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Northern Portugal Food Adventure

Portugal - Trip code XNP Food and Drink
Carbon Footprint Leaf Icon
190Kg of CO²e
Average carbon footprint per person
Carbon Footprint
You deserve to know everything about your holiday, from what is included, what to expect and every kilogram of CO2 emitted on average per person along the way.

We've partnered with ecollective to measure the carbon footprint of this tour based on an average group size. Find out more about how we calculate this and why we think it's important here.
Days 8
Deposit From US$291
Price from US$2910
Flights not included
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Why book this trip?

Portugal is really making a name for itself in the food world. We unlock the flavours and traditions of the Northern regions, combining hands-on cookery experiences with plentiful tastings and buzzing markets. Experience the areas outstanding natural beauty, journeying through scenic river valleys, rolling vineyards, beautiful historic towns, coastal lagoons, and ending in the dynamic city of Porto.

  • Douro Valley - Sip fine wines surrounded by picturesque vineyards and dine in a traditional Quinta
  • Fresh seafood - Sample oysters and feast on the catch of the day in Mercado de Matosinho
  • Porto - Take a Pasteis de Nata workshop and taste the famous white, ruby and tawny port wines
  • Included meals

    Breakfast: 6

    Lunch: 3

    Dinner: 1

  • Trip staff

    Explore Tour Leader

    Driver(s)

    Local Guide(s)

  • Transport

    Bus

    Train

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    Accommodation

    7 nights comfortable hotel

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    Trip pace:

    Moderate

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    Group Size:

    8 - 10

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join trip in Ponte de Lima

Our trip begins in Ponte de Lima, a small riverside town in the picturesque province of Minho. The main symbol of the town is an attractive Medieval bridge with 24 arches, of which four on the south bank of the River Lima are the original Roman construction.

Our Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive at any time, if you miss the briefing, your Tour Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into Porto Airport (OPO), which is an hours drive from the hotel.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: None

Day 2 - Learn how to make cornbread and explore Ponte de Lima's huge outdoor market

This morning we head out into the countryside to the small village of Montaria to experience the quite pace of rural life in the rolling hills. Here the tradition of making cornbread dates back to the 16th century. We will take park in a hands-on workshop with the opportunity to make our own cornbread, participating in all stages from sifting the flour to placing the bread in the wood-fired oven. We will sample the freshly baked cornbread along with Serra D'Arga honey and other local products during a picnic lunch.

Back in Ponte de Lima it is market day. Held every other Monday since 1152 on the south bank of the river, the market is oldest in Portugal. It is a meeting point for farmers with hundreds of traders gathering to show their best wares. We immerse ourselves in the buzz, wondering amongst the stalls and sampling local products.

Tonight has been left free to eat as a group or book your own dinning experience, there are three Michelin stared restaurants in Ponte de Lima (Petiscas, Acude and A Carvalheira) which you may wish to pre book well in advance of travel.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 3 - Visit the historic cities of Guimaraes and Lamego. Hands-on cookery experience in a traditional family ran Quinta.

Today we travel into the Douro Valley Winemaking Region, a UNESCO's World Heritage Landscape. Our first visit is to Guimaraes, where we will have a guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage city centre with the opportunity to taste the traditional crescent-shaped sweet pastry of the region.

We continue to the ancient city of Lamego, visiting the historic centre with the option to see the famous Nossa Senhora de Remdios church before driving to Quinta De Tourais. This cosy wine estate located in a historic monastery 200 metres from the Douro River, has been managed by the same family since 1927. We spend the afternoon here, amongst the picturesque vineyards, with a cooking experience tutored by the owner Manuela, a lady passionate about Portuguese gastronomy and wine. We will cook a traditional specialty in the estate kitchen which will be included in the lunch. We'll feast on a leisurely three course lunch and feel part of the family, the menu includes a variety of sharing starters, choice of meat main (vegetation available on request), pudding and cake sharing desserts, wine and coffee.

For the next two nights we stay in a beautiful hotel with it's own orchard and vineyard. Facilities include a heated outdoor swimming pool, small spa, and terrace restaurant with modern, spacious and light rooms.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 4 - Discover the Douro Valley Winemaking Region

Today we explore the Douro Valley on foot and by boat. This mornings short (five kilometre) walk begins in Sabrosa, following stone-paved paths connecting the numerous winemaking Quintas, through vine-covered terraces. En-route we will get the opportunity to learn more about olive oil production, visiting the press and tasting at a small local producer's installation. The walk ends in Celeirós at a family Port and Douro winemaking estate where we'll be welcomed by the owner to enjoy a guided winery visit and learn how these famous wines are made. The tasting will include a truly behind-the-scenes unique moment, sampling port directly from an ageing barrel.

