Groups accepted with a minimum of 6 pax.
This one week tour features three of the most beautiful and remote rivers of Northern Portugal – the Tamega, the Paiva and the Vouga.
They flow through wild and hidden landscapes and extremely ancient areas, both in historic and geological terms. The areas are of difficult access and this has preserved the large diversity of the local fauna and flora.
Our tour brings us into closer contact with the hidden secrets of the rivers, and the natural and historical-cultural surroundings.
We use old trails, historic rail routes and newer innovations such as the remarkable Passadiços do Paiva which allow access to previously unexplored areas.
Our two centres, at either end of the tour, anchor the rivers and are intimately connected with them.
Our first centre, Amarante, also known as the princess of the Tamega, is a beautiful town with an amazing combination of tradition, history and nature.
The river Tâmega runs through this town which has a magical fairytale feel to it, with elegant turreted buildings and trees drooping into the river.
From Amarante we travel to our second centre, Aveiro. But, en route we stop by and walk the extraordinary Passadiços do Paiva.
The Passadiços are in the middle of a classified area by the European and Global Geoparks Networks, under the auspices of UNESCO, a remote and wild area of rugged beauty bisected by the fast flowing, “frisky” river Paiva of the cool, clear waters.
Finally, at the end, we come to the Ria of Aveiro where the river Vouga meets the ocean in the wide estuary that has been worked for centuries for fishing, salt collection and seaweed harvesting using the colourful “barcos moliceiros”.
Aveiro has often been called the Portuguese Venice due to its canals and charming bridges. The town itself is famous for its ceramics, many examples of which are visible everywhere. This is truly a sensational tour combining the best of what nature and humankind working in harmony together can create.
Day 1 – Arrival to Amarante
Transfer by road from airport to Amarante.
Day 2 – Ecovia do Tamega: Canedo – Cruz de Baixo
This is a beautiful and scenic walk along a paved Ecovia, once one of the most spectacular narrow gauge railway lines in the country. The route passes through isolated villages, field systems and vineyards and offers breath taking views over the Tamega River.
We pass through the attractive small town of Celorico de Basto where those wishing for an easier day can finish the walk.
Distance: 12.2km or 14.5km / Ascent/descent: minimal
Day 3 – S. Salvador do Monte and the Tamega River
We begin at the lovely small stone church of S. Salvador do Monte and descend on quiet lanes and wooded tracks to the edge of the River Tamega.
A riverside path then leads along the grassy margins of the river Tamega before arriving at the S. Gonçalo Bridge in Amarante.
This walk is specially designed to arrive back in Amarante in time for a late lunch and provide more time to explore this fascinating town.
Distance: 8.4km / Ascent/descent: +75m, -300m
Day 4 – Transfer day to Aveiro via Passadiços do Paiva
A big and full day in every way. Spectacular journey down the Tamega valley & across the Douro River.
We then travel into the mountains to walk the famous Passadiços do Paiva. This 8km stretch of wooden boardwalks give access to an otherwise inaccessible section of the glorious Paiva river cascading between crags and frothing over rocks as it navigates through some of the most beautiful and rugged scenery in the north.
After our walk we have a well-deserved break in a café before continuing our journey to our next centre, Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal.
Distance: 8.2km to bar dos Passadiços by the bridge at Espiunca /Ascent/descent: + 150m, -200m
Day 5 – Sernada Ecopista
Today we meet the Vouga River. We shadow this gentle river as it meanders to Sernada do Vouga surrounded by woodland and rolling hills.
Sernada do Vouga where we finish our walk is an old railway junction and a stop on Portugal´s only remaining narrow gauge railway line.
Distance: 10.5km / Ascent/descent: minimal
Day 6 – Sernada-Macinhata-Fontinha
We return to Sernada do Vouga and continue to follow the river as it quietly flows through a rich open valley.
Little villages enrich our walk, farmers tend their fields and trees offer shade as we accompany the river Vouga towards the sea.
Distance: 12km or 14.5km / Ascent/descent: minimal
Day 7 – Salreu nature circuit /boat trip Ria de Aveiro
The Rio Vouga now forms the grand estuary of the Ria de Aveiro.
This massive area of wetlands has been a haven for thousands of years for animals, birds and people alike.
Our walk is designed to appreciate and understand the importance of this natural habitat.
But, of course, the only way to finish our week is to take a boat ride through this stunning watery landscape.
A fitting climax to our exploration of northern Portugal’s hidden rivers.
Distance: 8km / Ascent/descent: nil
Day 8 – Departure
Transfer from hotel to airport
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.
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