Day 2 to 7
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.
Ancora valley walk.
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. Charming villages dot the valley. At the centre of the walk is
the river Ancora with its many old crossing points and its sparkling crystal clear waters. Grade 4: 14.5km;
Ascent/descent: minimal. Grade 6: 16.5km; Ascent/descent: minimal
A day in Galicia.
Grade 4: 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. 10.3km;
Ascent/descent: 300m up/down
Grade 6: Santa Tecla where every stone seems to ooze with Celtic history. We ferry across the estuary of the
river Minho and walk up the dramatic hillside of Santa Tecla. 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. We then descend on the Via Sacra to the port town of A Guardia before following a coastal walk,
initially on the rocky Atlantic coast and then along the estuary of the river Minho. 15.5km; Ascent/descent:
Afife to VPA via Carreco.
Grade 4: A day of coastal and inland walking. The walk mixes the Caminho de Santiago through the villages of
Afife and Carreco nestled at the base of the wooded hillside before we join the coast and follow our favourite
section of coastline with sandy beaches and protected coves, waves crashing on the rocks where, even today,
some people still harvest the seaweed, a final remnant of a once thriving way of life. 14.5km; Ascent/descent:
minor at start then flat
Grade 4: Another of our half coastal and half inland walks. We begin in the historic town of Caminha and the
morning is spent following the spectacular rocky coastline arriving back in Vila Praia de Ancora in time for a
leisurely lunch. The second half of our walk goes inland along the popular Caminho de Santiago where we can
wish pilgrims "Bom Caminho". In this walk some clients may wish to join the walk only for the morning and have
an easy afternoon, others have been known to have a relaxed morning and joined the afternoon walk. 16.6km;
Ascent/descent: flat in the morning, 140 ascent/descent in afternoon
Grade 4: Today we move onto the lower slopes of the Serra d'Agra and walk through 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
fields and villages that form the lower slopes. After a picnic lunch we descend again into the 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. 14km; Ascent/descent: undulating with one main ascent of 80m
and an easy descent of 180m
Grade 4: Today we go into the mountains. After driving as high as we can we walk up 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 valley of the river Lima
and across to the high mountains of the Geres 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.
12km; Ascent/descent: 220 ascent, 270m down
Carreco to Viana do Castelo.
Grade 4: A relaxing, easy walk along the coastline from enabling us to arrive in Viana in time for lunch and a
free afternoon to enjoy this gem amongst Portuguese coastal towns, a perfect day off. 10.4km; Ascent/descent:
Grade 6: A day of coastal walking following our favourite section of coastline with sandy beaches and protected
coves, waves crashing on the rocks where, even today, some people still harvest the seaweed, a final remnant of
a once thriving way of life. After time for lunch in Vila Praia de Ancora we resume our walk along the rocky
shores of the Atlantic to finish in the lovely old town of Caminha. 20.5km; Ascent/descent: minor at start then
Serra de Santa Luzia.
Grade 6: We follow pathways between the villages of Afife and CarreÇo before striking up ancient tracks leading
up the wooded hillside of the Serra of Santa Luzia. Good tracks wind across the open mountains leading south to
the basilica of Santa Luzia overlooking the town of Viana do Castelo, the estuary of the river Lima and the coast,
as it stretches far to the south towards Porto. To avoid walking down the myriad steps to Viana do Castelo we enjoy a ride down on the longest funicular in Portugal. 18.5km; Ascent/descent: 400m +/-
Grade 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 Lourenco de Montaria we
follow the lower slopes of the Serra D'Agra as we walk 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.
18km; Ascent/descent +280m/-600m
Serra d'Agra-Sra do Minho-S. Aginha.
Grade 6: Today we go into the mountains. After driving as high as we can we walk up the final section of the
northern slopes of the Serra d'Agra before walking across the high level plateau to the viewpoint of S. do Minho
on the southern edge. Here we feel on top of the world looking down into the valley of the river Lima and across
to the high mountains of the Geres and Peneda ranges beyond. From here an ancient stone trail goes through
Porta do Lobo, the "Gate of the wolf" before winding down the hillside and our walk continues through the iconic
Agra villages to finish at Taberna do Horacio. Most may choose to finish here but others may continue to a
further village for a real full day's walking. 16.5km or 22km; Ascent/descent: 220 ascent, 270m down until