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Holiday Overview

Highlights

  • Feed and look after the donkeys who walk with you
  • Charming low-key family run accommodation with swimming pools
  • Free time in the coastal town of Porto
  • 4 days walking through the countryside and the Douro National Park

NGT Tours Logo 2015In the north-eastern corner of Portugal, the Tras-os-Montes district is a paradise for donkeys and walkers alike. Tras-os-Montes, literally means Beyond-the-Hills and is an unspoilt area with authentic rural charm, close to the Douro River which forms the border with Spain. In this area, the AEGPA gives shelter to donkeys that have ended their working lives on local farms and actively promotes the endemic species of donkey - the ‘Burro Mirandes'. Generally nut-brown in colour, these are enchanting animals that make trusty companions on our series of rural walks. Having journeyed to Pocinho from Porto by train and car, we have the chance to meet our donkeys on Day 2 and learn a little about their upkeep. On the following day we set off and each day, thereafter, we walk for between 3 and 5 hours through the countryside, on ancient paths and dirt roads and from one village to the next. Along the way, we pass through farms with lots of noisy animals: cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, dogs and cats. In contrast, out in the country, we walk in peaceful silence. Each evening, when we reach the donkey-stables, the children have to help to brush and feed the donkeys. A perfect way of getting the whole family involved in an active holiday! Much of this area is a nature reserve, set up to protect the landscape and the several important species of birds of prey, including both vultures and eagles - we will be looking out for these impressive creatures, especially during the last 2 days of walking. Returning to Porto at the end of the holiday, we have chosen to use a hotel in the Portofoz area of the city, which will give us a free afternoon close to the beach and to the old part of Porto.

Is this holiday for you?

Suitable for children from 5 years old.

This is an adventure holiday suitable for families with children of any age and who have an interest in animals. The walking days are not difficult and the children can ride the donkeys to give them a break from walking at any time (dependent only on trail conditions - where it is steep or rocky, it's best to walk). There is also lots of free time. We don't make too early starts and generally walk only half-days. So, providing we have been able to drag the kids away from their new furry friends, we reach our accommodation early and can chill out beside the pool - parents and kids alike.

 

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in central Porto.
  • Train and taxi transfer to the remote Vale de Algoso, meet the donkeys. Overnight Casa Pimenteis.
  • Walk with the donkeys through remote valleys and meadows. Return to Casa Pimenteis.
  • Give the donkeys breakfast and continue the walk. Return to Casa Pimenteis.
  • Walk across the Mirandese Plateau with the donkeys. Overnight in Pena Branca.
  • Longest walk through Douro International Nature Park with the donkeys. Return to Pena Branca.
  • Transfer by train to Porto, to a hotel near the beach.
  • Departure day.
2016
Sun 21 Aug - Sun 28 Aug Code FPD /03/16/ Adult$1,245 Child$1,125 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Blazing Saddles - Family Walking Adventure
  • The departure reference for this tour is FPD /03/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 21 Aug and departs on Sun 28 Aug
  • This departure is available and departs within weeks. Secure your place today with full payment.
  • The child price age for this holiday is 5 - 11 years
Sun 02 Oct - Sun 09 Oct Code FPD /3A/16/ Adult$1,245 Child$1,125 Status Guaranteed Book now
More information
  • Blazing Saddles - Family Walking Adventure
  • The departure reference for this tour is FPD /3A/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 02 Oct and departs on Sun 09 Oct
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • The child price age for this holiday is 5 - 11 years
Sun 23 Oct - Sun 30 Oct Code FPD /04/16/ Adult$1,245 Child$1,125 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Blazing Saddles - Family Walking Adventure
  • The departure reference for this tour is FPD /04/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 23 Oct and departs on Sun 30 Oct
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • The child price age for this holiday is 5 - 11 years
2017
Sun 28 May - Sun 04 Jun Code FPD /01/17/ Adult$1,275 Child$1,200 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Blazing Saddles - Family Walking Adventure
  • The departure reference for this tour is FPD /01/17/
  • This tour begins on Sun 28 May and departs on Sun 04 Jun
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • The child price age for this holiday is 5 - 11 years
Sun 02 Jul - Sun 09 Jul Code FPD /02/17/ Adult$1,275 Child$1,200 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Blazing Saddles - Family Walking Adventure
  • The departure reference for this tour is FPD /02/17/
  • This tour begins on Sun 02 Jul and departs on Sun 09 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • The child price age for this holiday is 5 - 11 years
Sun 13 Aug - Sun 20 Aug Code FPD /03/17/ Adult$1,275 Child$1,200 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Blazing Saddles - Family Walking Adventure
  • The departure reference for this tour is FPD /03/17/
  • This tour begins on Sun 13 Aug and departs on Sun 20 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • The child price age for this holiday is 5 - 11 years
Sun 22 Oct - Sun 29 Oct Code FPD /04/17/ Adult$1,275 Child$1,200 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Blazing Saddles - Family Walking Adventure
  • The departure reference for this tour is FPD /04/17/
  • This tour begins on Sun 22 Oct and departs on Sun 29 Oct
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • The child price age for this holiday is 5 - 11 years
2018
Sun 27 May - Sun 03 Jun Code FPD /01/18/ Adult$1,275 Child$1,200 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Blazing Saddles - Family Walking Adventure
  • The departure reference for this tour is FPD /01/18/
  • This tour begins on Sun 27 May and departs on Sun 03 Jun
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • The child price age for this holiday is 5 - 11 years
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Porto Airport. Transfers are not provided, but there is a convenient Metro service. Please refer to Joining Arrangements and Transfers in the holiday dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines which have a service to Porto, including easyJet from London Gatwick & Manchester. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively, if you would prefer to book a 'Flight Inclusive' package using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.


BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

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Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in central Porto.

    We meet at the group hotel in central Porto. Airport transfers are not provided and you will make your own way from the airport to Trinidade Station using the convenient Metro. It is a short walk from here to our modern hotel, which was formerly a cinema. Depending on your arrival time, you can spend the afternoon visiting historical monuments in the centre or strolling along the river bank. You might also choose to visit one of the numerous historical wine cellars, for which Porto is famous. KE Land Only package services begin with a briefing from the guide at 7 pm. He or she will recommend a nearby restaurant for dinner and accompany you.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Train and taxi transfer to the remote Vale de Algoso, meet the donkeys. Overnight Casa Pimenteis.

    After breakfast, we take the Metro to the Campahna Station and from there take the train to Pocinho. This pleasant journey of around 3 and a half hours, takes us eastwards to Pocinho with several changes of landscape en route. From Pocinho, we continue our journey by taxi (approx. 1 ½ hrs) into the remote Vale de Algoso, close to the border with Spain. Here, we stay at a pleasant ‘Turismo Rural’, Casa Pimenteis, which has all the comforts of home and a swimming pool. After lunch, we will take a short drive to the village of Atenor and the donkey ranch, to meet our new furry friends. The Miranda ass (donkey) is a particular breed and mostly they are a dark chocolate brown in colour. At the ranch, we can learn about the work of the local donkey association, the AEGPA, and our donkey guide will also give us some instruction as to how we can help look after these loveable animals over the coming days. Returning to Casa Pimenteis, we will have the chance to use the pool, before dinner and overnight.
    Swimming: At the accommodation swimming pool.

    • Accommodation Farmstay

    • Meals bld

  • Walk with the donkeys through remote valleys and meadows. Return to Casa Pimenteis.

    After a leisurely start, we go back to the donkey ranch at Atenor, meet our ‘burros’ and set off on a morning walk on quiet trails through meadows and woodland. The Vale de Algoso is a region of gently rolling hills and we will see stone-built farms and chapels, carefully tended fields and stands of cork-oak trees, some with their bark removed (it does grow back) and some marked with numbers, prior to having their bark (which is the cork) removed. We will stop for a picnic lunch in a pleasant spot and end our walk in the village of Palacoulo, where the donkeys will be housed in a barn and paddock. We will be able to feed the donkeys, before returning to Casa Pimenteis. Free time at the pool in the afternoon.
    Swimming: At the accommodation swimming pool.

    • Accommodation Farmstay

    • Distance 7km

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 - 4 hrs walking

  • Give the donkeys breakfast and continue the walk. Return to Casa Pimenteis.

