Douro Valley Members Exclusive Guided Walking Holiday

Wine glasses against vineyards in Douro Valley, Portugal
Duration: 7 nights
Type: European Centre Based
Walking Grade: 2 & 3

The Douro valley in Northern Portugal is an area well-known for its eye-catching vine-covered slopes stretching on terraces as far as the eye can see. The base for our guided walks here is the peaceful town of Peso da Régua which is backed by the Serra do Marão Mountains and overlooks the wide valley of the River Douro. The development of the port industry fuelled the growth of the town; its riverside location made it the perfect place from which locally produced wines could be collected ready for transportation down river to Vila Nova de Gaia. During the week you can enjoy a great mix of walks with river views, follow trails between sleepy villages and through vineyards. There are also longer routes in the mountain landscape of the Serra do Marão. A trip to the Douro Valley wouldn't be complete without a visit to a local quinta and vineyard to sample the famous port. There is also the opportunity to cruise on the river or wind along the banks by rail to the magnificent UNESCO listed city of Porto on your free day.

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy the stunning scenery of the UNESCO listed Alto Douro wine region
  • Soak up the Portuguese culture in the traditional streets of Porto
  • Cruise along the meandering Douro and return on the scenic ‘Linha do Douro’ railway
  • Walk in the mountain landscape of the Serra do Marão
  • Visit a local vineyard, learn about making port and enjoy a tasting

What’s included

  • A full programme of guided walks with 2 options every walking day
  • All transport to and from walks
  • The services of experienced HF Holidays leaders
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • 7 night's accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Half Board – buffet breakfast and 3-course evening meal

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

Welcome to the Hotel Vila Galé Collection Douro. Unpack and settle in.

Our first day of walks starts with a short transfer to the outskirts of Régua walking along ancient tracks and paths through terraced vineyards, hamlets and villages giving panoramic views of the Douro and Régua.

Option 1 - Vistas of the Douro

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) 

Total ascent: 600 feet (280m)

Total descent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In summary: The easier walk passes through the lower hamlets closer to the river’s extraordinary terraced sides before reaching the promenade, which we follow back to cross the Douro on the beautifully restored metal bridge, ‘ponte metálica’. There will be an opportunity to explore Régua and the ‘Museu do Douro’, which tells the history of the area.

Highlight: Breathtaking views on our introductory walk.

Option 2 - Through vineyards and trees high above the Douro

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 1,700 feet (500m)

Total descent: 2,200 feet (700m)

In summary: The harder walk climbs to the distinctive white church of Loureiro before passing through woodland to descend to the river bank. There will be an opportunity to explore Régua and the ‘Museu do Douro’, which tells the history of the area.

Highlight: Walk in the vineyards with spectacular views of the Douro river.

Today we head to the moorland area south of Lamego where the high moorland is dotted with large boulders, and goats and cows graze.

Option 1 - Ancient villages of the Tarouca valley

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

Total descent: 1,600 feet (480m)

In summary: The easier walkers start at the hamlet of Parafita before traversing the hillside to wander through the ancient village of Mazes. Both walks then descend through the pine trees to Lazarim where there is an opportunity to visit the beautiful new museum of masks, carved by artisans for the village’s carnival every Shrove Tuesday.

Highlight: The village of Mazes, where people live and work much as they did over 50 years ago and the church bells ring to the tune of 'Ave Maria'.

Option 2 - Tarouca valley’s deserted and working villages

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 1,300 feet (390m)

Total descent: 2,400 feet (720m)

In summary: The harder walkers start at the hamlet of Ribabelide, at almost 1,000m, and make a circuit to the fascinating deserted settlement of Antas before passing through the spectacular narrow gorge of the Rio de Santo and descending to Mazes. Both walks then descend through the pine trees to Lazarim where there is an opportunity to visit the beautiful new museum of masks, carved by artisans for the village’s carnival every Shrove Tuesday.

Highlight: The narrow gorge with its ancient ruined water mill and levadas.

Our highest point of the holiday is where both walks start, just below Serra do Marão, 4,700 feet. On a clear day there are panoramic views in all directions as far as Spain and Galicia.

Option 1 - Mountain panorama from the Serra do Marão

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 200 feet (60m)

Total descent: 2,400 feet (720m)

In summary: The easier walk descends through tree-covered slopes passing a hilltop chapel, and mountain villages, where life has changed little in centuries, to finish at Fontes.

Highlight: Fantastic views of the mountains of Serra do Marão.

Option 2 - Serra do Marão ridge

Distance: 7½ miles (12km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

Total descent: 3,600 feet (1,080m)

In summary: The harder walk follows the ridge along rough tracks and through rocky terrain, ascending two summits, and passing beneath wind farms. Then we descend through moorland, woods and through hamlets before arriving the village of Carvalho with its grand houses and fertile gardens.

Highlight: A beautiful day of high moorland walking with extensive views.

Today there are no organised walks, allowing you to relax in the hotel to take advantage of its indoor pool and spa treatments or explore independently. Some options include:

Visit Porto: Take the train to Porto (around 2 hours) to explore the historic streets of Portugal’s second largest city and perhaps take a boat trip on the Douro River to see the city and its magnificent bridges from the water. The Ribeira (riverside) district – the city’s oldest - is a great place to wander its labyrinth of narrow, cobble streets past old houses full of character. Don’t miss the incredible tiled interior of Sao Bento railway station, Clérigos Tower (a Baroque church bell tower), the ornate interior of the oldest bookshop in the world or the lavish interior of Sao Francisco Church. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop for a francesinha – a traditional Portuguese sandwich packed with ham, sausage and steak and covered in melted cheese and spicy tomato and beer sauce. 

