As explorers that we are, one of our great pleasures is to go discovering with our legs as a vehicle. We believe that the best way to get to know a place is to walk in it, letting our eyes assimilate the wonders that surround us and thus learn more about them.
In the “Douro”, that is what you want, nothing better to get to know it than walking along its centuries-old terraces, which descend down the slope in a beautiful and endless form of stairs to the river’s edge or even under its old train lines, which at least disuse became just monuments once used by man.
The walks are in a sea of mountains that have the river as their guide, where you will have a feeling of freedom and introspection as only the sites with such beauty as the “Douro” Valley can offer.
For the practice of walking in the “Douro”, the best time of the year will be spring, however it does not invalidate the practice of them in any part of the year.
This is the time when the rains start to decrease, the soil dries up, becoming more passable. Also in spring, temperatures across the valley begin to rise, giving us a little cold mornings, but with a sun less shy than before, which in the afternoon will be felt, contrasting with the cool breeze so typical of the season of the year.
Despite its timeless beauty, it requires your care, the shadows are few due to the large part of the mountains being covered with vineyards, so we always recommend the use of sun protection, as well as quantities of water to keep you hydrated throughout the walk. , no less important is the use of comfortable shoes and clothes.
Let your inner explorer take care of you and get lost in the beautiful paths of our “Douro”. If you are not comfortable going out on your own, we will be happy to help you!
PR2 Lamego Trail – Port Wine Trail
Starting Point: “Samodães”
Extension: 6.9 km
Difficulty Level: Medium
Trail Type: Natural and Landscape Trail – Signposted and Circular
This trail will take us to the municipality of “Lamego”, more specifically to the village of “Samodães”, where we will start this journey through the tiled paths of the vineyards of “Alto Douro” Wine Region.
In this beautiful region, where wines have been produced for 2000 years, the journey will take about 3h30m, but here there is no time to fulfill, this is a walk of introspection and calm, remember it is a marathon not a race.
On this trail you will walk on the terraces drawn in the landscape by hundreds or perhaps thousands of hands that worked in these lands, it is without a doubt a living memory of other times.
This is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful trails in the “Douro”, where we will have contact not only with Nature but also with the history and culture of different eras.
It will be about 7 km along rural paths, outlined by shale walls that serve as farm boundaries. This trail is best executed in the opposite direction of the clock, thus favoring more descents than ascents, saving your legs a little.
Of particular note are the panoramic views that you will find along the way overhanging the “Douro” River and if the harvest season is going to be, you will have a first-hand look at a secular tradition.
You can even lose your shame and lend a hand to those who work and cut some grapes yourself, which will surely be seen with good eyes by the locals and don’t forget to taste one or another bunch of grapes, fresh and of an incomparable sweetness.
It is in this century-old village where our journey will begin, with a humble and rural aspect, as is so characteristic of this region.
With few inhabitants and a very calm environment, the Chapel of “Nossa Senhora da Graça” with Mannerist traces is noteworthy, derived from Mannerism, an architectural style that emerged in the 16th century as a revolt against classicism, and the view of the churchyard that it supports, nothing better than giving your eyes a gift to give us strength for the next walk.
“Quinta do Vale Abraão”
“Quinta do Vale Abraão” alone is timelessly beautiful, standing in time on the slopes full of vine terraces that surround and compose it.
But this farm has more to tell, it was immortalized in history by 2 of the most respected Portuguese artists, by the hands of “Agustina Bessa-Luís” the famous book “Vale Abraão” was born, a literary novel that narrates the loving trajectory of a woman victim of her unreasonable desires and passions.
Through the eyes of the camera of the most respected Portuguese filmmaker, “Manoel de Oliveira”, he saw the birth of the film with the same name as the book, “Vale de Abraão”, characterized by its brilliant plastic beauty and an unparalleled poetic sensitivity.
These two works, which in fact are just one, left this farm as a point to be taken into account on the map, bringing it an immense reputation.
The film was considered by the cinema chronicles as “one of the most beautiful films in the world”.
