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High Paths of Northern Portugal

A walk through untamed & timeless Peneda-Gerês
 
Enjoy top-notch walking and a range of accommodation from village house to Pousada on this self-guided, hotel-to-hotel holiday; while your luggage is transferred, you follow pilgrim paths and Roman roads through remote hamlets and above mountain lakes in Portugal's only National Park.
High Paths of Northern Portugal. 7 nights
High Paths of Northern Portugal. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in northern Portugal

In the far north-west of Portugal, beneath the border with Spain, lies the country's only National Park, a vast glacial amphitheatre of jagged mountains, high plateaus and yawning valleys where hallowed sanctuaries lie sequestered in forests or tucked beneath precipitous cliffs and where life in isolated villages is still as hard as the monolithic granite boulders that pepper the landscape.
Along paths worn smooth by the feet of pilgrims and Roman legionnaires, you travel south from the granite mountain village of Soajo, over the Gerês Mountains to the lake valley of Cavado and onto Terras de Bouro – a journey into Portugal's past, through an incomparable landscape of mountain lakes, oak forests and forgotten hamlets.
 

Book now for summer 2021

Travel restrictions mean that we cannot accept any new bookings from UK residents for autumn 2020 at the moment. We remain hopeful that restrictions will be eased and that we will be able to resume the holiday before the end of the season. If you have a holiday booking with us, we will contact you nearer the time.

Looking further ahead, we are keeping our prices the same, so you can book for summer 2021 at 2020 prices.

What we’re doing so you can book and travel with confidence >
 
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 Arcos de Valdevez
    Night 1: at Hotel Ribeira Collection (where you spend one night).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Arcos de Valdevez to Soajo: 16.5km, 6hrs; ascent 580m / descent 890m
    Your first day begins with a transfer to the hamlet of Lombadinhas, from where you ascend into the Peneda-Gerês National Park to join a mountain path which crosses high, summer grazing grounds. After taking in the fojo de cabrita – an old walled pen used to trap wolves – you descend through more grazing land (brandas) and traverse the Mezio Forest before emerging onto mountain plains where views open up across the Soajo Valley. Your destination is the granite village of Soajo with its raised stone granaries, or espigueiros, and its unusual stone pillory. Here you stay for two nights in a traditional village house, enjoying hearty dining at a village restaurant, including the option of the local speciality of Cachena steak.
    Arcos de Valdevez to Soajo: 17km
    The 'espigueiros' of Soajo
  • Soajo to Peneda: 15.5km, 6hrs; ascent 970m / descent 615m
    Setting off from the village, you join a pilgrims' path and ascend the valley along a splendid medieval road. Continuing to ascend, you cross the Soajo mountains before the landscape opens out with expansive views across the entire Peneda mountain range. The route now levels out, passing through a smattering of hamlets and along a shady riverside path before reaching the imposing stone staircase that leads to the spectacular mountain sanctuary of Our Lady of Peneda, from where a taxi will return you to Soajo.
    Soajo to Peneda: 15.5km
    Walking from Soajo
  • Soajo to Gerês: 17.5km, 6hrs; ascent 485m / descent 875m
    A scenic transfer takes you above the Lima basin and into Spain before dropping you at the deserted border checkpoint of Portela do Homem. Here, you join the old Roman road of Geira and follow its course over ancient bridges alongside tumbling waterfalls and engraved Roman milestones, descending to skirt the Vilarinho reservoir and into Campo de Gerês. Next, you head up into the Gerês mountains, after which a dazzling descent brings you to the spa town of Gerês, famous since Roman times for its healing waters, and at whose Águas do Gerês Spa Hotel you spend one night.
    Soajo to Gerês: 17.5km
    Looking down on Gerês
  • Gerês to Rio Caldo: 11.5km, 4hrs; ascent 295m / descent 365m
    With a shorter walk today, you have time to enjoy the leafy tranquillity of the hotel's park with its thermal waters and boating lake before setting off on the penultimate leg of your journey. Walking initially through the town, you gradually ascend high above shimmering Lake Cavado, tracing the course of its feeder river around the valley. Continuing to the quiet, western end of the lake, a glimpse upwards through the foliage reveals the stone towers of the revered Santuário de São Bento da Porta Aberta, Portugal's second-most-visited sanctuary. You gently ascend to emerge at its entrance, directly opposite which is your next base, the Hotel São Bento.
    Gerês to Rio Caldo: 11.5km
    Lake Cavado
  • Rio Caldo to Santa Maria do Bouro: 11.5km, 4hrs; ascent 565m / descent 695m
    Stepping into the park alongside the hotel sees you joining a popular pilgrim's path in reverse. Ascending into the mountains along a forest track where you may well encounter wild Garrano horses, you are treated once more to expansive views over Lake Cavado below. You then cross the ridge into Terras de Bouro and follow an old merchant's trail alongside a brook; the stone spires of the sequestered Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Abadia tantalise through the treetops and you soon descend to walk through its grounds. Tracing a cobbled dot-to-dot of chapels, you arrive into the village of Terreiro and the magnificent Pousada Mosteiro de Amares, where you spend your final two nights.
    Rio Caldo to Santa Maria do Bouro: 11.5km
    En route to Santa Maria do Bouro
  • Santa Maria do Bouro circular route: 10km, 3.5hrs; ascent / descent 450m
    You may choose to spend your final full day relaxing by the hotel pool and enjoying a leisurely lunch in one of the village cafés – you have earned it, after all! But for those who are drawn once more to the raw beauty of the surroundings, we suggest a circular route which climbs to the village of São Bartholomeu and its eponymous cross on a giant boulder high above the valley, before returning along cobbled lanes through pretty villages.
    Santa Maria do Bouro circular route: 10km
    Around Santa Maria do Bouro
 

Accommodation

Your diverse accommodation includes a traditional village house and a magnificent pousada set in a 12th-century Cistercian monastery.
 

