We have been intrigued by the famed Douro River since we first started our training camps in Portugal. Winding it's way through vineyards and history to bring port wines to all of Europe and beyond since roman days, it is a curvilinear masterpiece of human ingenuity in the service of agriculture. We hope you can join us for this adventure!
         All the details are below: scroll down and each tab will bring up the appropriate information. We expect this trip to be very popular, so if you would like to join us, the details and costs tab will allow you to put a deposit so that we hold a spot for you. If you have any questions, please call or e-mail us!

River and Boats

                                                        historic 

 

riverThe Douro river flows from its origins in the spanish mountains 897 kms to the Atlantic ocean in Portugal, but only its lower (portuguese) portion is navigable. It is tamed by 15 dams, of which 5 are in Portugal. We will row a total of 125km over the course of five days, going through three locks, including the highest lock on the river (Carapatelo Dam). The Douro river and its landscape is designated a Unesco World heritage site, as is the historic center of its terminal city, Porto. A third world heritage site, the Coa valley (if you are collecting...) reflects the presence of paleolithic populations in these valleys. (We will not be visiting the Coa valley, but it is not far from our point of departure, so talk to us if you have interest.)

 

rabeloThe Douro valley has a microclimate that is particularly suited to the cultivation of fine grapes. Prized by those who could afford them in roman and medieval days,a french embargo brought the British to the the city of Porto and "port" wines were sent throughout the british empire. The wealth of that trade has marked the dwellings and the churches, and meant that every square foot of land was valuable and worth cultivating. The result is a landscape like no other.

quinta

 

 

This is a different scale of endeavor than our amble down the Charente last year. We have partnered with an experienced portuguese group who know the river well, and they will provide a launch and pilot to accompany us, as well as vans to transport us from point to point.

 

rowers in lock

 

We will be rowing coxed quads. Coxing is very agreable though not so athletic, so typically we rotate through the position and enjoy the scenery. It is a wide river, even in its upper reaches, so there is no need to be an experienced cox. Since we will be rowing between 20 and 34 km everyday, this tour is approriate for experienced scullers, in good physical condition. We will have assistance with the locks, which are manned and large enough for river cruisers to go through, as well as the transport ships that have replaced the traditional "Rabelos".

 

 

 

                                             lock with rower             

We will start early and picnic along the shore, or stop at a local restaurant on our longer days.. Please refer to the daily schedule for more details, and to the accommodations tab for more on the food and wine!

 

 

Rest and Restoration...

We will be staying in a variety of different hotels every night, varying from an 18th C house transformed into a luxury travel lodge, to small quintas as we make our way down the river. Our last night will be in Porto proper, where we can visit a historic Port Lodge in Vila de Gaia. Please see the schedule for more detailed information.

pinhao room pacheca
quinta do pacheca room
pestana
     

      

                                        vintage terrace

 

All your meals are included on this trip. Breakfasts will be in the hotel, and portuguese breakfasts are generous, varied and a guilty pleasure, with delicious breads and pastries, as well as cheeses, meats and eggs. We will be picnicking, eating simply in local restaurants, and dining at wineries where the proprietor's wines will be served. The portuguese eat a lot of fish and vegetables, all cooked with their incomparable fresh olive oil. Inland, there is a culinary tradition of cured meats and game.

 

The wines of Portugal vary widely from Vinho Verde, crisp "green" white wines, beautiful robust reds, to the famed fortified wines. We will try to taste them all! Wines with lunch and dinner and wine tastings are also included.

         

Location and travel

 

portugal

The Douro river is located in northern portugal, running roughly east to west towards the Atlantic ocean.

Porto is approximately three hours driving from Lisbon, and non-stop flights into Porto are very occasional (Mondays and Thursdays from New York on TAP) so you will most likely connect through Lisbon or another european capital. We will meet at the Porto train station and travel together to our point of departure, though certainly you can meet us at that hotel. For this trip, we will be driven to our stopping points by a fleet (3!) of vans, driven by professional drivers with no particular attachment to Karen and Kathy, who will actually know where they are going.