Another beautiful proof that the “Douro” is not just vineyards, there is inspiration for artists from the most varied strands of art, the “Douro” is an inspiration.
“Torgueano” Trail from “Provesende” – “S. Cristóvão do Douro / Pinhão”
Location: “Provesende” – “Douro” Valley – Sub – Region of “Cima Corgo”
Starting Point: Chapel of Provesende
Extension: 5 km
Difficulty Level: Easy
Maximum slope: 510 m
Trail Type: Natural and Landscape Trail – Signposted and Circular
This trail will take you to discover the beautiful village of “Provesende” and “Pinhão”, one of the most sought after towns in the “Douro” due to its beautiful river port which is a mandatory stop for cruises that go up or down the river for 9 months.
The trail itself will be a great opportunity to understand how Man and Nature work in perfect harmony on the banks of the “Douro” River.
Starting our journey together nest to the “Provesende” church, you will have the opportunity to explore this wine village, located on a plateau overlooking the “Pinhão” River, where you will have a wonderful panoramic view right from the start.
The trail is relatively easy, being done in just 1h30m and always going down, for this reason it is perfect to do with the family, calmly and with the right to many photos, but we do not stop here, already involved in the trail we will still pass by the village of “S. Cristóvão do Douro”, where you can contemplate it from the viewpoint with the same name as the village, from here the view will be splendid and you can steal a few minutes, take the opportunity to take a break.
Pause done is time to resume the path through endless vineyards, until finally we reach the bottom of the hill and come across the beautiful Roman Bridge of “Pinhão”, where we conclude this beautiful trail.
It only remains to go to the center of the village, choose one of the picturesque taverns and enjoy the beautiful sun that, depending on the time of year, can be felt.
Fauna and Flora
In terms of Flora, the landscape is predominantly composed of vineyards that are not as large in size as in other subregions of the “Douro”, the vineyards here are considered the birthplace of great Port wines.
However, not everything is vineyards, in the less used riverside areas, there is the Mediterranean vegetation made up of the famous olive trees that are responsible for the second most produced product in the region, olive oil, also note the holm oak, the juniper with perennial leafs, small and dense, which prevents evapotranspiration, that is, the loss of water, remaining green throughout the year. We also find bushes in abundance, such as arbutus and aromatic herbs such as rosemary.
Speaking of fauna, birds are the predominant animal of the region, depending on the time of the year we can find the “montesina” lark and the small lark, both nest in the soil, protected by the small bushes, we also find the great tit, the Galician owl, the black starling, among other species that together do wonders for bird lovers. If you are attentive, you can still spot the foxes of the region.
Geology and Soil
In geological terms, the “Douro” Valley belongs to the “Xisto-Grauváquico” complex with some outcrops of granitic rock, it is less present in the region.
The region’s soil is characterized as very acid due to the presence of calcium and magnesium in abundance, and it also has aluminum strata.
One of the aspects to be taken into account and easier to observe is the orientation and exposure of the land, which dictated the behavior of the vineyards that here in the “Cima Corgo” sub-region, are characterized by having berries with a greater presence of sugar in comparison with other sub-regions, as you can now understand viticulture is closely linked to the geological and soil knowledge, which working as a “team” and with Man as conductor, made the wonderful “Douro” wines world famous.
PR2 CRZ – “Senhor da Boa Morte” Trail
Location: “União de Freguesias do Castanheiro do Norte and Ribalonga” – “Carrazeda de Ansiães”
Starting Point: Information Panel at the Parish Council of the Parish Union of “Castanheiro do Norte” and “Ribalonga”
Extension: 9.6 km
Difficulty Level: Medium / High
Maximum Height: 510 m
Trail Type: Cultural and Landscape Trail – Signposted and Circular
This is one of those up and down trails, it looks like a roller coaster, but not the classic ones. This is a roller coaster of sensations, it will take us to walk between the River “Tua” and the top of the mountains, but not only, on the way we pass through pure nature, micro flora reserves and an impressive diversity of fauna.
