Is Portugal – 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 Porta Nobre is situated along the Douro River within a 10 minute walk to the historical center of Porto

Rest time will be on the bus!
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, you'll have a few hours before our first get-together. You may want to just relax at the hotel, or walk around Porto for a bit. For our Welcome Dinner, there will be a little bit of walking around the historical center, or along the riverbank to get to the restaurant. Total scheduled walking for this day is about 1 Mile or less. Our time on the bus, including the airport shuttle is only about 30-40 minutes. 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 30 minute drive from the hotel. 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 1 1/ Hours – You will have some time to rest up at the hotel between our cooking class and our afternoon excursion
Day 3 Today is another light day of walking as our excursion to the artisan workshop in Viana, and then walking in Viana will be minimal. For our dinner, we will be driven from Viana to the winery estate. Walking could be about a mile. Total Time on the Bus: Approximately 3 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 a bit fuller day of walking as we will be walking in the city center of Porto for our 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. For those that would rather rest, there are cafes where you can relax until the group meets up for the ride back to the hotel. For dinner, we'll be dropped off and picked up close to the restaurant. So, there is minimal walking required. Total amount of walking: Approximately 2 - 2 1/2 Miles for the whole day. Approximately 1 -1 1/2 hours on the bus. 1 -2 Hours – This will be in between our excursion in Porto and our dinner location.
Day 5 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. Our first stop in Vila Real, it is a short distance from where we are dropped off and picked up to and from the pastry shop where our class is. Our stop in Pinhão has flat accessible streets and is just a few hundred yards at most. We will be boarding a riverboat here. Which requires some stability getting on and off. When we arrive at the vineyard in Douro, there is some uphill walking to do on a dirt trail to get to the actual vineyard. For our wine-cellar visit and our dinner, the bus will park relatively close to both venues. Within 5 minutes walk of each other. Total Walking for this day is approximately 1 Mile. Approximately 5-6 Hours on the bus from the hotel to Douro and back, plus the stops inbetween.
Day 6 Today is very minimal walking. We get dropped off in front of our cooking class home. And, then again at the front gate of the country estate where we will spend the afternoon and evening. Approximately 2 1/2 - 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 Today is quite a bit more relaxing and the amount of walking is minimal. Our walk to the filigree workshop is very short and easy. Then, depending on what you decide you want to do after lunch, will dictate the amount of walking you will or wont have. If you opt to go in to the historical center of Porto for shopping and sight-seeing, you can expect to walk approximately 1 - 3 miles, depending on how much you want to see and do. If you decide to stay back at the hotel, you will have the time on your own to be as leisurely as you want. You may want to just stay in and take advantage of the relaxing environment and the pool area of the hotel. Our evening will be back at Marta and Ricardo's home for our farewell dinner. Our coach will park just in front of their home. Total Amount of Walking: Approximately 1 mile up to 3 or more miles if you opt to visit the historical center of Porto in the afternoon. Approximately 2 1/2 Hours Up to 3 Hours if you opt to stay at the hotel in the afternoon.
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 the hotel in Porto to the airport is approximately 25 - 30 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.