The Douro river, with its 928 km long, is one of the major river basins of Western Europe. After its slow journey through the Spanish cereal plains, the Douro forms the natural border between Portugal and Spain. This area, known as the “Douro Internacional” in Portugal and ” Arribes del Duero” in Spain is a wonder of nature by the immense beauty of its landscapes and biodiversity.
From Zamora to Alva Barca which lasts for about 150 km, the river drops 640 meters to reach an altitude of 150 meters above sea level. It is a violent descent creating a stunning border. The topography is characterized by the collection of the river system , where the valleys are often steep slopes and cliffs of 400 meters high, forming a landscape of breathtaking beauty. The Mediterranean climate of this region, characterized by the softness of the cold seasons with almost no frost, has been exploited by man for cultivation of exotic species in these latitudes such as olives, almonds and citrus.
It is along the Douro River softened by five dams, as a result of a colossal work, that a community of birds, some endangered, found their habitat. This is the case of the Black Stork, Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Eagle Bonneli, Royal Milan and Egyptian vulture. They found refuge between the cliffs washed by the waters.
We will paddle between the dams sculptured into the cliffs. We probably won´t see a human soul beside our group while paddling. You will feel the imensity of Nature and appreciate the beauty of the Natural Park.
- Trip: 7 days trip
- Day 1: Reach the International Douro We will drive you from Lisbon or Porto to Mirando do Douro, which is quite a trip. After a short break for lunch, we will initiate our trip at Miranda do Douro. Within a theater of water and rocks, the effects of light on the declining day are unforgettable.
- Day 2: Picote – Bemposta, 20 km We will start the trip at Picote Dam, which is considered one of the seven wonders of the Trás-os-Montes region. The valley looks like a canyon above which evolve majestic raptors.
- Day 3: Bemposta – Aldeadavilla, 21 km
This portion of the trip is still marked by cliffs, but the scenery becomes more lush with fragrant Mediterranean vegetation. You might be able to grab fruits that grow at the water’s edge. We disembark at Aldeadavilla – yet impressive dam intended to tame the raging Douro, the largest dam in Europe at the time it was commissioned in 1963.
- Day 4: Lagoaça – Congida, 19 km
The valley widens, the terraces occupy the slopes: orange groves, vineyards handcrafted for centuries and hardly accessible. At Congida the Douro becomes a peaceful lake.
- Day 5: Congida – Barca d´Alva, 14km
The landscape changes: one enters the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, small vineyards compete for space on the slopes, exceptional landscape classified World Heritage by UNESCO.
We will leave the Douro at Barca d’Alva, where it will follow its path for 200km towards Porto. But that is another story, as our journey ends here, while civilization reasserts itself …
In the evening, we will stop in a place full of history and charm, at the foot of the hill of Castelo Rodrigo.
- Day 6: Hiking in the Agueda Valley
The valley offers multiple treasures for hikers: not only does it includes a remarkable biodiversity but also a Roman bridge renamed “French bridge” after the French invasion of Napoleon army, conducted in 1810-1812 under the command of Marshal Massena. We will discover the historic village of Almeida.
- Day 7: Back to where it all started
Because you have to get away from this lovely place, we will go back to Porto or Lisbon.
- Distance: 80km
- Supplied: Guide, Transfers, Insurance, full-board accommodation
- Duration: 7 days, 6 nights