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Historical Villages, Ancestral Beauty
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Historical Villages, Ancestral Beauty

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 5 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 16 people
Destination(s): Portugal  
Specialty Categories: Hiking & Trekking   Birdwatching  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 370 Euro (EUR)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1000 Euro (EUR)

Castelo Rodrigo is probably one of the most well kept Historical Villages of Portugal from XII century. You will have the chance to stay there, inside this stone castle village, in a restored house. Ana, your host, will be happy to tell you all about the first private nature conservation park in Portugal, run by a NGO, where you can do some trekking. This is also a great spot to start your Douro Valley discovery (famous after the Port Wine) or Côa Archaeological Park, both UNESCO world heritage sites, or even cross the border with Spain, near by.

- Accommodations: Selected (4 star inns, farms and manor houses) - Casa da Cisterna
- Activity Level: Intermediate (Daily average: distance 10-15 km | day climbing (1000 m/3300 ft)
- Total distance: 36,3 km/22,5 mi
- Longest day: 10,5 km/6,5 mi
- Shortest day: 8 km/4,9 mi.

Lodge and surroundings:

Located in Castelo Rodrigo Historical Village, Casa da Cisterna is positioned in a privileged place. When you leave the inner garden and walk in to village cobblestone alleys, you quickly realize how wonderful this ancestral place is. These old stones keep the secrets of an era when Castelo Rodrigo was the stage of many battles and long sieges. Around the house and from what remains of the old fortress wall, you can feel the history and traces of mysterious and fascinating times.

From this place, more than 800 meters height, you will have the pleasure to see soaring birds, like eagles or griffins, taking advantage of the thermals to travel distances out of sight. In your return, you can enjoy the peacefulness of Casa da Cisterna to read a book, listening to music or just to take a nape in the garden swing chair. Back to your cozy room, you can connected to the world via Internet and share these precious moments.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Castelo Rodrigo. Transfer from the airport to Castelo Rodrigo (optional). The Historical Village of Castelo Rodrigo is located at 820 meters high, from where we can see the Marofa mountains ridge, the village of Figueira and magnificent landscapes all the way to Spain.
This village used to be an important place for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela and is full of traces from the Romantic Period.

The Castle, dating from the 13th Century, was the stage for many battles, whether with Spanish or British troops. Since 1922 is considered a National Monument and is one of the best examples of fortified structures of the Middle Ages in the Iberia Peninsula. Its cylindrical towers go back to the Gothic Period.

Day 2: The path of Alpajares or Devil’s Path (8 km/4,9mi, 3h). Today’s walk will take us to the International Douro Park, which is the habitat of several birds of prey such as the Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), the very rare Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) and the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra).

These species find shelter for their nests on the high cliffs by the river and we will have the opportunity to appreciate these magnificent birds fly and understand their fundamental role in the nature. Another point of interest during the walk are the rugged cliffs near the river that can be extremely high, sometimes presenting very irregular rock formations. Specialists can actually see how tectonic plaques moved by looking at these formations.

Our hike goes up to the famous “Calçada de Alpajares”, classified as a public interest construction in 1977. The path of Alpajares or Devil’s Path (Calçada do Diabo), as known locally, was part of a Roman road that crossed the Douro river and the Mosteiro stream. Transfer to Barca de Alva (approx. 25min,) not included. Optional: boat ride in the Douro river.

Day 3: Faia Brava Natural Reserve (10,5 km/6,5mi, 4 h). Today we will visit the beautiful “Reserva da Faia Brava” (Faia Brava Natural Reserve). The mission of this reserve, located in the Côa Valley, is to preserve the natural patrimony of Riba Côa area (meaning Côa river-side). Inside the reserve you will find one of the country’s most important natural areas for the several birds of prey you may find there and also the biggest local area with cork trees.

We will start our walk in the small village of Algodres, heading to the Côa Valley. On our way we will pass by cereal fields, corrals and a reforestation station. You will also have the chance to see the “Garrano”, an ancient breed of horse from Galicia and northern Portugal. Before our break for a delicious picnic we will have the chance to stop for some bird watching. The Griffon Vulture and the Bonelli’s Eagle make their nests on the near by cliffs. After lunch we will continue the walk through the Côa Valley that in this area forms a beautiful canyon. Optional: Faia Brava Reserve Guided Walk/Bird watching.

Day 4: Marofa Pilgrimage trail (10 km/6,2mi, 3 h). The Marofa mountain ridge is one of the most important mountains in the area due to its 975 meters (3199 ft). From the top, where a statue of Christ blesses the surrounding lands, we have a beautiful 360º view over Douro and Côa river valleys, Marialva and Castelo Rodrigo Historical Villages. The hike follows a pilgrimage trail that passes by several little chapels. Optional: This could be a perfect day to visit the Côa valley, which features various stone carvings from the Paleolithic era and considered a World Heritage site by UNESCO!

Day 5: Lisbon. Transfer to the airport.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- 4 accommodations w/breakfast
- 24 hrs help line
- Documentation
- Maps and GPS tracks about biking and walking routes
- Local transfers
- 24 hrs. support phone line
- Insurance and taxes.

Optional:
- Airport Transfers: 260€
- Faia Brava Reserve Guided Walk/Bird watching: 35€
- Prehistoric rock art site visit: 25€
- Donkey ride: 25€
- Daily Guide: 35€
- Taxi for Day 2: 25€
- Dinner: 30€
- Lunch boxes: 18€
- Extra nights: 90€
- Single supplement: 150€
- High Season Supplement from June to September: on request
- Car Rental: on request.

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