Responsible travel has always been at the heart of what we do at Portugal Green Walks. We understand that it’s just as important to you that your experience involves authentic contact with local people and benefits local communities as well as minimising any detrimental effects on the environment.
We took some time last year to review our programmes in line with the latest strict guidelines for sustainable travel. We wanted to be certain that we are doing all we can as responsible local tour operators, for the good of all concerned. Any minor adjustments that were necessary have been made.
We have also implemented the necessary safety and hygiene protocols to keep you safe from Covid-19 and made sure our partners are meeting the relevant guidelines. As we all know, the pandemic, and the need to keep our distance from others has led to an increased demand for outdoor holidays in areas of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.
As our former and repeat clients already know, these are exactly the type of experiences we have always specialised in, i.e. immersive, self-guided holidays in the beautiful landscapes of Northern Portugal.
You probably can’t wait to put on your walking boots or cycling gear and set off on a new adventure, far from the crowds and noise of big cities. With our wealth of experience, knowledge and extensive network, we are ready to help you get out into the fresh air and green spaces that we love so much.
Walking the portuguese camino de Santiago
For an unforgettable, potentially life-changing, experience we recommend walking the central Portuguese Camino pilgrim trail. The route between Porto and Santiago de Compostela has been travelled by countless pilgrims over hundreds of years, including royalty.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet fellow pilgrims if you want to, or to spend time in silent contemplation as you walk through the verdant Minho and Galician countryside. Friendly locals will point you in the right direction if you appear to be lost and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to taste delicious local food and drinks.
The Portuguese Way to Santiago takes you from the wonderful city of Porto all the way to Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Between these iconic cities, you’ll experience the beauty of rural Portugal and Spain as well as plenty of interesting and attractive small towns and cities full of charm and history.
Cycing the portuguese coastal way to Santiago
If you’re looking for a cycling holiday with a purpose, try cycling the coastal Camino Português. This self-guided bike holiday follows the centuries-old pilgrim route along the coast of Northern Portugal and part of the Galician coast in Spain until it veers inland to take you all the way to the magnificent cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
You’ll start your journey the fascinating city of Porto and pass through a string of coastal towns, rural villages and fishing communities. Of course, the proximity to the ocean means that opportunities for fresh fish and seafood abound, including the renowned mussels and oysters in Galicia.
The eternally green landscapes of this part of the Iberian Peninsula are a joy to cycle through; a mixture of fields, forests, valleys and distant mountains. History and architecture buffs are in for a treat in small but ancient cities like Viana do Castelo, Pontevedra and, of course, Santiago de Compostela.
Highlights of northern Portugal
If you’re spoilt for choice and can’t decide between coast, mountains or the Douro wine region, don’t worry! We have the ideal programme for those who want more variety and a chance to sample three diverse parts of Northern Portugal.
Our Highlights of Northern Portugal walking holiday takes some of the best bits of the Atlantic Route, Heart & Soul of the Douro Valley and Explore Peneda-Gerês walking holidays and combines them into an exciting week-long programme.
Starting from the village of Pinhão on the banks of the Douro River, you’ll experience the stunning landscapes and rich culture of the Douro wine region from your base in Alijó. Then transfer to the mountain village of Lindoso for dramatic views of the National Park and two and a half days of gorgeous walks.
After you’ve appreciated the wild beauty of the mountains, it’s time to head to the Atlantic Ocean where you’ll spend the next two days walking beside the coastline.
Starting from the small, medieval town of Caminha, you’ll pass through magnificent pine forest, fishing villages and delightful beaches to reach Viana do Castelo. This fascinating and beautiful city offers a rich history and plenty of interesting sights.
Explore Peneda-Gerês National Park
Portugal’s only National Park, the Peneda-Gerês, is made up of granite mountains, forests, wild expanses, picturesque forests and streams and many tiny villages.
On our self-guided walking holiday in the Peneda-Gerês National Park, you’ll have an opportunity to conquer a medieval castle, see an ancient wolf trap and many stone shelters built by shepherds. Marvel at the clusters of stone grain stores in the villages of Lindoso and Soajo and peer into the communal laundry tanks, ovens and watermills that you spot along the route.
You may even spot some Garrano horses and will almost certainly encounter some scary-looking but harmless long-horned Cachena cows. You’ll be staying in renovated cottages in the mountain villages where you can make the most of the local connections, fresh produce, peaceful surroundings and pure air.
Atlantic route coastal walking holiday
For those who prefer the combination of a leisurely paced walking holiday and plenty of time by the ocean, or in interesting small towns, the Atlantic Route is designed with you in mind. Beginning in the seaside town of Póvoa de Varzim, you’ll spend the week walking on boardwalks beside the beach, country lanes, forest paths and back roads as you follow the Green Coast (Costa Verde) north to the very tip of Portugal.
You’ll spend time in fishing villages where you can see the fishermen tending their nets or preparing their colourful boats, or witness their catch being sold at market or from roadside trolleys. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to sample the freshest of grilled fish and seafood and other tasty local produce at the family-run restaurants along the route.
There’s also plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of small historical cities such as Viana do Castelo and Caminha. You’ll also see evidence of the area’s long history in the form of Roman salt pans, several fortresses and you could make a slight detour to visit a Celtic settlement with stunning views.
Heart and soul of douro valley
If you want to explore one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions on foot, this is the walking holiday for you. Journey by train from Porto, along the Douro River to the heart of the wine region at Pinhão. From there, you’ll spend a week traversing the undulating hills on each side of the Pinhão River, a tributary to the majestic Douro.
The breath-taking scenery and the mostly manual wine production in this area is classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Landscape. You’ll walk through many a vineyard and olive grove, as well as patches of forest, as you make your way from village to village.
You’ll undoubtedly encounter workers tending the vines or ancient stone walls and will have opportunities to interact with local people in the villages you pass through or stay in. Of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to visit some of the local wineries. While the Douro is famous for port wine, it also produces exceptional red and white wines and a much-prized muscatel wine in the outlying village of Favaios, also famous for its artisanal bread.