 

If you are a non rower, and wish to rent a car, there is a car rental companies in Pochinho, just 20mn from our first stop in Pinhao, and we can help you arrange that. If you are coming alone, we will be glad to connect you with other non rowers who might wish to share a car.

        river map

 

 

Our Schedule

Friday Sept 29, 1 pm: Meet at the Porto train station to board the Linha do Douro historic train. Completed in 1887, the train winds its way along the river and is an experience in and of itself. Plus you will get a preview of what we will row!
We will stay at the the hotel Vintage House in Pinhoa, and dine that evening in the hotel.

Saturday September 30: Rowing 20km from Pinhao to Regua, stopping before the lock. Lunch at local winery, lagarada,(harvest grape stomping). Wine tasting, dinner and sleep at local hotel/spa.

Sunday October 1: We will start by rowing through the Barragem de Bagauste, and row a total of 29 km with a stop for a picnic lunch at the Porto Rei beach. We will be dining and staying at the Casa Calcada, an historic agricultural property perched above the river.

Monday October 2: Rowing 20.5 km from Pala to Entre os Rios, passing through the Barragem do Carrapatelo. This lock is one of the tallest in Europe. We will have lunch at a local restaurant to recover from our travails, and then row 14 km from Entre os rios to Melres. Sleep and dine at the Quinta de Santa Cruz.

Tuesday October 3rd: Rowing 25km from Melres through the Barragem de Crestuma, to Porto, (Marina do Freixo). We will say goodbye to our guides over a traditional lunch, and have the afternoon to visit a port warehouse and cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, or enjoy the spa at the hotel Eurostars Douro. Farewell dinner in Porto

Wednesday October 4th:
Breakfast, morning check out and departure.
                                 

The details...

As anyone who has done camps with us in the past knows, we like to eat well and be comfortable. We take care of all the planning details for you. The cost is $3700.00 per person, all inclusive of housing, meals, transportation to rowing and boats. We do not include your transportation to the Porto train station on the first day or transportation to the airport on the last day, but will gladly help you arrange it. The cost for a non-rower, sharing a rowers room, is $2000.00.

Payment schedule:

  Rowers Rowers in shared room (each)  Non rower (in rowers room)  
Deposit (due on sign-up) :  $1000.00   $1000 $0
First payment (due 1/01/2016)  $1400.00   $1300 $1000.00
Final payment (due 03/01/2015) $1300.00 $1200 $1000.00

 

 

 

We expect this camp to fill up quickly: so please reserve your space by using the deposit button below.

 
 
Quantity:
Douro trip deposit:
Rower
Rower and non rower
 

Please read our cancellation policy below before signing up, and please verify with us that the camp is set before purchasing air tickets. Because even waitlisted rowers cannot change plans at the last minute, and most of our costs are fixed and paid in advance, we encourage you to protect your trip with travel insurance.

Cancellation Policy:

Your deposit saves your space until the first payment due date, and cannot be refunded.
If you need to cancel after the first payment has been made, we will attempt to find a replacement for your spot. If we can find a replacement, we will credit your first payment. If you need to cancel after the second payment it is not reimbursable. Please call us if you have any questions.
Please download the Waiver and send it to us before or with your final payment.

 

Non Rowers and Not rowing...

 

hikers

 

We welcome non rowers, but do not specifically cater to them. This is a spectacular natural area, with many vineyards and country roads. There are hiking trails, and cycling, as well as short day cruises you can take up smaller confluents. minicruise

 

We can accommodate a few extra people in our vans, but if you want independance from our goings and comings, you should consider renting a car. We will provide you with our lunch locations. Please review the schedule and let us know if you would like to be included in the vans, as we have limited space.

 

                                                  mama

More pics

grapes
     
     
     
     

 

 

For questions, or to order by phone, please call us: USA (203) 405-1818