Is Portugal – (New!) Family, Culture, Wine & Cooking For Me?

This is an active and somewhat adventurous vacation. Please read the information below thoroughly. It will make all the difference in your vacation experience with us. We ask you to be realistic. If this itinerary is not right for you, we would appreciate it if you would consider another destination of ours that might be more suitable

  1. Your Disposition - Our vacations are focused on having a good time with new friends. Everything we do revolves around that. People seeking a self-centered vacation might reconsider. Our groups tend to span all ages, men & women, singles & couples... everyone is welcome, and when our guests come ready to embrace a new culture, look forward to trying new things, and interact with other guests, it is always amazing. Even the way our guests see us is important. If you see us as "providers of a service", you may reconsider our trips. We bring you into our family and become part of the group with you... as though you are visiting friends and family. If you are able to be in this frame of mind, our trips will be like nothing you have ever experienced, but if you are looking for a more detached relationship with us, our trips may not be for you.
  2. Be Ready to Embrace the Culture - Our trips focus on bringing you into the true culture of the place, but some guests prefer to see it, but not live it. We embrace the culture and do things the way locals do, which may or may not be what you are looking for. Every step of the way we adapt to the local culture, rather than asking the local culture to adapt to us. This also tends to make us much more welcome guests than other groups!
  3. Physical Intensity - You by no means need to be athletic for this vacation, but you must be able to handle some level of physical exertion. A good rule to follow would be to ask yourself if you can do three flights of stairs, then continue walking without needing to sit down for a while.
  4. Age Concerns - We have had guests as old as 90 years old with no problems whatsoever. Age is not a limiting factor, so long as you are in good physical condition with no health problems that exertion would complicate.
  5. Altitude - Viana and most of the places we will be are at or just above sea level. When we take our excursion off-road and into the mountains, we are still only at about 1500 feet.
  6. Walking & Bus Time - In Portugal, like other European cities, tend to be very pedestrian and the locals do quite a bit of walking each day. During your vacation week, we will have a mix of some light days of walking, and just a couple of days that require a bit more. Nothing is too strenuous and we have outlined the activities below as to what you can expect in the way of walking on each day. The same goes for our time on our luxury coach. Some days we will have some shorter rides than others, but it is all designed for the purpose of giving you the best possible use of your time each day and enjoy each and every outing.

Total Walking & Bus Time for the Week

  • Total Walking All Week: ~8 miles
    This is the total for the entire week, not per day.
  • Total Time in Bus All Week: ~16 hours
    This is the total for the entire week, not per day, and does not include the scheduled transfers from and returning to the Porto (OPO) Airport.

Detail Day By Day:

The Hotel Feel Viana is situated in its own little enclave, just across the bay from the historical center of Viana do Castelo. Walking there is flat and quite easy. The beach is about a five-minute walk from the hotel and along a lovely boardwalk through a nature preserve.

