The idyllic Douro Valley in the northeastern part of Portugal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the fact that people have been making wine here for over 2,000 years. In 1756, it became the first legally established wine-making region in the world, and since then, port wine has not been allowed to be made anywhere else. The area is known for its steep slate hillsides, which are usually terraced and largely unsuitable for the use of machines. Since the people in the valley converted to Christianity at a very early date, there are also numerous ancient village chapels and pilgrimage churches to discover. Depending on the water level, it is also possible to take a boat tour. Many of these tours start in Peso da Regua.
Hike with a view through the hinterland
Start and end of the tour is the village of Almofrela. There is a small restaurant where you can stop for a bite to eat (please don't expect to speak German or English there). The tour leads partly over unpaved paths, which may be a little overgrown. This is no problem for a practiced hiker. For the majority of the way you have wonderful views. When it's hot, there's very little shade. (Round trip: 10.5 kilometers, 3:15 hours, up and down: 300 meters)
Hike with a view on the southern flank of the Alvão
This trail around Galegos da Serra and up into the mountain village Arnal is especially recommended during spring: At that time of the year the gorse and heather-strewn hills are in full bloom. The first part of the journey, the ascent to Galegos da Serra, is exhausting but very picturesque. Returning from Arnal is a pleasant descent. (Round trip: 6.5 kilometers, time: 2:30 hours, up and down 280 meters)
613 Steps to the Pilgrim Church
The rural town with almost 12,000 inhabitants lies in the middle of vineyards and fertile fields. Worth seeing is the shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, which has attracted countless pilgrims for centuries. Since 1761 it has been exhibited in a pilgrimage chapel on a hill southwest of the town. As an extension of the main road, a 613-step double staircase leads up there. The Gothic cathedral in the city (Sè) is the main church of the diocese. It has undergone massive changes in the 16th and 17th centuries. The 13th century keep from the castle above town is still preserved .
Circular trail in the heart of the nature park
There are only a few marked trails in the Alvão Mountains. This longer circular walk takes you to the heart of the Natural Park, mostly on the plateau, giving a good overview of the diversity and beauty of this Portuguese region. (Round trip: 13 kilometers, 3:45 hours, up and down: 320 meters)