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Day 1

Day 1.- We encourage you to come a few days early to enjoy Portugal before our Expedition. Nevertheless the first two days will be relaxing and allow you to recover from jet lag. You will be joining us at our hotel in Porto where you will meet your guide and receive detailed information about the expedition. We will then take a short walking tour of the historic center of Porto, preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by dinner in a typical Porto restaurant.

Day 2 – Beautiful classic train ride

Day 2.- Today the adventure really begins. We have an early breakfast and go to the Sao Bento train station which is in itself a tourist site because of the very fine hand painted tile work. All the immense scenes are of historical events in northern Portugal. Here we’ll board the train called the “Linha Do Douro” at 9:10 arriving at the end of the line in Pocinho at 12:40. (www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/portugal/porto-rio-douro/douro/linha-douro-portugals-best-train-ride) “Linha do Douro” After arriving in Pocinho we’ll have lunch in a local family run restaurant and drive in our vans to Barca d’Alva. After checking in our hotel we’ll have a brief paddle to get familiar with our gear and to touch Spain on the Douro River before dinner at 20:00.

Day 3 – Barca d’ Alva – Foz do Coa 11.27 miles 18.14 Km

Today we have our first real experience paddling the magnificent Douro River as we paddle on the reflections of the 600 feet walls and the grape vine terraces. We’ll visit a house in ruins that is made completely out of stone and we’ll have a swim or two and a picnic lunch at our takeout just below the new Rock Art Museum. After arriving in Villa Nova de Foz Coa and checking into our hotel we’ll offer an optional and recommended visit to the Rock Art Museum (www.arte-coa.pt) The museum is on a very high point overlooking the confluence of the Coa and Douro Rivers and was considered a magical place for the people who chose this spot for their over 5000 stone engravings.  Dinner  will be in Vila Nova de Foz Coa.

Day 4 – Foz do Sabor – Mos – Ferradosa 15 Miles 24 Km

Today is a special day because we have lunch in a restaurant hosted by our good friend Jose Manuel in Mos.  Jose Manuel raises much of the food he serves for lunch. He also makes his own port wine and his process will be described. Before arriving in Mos we pass some of the most beautiful parts of the Douro.  After lunch, cafe and a bit of Jose's port wine, there is an option for those who wish to go dirrectly to Bairro do Casal  (http://www.bairrodocasal.pt) where we will spend the night or continue on to Ferradosa about 2.5 hr down river. For those who who chose to go directly to Bairro do Casal you can swim in the pool, use the sauna or take a 3 k. walk on a 3000 year old roman road. Dinner will be nearby.

Day 5 – Ferradosa – Valeira – Pinhao – Peso da Régua 15.50 Miles 25 Km

The paddle today will not be forgotten. The Valeira Cataract was the greatest obstacle to navigation on the Douro till the first great hydraulic project carried out between 1780 and 1791. This project was to demolish the falls and they succeeded to make it possible to navigate up the Douro to the border with Spain. This made possible an important development of the wine industry and in fact this was the reason for the project. This incredible project didn’t eliminate the dangers of the river, it only made it possible to pass but still with great risk. A point worth mentioning is that the wine casks were only half full so that when a boat hit the rocks the wine casks would float and be saved. The man who made the first detailed map of the river, Baron Forrester, drowned in this place 70 years after it was demolished.

All 5 locks on the Douro River are of the same size but the levels we are lowered or raised to are different from lock to lock. The locks allow ships up to 272 ft. in length, 37 ft beam (wide) and a draft of 12.5 ft. Today we will pass the Valeira Lock (2.8 miles from Sao Xisto 1.5hr) which will lower us 108 ft. Passing through a lock in  kayak for the first time is an exciting experience and you’ll enjoy it, I’m sure.

As usual we get on the water early. and we’ll have a picnic lunch at a beautiful site a short distance below the lock. After lunch we’ll continue on to Pinhao to our takeout. In Pinhao, time permitting, we’ll visit the famous train station to see tile work dedicated to the working vineyards in the Douro Valley. From Pinhao we’ll portage on to Peso da Regua where we’ll spend the night.

Day 6 – Peso da Régua – Porto Rei – Ermido 11.5 Miles 18.5 Km

Today we won’t pass any locks but we have a special experience at the end.  Our first stop is Porto Rei for lunch and a swim in either the pool or the river. After lunch we'll paddle down river to a natural spring with a beautiful small waterfall. From there we'll move on to Quinta da Ermida  where we will spend the night and have dinner. This beautiful baroque style manor house was first built in the early 19th century with major structural and decorative renovations in the early 20th century. For those who wish there will be an opportunity to visit Caldas d’ Arégos with their natural hot baths and spa. (www.visitportugal.com/en/NR/exeres/5E6059BA-53AE-43BC-EDF07377564)These public baths have been in use since Roman times. 

Day 7 – Ermida - Caldas d’Arégos – Porto Antigo 7.7 Miles 12.5 Km

Today we will pass another lock and it is the tallest on the river. The Carrapatelo Dam and lock is about 2 hours paddling from Caldas. (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrapatelo_Dam) This lock lowers us 114.8 ft. into one of the most beautiful parts of the river. Our lunch stop on this paddle will be on a sandy beach about 45 min. after the lock. After lunch we paddle on to our 
THIS IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND WILL BE POSTED ON DEC 18.

Day 8 – Porto Antigo - Espadanedo- Entre os Rios 13.7 Miles 22 Km

On a recent voyage through Entre os Rios I saw a young fox along the river bank a few feet away. I’m sure it had never seen a kayak before. He studied me as I did him until both our curiosities were satisfied and we each moved on. Time permitting we will paddle up a river that feeds into the Douro. Lunch break and take out will be in Melres where we’ll have lunch at another family run restaurant that also has a wonderful garden where they produce some of the best vegetables I have ever eaten.

Day 9 – Crestuma – Oliveira do Douro – Porto 11.5 Miles 18.5 Km

Today is our last day on the Douro and we’re off to an early start. Today we will put in at the beach of the most famous kayak racing club in Portugal. Today for the first time we are paddling on the river as it was before the dams. This is tidal water and if we’re lucky we’ll get a free ride into Porto. We’ll paddle either helped or hindered by the river current as it flows out to the sea at Porto. After the first bridge in Porto we have an early lunch at Oliveira do Douro and arrive early afternoon in the center of Port. We’ll continue on and be the focus point of many cameras as we paddle on to the fishing port where the Douro meets the sea. Here we take our kayaks out of the water for the last time and raise our glass of port wine in celebration of having paddled together across Portugal. After taking out our kayaks we go to our hotel in Gaia and at dinner celebrate our 9 days together with a farewell dinner.

Day 10 – Porto

Our services end after breakfast. Those who desire may spend time visiting the historic quarter of Porto which is classified as a World Heritage Site. You will find the people genuinely welcoming and Porto is home to very impressive architectural styles in Gothic, Baroque and the very interesting store fronts in Art Nouveau. Important note: Our itinerary is always subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.