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Royal treatment in the Valley of Gold

Self-guided walking holidays in PortugalIt’s sometimes hard to put into words why we feel our holidays are so special.

There are so many different elements to them – a hotel here, a great walk there, plus an exceptional meal, perhaps, or a sublime viewpoint – that it’s often hard to pick out the highlights.

So sometimes it’s far better to let our customers do the talking for us, and that’s exactly what Lyn and Paul Pitts do here, as they describe their experiences on our Valley of Gold self-guided walking holiday in Portugal’s wonderful Douro Valley last year:

“We have just returned from our holiday following the journey of the grape along the River Douro and felt we should write a note to express our gratitude for such a wonderful vacation… one of the best, if not the best, walking holiday, although initially we had doubts having regard to our age and the long days walking in the hills…

Self-guided walking holidays in PortugalThe train journey along the banks of the Douro must be one of the great rail journeys and so inexpensive. It was three hours and cost 6.10 euros. Vesuvio was wonderful, and to be met by the hotelier at the station and then ferried across the river to Senhora da Ribeira in the late afternoon sun was truly magical. The other guests of the hotel were out on the pontoons to greet us!

The Casa de Casal de Loivos set the tone for the other hotels to come. We thought the formal dinner might be a bit off-putting, but it turned out to be a mini United Nations with other guests from Switzerland, Germany, France and the USA – and ourselves batting for England. With fine wine, the conversation flowed… politics and religion were banned. The cuisine was excellent. We had a long day the next day and wanted to leave early; breakfast was not until 9.00 but the staff rose early and we were able to eat at 8.30.

The Casa de Vilarinho de São Romão was a real gem. Our host Cristina provided fresh lemonade on our arrival and beer on the balcony. Dinner was sumptuous. Just the two of us, but the table was set for a banquet with two lit candelabra. The rooms of this manor house were beautifully decorated.

Self-guided walking holidays in PortugalOur last hotel, Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros, was a beautifully restored nobleman’s house and was certainly the icing on the cake for us. Ursula and Adelaide made us feel very welcome right from the moment we arrived, and within minutes we had tea around the pool.

The evening meals were very special as we struck up conversations with other guests whilst enjoying wines ‘on the house’… glasses were kept topped up all the time. The standard of cooking was first class.

In Porto, we not only took the tram journey but also dinner at Postigo do Carvão just around the corner from Pestana Porto Hotel. Here we enjoyed the beef dinner for two, cooked at our table on hot bricks. This, including wine, came to 30.80 euros. Thank you for the recommendation.

As usual the walking notes were very precise, which they needed to be as there were no waymarks. The walking was dramatic and challenging at times, but worth it when we reached – for example – Chapel São Domingos after Provesende.

In our opinion, one of the reasons we were so royally treated at all hotels was simply because we were Inntravel clients. Clearly your reputation goes before you. A fantastic holiday, another of our little adventures arranged by you. Well done and thank you.”

Self-guided walking holidays in Portugal

Posted: 30/04/2013 15:15:42 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: gastronomy, journey, Portugal, slow, walking


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