This afternoon we take an hour boat trip from Pinhao into the spectacular gorge of the Duoro River in a typical wooden Rabelo boat. We drive back to Lamego along one of the most scenic roads in Portugal , following the majestic Douro River as it meanders through the beautiful scenery of terraced vineyards of the region.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 5 - Drive to the seaside city of Aveiro. Oyster tasting and traditional salt pan experience

Today we leave the valleys behind and drive to the Portuguese coast. Aveiro is surrounded by salt-flats, beaches and lagoons and dominated by the Central Canal running through town - a mixture of neat fishermen's cottages and art nouveau mansions with a few historic buildings.

This morning we visit a oyster producer - once a salt marsh and fish-farming nurseries, recently remodelled, this oyster producer experience includes a guided visit and a tasting of oysters.

Next is an interesting and fun activity inside a traditional salt-pan, trying our hands at the ancestral methods of salt making tutored by an enthusiast 'salt-master'. Nowadays salt from here is highly appreciated by chefs and gourmets, in particular the 'Flor de Sal', a special salt produced only from the thin skin that floats in the salt pans and is softly removed.

Walking from the lagoon area we get to Aveiro centre where we will have a short orientation walk before free time for lunch in the fisherman's quarter. There is the option this afternoon to take a tour through the picturesque canals in a typical brightly-painted Moliceiros boat, traditionally used for seaweed harvesting.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 6 - Drive to Porto, explore the harbour area of Matosinhos with lunch in the fish market

This morning we drive north to Matosinhos, a fishing town close to Porto. Here we learn all about sardines, visiting a factory of canned sardines to see the unique production process. The visit will be guided, passing by all departments of the cannery, from the fresh fish reception until the end product where we can taste the specialties of the company such as sardines in extra virgin olive-oil.

The fish market in Matosinhos is a beautiful, protected building, housed under a peculiar parabolic dome. Nowadays there are still plenty of fishmongers (traditionally a profession for women here) in the main ground-floor area, with live animals as well as fruit and vegetables sold on the upper level. The lunch will be inside the market, and will feature a culinary experience based in the fresh fish from the market.

After lunch we continue to the centre of Porto taking an orientation tour by bus on the way to the hotel. On the right side of the river Douro, the city of Porto is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns of Europe.

This afternoon is left free to explore independently or take an optional guided ebike tour along the Douro River and the seaside (easy, approx. 18 kilometres). Our hotel has a fantastic location on the pedestrian Rua de Santa Catarina, a short walk to the historic waterfront. There will be the opportunity to book your own restaurant experience in Porto for tonight if you wish. Your Tour Leader will be able to offer you advice based on your preferences.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 7 - Explore the beautiful city of Porto including port wine tasting and Pastel de Nata workshop. Dinner at Torreao

After a leisurely breakfast we'll stroll down the cobbled streets to Ribeira - undoubtedly the most picturesque spot in Porto. As we make our way down to the waterfront we'll pass many of Porto's historic buildings. Modern day Porto effortlessly blends its rich history with a modern twist, it has many outstanding restaurants as well as thriving street art and cutting edge architecture, all reasons why Porto has become one of the most popular cities to visit in Europe. We will make serval stops along the way to nibble on a traditional speciality and sip a glass of wine from Northern Portugal.

After lunch, we visit the Port Wine lodges district, taking a tour of the cellars to learn the history and processes involved in making the famous white, ruby and tawny port wine, stored in the atmospheric cellars. At the end of our guided visit we enjoy a port tasting.

As a sweet treat this afternoon, we will enjoy a hands-on cooking lesson, making Portuguese Pastéis de Nata. These delicious pastries are custard tarts with a rich egg custard cream filling in crisp puff pastry, we'll feast on them fresh from the oven!

To end our gastromic week in Northern Portugal our final dinner will be taken at Torreao, a restaurant of a local charity institution, housed in an elegant 18th-century stately home with a rooftop terrace overlooking the Douro River. The charity offers various services in the scope of reintegration, training and social support for the elderly and young people of the area, with all profits being fully re-invested into project. The three course menu includes a fish starter, meat main, pastry desert, wine and coffee.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 - Trip ends in Porto

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Porto.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Porto Airport (OPO), which is about 30 minutes' drive away.

