Hampshire Hikes & Historical Sites
Bring intriguing coastal trails and history alive in South Hampshire
The Peneda-Gerês National Park is high country of outstanding natural beauty.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 26670
Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent.
These walks are in more remote areas such as Andorra or northern Portugal.
Similar to Grade 5, but with most of the walks at the upper level of ascent/descent, time and distance.
If you are looking at this one week holiday why not make your stay two weeks by joining us on Portugal's Northern Highlights.
The Peneda-Geres National Park is high country of outstanding natural beauty. Here the air is clear and the waters pure. This park contains some of the most beautiful and varied scenery found in the whole of the country and you’ll find an abundance of rare wild flowers, birds of prey, wild horses and other wildlife.
Our two-centre holiday is centred in the Serra da Peneda and is designed so you visit the most spectacular parts of these mountains. Our varied walks circle dramatic crags and granite landscape of Meadinha and follow ancient trails down the lush river Peneda valley.
Our first centre is in the mountain village of Castro Laboreiro dominated by its ancient castle. Isolated traditional villages with high mountain meadows and rolling moorland stretch to the frontier with Spain to the east. Yet walk out of the hotel to the west and we are amongst towering granite crags and hidden wooded valleys.
We walk across the mountains to our second centre in the remote sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Peneda. Our hotel, once the pilgrims’ hostel, has been imaginatively converted into a high quality hotel. Set with a backdrop of trees, crags and waterfalls, the grand stairway of the sanctuary descends into the valley below.
The somewhat remote location has protected the park landscape. You’ll not only enjoy the beauty of the region, but also visit many of the ancient hamlets dotted about the countryside.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
On arrival in Porto airport, we transfer by private coach to the Peneda-Geres National Park, where you'll find some of the most beautiful and varied scenery in the whole country.
Transfer Time = 2h
Our itinerary is expected to follow the daily schedule outlined below but please bare in mind that the order of the days may be amended, or walks substituted, due to weather conditions, attraction opening times, public transport timetables or changes beyond our control.
We spend our days at Castro Laboreiro, which is overlooked by its ancient castle, walking in the high mountain meadows and rolling moorland as well as amongst towering granite crags and hidden wooded valleys. Following are examples of the walks that we plan to include in our walking programme, to give you an idea of the terrain and mileage. The final walking programme will be confirmed by your group leaders at the daily briefings.
Castelo De Castro Laboreiro: An enjoyable walk to the remains of the castle above the village of Castro Laboreiro. The castle dates back to the founding of Portugal and is accessed by a circular route from the village. An ideal morning walk before an elevenses stop in the village cafés.
Penedos de Castro Laboreiro: A trail takes us amongst the dramatic rocky outcrops to the west of the village of Castro Laboreiro. We follow narrow mountain trails up into the lush rolling hills and through the beautiful valley towards the pine trees. Get your cameras ready for beautiful panoramic valley views!
Alto de Gontim: A contrast to our other walks in the area, this enjoyable walk takes us along pleasant easy tracks and through pretty colourful Mediterranean villages. We explore the moorland area to the east of Castro Laboreiro. As the walk climbs to the border with Spain it gives extensive panoramic mountain and valley views over the whole region.
Trilho Castrejo: Partially based on a local waymarked route, this trail explores the lush valley below Castro Laboreiro and visits many of the tiny colourful villages in the area. Today we can explore some traditional farming and the relaxed way of life of the area. Sweet scent of flora, pastel traditional buildings, and plenty of time for relaxation...you won't want to leave!
Our second centre in the Peneda-Geres National Park is Peneda. We walk between centres today, across the mountains, with our luggage being transferred separately.
After passing through colourful villages, the route meanders through a wild, open mountain section before descending onto an ancient track where we can enjoy magnificent views over Peneda as we descend to the village. It may be possible to transfer the short distance by mini–bus for those who would prefer to not do the walk, however this will incur a cost at your own expense.
Our walking programme from Peneda is set to the backdrop of trees, rocky crags and cascading waterfalls. This remote region has protected the natural landscape of the area. Following are examples of the walks that we plan to include in our walking programme, to give you an idea of the terrain and mileage. The final walking programme will be confirmed by your group leaders at the daily briefings.