Boat trip from Régua: Cruise along the Douro River to Pinhão to enjoy the scenery as it slowly passes by then return by private bus or choose a longer trip by boat to Pinhão and back which includes lunch.

Visit Lemago: A 20-minute bus journey takes you to the town of Lemago which straddles two hills and is full of historic architecture. Wander the narrow streets of its inner town to see the Lamego Museum, an ancient stone cistern and the sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Remedies. This striking building can be reached by climbing 686 zig-zagging steps on the Baroque staircase up to it, passing blue and white tile friezes along the way.

Today we head for the village of Favaios where the vineyards produce Moscatel, a liqueur appreciated for its sweetness and aroma. Before we start walking we have the opportunity for a tasting and look at the landscape of our route from the balcony in the museum of bread and wine. Both parties start their walks in this historic town passing one of the local bakeries where you can see wood-fired ovens and buy bread that’s still warm.

Option 1 - Bread, moscatel vineyards, vistas and valleys

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 200 feet (60m)

Total descent: 900 feet (280m)

In summary: Today, we walk on sandy tracks through moscatel vineyards to finish on the cobbled streets of Vilarinho de Cotas.

Highlight: Sample delicious local bread made in wood-fired ovens.

Option 2 - Vistas, villages, vineyards and valleys down to Pinhão

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (2100m)

Total descent: 2,500 feet (770m)

In summary: The harder walk climbs up to the small chapel of Santa Barbara before following the route the easier walkers have taken down to the village of Vilarinho da Cota, where they will be picked up. As we descend, the dramatic and complex amphitheatres of vineyards open up in front of us clinging to the hillside. The harder walkers continue to the Rio Douro viewpoint ‘Miradouro Casal de Loivos’ before descending to the riverside village of Pinhão’ where we meet the other party.

Highlight: The dramatic ‘Miradouro Casal de Loivos’ giving a birds eye view of the Douro.

Today’s walks pass through the woods and mountain villages of the eastern slopes of the Serra do Marão.

Option 1 - Villages & woods on the eastern slopes of the Serra do Marão

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) 

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

Total descent: 1,600 feet (480m)

In summary: Our walk follows a track high above the valley to Ermida. We then descend passing chapels and through picturesque hamlets into the valley where corn is grown, and chestnut trees line the track. We arrive at the vineyards and village of Sedielos, and the coach.

Highlight: Enjoy the incredible views of the Serra do Marão.

Option 2 - Villages and woods underneath the crags of the Serra do Marão

Distance: 9 miles (14½km) 

Total ascent: 1,800 feet (540m)

Total descent: 2,200 feet (660m)

In summary: The harder walk starts in the village of Soutelo passing through woods to arrive at the tiny hamlet of Póvoa da Serra continuing on wide tracks under the dramatic black crags of the Serra do Marão before joining the route of the easier walk.

Highlight: The ancient and tiny hamlets we pass on this walk.

Depart after a leisurely breakfast.

Douro Itinerary Map

Hotel Vila Galé Collection Douro

This 4-star hotel is part of the exclusive 'Collection' range of Vila Galé hotels. The hotel is located across the Douro River facing the town of Peso da Regua in the Douro region of North Portugal. The hotel takes full advantage of its riverside setting and there is a large public terrace with seating to watch the river boats pass by. It is surrounded by the vineyards of many famous port names you will recognise, such as Taylors and Sanderson. Access to the town's facilities is via a footbridge just a short walk away. With contemporary styling throughout the building and modern spacious rooms this is a perfect, relaxing base to return to after each day's walking.  


All the 38 en-suite bedrooms are spacious and all face the river. They have telephone, TV, hairdryer, room safe, mini-bar and complimentary toiletries. All the Vila Galé hotels provide a hospitality tray on request from reception which includes all the items required to make a cup of tea or coffee.


The hotel has an indoor pool, a Spa and an outdoor jacuzzi.

Food & Drink

Our holidays at Hotel Vila Galé Collection Douro are on a Half Board basis and include breakfast and evening meal. The breakfast is a self-service buffet and in the evening there is a 3-course served meal. The hotel is able to cater for most dietary needs.

Your Evenings

The friendly atmosphere of our Guided Walking holidays continues into the evening. Your leaders will talk about the area and the choice of walks for the next day and will advise you of any activity you may want to join after dinner. Alternatively, you may choose to relax and socialise with your fellow walkers in the hotel lounge/bar.

Portugal - Douro Valley - Hotel Vila Galé Collection Douro -VG_Douro_Exteriores_Jacuzzi_5.jpg

Getting to Hotel Vila Galé Collection Douro

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

Passport Requirements

You may need to renew your British passport if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 3 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Use the government website to see if your passport is valid for this holiday

EHIC cards

The UK government has officially launched the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). UK residents can now apply for one of the GHIC cards, which will gradually replace the EHIC cards as they reach their expiry dates. Every family member travelling requires a GHIC. You can make an application for yourself and on behalf of your partner and any dependent children under the age of 16. Both cards will offer equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holiday, study and business travel. Necessary healthcare includes things like

• emergency treatment and visits to A&E
• treatment for long-term or pre-existing medical conditions
• routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring
• oxygen and kidney dialysis

The public only need to apply for their free GHIC cards when their current EHIC expires. The process is likely to take two weeks. For more information visit

The GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. We advise all holidaymakers to also invest in travel insurance that covers healthcare, so they are covered for other issues that may arise, as well as cancellations and lost luggage.

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety and comfort are our priorities, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents.
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares).
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended.
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers.
  • Warm hat and gloves. 
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks.
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner.
  • Thermos flask for hot drink.
  • Water bottle (at least 2 litre).
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch.
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed).
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sun cream.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Camera.
  • Gaiters.

Guest Reviews

7 nights
European Centre Based
Walking Grade:

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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