Extend your stay

 

Summer 2021

We are keeping our prices the same, so you can book for summer 2021 at 2020 prices.
 
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.
Currency converter

We can only accept payment in GBP, but you can use this converter to find out how much the holiday equates to in your own currency.

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  • 7 nights: 01 September 2020 - 31 October 2020, 01 April 2021 - 14 July 2021 & 20 August 2021 - 31 October 2021

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 7 Sep 2020 £945 £445
    8 - 13 Sep 2020 £895 £405
    14 - 30 Sep 2020 £860 £380
    1 - 24 Oct 2020 £830 £365
    1 Apr - 21 May 2021 £830 £365
    22 May - 25 Jun 2021 £860 £380
    26 Jun - 7 Jul 2021 £895 £405
    20 Aug - 7 Sep 2021 £945 £445
    8 - 13 Sep 2021 £895 £405
    14 - 30 Sep 2021 £860 £380
    1 - 24 Oct 2021 £830 £365
    3rd & 4th person discount -£65
    Single traveller supplement £65

    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.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel Ribeira Collection, Arcos de Valdevez
    Panoramic: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £26
    Panoramic: 01 Apr - 14 Jul 2021 £26
    Panoramic: 20 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £26
    Hotel Águas do Gerês, Gerês
    Suite: 01 Sep - 15 Sep 2020 £35
    Suite: 16 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £22
    Suite: 01 Apr - 14 Jul 2021 £22
    Suite: 20 Aug - 15 Sep 2021 £35
    Suite: 16 Sep - 31 Oct 2021 £22
    Superior: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £8
    Superior: 01 Apr - 14 Jul 2021 £8
    Superior: 20 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £8
    Hotel São Bento da Porta Aberta, Rio Caldo
    Suite: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £12
    Suite: 01 Apr - 14 Jul 2021 £12
    Suite: 20 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £12
    Superior: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £8
    Superior: 01 Apr - 14 Jul 2021 £8
    Superior: 20 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £8
    Pousada Mosteiro Amares, Santa Maria do Bouro
    Superior: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £18
    Superior: 01 Apr - 14 Jul 2021 £18
    Superior: 20 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £18

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

    Hotel Ribeira Collection, Arcos de Valdevez (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £40 £80
    01 Apr - 09 Apr 2021 £40 £80
    10 Apr - 27 Apr 2021 £58 £116
    28 Apr - 25 Jun 2021 £40 £80
    26 Jun - 14 Jul 2021 £64 £128
    20 Aug - 31 Aug 2021 £64 £128
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2021 £40 £80
    Hotel Águas do Gerês, Gerês (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Sep - 15 Sep 2020 £80 £115
    16 Sep - 30 Sep 2020 £48 £72
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2020 £40 £62
    01 Apr - 14 Jul 2021 £48 £72
    20 Aug - 15 Sep 2021 £80 £115
    16 Sep - 30 Sep 2021 £48 £72
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2021 £40 £62
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Porto

    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 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Porto Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Porto Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Porto British Airways,  easyJet,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Porto 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. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service (£60 for India and Nepal). 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.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Porto

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    coach Porto airport to Arcos de Valdevez (1h50) £14 1600 Mon-Fri (1430 Sat-Sun)
    direct taxi Porto airport to hotel (1h10) £48 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Porto airport (1h10) £62 flexible
    taxi hotel to Braga bus station (0h40), bus Braga to Porto airport (0h50, pay locally) £36 1230
    bus Santa Maria do Bouro to Braga bus station (0h40), bus Braga to Porto airport (0h50) pay locally 1230
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 4 dinners
    5 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • transfers on days 1, 2 & 3
 
Reviews

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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 sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – walking holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, 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.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. 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. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £35 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £60 per person. 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 cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our travel insurance policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), 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.

    We'll ask you for the details of your alternative policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • 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. 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). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance.
  • 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.
  • At Inntravel we work in close partnership with our hoteliers, taxi drivers and other local suppliers to provide our self-guided holidays directly to you. We are entirely confident that you will continue to receive the usual warm welcome from them, regardless of what is happening in the European political sphere.

    When the UK withdrew from the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, it entered an 11-month transition period that will last until the end of December 2020. During this transition period there will be absolutely no changes to current arrangements for UK citizens travelling to an EU destination, so you can book your 2020 holiday certain that there will be no disruptions or complications caused by Brexit.
  • 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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