The Douro River Valley is surrounded by natural preserved areas on either side of the river that form Europe’s largest protected area. The Douro Valley stretches across 62 miles and is the only natural border between Spain and Portugal. We will paddle among unique landscapes, where deep granitic valleys with craggy slopes have been slowly excavated by the Douro and Águeda rivers since the beginning of time. The granite cliffs reach 650 feet high in places! We will also enjoy hiking the Douro Valley and visit historical villages that have been occupied since Prehistory. We will be able to watch the near extinct Black Storks, Griffon Vulture, and other cliff dwelling birds as we paddle through the valley, which is a Special Protection Area for Birds recognized by the European Union. The vineyards are terraced along the valley as they have been for centuries and one reason the region was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001. Its unique microclimate also produces olives, citrus fruits and almonds.
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This trip is designed for women in good condition who want to combine river kayaking with exploring the history and culture of Portugal. Some of our kayaking days are longer than others. We paddle downstream on smooth river. On days when we are not paddling, we will be hiking and exploring the local area. Both single and double kayaks are available - please indicate your preference when you sign up. If you have limited experience or do not kayak regularly, please choose a double.
We will paddle amongst unique landscapes, where deep granitic valleys with craggy slopes have been slowly excavated by the Douro and Águeda rivers since the beginning of times. Such slopes, which at some points reach more than 650 feet high, feature sumptuous gorges, with the deep down river flow-ing smoothly, featuring one of the most beautiful images you’ll ever see! We will also enjoy hiking the Douro Valley and visit historical villages that have been occupied since the Prehistory. We reserve you the best of local accommodation and gastronomy, especially gorgeous meat, which also make this trip so singular
We'll spend the first night and the last night in Porto, Portugal. The other nights we will be stay in small locally owned lodges in double occupancy rooms with ensuite bathrooms. The rooms will be simple and our hosts delightful.
There are 2 single supplements available for an extra cost on the first and last day of the trip in Porto.
Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.
Being able to experience the Douro river from the river, seeing and staying in the lovely accommodations in rural Portugal and hiking (loved seeing the pictograph above the river)!
Away from the busy tourist areas.
The trip was a nice mix of kayaking, hiking, and culture in a beautiful and interesting region of Portugal led by Annabelle, an extraordinary local guide. Unfortunately we didn't have a current while kayaking, which made for some long days on the river.
Everything about it made it special. The local guides were amazing. I specifically came back to do this trip because of Annabelle. The opportunity to go to an area in Portugal that was remote and not overcrowded with tourists was very special. So was the scenery and culture. I also appreciated that we spent very little time in Porto. It is definitely overcrowded with tourists and I was relieved that we had a minimum amount of time in the city. I would also again return to do any trip that Annabelle is leading (other than the culture trip that is currently offered, because a lot of that is an overlap with coastal hiking that I have already done).
Being on the Douro River in the sections we paddled is a very rare opportunity. Conservation restrictions permit only small group access 2 short months out of the year. The majestic Griffon vultures and beautiful shore and cliff birds kept us company. We saw no one else on the river the entire week! It was peaceful and beautiful. Ancient history up close! The rock formations and walls along the river were spectacular!
The combination of culture, hiking, and kayaking and of course camaraderie. Three friends from Colorado were on the trip with me.
Loved being out in rural Portugal and seeing an area you probably wouldn’t be seeing on your own.
Got a more in-depth look at Portugal than I would have without local guides. Excellent company, both paid and guests.