
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Privacy Policy
Thank you for joining our email list!

Look for a special welcome message in your inbox, arriving shortly! Be sure to add naturalhabitat@nathab.com to your email contacts so you don’t miss out on future emails.

Send Us a Message

Send Us a Message

Have a question or comment? Use the form to the right to get in touch with us.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Send Us a Message
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for your message

We’ll be in touch soon with a response.

Refer a Friend

Refer a Friend,
Get $250 Off
Earn rewards for referring your friends! We'd like to thank our loyal travelers for spreading the word. Share your friend's address so we can send a catalog, and if your friend takes a trip as a first-time Nat Hab traveler, you'll receive a $250 Nat Hab credit you can use toward a future trip or the purchase of Nat Hab gear. To refer a friend, just complete the form below or call us at 800-543-8917. It's that easy! See rules and fine print here.
Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Refer a Friend

Earn rewards for referring your friends! We'd like to thank our loyal travelers for spreading the word. Share your friend's address so we can send a catalog, and if your friend takes a trip as a first-time Nat Hab traveler, you'll receive a $250 Nat Hab credit you can use toward a future trip or the purchase of Nat Hab gear. To refer a friend, just complete the form below or call us at 800-543-8917. It's that easy! See rules and fine print here.

Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for the referral!

We've received your friend's information.

View Our 2023 Digital Catalog

View Our 2024/2025

Digital Catalog

Help us save paper! We offer a digital version of The World's Greatest Nature Journeys. If you'd prefer a mailed copy, please provide your contact details here. To view our digital catalog, please enter your info in the form to the right.
Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
View Digital Catalog
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Happy browsing!

Thanks for requesting access to our digital catalog. Click here to view it now. You’ll also receive it by email momentarily.

Our Trips

Polar Bear Tours

Polar Bear Tours

African Safaris

African Safaris

Galapagos Tours

Galapagos Tours

Alaska Adventures

Alaska Adventures

U.S. National Parks Tours

U.S. National Parks Tours

Canada & the North

Canada & the North

Europe Adventures

Europe Adventures

Mexico & Central America Tours

Mexico & Central America Tours

South America Adventures

South America Adventures

Asia & Pacific Adventures

Asia & Pacific Adventures

Antarctica & Arctic Journeys

Antarctica & Arctic Journeys

Adventure Cruises

Adventure Cruises

Photography Expeditions

Photography Expeditions

Women's Adventures

Women's Adventures

Family Adventures

Family Adventures

New Adventures

New Adventures

Questions? Call 800-543-8917

Contact Us

Have a question or comment?
Click any of the buttons below to get in touch with us.

Hours
Mountain Time

  • 8 am to 5 pm, Monday - Friday
  • 8 am to 3 pm on Saturday
  • Closed on Sunday
Call 800-543-8917
Questions? Click to Chat
Questions? Click to Chat
/europe/portugal-kayaking-adventure/itinerary/itinerary/