Exploring the north west corner of Portugal, the picturesque Costa Verde
7th May 2022 – 14th May 2022
- See website for other dates
Tour code: 26680
Last Modified: 2nd December 2021
See what's planned
If you are looking at this one week holiday why not make your stay two weeks by joining us on Portugal's Northern Highlights.
Based on the stunning Costa Verde in Northern Portugal, this is a quieter, greener Portugal, famous for its mountains, lush green countryside, beautiful beaches and delightful “Vinho Verde”. We’ll walk along some of Portugal’s finest coastline, as well as meandering along ancient tracks which link the numerous classic Minho villages and lush pastoral valleys.
We’ll explore the dramatic mountains of the Serra d’Ágra, where wild horses roam, and cross the river Minho in a delightful small chain ferry to Portugal’s Spanish sister, O Muiño, to climb to the sanctuary of Santa Tecla where Celtic history comes alive. This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times and is rich in natural and cultural history ranging from Neolithic to Roman times, with villages full of history for us to visit. Our trails take us inland on part of the Camino de Santiago and along the coastal Ecovia pathways. This is a quieter, greener Portugal. A world away from the beaches and towns of the Algarve.
We stay in the coastal town of Vila Praia de Ancora in the North West corner of Portugal. After our walks, there will be time to relax on the beaches and maybe take a dip in the sea before enjoying the sunset and local cuisine.
Our hotel is located in the very centre of this charming town and it’s an easy stroll out to dinner at nearby restaurants. Dining at local restaurants with traditional dishes is an important part of a holiday and staying in Vila Praia de Ancora offers this possibility.
What's not included?
This holiday offers a daily programme of walks at 2 grades.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
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.
Welcome to Praia de Ancora
We fly to Porto, Portugal's second city. On arrival we transfer by coach to Hotel Meira in Vila Praia de Ancora.
Transfer Time = 1h 15m
Day 2 to 7
Day 2 to 7
Exploring Praia de Ancora
Breakfast & Dinner
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.
The northern coast of Portugal is simply very beautiful. In an area famous for its young wine, Vinho Verde, you will find a lush green landscape, quiet beaches, traditional villages and excellent local cuisine. Our 2 leaders, 2 grades walking programme allows us to fully explore the area as we cross the Rio Minho, into Galicia, Spain, visit the Ancora Valley, and also go up into the Serra d'Agra mountains following ancient tracks. 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.
There will be a free day during your holiday. Your group leader will confirm which day is best based on the walking programme, it can change during the season. It is possible to organise a visit to Valença & Tuy, the two twin cities gazing at each other across the beautiful River Minho. Spend time exploring Praia de Ancora and its picturesque beachfront. The hotel offers a swimming pool and a bar area, so maybe just sit back and relax at the hotel!
Ancora Valley walk (Grade 4): This gentle introduction to the area is centred on the valley of the river Ancora itself. We walk through lush green fields still farmed in the classic Minho style and pass charming villages decorating the valley. At the centre of the walk is the river Ancora with its many old crossing points and its sparkling crystal clear waters.
Dem-Orbacém (Grade 4): Today we explore the lower slopes of the Serra d'Agra and discover villages strung along a spring line. The rough slopes of the Serra d'Agra are above us but our meandering route takes us through the lush fields and colourful villages that form the lower slopes.
After a picnic lunch, we descend again into the rolling valley of the river Ancora where the river again accompanies us as it cascades down through rock pools, passes under ancient bridges, and gently winds its way through fields.
VPA - Afife - Carreço – VPA (Grade 6): A day of coastal and inland walking! Our walk begins in Vila Praia d’Ancora and follows the Caminho de Santiago southwards to Carreço taking in traditional little villages and meandering through verdant woodland before reaching our favourite section of sandy beaches. We pass protected coves where waves crash onto the rocks where, even today, some people still harvest the seaweed, a final remnant of a once thriving way of life.
Serra de Santa Luzia (Grade 6): Our walk starts Carreço before climbing 400m to the top of Serra de Santa Luzia. The trail takes us across the hills before descending gradually to village of S Mamede. We follow a waymarked route “Trilho dos Canos de Àgua”, an ancient water supply system in granite “pipes” into S Luzia sanctuary before descending into Viana do Castelo via the longest funicular in Portugal.
