The magnificence of the most remote mountainous
Miranda do Douro – Sendim – Felgar – Torre de Moncorvo – Porto
This amazing hiking tour will give you the possibility to enjoy the magnificence of the most remote mountainous region in Portugal and the wildest trail along the Douro River. It is a stunning walk through a wildlife reserve, enjoying impressive cliffs and ancient traditions of the Douro International Natural Park!
On your way, you will be accompanied by the rippling of the river, the singing of beautiful birds and, if you are lucky, you might even see and picture them. Then the route continue past natural sanctuaries, monumental cliffs of rare beauty, ancient towns vineyards, olive and almond groves.
We are along the Spanish border, in a huge natural park of about 86,500 hectares, where the Douro River has created stunning canyons with its wild waters that wind their way between spectacular cliffs reaching a height of about 350 metres. This is one of Europe’s most important wildlife reserves: in this protected area, you will find forests of juniper, beech, cork and holm oaks. In the woods of the park live hawks, buzzards and a great diversity of other kind of birds, such as blackbirds and woodcocks. But there are also cultivated areas: vineyards on the slopes of the hills that provide the grapes for the production of the excellent Port wine, the most famous of Portuguese wines.
The tranquillity in the park is attraction for birds who choose its gorges for their nest. Here we find also some endangered species, which can easily find the food they need to survive. Your hiking tour will start in Miranda do Douro, a historic, monumental and cultural town, then you will walk through the Natural Park up to the heights of the spectacular cliffs and to typical villages such as Picote and Sendim.
Along the way, you will observe the agricultural activities of this enchanting region: olive oil, almonds, wine, figs, Mirandesa cattle and Miranda donkeys. You will also come across the largest plantation of juniper trees in Europe. Then you will go past Felgar, a charming, peaceful village and Torre de Moncorvo, the capital of almond trees.
At the end of your walking tour, you will enjoy an outstanding view over the Douro River and the majestic metal bridge at Pocinho. A train ride will finally take you downriver to your final destination, Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage City.
Majestic landscapes, delicious food and wine, spectacular flora and fauna, ancient little villages rich in history and tradition: what else could we ask for?
If you love nature, try this tour and you will not be disappointed.
The daily program of the 8-day tour
On day 1 you will be transferred from Porto airport to Miranda do Douro, a fortified frontier town nestled in a stunning gorge formed by the river Douro, which has long been the bulwark of Portugal’s “wild east“.
This small city is immersed in a stunning landscape and is located on a plateau above the Douro River and the Spanish border, surrounded by the International Douro Natural Park and its majestic cliffs. Miranda do Douro boasts its own regional language, the Mirandês, developed in the area over the long centuries of isolation from the rest of Portugal. It is also famous for the colourful typical dance of the Pauliteiros de Miranda.
Overnight with breakfast in Miranda do Douro.
Today, you start with a walk around Miranda do Douro can visit its imposing cathedral. This beautiful and imposing 16th-century church appears disproportionate to the town’s size, but it once was the region’s cathedral. An attraction not to be missed is the interesting ethnographic museum, which illustrates the culture of the border area. Throughout the day, you will follow trails and tracks inside the Natural Park, past small villages and the surrounding natural environment. As you walk, you may come across a gentle wild Mirandés donkey, you can catch sight of some wild birds such as golden eagles, griffons, Egyptian vultures, or black storks and you could even decide to go for birdwatching with a professional guide. The highest point of your itinerary is the São João das Arribas, where you will enjoy one of the most exceptional views over the Douro River as it winds its way between the high cliffs. As you go back to Miranda, from July to October you will also have the option of a canoe ride along the Douro River.
The shorter route includes a transfer.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Miranda do Douro.
Distance: short route 11,8 km / 7,3 mi – long route 18,3 km / 11,4 mi
Altitude: min. 600/ max. 753 m
Today you will say goodbye to Miranda do Douro and its marvels and start travelling south. You will walk along trails and paths through the Natural Park and you will arrive at Picote, a picturesque village with typical stone houses and a spectacular view over the Douro River. A lush vegetation of cedars, oaks, cork oaks, gorse and rosemary will surround you.
Today’s destination is Sendim, a friendly village whose population mostly live from farming and handcrafts. You can visit the handcraft shop next to the church and discover local costumes. Your accommodation is in a small, typical local hotel. The shorter route includes a transfer.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Sendim.