The name comes from the patron saint of the village where it begins, in “Castanheiro do Norte”. From here, we will set out on a journey that will certainly be remembered as a journey of connectivity between Man and Nature, which will lead us to better understand why there is an almost perfect harmony between them for hundreds of years in this Valley.
Welcome to the “Senhor da Boa Morte” Trail!
Castanheiro do Norte
It is in this beautiful village that we will start this walk.
Noteworthy are the narrow and winding alleys that tile the entire village amidst their houses typically built in granite, built this way to face the weather characteristics of these lands which are sometimes very cold, sometimes very hot, allowing granite to always have a pleasant temperature inside the houses.
Due to their frontal location with the “Douro” and “Tua” River Valleys, they have a range of viewpoints that will delight anyone’s visual.
“Olhos do Tua” Viewpoint
After crossing the village of “Castanheiro do Norte” towards its northeast side, we will face the “Olhos do Tua” viewpoint, and it is not by chance that it is “Tua” eyes.
Upon arrival we have the perspective of the immensity that surrounds us, with eyes wide open we can delight in the winding of “Tua” through the rugged mountains of the region.
The structure of the viewpoint was designed by a sculptor, it took the shape of a boat’s keel so that as if we were in one, we can feel ourselves navigating the river.
Old Fig Oven
It may seem strange but in fact there are specific ovens for drying figs, typical of the “Terra Quente Transmontana”, a region where the “Tua” and “Douro” Valley are inserted.
It is in “Tua” that its presence is most noticeable, they splash the landscape discreetly like mushrooms, on this trail we will have the opportunity to see and examine its architecture very closely.
Nowadays without any use for farmers, who dedicated themselves to other more beneficial activities, they are the memory of ancient times, when any and all products that nature gave us were made as profitable as possible, so that no needs were felt.
Chapel of “Bom Jesus”
We continue the walk in a relaxed way, going up and down that truth is told is very pleasant, until finally we will arrive at “Monte das Chãs”, where in its perimeter we find the beautiful Chapel of “Bom Jesus”, with a circular structure, something unusual when compared with other religious of the region, of small size with an entrance of rectangular lines, at the top a steeple and with an orientation to the west it is inside that is the icing on the cake, having an interior of enormous pictorial richness, where in the stucco that lines the granite walls land scenes of the apostolate.
Of unusual and picturesque name, believed to derive from the word “Calhandriz”, the site of birds, and in fact they abound in the “Tua” area and are a reason for many to visit.
This is another of the villages with a Roman past, in the beginning of the 20th century, remains of Roman dwellings were found in the village area, as a “domus” characterized by a manor house, buildings for the elaboration of agricultural activities, as well as the houses of the citizens with few conditions, as the traces found say.
Despite some discoveries, they are not very significant, since the bulk of the population is thought to have been destroyed by barbaric peoples at the end of the Roman Empire. The current village is located over the old one, overlooking the river “Tua”, giving us a view to its mouth, with the “Douro”.
With about 2 kilometers in length, it makes its olive groves and vineyards its livelihood and the delights of those who are lucky enough to pass there.
Chapel and Viewpoint of “Senhor da Boa Morte”
Both located at a high point in the village of “Castanheiro do Norte”, the arrival there, already predicts that we are at the end of this journey.
The chapel erected in the name of “Senhor da Boa Morte”, dating from the 18th century, with simple lines is divided into two parts, the body of the church and the main chapel which bears the figure of the patron saint and images alluding to his ordeal, a perfect example of the deep religiosity that lived in Portugal for hundreds of years, so intense that even in places literally lost in the mountains its existence prevails.
But don’t go now, next to the chapel we find the idyllic viewpoint of “Senhor da Boa Morte”, which gives us a view of the “Douro” Valley, its unevenness and its Mediterranean flora.
This is one of the beautiful fountains in the village, where you can stop and refresh yourself a little because our journey has unfortunately ended. It should be noted that in Portugal this sources of water are immensely common and of great importance, the vast majority are very old, because in other times it was the only way to obtain water for daily consumption, there is no village that does not have its own, as you know water is life!