    Returning to Palacoulo in the morning, we have the option to stop off at one of the traditional ‘pombal’ pigeon coops that we may have spotted example of during yesterday’s walk. Dotted across the landscape, these circular buildings date back to medieval times. Pigeon is a local delicacy and their droppings were also collected and used as fertiliser. Then, after meeting up with our donkeys, we set off on a walk that takes us between dry-stone walls and up onto a plateau with small fields and groves of trees. We will stop for a picnic lunch en route to Sao Pedro da Silva, where we will leave the donkeys and make the 10-minute transfer back to Casa Pimenteis.
    Swimming: At the accommodation swimming pool.

    • Accommodation Farmstay

    • Distance 9km

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hrs walking

  • Walk across the Mirandese Plateau with the donkeys. Overnight in Pena Branca.

    After breakfast, we will make sure our belongings are packed and loaded in the support vehicle, as we will be moving on to Pena Branca tonight. Then, we have a 10-minute transfer back to Sao Pedro to meet up with the donkeys. From here, we will set off on easy trails to cross the Mirandese Plateau, with great views of the upper valley of the Douro River. Tonight, the donkeys will stay in a field at Duas Igrejas, on the outskirts of Miranda do Douro which is on the border with Spain. The railway line used to pass through Duas Igrejas and there is a picturesque and now disused, railway station. We take a 20-minute transfer to Pena Branca, where we have the chance to use the play area and pool. There are also bikes here that we can use. If we get to our accommodation early, it is possible to arrange a boat tour on the Douro River at additional cost, paid for directly. The guide would help you arrange this. Dinner and overnight at the Casas de Campomirandesas, another comfortable Turismo Rural.
    Swimming: At the accommodation swimming pool.

    • Accommodation Farmstay

    • Distance 7km

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 hrs walking

  • Longest walk through Douro International Nature Park with the donkeys. Return to Pena Branca.

    Today, after driving back to meet our donkeys at Duas Igrejas, we have our longest walk of the holiday. Our route takes us through the very scenic Douro International Nature Park, keeping a watch for the vultures, red kites and golden eagles that live here. In this section of its course, the Douro flows through an impressive gorge and the landscape is quite spectacular. Arriving at Miranda do Douro, we pass through the town’s ancient gate to reach its historic centre. We then leave the town behind and reach the donkey’s overnight stop in a field. After saying goodbye to our furry friends, we return to the Turismo Rural in Pena Branca and have some free time to use the swimming pool, before dinner and overnight.
    Swimming: At the accommodation swimming pool.

    • Accommodation Farmstay

    • Distance 11km

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 - 5 hrs walking

  • Transfer by train to Porto, to a hotel near the beach.

    After an early breakfast, we say goodbye to our donkey guide and return to the station in Pocinho. Unaccompanied, we then take the train back to Porto, where we use the Metro to access a hotel in the Portofoz district. We have chosen to use an alternative hotel on our return to the city, since this allows us to easily go to the beach and to explore many of the city’s other attractions. We should reach the hotel in the early afternoon, giving us the chance of a swim in the Atlantic. Overnight at the hotel in Portofoz, with access to many nearby restaurants.
    Swimming: In the sea.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Departure day.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Airport transfers are not provided. You can easily make your own way to Porto Airport using the Metro.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A professional English-speaking local leader
  • All accommodation as described
  • Land transport as described
  • Donkey support 1 per family with 2 children (additional donkeys can be hired)
  • Walking guide from the evening of day 1 to the morning of day 7
  • Meals as listed in the Meal Plan
  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Tips for support staff and guide
  • Miscellaneous expenses drinks souvenirs etc

Portuguese cuisine has a unique character influenced by its position on the Atlantic coast, its proximity to the Mediterranean and the imported spices and recipes of its former colonial possessions. Chilli peppers, black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla and saffron all feature. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine both for cooking and flavouring meals and garlic is also widely used, as are herbs such as coriander and parsley. We do, of course, make sure that simple meals are available for the kids. Portuguese breakfasts usually consist of cereals, yoghurt and freshly baked bread with ham, cheese and jam, accompanied with coffee or tea. Simple packed lunches are provided on those days that we are walking. Dinner is traditionally served late, around 8 pm and will normally consist of soup followed by a main dish (fish, meat or vegetarian). Specialities of the Tras-os-Montes region include ‘feijoada’ a stew of pork and white kidney or butter beans. Deserts may be a pastry or a custard or rice pudding. You will be able to buy wine and beer each evening at dinner.

