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 hamlet Almofrela. There is a small restaurant, where you can also stop off (please do not expect somebody to speak English). The tour takes you partly on unpaved roads, which may be a bit overgrown. For an average hiker this is not a problem. But almost for the whole tour you have a wonderful view. When it's hot, you have 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 in the spring: Then the gorse-strewn hills and heather 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 a pilgrim church
The rural town with almost 12,000 inhabitants is surrounded by vineyards and fertile fields. Worth seeing is the shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, which has attracted countless pilgrims for centuries. It has been on display since 1761 in a pilgrimage chapel on a hill southwest of the city. As an extension of the main road, a 613-step double staircase takes you up there. The Gothic cathedral in the city (Sè) is the main church of the diocese. It was heavily changed in the 16th and 17th centuries. From the castle above the town is still preserved the watch tower from the 13th century.
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)