Ideal for those who enjoy wine, culture and countryside walks this fascinating journey from Madrid to Porto ventures through the Ribera del Duero region of Spain and the Douro winelands of Portugal. Sample regional vintages, explore national parks and stay in beautiful medieval towns. Segovia - UNESCO World Heritage city and walks in nearby Guadarrama National Park Douro Valley - Train ride snaking through the beautiful natural scenery of northern Portugal Porto - UNESCO World Heritage riverside city famous for its port wine
Arrive in Madrid, the Capital of Spain home to elegant boulevards, manicured parks, cultural museums and fantastic markets. For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Madrid at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (Mad) which is around 20 minutes' drive from the hotel. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to explore the city, wandering the back streets in search of tucked away tapas bars. There vast 19th century El Retiro Park is good place for a leisurely walk, past rose gardens and statues to the boating lake.
This morning we head out for an orientation walk of Spain's busy capital city and the third largest city in the European Union after London and Berlin. Located on the Manzanares River, Madrid has its share of historic sights, great architecture, nightlife, fine dining, culture and shopping. We begin walking along the Gran Via to Plaza Espana, the heart of the city featuring a monument to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, continuing to the striking Templo Devod, an ancient Egyptian temple which was dismantled and rebuilt block by block here. We walk through Madrid's most historic neighbourhood, Barrio de los Austrias, making a stop for coffee near the impressive Palacio Real. Our next stop is the Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid's gourmet market bursting with stalls, a great place to sample some regional specialities. From here we head into the centre of the city to Plaza Mayor, a large square framed by slate roofed red-brick buildings. This morning's walk finishes with one of the best views over Madrid from the terrace at the Circulo de Bellas Artes. The afternoon is left free to enjoy this lively capital.
This morning we leave Madrid behind as we head north to Segovia. After an hour and and a quarter we arrive at the village of Manzanares el Real, and the start of our walk into the Guaderrama National Park. This area of natural beauty is best known for the unusual granite rock formations of La Pedriza. Vegetation is sparse, however for rock-climbers it is a haven, as well as being a breeding colony for Griffon Vultures, which with a bit of luck we will spot on our walk. We continue by road for another hour until to reach the city of Segovia. Today's 10 kilometre walk is expected to take around three hours with 300 metres of ascent and descent.
Today we explore the stunning UNESCO world heritage historic city of Segovia, with its huge 1st century Roman Aqueduct and Disney-like Alcazar Fortress. We'll have an orientation walk with our tour leader followed by free time. The upper old town enriched by ancient walls is centred around the Plaza Major and 16th century Gothic cathedral, from where streets lead to the famed monuments. The magnificent Aqueduct is the defining feature of the city, spanning 17 kilometres and made up of 166 arches. Walking up to the hilltop Alcazar is worth if for the views over the city and rivers and to admire the slate turrets, the beautiful keep and square with four towers.
This morning we drive to the spectacular limestone canyon lands of Duraton River Natural Park, and take a walk along the river to medieval l town of Sepulveda. After a coffee break we continue on to Penafiel, right it in the heart of the Ribera de Deuro wine region. The Ribera de Deuro is one of several recognized wine producing regions along the Douro River. The region produces red wine from the Tempranillo grape. In the afternoon we enjoy a wine tasting at the Protos Bodega, one of Spain's most innovative wineries. Today's five kilometre walk is expected to take around one-and-a-half hours.
This morning we drive around an hour and a half hour to El Toro in the province of Zamora, another top notch wine producing region on the Douro River. We will stop for wine tasting in the village, before continuing on to the city of Zamora for lunchtime. This delightful city is a real architectural gem and home to the most Romanesque churches in Europe. In the afternoon we will continue on the Portuguese border, to our home for the next three nights - the medieval hilltop village of Fermoselle, right in the heart of the Arribes del Duero Natural Park. Fermoselle dates back to pre-Roman times and with its own micro-climate, a landscape similar to that of Tuscany in Italy, its narrow cobbled streets, rustic stone houses and, most importantly, delicious wines - it is a very pleasant place to stay!
This morning we head into the Arribes del Duero Natural Park for a walk through its spectacular countryside. This afternoon we have a wine tasting in a local bodega, dug into the rock - one of around 900 granite bodega caves dating back to ancient times when wine production was large scale business in the area. Today's 11 kilometre walk is expected to take around three hours with 250 metres of ascent and descent.
After breakfast we walk from the village through woodland and oak forest to the small village of Fornillos, where we have the opportunity to try local farmhouse cheese. We then drive to Miranda do Douro in Portugal for a walk around the historic centre.There is the option to take an hour boat trip into the spectacular gorge of the Duero River. Afterwards we drive back to Fermoselle. Today's 15 kilometre walk is expected to take around four-and-a-half hours with 150 metres of ascent and descent.
Today we drive two hours into Portugal, to the village of Pocinhos, from where we board the local train for the hour and a half hour journey along the Douro Valley to Peso da Regua. A short taxi ride uphill then brings us to the beautiful Renaissance and Baroque village of Lamego. We have time to walk around the historic centre and the option to see the famous Nossa Senhora de Remdios church, before taking a short walk in the surrounding area before dinnertime. Tonight we stay in a beautiful hotel with it's own orchard and vineyard. Facilities include a heated outdoor swimming pool, small spa, and terrace restaurant with modern, spacious and light rooms. Today's urban walk is expected to take around one-and-a-half hours with 150 metres of ascent and descent.
Today we drive to Porto via Vila Real, a hilltop town above the confluence of the Corgo and Cabril rivers with a pleasant historical centre. This afternoon in Porto we take an orientation walk in the town centre and enjoy a wine tasting.
Today has been left free to enjoy this lovely riverside city and its sights. Porto is Portugal's second largest city after Lisbon, and offers visitors a range of architectural and cultural attractions, such as the Palacio da Bolsa, with its spectacular Alhambra-like interior, a charismatic medieval quarter and the monumental central avenue, Avenida do Aliados.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Porto. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Porto at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO) a 20 minutes' drive from the hotel.
11 Break Fast(s)
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