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 6 dinners are included. When in Porto at the end of the trip (day 7) you will have to pay for 1 dinner. You will be required to purchase your own lunch on day 1 (arrival day), day 7 and day 8 (departure day).
Transfers from Porto Airport to the first night's hotel in central Porto and from Porto back to the airport are not provided. There is a Metro service directly from the airport into Porto and the one-way fare for the 30 minute journey is 2 euros. Arriving at the Trinidade Metro Station in the city, it is a short walk to the group's hotel. At the end of the holiday, we use a different hotel in Porto and the return transfer to the airport is again made by Metro, with a single change of train at the Crestins Metro Station.

The local guide will come to the hotel at 7 pm on Day 1 to meet the group.

The first night of the holiday is at a central Porto hotel, whilst on our return to the city at the end of the holiday we stay in a different hotel in the sea-side Portofoz district. In the Tras-os-Montes region we stay at 2 different Turismo Rural establishments (effectively farmstays). Both of these have swimming pools.

Children of 11yrs and under will share with parents in a triple for a family of 3 or a double with 2 extra beds for a family of 4. Children over 12 yrs will share with parents in a triple for a family of 3, or have 2 rooms for a family of 4. We will do everything to ensure that you are happy with your rooming allocation.

Additional hotel nights are available pre and post the holiday. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

After an initial meeting at 7 pm on Day 1, the group will be accompanied by a local English speaking tour leader until the morning of Day 7. We will also have the services of a support vehicle and driver as required by the itinerary.

Approximately £300 per family (mum, dad and 2 kids) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses. This amount will cover the payment of a modest tip to your tour leader (should you wish to). It will also be sufficient to cover soft drinks and souvenirs. Porto is a great places for souvenir buying and, if you are intending to buy expensive items, you should budget accordingly. Debit and credit cards can be used widely. You should take your travel money in the form of euros cash. Alternatively, you can withdraw euros from ATM’s at Porto Airport or in the city on the day of your arrival. Additional donkey support: €180 per donkey. One donkey per family with 2 children is provided. However if you have very small children who wish to have exclusive use of a donkey then you should book an additional donkey.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your leader and local team. Tipping is entirely voluntary and should be dependent on good service. We advise you to tip as a group.

When moving between accommodation, your main baggage will be transported to the next hotel by road. There is no weight limit, other than that imposed by your airline, but we do ask you to restrict your luggage to one main item of baggage and one small daysack. We recognise that for some of our holidays and for some of our travellers, the KE kit bag (see below) may not provide the best solution when packing for your trip. A bag with fitted wheels or a holdall with more than one compartment and more than one access zip can, in some circumstances, be more appropriate. Although it can be useful for our tour leaders when all members of the group have similar, identifying baggage, we have no problem if you choose to use an alternative bag.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Walking boots / comfy sturdy walking shoes for children

  • Trainers or sandals

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof over-trousers

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts (short sleeve & long sleeve)

  • Shirts or T-shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Sunhat

  • Sunglasses

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre (x2)

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Small towel

  • Swimwear

  • Small padlock (to lock your KE kit bag)

  • Daypack 25 litres

  • Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents dry)

  • Headtorch and spare batteries

  • Basic personal first aid kit, including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters, blister treatment, Insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea.

The following items are optional:

  • Cycle helmet* – see notes

  • Trekking poles

  • Shorts

  • Camera

  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

  • Travel clothes

  • Toys / games / books / a football etc.

Notes

*We recommend you bring a cycle helmet for anyone intending to ride the donkeys. Please note that these animals can be unpredictable and difficult to control, and if you wish to ride, this is at your own risk.

Remember when outfitting your family that KE clients are entitled to a 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for each country that you visit.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

The unit of currency in Europe is the Euro.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

This is an easy-paced walking holiday but it still makes lot of sense to spend some time before departure getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The Tras-os-Montes region has a very high incidence of sunshine - more than 300 days a year and, isolated from the cooling breeze off the Atlantic, it can be very hot here in the summer. Daytime temperatures in August are likely to be in the mid 30's centigrade, falling as low as 20 degrees centigrade at night. Either side of the summer months, in May and in October, average daytime temperatures are likely to be in the mid 20's centigrade, falling to around 15 degees centigrade at night.

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