A special-tailored tour to the best of Peneda-Gerês National Park

tailor made tour geresPlanning a tailor made tour for the Rough Guides co-author, blogger, travel writer and Huffington Post contributor Rebecca Bex was a big challenge!

It all started with a phone call:

"Carla, as Oporto Adventure Tours is a specialized company in outdoor activities in Gerês National Park, I was wondering if you could organize a special itinerary for me?"

In the heat of moment the doubt assailed me: do I have all we need to show the best of Gerês National Park to such an important opinion maker?

After a deep breath, I started thinking clearly and realized that all I needed was a good and versatile guide, a comfortable off-road vehicle and a profound knowledge of the park area. All check! And so, I said YES!

Rebecca left the city about two weeks later, knowing that our goal wasn't to promote Oporto Adventure Tours services, but to show her our beautiful Gerês National Park and give it a chance of being known worldwide as a nature destination for excellence for everyone who comes to Porto.

After 3 days of a lot of kms, photos, contemplation moments and discovery of our culture thru locals, we believe that Rebecca couldn't leave Porto more satisfied! But we prefer to hear it from herself:

“Oporto Adventure Tours tailor made my trip around the unknown Geres National Park for me, taking away all the hassle and leaving room and time for me to enjoy an out of this world experience.”

Read the full review here.

“So if you’re spending any time at all in Northern Portugal, or plan a trip to Porto, I really suggest taking some extra time to spend three or four days exploring the region of Geres National Park (longer if you can). It’s like stepping back in time and, at the time of writing, is as yet undiscovered to mass tourism…making it a perfect escape.”

Read the full post here.

tailor made tour geres

That said, why won’t you join us? We love Gerês and know it better than anyone, so it will be a pleasure for us to tailor made your nature escape from Porto!

 

Author: Carla Couto
(Oporto Adventure Tours owner)

24 hours of bachelor party in Oporto

bachelor party porto

Planning your best friend's bachelor party?

Looking for a different, fun and not expensive destination in Europe?

So, be welcome to Porto! The best European destination to party!

Let's start from the beginning:

1) Flying to Porto

If you book soon enough you can get low cost flights under than 50€ to Porto airport. The cheapest are, of course, Ryanair and Easyjet but you can find good opportunities also in Transavia, Vueling, British Airways, Lufthansa, Germanwings, etc.

From the airport to the city the easiest and cheapest option is to get the subway (which is, actually, a light rail). It takes around 20 minutes and you don't even need to change the line. Casa da Música, Trindade and Bolhão are the common stops to go downtown.

2) Where to stay

The Porto hostels are the best in Europe! Every year there are new awarded hostels in Hostelworld.com. It will be, in fact, very hard to find a bad hostel! An excellent example of design and personality in a low budget is Tattva Design Hostel, right in the heart of the old city.

But that's not all! You can always rent an apartment in the city or even stay with locals and meet their habits, with Airbnb... no matter what your choice is, the prices are always competitive.

bachelor party canyoning

3) What to do

Here's our 24 hours suggestion for a memorable day with your friends:

Saturday 8h30 a.m.: pick up at your accommodation or in Porto airport;

Escape to nature: you can choose between kayaking, paddling, canyoning, rafting or 4x4 safari, but at the end, the important it is to enjoy the sun, the fresh air and have fun in the nature;

Lunch in local villages around Porto and find the most typical Portuguese food and wine (vinho verde).

Return to Porto: time for a glass of Porto wine in Ribeira, contemplating the beautiful views of the river, the boats, the amazing Luis I bridge and the wine cellars while the sunset makes that moment unforgettable.

Dinner in Porto: the restaurants here grow like mushrooms, and they're all about style! There's so many options, so different and for all kinds of tastes, that's hard to pick the best! Our suggestion: Tasco, with their blamelessly delicious Portuguese tapas and an uncommon wine list.

Time to dance: downtown, from Galerias de Paris to Praça Carlos Alberto or even Poveiros, you will find a lot of bars, with all kinds of music and drinks, with as much personality as you can imagine! Usually they're small so the streets are full of people with an unexplainable energy!

End of the night: Tendinha or Eskada are popular discos closing late in the city.

