North of Portugal – 8100G

Small Group by Train

Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights

This holiday will take us on some of the most scenic rail routes in the north of Portugal.

We will enjoy stunning landscapes, the opportunity to visit lovely towns and villages and stop in strategic places to admire historic rolling stock as well as gorgeously decorated train stations.

We’ll also take time to wander and visit some amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The history of the railroad in Portugal is very rich and varied as evidenced by the contents of the various museums we will visit and today’s rail stock as well.

Engineering, art and science intersect with the lives of societies, groups and individuals.

  • Groups accepted with a minimum of 6 pax

Groups accepted with a minimum of 6 pax.

 

This holiday will take us on some of the most scenic rail routes in the north of Portugal.

We will enjoy stunning landscapes, the opportunity to visit lovely towns and villages and stop in strategic places to admire historic rolling stock as well as gorgeously decorated train stations.

We’ll also take time to wander and visit some amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The history of the railroad in Portugal is very rich and varied as evidenced by the contents of the various museums we will visit and today’s rail stock as well.
Engineering, art and science intersect with the lives of societies, groups and individuals.

The railroad has broken new territory, created cities, linked communities more or less distant, created and sustained new opportunities and needs, changed the way we see and live in the world.

The history of the trains in Portugal began in October 1856, during the Industrial Revolution, when the first trip between Lisbon and Carregado occurred.

The inaugural trip of 37km, should have had the presence of King Pedro V, but he arrived late and the train, baptized D. Luis, left without the royal passenger.

The railway network expands rapidly in the following years, especially under the influence of Fontes Pereira de Melo, Minister of Public Works. In 1861 the train arrives at the border with Spain, near Badajoz, and in the following year the connection between Lisbon and Porto is assured.

The first diesel engines arrive in 1948, harbingers of the end of the era of steam locomotives. Later the trains began using electricity and, more recently, their running is becoming more and more computerised.

We’ll start the tour with a visit to Porto’s many charms, from the ancient monuments to the magnificent coast line. In Porto, also a World Heritage site, we’ll ride on a charming tram to Foz and visit the National Tram Museum.

From our base, Porto, we’ll visit Viana do Castelo the jewel of the Minho; take a train to Guimarães, the birth town of Portugal and a World Heritage Site; Aveiro with its beautiful system of lagoons and gaily painted houses and Coimbra, home of one of the oldest universities in Europe.

And of course we finish with a stunning river cruise on the magnificent Douro River and a train ride alongside the Rio Douro, one of the great unsung experiences of a visit to Portugal.

The scenery is breathtaking, and many say it is one of the greatest rail journeys of the world.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival to Porto

Transfer from airport to Hotel.
Depending on our arrival time, a short introductory walk around town will be offered.
Free time until the evening meeting and dinner.
Dinner will be taken in a local restaurant.

 

Day 2 – Porto – travel on trams & visit tram museum

Today we will enjoy Porto and its many attractions including its traditional trams.
The Electric Car Museum holds a collection of trams, trailers and vehicles and is installed in the old thermo-electric power station of Massarelos. It exhibits material related to the history of collective electric traction transportation on rails in this city.
Porto is Portugal’s most important northern city, an enchanting city that is well worth visiting. Dramatically situated at the mouth of the Rio Douro, it has a wonderfully atmospheric feel.
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its historic buildings and outstanding monuments, highlights of Portugal’s second largest city include the formidable Porto cathedral, the Torre dos Clérigos, Carmo Church and Lello bookshop. Porto offers a compelling synthesis of ancient and contemporary attractions.
Travelling on the trams will give us time to appreciate this fascinating and vibrant city, rapidly becoming one of Western Europe’s most desirable tourist destinations. The city boasts an extensive history, interesting tourist attractions and a buzzing nightlife. There is a lot to see and do in Porto and the city will appeal to a wide range of different visitors.
Dinner will be taken in a local restaurant.

 

Day 3 – Porto – Viana do Castelo

Today we take the Minho line to Viana do Castelo. Open in 1878 it now connects Portugal with Vigo in Galicia, Spain.
Our trip is very scenic taking in the fertile farmlands of the north before arriving in Viana do Castelo, the jewel of the Costa Verde, the pearl of the north.
It is one of the most beautiful cities in the north of Portugal. Situated at the mouth of the Lima River, between the ocean and the mountains, this charming city is steeped in tradition.
Viana do Castelo is blessed with both an appealing medieval centre and lovely beaches just outside the city. The old quarters showcase leafy, 19th-century boulevards and narrow lanes, rich in palaces emblazoned with coats of arms, churches and monasteries, monumental fountains and water features that constitute a wealth of heritage worth visiting.
Its traditional connection to the sea derives from being a crucial point of departure during the Age of Discovery, when many Portuguese explorers embarked to discover the unknown world as well as its later involvement with cod fishing and ship building.
Crowning the town is the Sanctuary of Santa Luzia reached by the Funicular of Santa Luzia, soaring 160m in height and a length of 650m. It is the longest of all funiculars in the country.
Dinner will be taken in a local restaurant.

