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Paradise Uncorked: Hiking Portugal’s Douro Valley

Discover lovely Portugal by river and by foot in hillside vineyards, timeless villages, the warmth of its people — and even in a bookstore said to have inspired author J.K. Rowling.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21157RJ
9 days
Starts at

Paradise Uncorked: Hiking Portugal’s Douro Valley

Discover lovely Portugal by river and by foot in hillside vineyards, timeless villages, the warmth of its people — and even in a bookstore said to have inspired author J.K. Rowling.
9 days
Starts at
Program No. 21157 RJ
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At a Glance

Port wine’s birthplace, steeply terraced hillside vineyards, centuries-old footpaths and villages unchanged over time. Sail up Portugal’s Douro Valley in quest of adventure on water and on foot — 125 miles from the coastal city of Porto to Spain and back. Your home on the Douro River is the vessel, going ashore for daily hikes amid picture-postcard landscapes, welcomed by people as warm as the valley sun. Your first and last day in romantic Porto is its own chapter, experiencing a book store that is said to have inspired author J.K. Rowling.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Hike the Ribeira do Mosteiro trail in Douro National Park for panoramic views and to see history come alive.
  • View thousands of animal figures carved over millennia at the Prehistoric Rock Art Site in the Côa Valley.
  • Walk the ornithology route in Porto’s local nature reserve to see firsthand how an effort to protect birds and the landscape has paid off.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Portuguese: A Modern History
by Barry Hatton
Combining history and personal anecdotes, journalist Barry Hatton blends historical analysis with an intimate portrait of the unique people and country within his adopted home.
Grape Harvest
by Miguel Torga
Miguel Torga's first novel is a tribute to the Douro, its people, and its landscapes. A book for all who love this extraordinary region.
The Piano Cemetary
by José Luís Peixoto
Set in Lisbon, this novel incorporates the true story of Francisco Lazaro, all while following a working-class family of cabinet-makers who aspire to being piano-makers.
My Portugal, Recipes and Stories
by George Mendes
A showcase of 125 Portuguese recipes interwoven with tales and anecdotes by the author, a Michelin-starred chef. His 125 mouthwatering recipes include his signature Duck Rice and Garlic Seared Shrimp, Mozambique Shrimp and Okra with Piri Piri.
Lonely Planet Portuguese Phrasebook
by Clara De MacEdo Vitorino
A handy pocket phrasebook for Portuguese basics, covering pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Portugal Map
by Michelin Travel Publications
At a scale of 1:400,000, this fully indexed map also includes insets of Madeira and city maps.
Jesus Christ Drank Beer
by Afonso Cruz
28 Portuguese Poets
by Richard Zenith
The Portuguese: The Land and Its People
by Marion Kaplan
A Traveller's History of Portugal
by Ian Robertson
A lively, admirably concise survey from prehistory to the present, great for travelers to Portugal who would like an overview of the country's history and culture.
What Can I Do When Everything's On Fire?
by António Lobo Antunes
A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening
by Mário de Carvalho
Originally published in Portuguese in 1994, this historical novel follows its protagonist, Lucius Valerius Quintius, as he navigates civil unrest at the end of the Roman Empire, and the beginning of the Christian era.
The Stone Raft
by Jose Saramago
A geological fantasy from the Nobel Prize-winning author, in which the Iberian Peninsula becomes unmoored from France.
Journey to Portugal, In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture
by Jose Saramago
Jose Saramago's richly detailed account of his journey across Portugal in 1979. He combines his vivid impressions of the Portuguese landscape and people with a dose of history, fiction and meditation.
Eyewitness Guide Portugal
by Eyewitness Guides
Featuring hundreds of photographs and drawings, an excellent overview of the culture and history, and good information about where to go and what to do.
The Painter of Birds
by Lídia Jorge
A House in Darkness
by José Luis Peixoto
The Book of Disquiet
by Fernando Pessoa
Cork Boat, A True Story of the Unlikeliest Boat Ever Built
by John Pollack
This endearing tale of family, loss and friendship revolves around a deliciously absurd childhood quest to build a boat of cork and sail it 133 miles on Portugal's Douro River.
4 Reviews
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5 Average

Except for some delays at the airport, the trip was well organized and offered what was described in the literature. The guide was excellent and presented a good percentage of the historical information. Also, the local guides did a splendid job. I would recommend this trip to anyone who likes to walk and hike in foreign lands. I do have an issue with my flight experience, first since you had my Known Traveler Number, why was it not utilized on my departure tickets from SFO? Second issue was arriving to find that another set of travelers attending the same program flew from SFO to Lisbon, not Zurich, which made the time of air transport about 2 hours shorter. Yes, we both made it to Porto, but they came in well ahead of me, who incidentally was the LAST to arrive for the program. Having been, and continuing to be a supporter of Road Scholar, I would appreciate better service than "set it and forget it". Richard Woodbury


Fabulous programs and a great value! These are don't miss trips.


The Douro Valley hiking trip was the best Road Scholar trip in which I have participated. The days were informative and the group leader was excellent. We sailed on a new French boat that had good food and outstanding service.


The April 16-24th Hiking in the Douro Valley was an outstanding adventure. Isabel's leadership is warm, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The weather was perfect for hiking 65-70 degrees. Days in town, we had some rain showers so umbrellas and wind proof jackets were needed. Fantastic trip for my fist visit to Portugal.

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