PR4 MDL “Vale do Tua” Trail
Location: Regional Natural Park of “Vale do Tua”
Starting Point: Information panel next to “Abreiro” train station
Extension: 11.3 km
Difficulty Level: Easy
Maximum Height: 414 m
Trail Type: Natural and Landscape Trail – Signposted and Circular
“Tua” walking routes, despite its recent creation, exceeded any expectations in terms of adherence.
More and more famous for their beautiful landscapes and breathtaking scenery, they delight the people of Portugal and beyond, returning to the region the movement and the exhibition that was so longed for.
This is one of those routes, started at the historic “Abreiro” Train Station, it will take us along the banks of the “Tua” River, sometimes by mountains, sometimes by agricultural land, you will see old bridges like the remains of “Ponte do Diabo”, secular vineyards and olive groves.
For bird lovers it will be a great opportunity to get involved in the huge variety of birds in the region, which were the symphony of this walk from their corner.
Keep your eyes wide open, the details are at every step and you will not want to miss them.
A contemplative walk, in the middle of a state of nature that still of remarkable purity.
“Abreiro” Train Station
This is where we start the journey that awaits us, at first glance it may seem like a simple station, like so many others in the region, but if we look closely we can see that its construction is anything but simple.
Facing the station we come across 3 buildings, the station, the station’s warehouse and the bridge that joins the two banks of the “Tua”, which in a certain way in landscape terms fit delicately into the landscape, making the least possible impact.
It is this fact that makes it one of the reference points of the “Tua” train line, harmoniously connected with nature, living up to human coherence when intervening in natural spaces, a lesson that we should take with us, so that all the world understands that if we build in nature, we should have harmony with it as the first objective, preserving it.
Introductions made to the station, it’s time to cross the bridge and head towards the village with the same name as the station.
When crossing the bridge you will see what are the remains of the old bridge that offered passage there, known as the “Devil’s Bridge”, according to the legend, always when the last stone of its construction was placed the next day it was removed, they say that it was the Devil who took it away.
After crossing the bridge and after walking for a while on dirt tracks, we finally arrived at the village of “Abreiro”, which received its “Foral”, a royal document that officializes the administration of a population, in 1225, by the hands of “D. Sancho I”, second King of Portugal, thus beginning its centenary history, in its limits are to be considered the pillory of the village, built at the behest of “D. Manuel I” in the 16th century, this monument very abundant throughout the Portuguese territory, was a symbol of justice, because it was here criminals were punished, they later became municipal landmarks with coats of arms depicting the places where they were built.
“Dr. Adérito Rodrigues” Museum
Continuing the journey and still in the village, you can always take a short break to visit the “Dr. Adérito Rodrigues” Museum, the doctor in the name, was a village inhabitant who always valued the health of those who lived there, having the museum as a function, the exhibition and dissemination of culture and traditions, practiced for a long time in the nearby regions and in the village.
The visit will help you to better understand how they live here, giving you a more truthful view of what you are seeing.
“Vale do Tua” Viewpoint
To finish in the best possible way, it is time to go to the “Vale do Tua” Viewpoint, from the village to the viewpoint the walk will still be long, with space for regular stops for photos, contemplation of the landscape, or even to walk a little among the vineyards and olive groves, after all, the expression “Being in Rome, be a Roman” makes perfect sense, you have to feel how a local feels.
After walking in up and down sensations we finally reach the viewpoint, which offers a wide view of the River “Tua” and its idyllic train line, the green runs from the top of the hills and ends at the river. This is the perfect place for another long stop or even for a snack, walking requires food.
From here we return to the village and then go down to the train station where it all started, thus ending a fantastic journey in the “Vale do Tua”.
The trails presented are just some of the many existing in the endless “Douro” Valley. For this reason we will update this post with more wonderful hikes and if you are unsure about how to get there or how to prepare the hike, we will be happy to help you! Stay Tuned!