Distance: short route 10,8 km / 6,7 mi – long route 21,6 km / 13,4 mi
Altitude short route: min. 639/ max. 725 m.
Today, a spectacular circular hike through a natural landscape of rare beauty: you will walk past vineyards, olive and almond groves. You will have time to have a break, stop and talk with local inhabitants, who are always happy to speak of their traditions with visitors. You will observe extensive plantation of junipers, flowering almond trees in February and March, budding vines from April onwards, grape harvests in August or September, almond harvests in September and olive harvests in October or November. Once back in Sendim, if you wish you can visit a small local winery and taste its wines, accompanied by local food specialties.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Sendim.
Distance: 11,5 km / 7,2 mi
Altitude: min. 418/ max. 718 m.
Today you have a transfer to Felgar, a beautiful charming village on the northern face of the Roboredo Mountain and the Sabor River valley.
You can start your walk from the centre of the village. Then you continue hiking on a circular trail between small fields, olive groves and stances of broom. You will walk while looking at the intense blue of the waters of the Sabor River. Today’s walk is particularly peaceful and quiet: you will occasionally hear birds singing and everything will seem just heavenly. Your accommodation is in the centre of Felgar in an elegant and recently restored 17th century manor house.
If you wish, you can even relax by the swimming pool of the inn.
As an alternative, you can go with a professional guide on a 4×4 vehicle and explore some of the best places for birdwatching or for walking, for example the spectacular Apajares Way.
Overnight with breakfast in Felgar.
Distance: short route 9,1 km / 5,6 mi – long route 13,1 km / 8,1 mi
Altitude short route: min. 280/ max. 597 m.
Altitude long route: min. 626/ max. 739 m.
Another day of stunning views: you will leave Felgar on small roads and tracks and walk along the scenic greenway built on a former railway line. Olive and almond groves will be your companions along the way. In February or March, you will see almond trees bloom, an enchanting experience. Today’s destination is Torre de Moncorvo, also known as the gate to the Douro Wine Region where the world-famous Port and Douro wines are produced. The name Torre de Moncorvo is linked to that of a Leonese noble, Mendo Curvus, the lord of this region, who, after taking part in the Christian Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula, ordered a castle to be built both as his residence and for the defence of the territory. The centre of the town is rich in attractions: manor houses, the Railway Museum, numerous small shops selling all kinds of local specialties. In one of these shops, you can see how sugar-covered almonds are made, a local sweet that won first prize as one of Portugal’s Sweet Wonders. You will stay in an elegant house and have the chance to taste some of the delicious liqueurs that are produced there.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Torre de Moncorvo.
Distance: short route 11,3 km / 7 mi – long route 14,4 km / 9 mi
Altitude short route: min. 389/ max. 598 m.
Altitude long route: min. 402/ max. 681 m.
This is the last day of your itinerary but it is also an exciting day. Today’s destination is Porto, Unesco World Heritage City for its importance and beauty. You will leave Torre de Moncorvo, continuing along the greenway towards Pocinho. The greenway goes through a region with breathtaking views over the Douro River, terraced vineyards and the beautiful Sabor River. Almost at the end of your walk, you will catch sight of the majestic railway bridge and Pocinho dam. Here, you will take the train to Porto (ticket is not included), and you will enjoy the view of vineyards that are so typical of the Douro Wine Region, in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Your trip will end at São Bento station, in the centre of Porto.
Your hotel is close to the station and you can walk or take a taxi.
Overnight with breakfast in Porto.
Distance: 13,7 km / 8,5 mi
Altitude: min. 121/ max. 405 m.
After breakfast you have a transfer to Porto airport. Your trip through a impressive Natural park of Portugal is ended!
Your level is from easy to medium. On some days, you have an average walking time of 3 to 4 hours per day: you have a leisurely, relaxed time, learn about the local culture and meet people, enjoy the landscape, the seaside, take photographs, taste wines etc. On some days the level is medium and walking time is mostly average between 4 to 5 hours per day, still depending of your pace.
Daily distance: min. 9,1 km / 5,6 mi – max. 21,6 km / 13,4 mi
Total km: short route 68,2 km / 42,4 miles; long route 92,6 km / 57,5 miles
Every Saturday from March until end of November. Upon request and with supplement (minimum 2-3 people) it is possible to start on another day.
2 or more people.
START / FINISH:
Miranda do Douro / Porto