A day in Galicia (Grade 4 and 6) We ferry across the estuary of the river Minho and walk up the dramatic hillside of Santa Tecla, where every stone seems to ooze with Celtic history. The spectacular views from the top of the hillside are made even more interesting by the simple sanctuary at the summit and the remarkable remains of the Celtic settlement. Although this is not a demanding day, anyone who does not want to walk to the top can have an easy low level wander through the charming village of Camposancos and enjoy a stroll along the estuary.
S. João-Montaria and Gondar (Grade 4 and 6): Our walk begins at the ancient monastery of S Joao de Agra and follows a route over the open rocky mountains with the rough slopes of the Serra d'Agra all around. From the village of S Lourenço de Montaria we follow the lower slopes of the Serra D'Agra as we pass through farming villages along the spring line. We complete the walk by descending into the lush valley where fields & vineyards surround the village of Gondar.
Serra d'Agra(Grade 4 and 6): Today we explore the mountains! After driving as high as we possibly can, we ascend by foot to the final section of the northern slopes of the Serra d'Agra before walking across the high level plateau that forms the summit to Porta do Lobo, the "Gate of the wolf". Here we feel on top of the world looking down into the picturesque valley of the River Lima and across to the high mountains of the Gerês and Peneda ranges beyond.
From here an ancient stone trail gently winds down the hillside and our walk continues through the iconic Agra villages. After an easy but dramatic walk we may relax in the very traditional Taberna do Horacio before returning to Vila Praia de Ancora.
Most may choose to finish here but others may continue to a further village for a real full day's walking.
We say goodbye to Portugal and transfer by road to Porto Airport for return flight to the UK
Walks & Excursions
Two Grades, Two Leaders, Two Walks
On ‘2x Walks, 2x Leaders, 2x Grades’ departures, where we provide two tour leaders and offer a choice of easier or harder walks each day, we hope to be able to accommodate your choice of walk. However, safety considerations do govern the sizes of groups in each walking grade; the minimum number of participants for a guided walk at a given grade and the maximum group size will be as indicated for the walk grade.
For safety reasons the minimum number of participants on a walk will be 4 plus the leader.
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.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
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.
Your Travel Details
We fly from London to Porto and return. The transfer from Porto Airport to Praia de Ancora will be by private coach and will take approximately 1¼ hours.
If you intend joining and leaving the party in Praia de Ancora, we assume, unless you have advised us otherwise, that you will meet and leave the party at hotel. If this is not your intention, please let us know in writing at least 5 weeks before departure.
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.
Passports and Visas
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.
Where are we going to stay?
R. 5 de Outubro 56 4910-386 Vila Praia de Ancora Portugal
00 351 258 911111
Praia de Ancora is famous for its young wine, lush landscape, traditional villages and quiet golden beaches. There are various clothing and sports shops, supermarkets, and bakeries. The streets are filled with locally run cafes, restaurants and bars. There is also a tourist office on the beachfront and banks with ATM's in the centre.
Located just a couple of minutes’ walk away from the charming Priaia das Criancas beach and five minutes from the town centre, the modern, yet cosy Hotel Meira provides a relaxing base for our holiday. Maybe take a relaxing swim in its outdoor pool and enjoy a drink from the bar on the beautiful sun terrace after a days exploration.
We stay in standard double and twin bedded ensuite rooms. Twin bedded rooms usually contain typical ‘Austrian type beds’ which consist of one bed frame fitted with two single mattresses and bed-packs with individual duvets. Single rooms usually have twin beds. All rooms have recently been refurbished and include:
Breakfasts and dinners are included in the holiday arrangements. A buffet breakfast is served at our hotel each morning.
Some dinners will be in the hotels highly rated restaurant where we can enjoy many traditional delicacies. We enjoy local restaurants on some evenings too where we can enjoy an authentic experience and sometimes lively atmosphere in a traditional Portuguese restaurant along with local diners and the Portuguese hospitality. Wine is included with every evening dinner.
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.
Footwear & Kit List
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 & Other Information
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
Find out more
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Staying Healthy On Holiday
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.
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.
EHIC & GHIC Cards
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.
Staying In Touch
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.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.
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.