Portugal Retreat: Porto & the Douro Valley
4 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Day 1 Porto
Welcome to your Intrepid Retreats experience here in Portugal. There are few European cities that do feel like a welcome, slow retreat from the chaos of everyday life, but Porto is one of them. This romantic city is tiered up the north bank of a Douro River crossed by majestic bridges, with a reconstructed and restored medieval waterfront setting of cobbled streets, merchants’ houses, cafes and old-town tascas. Begin your getaway with a welcome meeting at the hotel at 3 pm, when you’ll meet your host and get a better idea of the upcoming itinerary. Your home base for the next few days is right in the historic heart of the city, and you can look over its surrounds of churches, museums, and one of the city’s most popular late-night streets from its rooftop. Take an orientation walk with your host in the afternoon to get your city bearings, then enjoy an included dinner to get a taste of the city and, of course, get your host to point out some port to try.
Day 2 Matosinhos / Porto
There so much life around the riverside that you can easily forget that the Atlantic is just a short train ride away. Hop on the train this morning and you’ll be in Matosinhos, known for seafood and surf. Pass old seaside fortifications on your way to the market, where the catches of Porto’s deep-sea fishermen are on display. If you were buying, the friendly stallholders are always willing to point out the freshest fish and how best to eat it. Here you’ll enjoy a traditional lunch, cooked with the seafood mastery of generations. A time-honoured dish is grilled sardines, new potatoes drizzled with olive oil, and dried, salted cod (bacalhau). Wash it all down with a refreshing vinho verde (green – as in young – wine) from the Minho Valley in the country’s north. Return to Porto this afternoon, then rejoin the group in the evening for a night of Fado and port. Soak up this soul music that originated in Africa as you watch an intimate performance in small local theatre. Afterwards your host will take you on a tasting of the city's namesake drop.
Day 3 Douro Valley / Porto
The Douro River snakes its way from central Spain to rush out into the Atlantic at Porto, and its waters bring fertile life to the mountains and valleys that it cuts through. The laboriously terraced hillsides of the Douro Valley are strewn with vineyards that produce the grapes not only for port, but lighter reds too. Take a full day to explore the valley to the villages of Sabrosa and sleepy Pinhao, travelling along the roads that curl up cliffs and looking out across the beautiful landscape of contoured cliffs and the river flowing relentlessly below. Here you’ll drop into two wineries, where you’ll learn about how this iconic tipple is produced, and enjoy some tastings to discover the depth of this regional wine. Continue your tour through the flavours of the valley with lunch at a traditional restaurant, then return to Porto in the late afternoon for a free final evening. Pop your head into one of the independent bookshops scattered around the city, take a cruise on the river, or pull up a chair in one of Porto's atmospheric tavernas and snack on grilled octopus.
Day 4 Porto
Your Intrepid Retreat comes to an end this morning after breakfast. With so much to see and do we recommend you extend your time in this fascinating city. Your host will be able to advise on activities.
All This Included
Join an Intrepid Retreats experience for a different type of urban escape. Base yourself in a historic heart of the city and look over the surrounding churches, museums, and medieval merchant houses. Head to the nearby fishing town of Matosinhos, where the sun brings sands scattered with surfers and sunbathers, and feast on a traditional seafood lunch. Spend an evening with the sounds of Fado and the aromas of port drifting around you, and visit the small vineyards that cling to the terraced cliffs of the Douro Valley.
Comfortable centrally located hotel (3 nights)
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.