Manor Houses of the Minho

Portugal's greenest corner
 
The Minho’s traditional mansions are very special places to stay, and this self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking holiday saves the best till last – you finish at the Count of Calheiros’ estate. Along the way, while your luggage is transported, enjoy gentle riverside walks and explore Portugal’s oldest town.
Manor Houses of the Minho. 7 nights
Manor Houses of the Minho. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the Minho

Nestling beneath Galicia, Spain’s north-westernmost corner, the Minho is home to vinho verde (young wine) and the abundant Lima Valley, and is considered by many Portuguese to be the most beautiful part of their country. Here, some of Portugal’s oldest and prettiest towns nestle alongside vineyards, chestnut orchards and swaggering ears of corn. Standing proud in this seductive landscape, historic manor houses provide elegant accommodation and generous hospitality to visitors, welcoming them warmly to this green corner of Portugal.
From the hamlets of Durrães and Vitorino, through delightful Ponte de Lima, to the family seat of the Count of Calheiros, enjoy the pastoral beauty of the landscape and the camaraderie of fellow walkers as your path intertwines with the Caminho de Santiago on its pilgrimage north to Spain.
 
Gallery

 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 12 13 15 18 20 23 26 26 24 20 15 13
    mm 166 157 119 104 90 48 16 23 66 132 161 170
  • Arrival in Durrães
    Night 1: at Quinta de Malta (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Circular route via Ponte das Tábuas: 8.5km, 3hrs; ascent/descent 180m
    A gentle circuit through forest and farmland leads you, via a chocolate factory which has been in business for over a century, to the Roman bridge of Ponte das Tábuas, criss-crossing the River Neiva along the way. There’s ample time to call in at the chocolatier’s if you so wish.
    Circular route via Ponte das Tábuas: 8.5km
    An old bridge on the route around Durraes
  • Durrães to Vitorino: 15.5km, 5.5hrs; ascent 175m/descent 280m or Durrães to Facha: 12km, 4.5hrs; ascent 210m/descent 300m
    After a short transfer to the pilgrim’s church of Nossa Senhora da Aparecida in nearby Balugães, you join the Portuguese Caminho de Santiago as it leads through the bucolic heart of the valley alongside fields of corn, vines and olive trees. Ambling beneath arbours heavy with grapes while tractors plough and harvest the fields that flank your way, enjoy the tranquillity and camaraderie of the pilgrims’ path, following it to the banks of the River Lima, where you will find the Paço do Vitorino. If you are staying instead at the Quinta do Sobreiro, you have a slightly shorter walk, finishing in Facha.
    Durrães to Vitorino: 15.5km
    Follow the Caminho de Santiago
  • Vitorino to Ponte de Lima: 7km, 2.5hrs; ascent 60m/descent 60m or Facha to Ponte de Lima: 10.5km, 3.5hrs; ascent 60m/descent 95m
    An ecovia (a traffic-free walking and cycling track) traces the course of the river all the way from Vitorino to picturesque Ponte de Lima, Portugal's oldest town, named in part after its iconic Roman bridge (ponte means ‘bridge’). You spend two nights here at the Mercearia da Vila or Hotel Império do Norte.

    If you stayed overnight at the Quinta do Sobreiro, you have a slightly longer walk which begins by following quiet country lanes to the banks of the River Lima, where you join the ecovia.
    Vitorino to Ponte de Lima: 7km
    Beside the river on the route from Facha to Ponte de Lima
  • Day in & around Ponte de Lima


    Walk & explore
    There are various options as to how to spend your day in Ponte de Lima. 


    Lakes and Gardens (starting by taxi): 9.5km, 3.5hrs; ascent 50m/descent 60m
    Take a short taxi ride (pay locally) to Lagoas de Bertiandos, where wooden walkways lead across the wetlands. Look for some of the many species of birds which shelter here, before returning to Ponte de Lima along the right bank of the river.

    Visit Ponte de Barca
    Catch the morning bus to neighbouring Ponte de Barca with its equally splendid bridge spanning the Lima and its compact old quarter. The ecovia is particularly picturesque at this point and you might like to stroll some of its length before taking the bus back to Ponte de Lima in time for lunch. For a change from walking, you could hire bikes (pay locally - no cycling notes provided) and cycle along the ecovia to Ponte de Barca and back again, a lovely way to enjoy both Ponte de Barca and the prettiest stretches of the ecovia (34km round trip).