Day Walking Bus Rest Time
Day 1 On your arrival day, there will be a minimum amount of walking. Just from the airport terminal to the shuttle bus. At the hotel, we will walk to the beach for our orientation. Then, on our way to the restaurant for our Welcome Dinner, there will be a little bit of walking around the historical center in the town of Viana. Total walking for this day is less than 1 Mile. Our time on the bus, including the airport shuttle and the round-trip ride into the town of Viana is approximately: 1 – 1 1/2 Hours. 2-2 1/2 Hours – You can take this time to relax and freshen up in between our arrival and check-in at the hotel and when we get together for our orientation and refreshments.
Day 2 Today’s cooking class is in a private home that is only about a 10 minute (at most) walk from the hotel. Even at a very leisurely pace. Our excursion in the afternoon is mostly driving as we will be taking four-wheel drive vehicles on a drive into the mountains. There is very little walking, although some of it could be on rocky terrain as we will be off-road. Total Walking for this day is approximately: 1 Mile. Our time in our off-road vehicles is approximately: 2 Hours 2 Hours – You will have some time to rest up at the hotel between our cooking class and our afternoon excursion
Day 3 Even with a full day out when we go to the Douro Valley and visit the winery and pottery factory, there will not be much walking. When we arrive at the private estate for our evening excursion and dinner, our luxury coach will bring us right to the estate. Walking around the estate is leisurely and easy. Total Walking for this day is approximately 1 Mile. Total Time on the Bus: Approximately 5 1/2 – 6 Hours Nothing formal, but the bus rides are typically a good time to get some shut-eye. Keep in mind that this will be a full day out.
Day 4 Today is another light day of walking as our excursion to the artisan workshop in Viana, and the winery in Ponte de Lima will be minimal. The stroll through the town of Ponte de Lima is very leisurely, mostly flat and does not require much walking. For our dinner, we will be shuttled to the restaurant from the hotel and back. Approximately 1 1/2 Miles for the whole day. Approximately 1 1/2 Miles for the whole day. 1 1/2 Hours – This will be in between our excursion into Ponte de Lima and our dinner near to the hotel.
Day 5 Another relatively light day of walking... This morning we will once again walk to and from our cooking class just a short distance from the hotel. When we head out on our excursion, our luxury coach will be taking us close to our destination when we arrive at the hillside enclave of Montaria. Approximately 1 mile for the whole day. Approximately 1 Hour 1 – 1 1/2 Hours which will be in between the cooking class lunch and our afternoon excursion.
Day 6 Today is a bit fuller day of walking as we will be visiting the city center of Porto, the town of Braga, as well as a short stop at a marketplace before we arrive in Porto. Our time in Porto includes a walking foodie and historical tour. Then you will have some time on your own to stroll the city for shopping, stop at a café, or wine bar and enjoy Porto in a leisurely way. Porto is a mix of flat streets and some sloping hills. They are not too strenuous, but there are some good inclines on certain streets. The historical center of Braga is mostly flat with a gentle incline, but nothing strenuous. The bus will park close to the city center and the restaurant we will be having dinner at. For those that would rather rest, there are cafes near the restaurant where you can relax until the group meets up for our dinner reservation. The stalls at the market in Matosinhos will be easy walking. Total amount of walking: Approximately 2 Miles Approximately 3 Hours Rest Time: There is no scheduled rest time today, however the bus rides always provide an opportunity to get some rest.
Day 7 After a full day yesterday, today is quite a bit more relaxing and the amount of walking is minimal, depending on what you decide you want to do in the morning. If you opt to go in to the historical center of Viana for shopping and sight-seeing, you can expect to walk approximately 1- 1 1/2 miles, depending on how much you want to see and do. If you decide to stay back at the hotel in the morning, you will have the time on your own to be as leisurely as you want. You may want to walk down to the beach, or just stay in and relax and take advantage of the services at the hotel. Our afternoon has us making a quick stop at the artisan’s workshop to pick up our papier mache molds that we made earlier in the week. Then we’re off for our afternoon and evening at our friend’s home for our farewell dinner. Our luxury coach will park just a few blocks away and the walk is flat and easy. About a 5-7 minute walk. Total Amount of Walking: Approximately 1/4 mile up to 1 1/2 miles if you opt to visit the historical center of Viana in the morning. The walk to the beach from the hotel is about 1/8th of a mile. Approximately 1 1/2 Hours Up to 4 Hours if you opt to stay at the hotel in the morning.
Day 8 Today is our departure day and our luxury coach will be taking our guests directly to the Porto (OPO) Airport in the morning. The drive from Viana to the airport is approximately 45 minutes. N/A N/A

Special Needs we can (and cannot) cater to in Portugal

Physical Limitations You must be able to walk up to a mile and do at least a couple flights of stairs in order to go on the excursions on this trip. If you are unsure, please be aware that while we do all that we can to help our guests, we cannot do so at the expense of other guests. As such, if you are unable to walk during any of our excursions, we ask that you have someone come with you that can assist you.
Food Limitations We can cater to most food allergies, vegetarian diets, and to some extent kosher diets. We will substitute with other dishes if you let us know in advance. We can even cater to a gluten-free diet. Our cooking class menus will not change based on a guest's food limitations, but even in the classes, we can usually offer alternatives to eat. That said, if you do have limitations, it is important that you have a positive attitude about it. We are happy to substitute, but the variety of alternatives may be limited.