8h30 a.m.: back to the apartment to have a well deserved resting!

4) The prices

  • Accommodation: around 15€/person

  • Outdoor activities: around 75€/person with lunch included (depending on the number of people and what activity you choose)

  • Dinner: 20€/person, food and drinks included

  • Night of drinks downtown: most of the bars are free-entry and the drinks vary, depending on if you're in the beer/shot mood (Portuguese Super Bock costs around 1,5€ and the shots around 2€) or in the special/fashion drinks mood like cocktails, Whiskey or Gin (from 5€ to 8€).

 bachelor party rafting

So, convinced already? It's this easy to have a memorable weekend in Porto with your friends, providing the future married a life worthing experience!

Come join us, we can help you with all these details!

 

 Author: Carla Couto
(Oporto Adventure Tours owner)

10 reasons why to do Rafting when you visit Oporto

whitewater rafting portugal

Doing rafting in the north of Portugal is one of the best outdoor experiences to do from Porto, do you know why?

 

1. It's close to Porto

The best river to do rafting in Portugal is less than an hour from the city.

2. Fun is always included

Laughing at your fear, laughing because of the adrenaline, laughing from your friends faces, laughing because you're happy in the middle of an overwhelming nature...

The hardest part it is not to have a smile in you face all day!

3. It's safe

Doing rafting in Paiva river is safe not only because we have the best trained guides, but also because the river, itself, doesn't require any experience, being the major part of the route on an easy/moderate level.

4. You don't need to know how to swim

You just need to feel comfortable in the water. The rafting vest allows you to float on the water, so you don't need to be afraid of being too tired or to sink!

5. Nature in its raw status

The grand canyon of the Paiva river is amazing! The river isn't very wide, so you feel like you're fitted in the river, surrounded of landscapes as inhospitable as breathtaking...

blog frango frito 210x210

6. A food adventure outside the city

Afer rafting you'll feel hungry! Our proposal, besides the local tradicional dishes, is frango frito (fried chicken).

The reason is that simple: it's delicious and addictive!

7. It's good for your health

Your rafting journey allows you to experience adrenaline and fun in the nature, far from the stress, the rush, the noise and the polution of the city, eating well, enjoying the sweet sound of the water and meeting new people. Yes, it's good for your physical and mental health!

8. It doesn't depend on the weather conditions

Rain can't stop you, neither can cold weather! The only important criteria is the water temperature, and in Paiva river it is always tolerable.

9. It's the chance of making different things on a city break

Visiting Porto is easy, it doesn't require much time or effort, so if you're planning to spend 3 days in Porto, you should try to spend 2 in the city and 1 for the off the beaten paths!

 

10. It's the perfect activity for groups and families

Rafting is a teambuliding activity by excellence!

Holidays are for fun with your kids! Holidays are for sport with your friends!

Rafting not only gives you all that diversion, as it is a really good way of bonding with people!

whitewater rafting team building

So, did we convinced you? We would have 100 more reasons to do it, because it's easy to talk about something we love to do!

If you're willing to give it a try, we can pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation in the city, or even in Oporto airport!

This is our suggestion for your Easter holidays!


Author: Carla Couto
(Oporto Adventure Tours owner)

How can Porto's travelers be the Peneda-Gerês National Park's highlight?

Our 4x4 have magical powers, seriously.

Each morning, when I take them to work, they seem like any other machine. Atlas (Land Rover Defender) the white giant, roaring and rumbling through the streets of Porto; or the sweet Rita (Land Rover Discovery) smooth and stiff, with a posture of a true lady! (Yes, it’s true, you’re reading it right. We love our 4x4 so much we gave them names and personalities.) For a few minutes it’s just me and them, nothing special, everything normal... But then, when I start picking up people start to seat and move... something happens.

It’s common to have persons from all around the world during our tours , different ages, different cultures and contries. So suddenly I look in the mirror of the 4x4 and I see and listen people completely strangers to each other, sharing a squeezed seat in the back of our jeep, heading to Gerês.

Would you believe me if I told you that, by the end of the day, they are all laughing and hugging like if they were family? I wouldn’t too, but it’s true...

And I blame our 4x4 and theirs secret magical powers!