    Explore Ponte de Lima
    Whatever you decide to do, you’ll want to leave ample time for visiting Ponte de Lima’s delightful gardens (the Annual Garden Festival runs from the end of May to the end October) and for strolling along its charming river front. There’s also a museum devoted to vinho verde, as well as a military museum housed in the 15th-century Paço de Marquês.

    Lagoas de Bertiandos to Ponte de Lima (starting by taxi): 9.5km
    Path through cornfields on the route from Lagoas to Ponte de Lima
  • Ponte de Lima to Calheiros: 8km, 3hrs; ascent 235m/descent 50m
    Setting out across the graceful Roman bridge, you rejoin the Caminho de Santiago for a short walk which gradually ascends through cultivated terraces and more vineyards to reach the hamlet of Calheiros and the Paço de Calheiros, where you stay for two nights.
    Ponte de Lima to Calheiros: 8km
    You may encounter pilgrims on the Caminho de Santiago
  • Circular route from Calheiros: 9km, 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 380m
    Our suggested circular walk ascends through woods where wild horses run free, to reach a saddle high above the valley and a hillside path from where you can gaze down over the River Lima, tracing your week-long progress through the valley. Descending through tiny villages, some of whose residents have known the Count of Calheiros since he was a boy, you enjoy panoramic views over the estate before returning to relish its opulent surroundings.
    Circular route from Calheiros: 9km
    Wild horses on the route around Calheiros
 

Accommodation

You stay mostly in 16th and 17th-century traditional mansions where you are welcomed and treated as part of the family, with home-cooked, simple meals often taken together around one table. Neither hotels nor guesthouses, the mansions are homes, some of which have been in the same family for generations, and they have opened their doors to visitors in order to preserve their splendour. Frequently occupying privileged positions in the landscape, they offer a unique opportunity to experience life in an authentic Portuguese mansion.

In some places, we work with more than one hotel, as shown below. All are hand-picked by us and, unless there is a price implication (in which case we will contact you to discuss your options), we will tell you which one we have booked for you on your booking confirmation.
 

Options to extend or shorten your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 01 April 2024 - 14 July 2024 & 25 August 2024 - 31 October 2024

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2024 £1065 £310
    1 - 21 May 2024 £1115 £310
    22 May - 7 Jul 2024 £1175 £310
    8 Jul - 30 Sep 2024 £1135 £310
    1 - 24 Oct 2024 £1100 £315
    3rd & 4th person discount £0
    Single traveller supplement £0

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Mercearia da Vila, Ponte de Lima (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 14 Jul 2024 £48 £83
    25 Aug - 31 Oct 2024 £48 £83
    Paço de Calheiros, Calheiros (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 14 Jul 2024 £150 £229
    25 Aug - 31 Oct 2024 £150 £229
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Porto
    As an alternative to flying, we can arrange rail travel from London

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Porto or Lisbon.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Porto (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Aberdeen - Porto (via Paris CDG) Air France,  KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Porto Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Porto easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Porto Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Porto (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Porto (via Barcelona) Vueling 
    Edinburgh - Porto (via Geneva) easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Porto easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Porto (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Porto Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Porto British Airways,  easyJet,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Gatwick - Porto (via Geneva) easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Porto British Airways,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Heathrow - Porto (via Lisbon) TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Porto easyJet,  Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Porto Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Porto easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Manchester - Porto (via Brussels) Brussels Airlines 
    Manchester - Porto (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Manchester - Porto (via Lisbon) TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Porto (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Newcastle - Porto (via Brussels) Brussels Airlines 
    Newcastle - Porto (via Paris CDG) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Norwich - Porto (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Porto or Lisbon.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you for any of the options listed above. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Porto

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    coach Porto airport to Viana do Castelo (1h), taxi Viana do Castelo to hotel (0h30) £40 1600 (1430 Sat & Sun)
    direct taxi Porto airport to hotel (1h) £62 flexible
    rail Porto Campanhã to Durrães (1h15, pay locally), transfer Durrães to hotel (0h05, no charge) pay locally 1700
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Ponte de Lima (0h15), coach Ponte de Lima to Porto airport (1h15) £24 1230 (1730 Sat & Sun)
    direct taxi hotel to Porto airport (1h) £62 flexible
    taxi hotel to Viana do Castelo (0h30), rail Viana do Castelo to Porto Campanhã (1h20, pay locally) £24 1230
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 5 dinners
    3 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • transfer on day 2
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Portugal, Madeira and the Azores, but not a visa (please note, however, that a new travel authorisation system is being introduced). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The official language is Portuguese. The currency is the Euro. Portuguese time is the same as GMT/UTC. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on the same time as BST.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.

    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
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