Meadinha and Bouca dos Homones: Today passes through some of the most dramatic granite scenery in these mountains and visits the isolated village of Bouça dos Homens.
Valley of Rio da Peneda: An enjoyable walk descending into the valley below Peneda with lush vegetation and fascinating colourful villages. A picture perfect day!
We say goodbye to Portugal and transfer by road to Porto Airport for return flight to the UK
Departure dates for your selected tour
25th Sep 2021 - 2nd Oct 2021 (7 Nights)
14th May 2022 - 21st May 2022 (7 Nights)
21st May 2022 - 28th May 2022 (7 Nights)
28th May 2022 - 4th Jun 2022 (7 Nights)
18th Jun 2022 - 25th Jun 2022 (7 Nights)
17th Sep 2022 - 24th Sep 2022 (7 Nights)
24th Sep 2022 - 1st Oct 2022 (7 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
Castro Laboreiro is a small mountain village located in the Peneda-Geres National Park. It is a very authentic and beautiful village with granite houses, old bridges and castle ruins. It is rich in historical and architectural heritage with its medieval churches and monuments. There a couple of small supermarkets, cafes and restaurants. There is one bank with an ATM but it is advisable to withdraw money before going to Castro Laboreiro as the ATM is not always available.
The Hotel Castrum Villae is a comfortable hotel surrounded by nature and clear mountain air in the centre of Castro Laboreiro, a charming village nestled in the hills. There is a delightful bar serving delicious drinks such as Portuguese wines and cocktails, an ideal place to sit back and relax in.
We stay in twin and double bedded ensuite rooms. Single rooms are double for sole use. Rooms have a classic decor with contemporary furnishings. Room facilities include
Peneda is a village located in the national park, hidden at the bottom of a ravine and close to beautiful cascading waterfall. It is a very secluded village but beautifully located and ideal for our remote walking routes. There is a mini market in Peneda with minimal food options but there are a number of handicraft and souvenir shops. There are small cafes in walking distance from the hotel and a tourist office for further information.
Our final three nights will be spent in the beautiful Peneda Hotel, situated next to the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Peneda, in a calm and tranquil setting. The hotel enjoys an impressive and secluded location from which to enjoy beautiful views over the countryside and surrounding mountains. The hotel’s facilities include a restaurant and bar.
We stay in twin and double bedded rooms. Single rooms are usually single bedded. All rooms are en suite and facilities include:
There are no safety deposit boxes in the rooms but valuables can be securely stored in reception. There is also no mini fridge or tea/coffee making facilities.
This is a Grade 6 moderate holiday which includes full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent with walks in some remote areas. Paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Portugal
The currency in Portugal is the euro. You may wish to take some euro cash with you until you reach an ATM. Credit cards may not be accepted in smaller towns and rural areas.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Breakfasts and dinners are included in the holiday cost. Breakfasts will be taken at our hotels and are a buffet style.
Dinners in Castro Laboreiro will be taken in local restaurants where we can enjoy the local Portuguese cuisine. Local restaurants allow us to enjoy an authentic experience and sometimes lively atmosphere in a traditional Portuguese restaurant along with local diners and the Portuguese hospitality.
Due to its secluded location, we will be dining in the hotel’s restaurant in Peneda for our evening meals. The menu’s are inspired by local, regional and national cuisine with an emphasis on Peneda’s local dishes.
Portuguese dishes are usually created using locally sourced fresh ingredients, and usually consist of soup, meat or fish, vegetables and potatoes. Portugal is famous for its fresh fish and usually it is caught, cooked and eaten the same day!
Lunches are not included and can be taken as picnics or in local cafes.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Portugal
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Many local libraries stock a selection of travel guides and books which may offer you more information. Apart from any books available in local libraries, the internet is now an excellent resource for information about holiday destinations. You may find the below websites, books and programmes useful.
Maps of the areas we visit (1:200 000 scale) are available locally and at specialist map shops in the UK.
‘The Rough Guide to Portugal’ - Mark Ellingham, John Fisher, Graham Kenyon, Mathew Hancock and Jules Brown.
‘Portugal - A Travellers Guide’ - Susan Loundes (Thornton Cox)
‘Blue Guide: Portugal’ - Ian Robertson
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Portugal
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Portugal.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus.
Dengue fever exists in Portugal; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays 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 trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/ehic
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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