North Portugal and North-west Spain
Based on 12 nights self-drive independent touring in Portugal and Spain
A grand tour around the north western corner of the Iberian Peninsula, taking in highlights of north Portugal and north-west Spain.
From Porto the route heads north to explore Viana do Castelo, the Atlantic coast and the delightful Minho region before crossing the border to Galicia’s Rias Bajas and the chance to visit Santiago de Compostela. Then it’s inland to El Bierzo in the province of León, right on the Camino de Santiago, before heading south to Salamanca, Spain’s oldest and grandest University city. Then, on the final leg back towards Porto, you’ll discover the many delights of the Douro Valley.
In each stop you will find excellent regional wines of a very high standard as well as distinct local cultures and gastronomic treats. Full of contrasts, the only constant is the warm welcome you’ll receive from the Spanish and Portuguese you meet along the way.
The full route takes twelve days but you can do as little, or as much, as you like.
- Historic Porto and its charming old quarter
- The Camino Portugues – St James’ Way – steeped in history
- Atlantic coast – Viana do Castelo and Rias Bajas
- El Bierzo, lost in time, steeped in history
- Monumental Salamanca
- Port, Douro, Vinho Verde, Albarinho, Rias Bajas, El Bierzo, Toro, Rueda… world class wines all the way!
Day 1 & 2 – Porto
- Ribeira, Porto’s fascinating historic centre, a World Heritage site
- Cross the impressive Dom Luis I iron bridge to the Port Wine Lodges
- Art for all from finest museums to simple galleries
- Walk the lanes, sail the river, live and breathe Porto
- Ferry to Afurada and the golden beach of Estrela
Day 3 & 4 – Minho Coast
- Delightful Caminha and the fortress towns of Valença, Moncao and Melgaco, dotted along the river Minho
- Historic step in the Portuguese Santiago pilgrim way
- Imposing Viana do Castelo with its long surfy windswept Atlantic coastline
- Graceful Ponte de Lima with its Roman bridge
- Sample the Vinho Verde wine and hearty local fare
Day 5 & 6 – Rias Bajas
- Prettiest, most unspoilt beaches in Spain
- Finisterre, literally the ‘World’s End’
- La Coruña with its working Roman lighthouse
- Traditional life in the fishing villages
- White sands and rock pools of Carnota bay – an old favourite!
Day 7 & 8 – El Bierzo & Las Médulas
- Las Médulas – extraordinary red-rock landscape formed by Roman mining
- El Bierzo, lost in time, steeped in history
- Wines, peppers cured meats & so much more
- Ponferrada with its Knights Templar castle
- Historic Villafranca del Bierzo, right on the Camino
Day 9 & 10 – Salamanca
- Salamanca – truly monumental university city
- Toro, Rueda & Sierra de Salamanca wines
- Delicious jamon from Guijuelo
- Historic Tordesillas, Toro & Zamora
- Cruise on the river in the Arribes del Duero
- Sierra de Francia & villages of Las Batuecas
Day 11 & 12 – Douro Valley
- Fabulous Douro scenery – take an unforgettable boat trip
- World Heritage Douro vineyards, the World’s oldest!
- Romantic Amarante on the River Tamega
- Lamego – famous stairs of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios
- Superb gastronomy in the atmospheric “adegas” taverns
The itinerary includes the following:
- Accommodation in our listed hotels – 2 sharing 1 std. double ensuite, B&B
- Economy 4dr car hire
- Regional maps and guide books
- Instructions to find all accommodation & regional road map
- Flights – but we are able to advise
- One-way car hire charges, where applicable (see your quote email)
- The following car hire extras – these can be added at pick-up point
- extra driver
- child seats
- Garage parking where applicable (mostly city stops) – please ask us about parking charges
Fly directly to Porto / Oporto and hire a car – the best options are:
From London Gatwick: TAP Portugal or Easyjet
From London Stansted: Ryanair
From London Heathrow: British Airways
From Edinburgh: Ryanair
From Liverpool: Ryanair
From Manchester: Easyjet, TAP or Ryanair
From Birmingham: Ryanair
From Luton: Easyjet
From Bristol: Easyjet
From Dublin: Ryanair and TAP
Or fly to Galicia (Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña or Vigo) and hire a car – the best options are:
Heathrow to A Coruña with Vueling
Gatwick: to Santiago with Easyjet
Stansted: to Santiago or Vigo with Ryanair
Dublin: to Vigo with Ryanair and Santiago with Aer Lingus
Alternatively you could fly directly to Madrid and hire a car.
PLEASE NOTE some flights are seasonal.
NB: Flights are not included
As part of your package we will include a hire car. Normally we include a 4 door economy class car but please let us know if you would like something different.
Hire cars normally need to be dropped back to the country of origen (either Santiago in Spain or Oporto in Portugal).
What our clients say
Staying at idyllic locations and seeing amazing places
We travelled for 2 weeks across Spain and Portugal. The accommodation which Casas Cantabricas manage to find and book has been, without exception, amazing. Very different in every location but always leaving us wishing we could have stayed longer.
The supporting information they provided – on an app – was also most helpful – making suggestions about where to visit along the way, where to eat and so on. As a result of all this, it was a truly memorable holiday.