Medieval Northern Portugal & the Douro

Verdant vineyards, rolling hills, olive groves and medieval towns provide the setting for Portugal's renowned Douro Valley as we embark on a journey sampling fine wines, exquisite gastronomy on a spectacular sojourn in the North of Portugal. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Experience Medieval villages and towns of the Douro Valley

Savour exquisite wine and gastronomy 

Experience the charm and allure of the countryside

Stay in charming and intimate boutique hotels

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE PORTO / BRAGA / GUIMARAES 

Arrive into Porto Airport and begin our journey north to the ancient Roman city of Braga, also known as the "City of Archbishops" due to its numerous religious monuments. Visit the 19th Century neo-classical Sameiro Sanctuary, the second-largest Marian devotional shrine in Portugal after the Sanctuary of Fatima. Thereafter, visit the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary where the iconic stairway leads to the pilgrimage church with stunning views over Braga. Then spend some time in the old town laced with ancient narrow lanes, baroque churches and lined with old shops, restaurants and boutiques where we then sit down in the charming family-run Michelin star Restaurante Cruz Sobral for a sumptuous meal. Later, we continue on a short drive to the UNESCO-listed city of Guimaraes where its historic centre is considered the Cultural Heritage of Humanity. We take a walk through the historic city and visit sites such as the Castle of Guimaraes - birthplace of Afonso Henriques - the First King of Portugal. Visit the Chapel St Miguel where Afonso Henriques was thought to have been baptized. We then make a stop at the medieval Palace of the Dukes of Braganza - home to the first Dukes of Braganza from the 15th Century where it fell into ruins after the 16th Century when the duke moved to Vila Vicosa in the Alentejo region before being restored as a National Monument in 1910. Finally, arrive at the historical Pousada de Guimaraes - formerly home to Augustinian monks and Portuguese royalty. 

Overnight: Pousada de Guimaraes

Meals: Lunch

DAY 2: GUIMARAES / AMARANTE / VILA REAL / PESO DA REGUA

Journey east today as we leave Guimaraes for the charming 4th Century riverside settlement of Amarante, famed for its production of green wines and where our first impression is the iconic Ponte Sao Goncalo arched bridge over the Tamega River when Napoleon tried and failed to march in his troops thanks to the stoic defense of General Silveira. Visit the Sao Goncalo Convent, named after the patron saint and protector of marriages. Worth a visit is the 18th Century Sao Pedro Church, with a beautiful Baroque facade decorated with statues of St Peter and St Paul. Later, continue a short drive to the village of Vila Real, situated at the foothills of the Serra do Marao mountains. Visit the stunning Mateus Palace. Built in 1745, the palace is considered one of the finest expressions of Baroque in Europe. Take a stroll through the old town and consider a visit to the home of Diogo Cao - one of Portugal's finest navigator. Finally, we arrive at the exquisite Quinta do Vallado wine hotel - situated by the banks of the River Corgo, a tributary of the Douro River where we spend the next 3 nights luxuriating in the fine environments of the Douro Valley. 

Overnight: Quinta do Vallado, Peso da Regua

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 3: PESO DA REGUA (EXCURSION OF THE DOURO VALLEY)

A sensational day of epic "wine" proportions as enjoy a day out in the Douro Valley visiting some of the best wine estates "quintas" and sampling exceptional wines. Our first visit will be to the Quinta das Carvalhas where we take a Vintage tour to the vineyards accompanied by the Quinta das Carvalhas agricultural engineer, the largest quinta in the Douro spanning over 600 hectares. Enjoy an intriguing and insightful understanding into the exceptional wine story before culminating in a tasting of DOC Douro and Port wine accompanied with Portuguese-styled tapas. Thereafter, we head to the Quinta Nova, one of the best new wine estates in the Douro and enjoy a "winemaker for a day" experience where you will be given a hands-on approach to DOC Douro wines by the resident enologist. After blending your own wine, mark your own label and keep the wine as a souvenir. We then sit down for a sumptuous lunch complete with wine pairing and thereafter, the rest of the day is a day to be spontaneous - depending on your enthusiasm!

Overnight: Quinta do Vallado, Peso da Regua

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 4: PESO DA REGUA / LAMEGO / TABUACO / MARIALVA

Today we make a short drive to the historic town of Lamego - surrounded by vineyards and decorated with Renaissance and Baroque-styled buildings. Visit the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios, one of the most important shrines in Portugal with an iconic 600-step monumental staircase since the 12th Century. Visit the Gothic Cathedral built in 1129 by Afonso Henriques. We then make a stop at the 7th Century Sao Pedro de Balsemao Chapel, believed to be the oldest Visigothic chapel in Portugal.