The conversation starts flowing with the wheels turning, the bounces on the road become smiles and soon, the first shy hello turns into an amazing story, or experience, or even a joke! Suddenly everyone is talking and sharing and happy. And why wouldn’t they be? We’re all doing something that we love: a walk on the wild side.

But the funny thing is that nature involves silence; so every time the moment demands for a bit of quietness, we can see everyone respecting it, staying calm and taking a deep breath without another sound than the one made by the water falling from the waterfalls.

It’s amazing to see how travelers respect each other and how deep is their mutual understanding. Can you imagine how rewarding it is for me to meet people like that?

And they never stop to surprise me! Look at this amazing video done by Kairi Killin during her trip to Porto and the north part of Portugal:

 

Lovely isn’t it? Please, give her a big like and follow her vlog.

As a traveller you have the power to plan your own trip, so make every second and cent spent on it count. Make it worth it!

Come to visit Porto, Douro and Gerês too! Because it’s the people we meet at our destinations that make the difference. Trust us, besides our guides and the local population of the park, the travelers you’ll meet in one of our tours will make your journey richer, unforgettable.

geres travelers land rover

Thank you so much Susan, Richard, Sharon, Kairi and Catarina for such a lovely day.

Author: Rui Coelho
(Oporto Adventure Tours guide)

Reforesting Gerês National Park: today in our hands, tomorrow in our mountains

peneda geres forest

I'm Carla, the owner of Oporto Adventure Tours. My 9 month pregancy didn't allow me to go to Gerês last Saturday planting trees... you don't imagine my sadness. Still, our team was there, putting their hands dirty and making Gerês greener! Just look at the testimonies of some of the 50 participants that contributed with this iniciative:

"I'm planting a tree in Gerês for every traveler I had the pleasure of being guide of. A definitive proof that all the travelers left something positive in this land and in my heart."
Ricardo Guerreiro, Oporto Adventure Tour's guide

"When I saw the 4x4 coming from Porto, full with foreign people, I thought: "What are they doing in Fafião?" The true is that I saw people leaving happy, sharing the same happiness with the company's guides and friends, planting trees in my homeland."
Mr. Zé, a local

"To live a full life you need to write a book, have a child and plant a tree... Now I'm just 2 steps away to achieve it!"
Rita, a visitor

kids planting trees peneda geres

"Oporto Adventure Tours is doing so much to promote Gerês and our village! Thank you for all the support!"

Lino, President of Vezeira de Fafião's Association

"It's not enough to plant the trees, it is necessary to assure that they grow... the day was beautiful but the main job it's not finished yet!"
Raul, President of Fafião's uncultivated lands

 

portuguese typical food geres

"It was a great day for me and my family in Gerês National Park! One of those days that we will remember in Christmas! And the typical pasta? Oh my, what a delicious dish! Only possible in Gerês!"
Rui Coelho, a visitor

 

"I am completely convinced that we can plant more trees and guarantee even better conditions so they can grow to adult life! Next year we will make it even greater!"
Sérgio Miranda, owner of Oporto Adventure Tours

 

"Such a good feeling... give back to nature the energy that she gives to us everyday!"
Keita, canyon's international monitor

 

 

"Well, we had never imagine that we would come to Portugal to plant some trees! Definitively an all new experience!"
Sonia and Barkot, Gerês tour's travelers

travelers planting trees

These are some of the many testimonies we were pleased to ear, all giving us the energy to keep going, promoting the natural heritage of Gerês! We will keep doing it with the local associations, so that in 2017, Gerês becomes greener again! But is this enough? NO! Our goals are:

- Helping to rebuild espigueiros and community ovens in the villages;
- Assist the reconstruction of viewpoints;
- Promote the Gerês artisan's work in Porto;
- Participate in the clearing of the Gerês forests.

peneda geres espigueiros

We believe in sustainable tourism! It is, actually, the only way (that makes sense to us) to do tourism in Gerês!

Once again, thanks to all the travelers, the volunteers, the Vezeira of Fafião's Association, the Oporto Adventure Tour's team and to all of you that joined us last Saturday!


Author: Carla Couto
(Oporto Adventure Tours owner)