Meals Provided: None

Trip information

Climate and country information

Portugal

Climate

Overall, spring, early summer and autumn are ideal times for a trip to Portugal - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The northern high plains has both extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round. The islands have very different weather patterns due to their positioning and can have sudden rain falls throughout the year so waterproofs are recommended even in the summer.

Time difference to GMT

0

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Roman Catholic

Language

Portuguese

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


Aveiro - Typical Moliceiros boat tour €16 per person
Porto - Guided ebike tour along the Douro River TBC

Clothing

Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. July and August are the hottest months, but late in the season (October) go prepared with clothing to suit drops in temperature and rain showers. Light rainwear may be needed at any time of year, and a warm fleece/jacket is recommended for cooler evenings and nights.

Luggage

20Kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and daypack.

Equipment

Sunscreen, sunglasses and a sun hat are advised and a water bottle is recommended. A power bank may be useful if you'd like to use or charge your phone whilst travelling.

Tipping

Explore leader
Tipping isn't compulsory, and we work hard to ensure that our leaders all receive a fair wage. You may however, want to recognise a leader that has done a great job or really added to your trip by giving them a tip. We're often asked about the recommended amount. It is a tricky one, and down to personal preference, but we would recommend £15 to £20 per person per week as a guideline.
Local crew
Although voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly, you should allow approximately £20 of local currency for tipping. In order to make things easier for you, the Explore Leader may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the trip.

Portugal

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Dinner price
£18
Beer price
£2.00 - 3.00 depending on your location, well touristed areas are usually slightly more expensive.
Water price
£1.4
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Euro.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Take the majority of your spending money in Euros cash.
Where To Exchange
We recommend that you change any currency into Euros prior to arrival. Bureau de Change are generally only found in major cities and large airports.
ATM Availability
Cash-point machines are available in all major towns. Bankcards with the Cirrus logo are accepted.
Credit Card Acceptance
Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted in larger restaurants and some shops.
Travellers Cheques
Travellers cheques can be exchanged in all major towns but are not recommended due to the high rate of commission.
Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Train

Accommodation notes

Throughout this trip we use a range of well located comfortable and premium accommodation.

Food and drink

The cuisine of Portugal includes a lot of meat and seafood. Whilst there will be vegetarian and vegan options in some locations we recommend reviewing the itinerary and inclusions to ensure that you will be able to fully participate and enjoy this trip.

Essential Information

Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.

Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Portugal: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens.

Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
 

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
 

Minimum age restrictions

For our group tours, the minimum age is 16. The minimum age on Family trips varies between 7 and 11 - please check the 'Family information' section of the trip page for more information. 


Your safety and enjoyment on tour

We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable holiday, so we ask you to confirm when booking this trip that you are fit and able to fully participate in all elements of the itinerary. If you have any concerns about your fitness or ability to complete any of the activities, please get in touch with our Customer Relations team at cr@explore.co.uk as soon as possible. Our tour leaders are trained and experienced in managing differing abilities within a group, but if they have concerns about a group member’s ability to safely participate in any element of the itinerary or believe someone’s presence could affect the safety or enjoyment of the holiday for others, in accordance with our Booking Conditions our tour leaders have the authority to ask an individual to miss an activity or activities. This decision would never be taken lightly, but on the rare occasions our tour leaders ask someone to sit out part of the tour, refunds will not be offered and individuals may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.

The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Portugal

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory but Tetanus is usually recommended as a precaution. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Additional Information

Dates, prices and booking

📢 Prices may change - book now and today's trip price is guaranteed in our price promise
Sun 4 Jun 2023 - Sun 11 Jun 2023 Guaranteed departure
XNP_2023
US$2910
was Save
Single room (optional)
i
+US$530
XNP_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Sun 18 Jun 2023 - Sun 25 Jun 2023 Guaranteed departure
XNP_2023
US$2910
was Save
Single room (optional)
i
+US$530
XNP_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Sun 16 Jul 2023 - Sun 23 Jul 2023 Guaranteed departure
XNP_2023
US$2910
was Save
Single room (optional)
i
+US$530
XNP_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Sun 24 Sep 2023 - Sun 1 Oct 2023 Guaranteed departure
XNP_2023
US$2910
was Save
Single room (optional)
i
+US$530
XNP_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Sun 8 Oct 2023 - Sun 15 Oct 2023 Guaranteed departure
XNP_2023
US$2910
was Save
Single room (optional)
i
+US$530
XNP_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Sun 22 Oct 2023 - Sun 29 Oct 2023 Guaranteed departure
XNP_2023
US$2910
was Save
Single room (optional)
i
+US$530
XNP_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 

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