 

 

 

Thereafter, return to the Douro River where you embark on a private rabelo boat cruising on the serene waters, admiring spectacular scenery before stopping in the town of Tabuaco where we make a visit to one of the Douro's newest wine estate, the family-run Quinta do Popa - established since 2012 and a tribute to the young owners' grandfather, Francisco Ferreira. Enjoy a sumptuous lunch experience with unbeatable views of the Douro River. 

 

 

 

Later, we continue our drive to the ancient village of Marialva, lined with buildings that stood the passage of time and an imposing citadel surrounded by high walls that used to guard against invasions. Enjoy a guided visit of the hill fortress and later, we check into the Casas do Coro, a collection of exquisitely-designed granite cottages built around narrow cobbled-streets with amazing modern contemporary style. 

Overnight: Casas do Coro, Marialva

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5: MARIALVA / VISEU / PORTO

This morning, enjoy a 4 wheel drive experience around the Casas do Coro estate where you have the opportunity to admire the huge plot of organic farms supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to the hotel. Marvel at the dramatic rocky landscape at the foot of Marialva before we say farewell and continue our journey to the ancient city of Viseu where time seemed to have stood still since medieval times. We make a visit through the historical centre marvelling at sites such as the Misericordia Church with its striking Rococo facade, the romantic square of Praca Dom Duarte lined with old houses with wrought-iron balconies, the 12th Century Viseu Cathedral with its impressive mix of Renaissance and Manueline architecture and more. Later, we continue our drive to Porto - one of Europe's most fascinating and captivating cities. Separated by the Douro River, be thrilled by the stunning sight of Porto on one bank and Vila Nova de Gaia on the other. We visit the magnificent Graham's Port Lodge for an amazing insight into its wines and enjoy a private tasting of premium and exquisite Tawny Ports. Finally, arrive at The Yeatman with an unsurpassed view of Porto and the Douro. 

Overnight: The Yeatman, Porto

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 6: PORTO

Today, we explore the UNESCO-listed old city of Porto, dubbed "masterpiece of mankind's creative genius". We visit the historical churches and monuments, situated on the banks of the Douro River. For a panoramic view of Porto, consider climbing the steep steps of the Torre de Clerigos where it serves as the bell tower of the Baroque church Igreja dos Clerigos. We will make a stop at the landmarked neo-gothic Lello & Irmao Bookstore, considered one of the most beautiful book library in the world where renowned writer J.K Rowling found inspiration to write the Harry Potter series here after spending 10 years working as an English teacher in Porto. Worth a stop is the Palacio da Bolsa, Porto's stock exchange where the large neoclassical building reflects the city's status as a major commercial center. Later, we make a short scenic drive to the neighbouring city of Matosinhos, blessed with a long stretch of sandy beach to enjoy a most wonderful and sumptuous seafood lunch freshly-grilled over charcoal. Return to Porto thereafter and spend free time at leisure. 

 

 

Overnight: The Yeatman, Porto

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 7: DEPART PORTO

Transfer to Porto Airport today for your onward journey. 

 

 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

The Pousada de Guimaraes is a converted 12th century Augustinian monastery set on a hill overlooking the city of Guimaraes. With 51 well-appointed rooms, 22 of which were formerly monk's cells, all rooms are meticulously-furnished with charm and character.  

Pousada de Guimaraes, Guimaraes

Quinta do Vallado, established in 1716 is one of the oldest and famous "Quintas" in the Douro Valley, once belonged to the legendary Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira. Nestled on the banks of the Corgo River tributary, enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding vineyards with modern-furnished contemporary-styled rooms. 

Quinta do Vallado, Peso da Regua

Built on the ancient hilltop village of Marialva, the Casas do Coro is a collection of granite houses and eco cabins lavishly-designed in the confines of cobbledstones alleys, farmlands and medieval village offering a retreat with a sensory adventure. 

Casas do Coro, Marialva

The Yeatman is located on the opposite bank of the Douro River from the UNESCO-listed town of Porto in Vila Nova de Gaia, the historical headquarters of port wine houses and owes its name to a family of British traders who are still active, a legacy that can be found in the decor of the rooms and a great collection of Portuguese wines. 

The Yeatman, Porto

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