 

Day 4 – Porto – Guimarães & Lousado Train Museum

Today we take the Guimarães spur of the Minho line. Opened in 1884 as a narrow gauge it was converted in 2002 to Iberian gauge.
Lousado, where the line splits, housed the old repair and maintenance sheds for the rolling stock. Today it has become the Lousado Train Museum.
The train depot sits right next to the station of Lousado and is home to a collection that offers railway enthusiasts a splendid arrangement of historical rolling stock. The museum’s four steam locomotives are joined by a large number of passenger and freight cars, partly used for very specific purposes. Among other things, visitors can see the CF PPV 6, Portugal’s oldest narrow gauge engine, built in England in 1874. Close to it a railcar containing an ambulance honours the life and work of the Portuguese neurologist and politician António Egas Moniz, a railway doctor who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1949. An exciting part of the museum looks beyond train operation, illustrating the equipment of train depots at the turn of the 19th century. In this context the collection features gantry cranes, machine tools for rail production and repair, a joinery, a saw mill, and three trolleys.
An important part of the collection – existing in the CP – of eight iron companies, from 1885 to 1977. It includes four steam locomotives, which head other trains formed by typology.
Guimarães is a charming and historic city and is regarded as the birth place of Portugal.
Its extensive history is reflected in the variety of national monuments and historic buildings found within the city.
It is a World Heritage Site, the proud birthplace of Afonso Henriques, the first independent king of Portugal. It is associated with the emergence of the Portuguese national identity in the 12th century.
Its charming medieval centre is a warren of labyrinthine lanes and picturesque plazas framed by 14th-century edifices, while on an adjacent hill stands a 1000-year-old castle and the massive palace built by the first duke of Bragança in the 15th century.
An exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town, its rich building typology exemplifies the specific development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to 19th century through the consistent use of traditional building materials and techniques.
Dinner will be taken in a local restaurant.

 

Day 5 – Porto – Sernada – Macinhata – Aveiro

Today we will travel the iconic Linha do Vouga (the Vouga line), the last surviving metre gauge railway line in Portugal.
The line was opened by Manuel II of Portugal in 1908 and was fully completed by 1913.
Part way along the line we find the railway museum of Macinhata do Vouga, one of Portugal’s most interesting train museums. It is part of the National Railway Museum. Inside we can visit the estate of the National railway companies and Vouga Valley, as well as a large room with locomotives and old carriages, from the beginning and the mid-twentieth century. Here we will find the most fascinating variety of steam driven engines, nationally produced train cars, or century-old wooden carriages.
On our return to Porto we’ll stop at Aveiro, the Venice of the north, where we can admire the beautifully tiled train station, visit the canals with their brightly painted “gondolas” and admire the gaily painted traditional houses.
Dinner will be taken in a local restaurant.

 

Day 6 – Porto – Coimbra Walk & Visit

Today we use modern trains on the Porto to Lisbon line to take us to Coimbra, home to one of the world’s oldest universities. But the city is no historic relic, it is an affluent city that is both liberal and forward thinking, in part due to the large student population.
Steeped in history and long regarded as Portugal’s cultural and intellectual centre, Coimbra is a timeless destination that has inspired the works of acclaimed poets and writers, a long-standing tradition of soulful Fado serenades and a truly unique legacy of high-spirited academic rituals.
It is acclaimed as the city of love. Coimbra, perched over the lovely Mondego River (the longest Portuguese river), is a varied and captivating city boasting an extensive history. It is crammed with interesting historical monuments, such as the famed university, but equally has a lively and vibrant atmosphere and great nightlife.
Dinner will be taken in a local restaurant.

 

Day 7 – Porto – Régua

Today will be completely dedicated to one of the most iconic sceneries in the world.
We combine the best of both worlds, the river itself with a stunning cruise from Porto to Régua through beautiful & verdant countryside and a train journey on one of the best train lines anywhere.
All in all, a Douro River cruise comprises so many small discoveries, small pleasures and such a generous amount of time sailing on a riverboat that you’ll be lulled into a relaxing rhythm that’s far away from frantic sightseeing and over-scheduled days. Chances are, you’ll be dreaming of that Douro magic long after you get home.
We board our ship in Ribeira docks in Porto and travel leisurely through breathtaking, scenery and patterned vineyards covering the hills, dramatic cliffs overhanging the river and the river’s waters shimmering in the sun all the way to Régua, the heart of the Douro valley.
After time to sightsee in Régua we board the train to Porto giving us great views over the river Douro and the pastoral countryside to arrive at Porto São Bento station where no less than 20,000 painted tiles cover the walls, depicting scenes of royal gatherings and traditional rural life.

 

Day 8 – Departure

Transfer from Porto to Airport.

What's included

Accommodation

  • 7 nights in a twin standard room for two pax
  • Shared ensuite room with a travelling companion of the same sex
  • Single supplement available with a surcharge
  • Extra nights available on request

Meals

  • 7 buffet breakfasts at the Hotel
  • 7 Dinners with drinks included

Transport

  • Meet & Greet Airport Transfer to the hotel on the first day – group transfer
  • Transfer from the hotel to the Airport on last day – group transfer
  • All transports for activities and equipment required (as outlined) with dedicated driver and vehicle
  • Additional transfers available on request at an extra cost

Activities

  • Activities according to program
  • Entries to: Electric Car Museum, Lousado Train Museum, Paço dos Duques de Bragança, Guimarães Castle, Railway Museum of Macinhata do Vouga
  • Tickets to Boat Cruise to Régua

Tour Leaders

  • Dedicated English speaking local tour leader
    The tour leader will assist and guide the group throughout the holidays, handle all the arrangements and other needs that might arise, making sure that you don’t have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday
    Each evening, your tour leader will discuss the details and program for the following day

Exclusions

Any services not listed as included

  • Flights to and from Portugal
  • Meals, tips/gratuities, baggage or personal insurance (except as outlined)
  • Admission fees to castles & attractions or events (except as outlined)
  • Personal expenses
  • Supplements
  • Guide services inside monuments

Insurance

You must be adequately insured to join our Guided and Self-Guided holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday.

BeCool Travel has partnered with WorldNomads.com to keep you travelling safely. WorldNomads.com Travel Insurance is designed for independent and adventurous travellers, with coverage for overseas medical expenses, cancellation, baggage, and other expenses.

Please consult our Travel Insurance page, where you’ll be able to get more detailed info about insurance requirements and an immediate quote for your trip.