Walking Tour: Portugal's Costa Verde
From 780 € pp
March - October
A leisurely walking tour along Portugal's Costa Verde rewards you with Atlantic Coast views to your left, the Minho countryside to your right, and ample time to explore both.
The northwest coast of Portugal is known as the Costa Verde, or Green Coast, thanks to the abundance of lush vegetation that backs onto it and the not-so-distant mountains of the Minho countryside. As you head north from Porto on this 8-day self-guided coastal walk, you’ll experience the ever-changing coastal landscape of wide sandy beaches, rocky coves, pebble beaches, pleasant seaside towns, and fishing villages. You’ll also have time to relax and spend time in the small historical city of Viana do Castelo, rich with culture and tradition. You'll end up in the charming town of Caminha at the very top of Portugal, just across the river from Spain.
- Stunning views of the Costa Verde (Green Coast) and unspoiled beaches along boardwalks
- Inland walks through pine forests and fields
- Plenty of time to relax in small villages or swim at the beaches
- Fresh wine, including vinho verde, and fresh seafood in fishing villages
- Opportunities to bike, SUP, or kitesurf (additional cost)
While much of the route hugs the coast, you’ll head inland at times to walk through fields, forests, and villages to get a deeper insight into the lifestyle of rural Portuguese communities and small-scale farming practices.
With relatively short, leisurely walking days, you’ll have plenty of time and energy to explore the towns and villages you stay in and to take breaks en route for a swim or to spend time on the beach. Make the most of the ample opportunities to sample the freshest catch of the day and other delicious Portuguese fares from the Minho region.
As well as the fruits of the sea, this region of Northern Portugal is famous for its vinho verde, also known as green or young wine. This is usually slightly effervescent and a little lighter in terms of alcohol level than a mature white wine, making a white vinho verde a very refreshing beverage in warmer months. The range of grapes and flavors in vinho verde is surprising so we recommend tasting several varieties to understand why it is the second most produced wine in Portugal after red wine.
Like what you see but it is not quite a perfect fit?
Simply tell us what you’re looking for. We’ll happily adapt this itinerary to suit your personal interests, needs, and schedule to create your ideal trip.
You can book this itinerary from March 1st through October 31st each year.
- The low season is from March 1st to April 30th & from October 16th to 31st.
- The high season is from May 1st to October 15th.
Spring, early summer, and fall are ideal for walking holidays in northern Portugal. Days are generally warm and sunny but can be chilly and possibly windy, especially on the coast. There is always a chance of experiencing some rain, so please come prepared for changeable conditions. May, June, and September tend to be warmer with less chance of rain.
July and August are usually the hottest months, with temperatures regularly exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).
Traveling during the low season is generally considered a sustainable tourism practice as it helps with tourism dispersal – spreading out where tourists go and how their money supports locals throughout the year.
Day 1 Porto [Portugal] (arrival day)
Your Welcome Pack, with all the information you need to fully enjoy this self-guided walking holiday, will be waiting for you at the reception of your hotel in Porto.
If you have free time In Porto, you may wish to explore the city. The riverside Ribeira district is colorful and lively, with lots of bars and restaurants amid the characterful buildings. Enjoy the sunset from the top level of the Dom Luís I bridge over the majestic Douro River.
Accommodation: 4-star hotel
Day 2 Transfer to Póvoa de Varzim; Walk to Apúlia (14.4km | 8.9 miles | +87m elevation gain)
Your private driver will pick you up from the hotel and drive you in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle to the coastal town of Póvoa de Varzim. Its wide sandy beaches make this a popular holiday spot for Portuguese families.
Discover its deep connection with the ocean, depicted in the azulejo panel at the beginning of the trail.
Follow the boardwalks alongside sandy beaches and between sand dunes and windmills. Then leave the coast to walk through market gardens and woodland on the approach to the village of Apúlia with its fishing boats and huts. If lucky, you may catch the seaweed collectors at work. Relax on the beach and try some of the tastiest octopuses around.
Accommodation: 3-star hotel
Day 3 Apúlia - Esposende (8.3km | 5.1 miles | +33m)
Walk through the outskirts of Fão before walking alongside and across the Cávado Estuary as you approach the low-rise resort town of Esposende. Your hotel is a short distance from the small historical center with attractive squares and churches. If you're feeling energetic, you could hire a bike or try your hand at SUP or even kitesurfing.
Accommodation: 3-star hotel
Day 4 Esposende - Castelo de Neiva (12.8 km | 7.9 miles | +97m)
Today’s walk offers varied scenery as you pass through small villages and smallholdings and a stretch of pebbly beaches before heading inland to cross the Neiva River. Spend the afternoon discovering the historical features and tree-filled grounds of the gorgeous historical country house where you’ll be spending the night. Relax by the pool if the weather permits.
Accommodation: Charm hotel
Day 5 Castelo de Neiva - Viana do Castelo (14.1km | 8.7 miles | +90m)
Return to the coast, then walk through a pleasant section of pine forest on the way to Viana do Castelo. Your journey ends with spectacular views from the long Eiffel Bridge. This lovely historical city has much to offer, including the Santa Luzia Basilica, the Costume Museum, Gil Eannes hospital ship, and the beautiful Church of Mercy.
Accommodation: 4-star hotel
Day 6 Viana do Castelo - Vila Praia de Âncora (19.4 km | 12 miles | +146m)
Stroll through the beautiful historical center of Viana do Castelo then follow the coast and its stone windmills. Head inland through patches of forest and fields. Cross a wide sandy expanse of beach to end your journey in Vila Praia de Âncora. Local fishermen ensure a regular supply of fresh fish and seafood so relax and indulge yourself.
Accommodation: 4-star hotel
Day 7 Vila Praia de Âncora - Caminha (9.5km | 5.9 miles | +59m)
It’s a short, pleasant coastal walk from the seaside resort town of Vila Praia de Âncora to Moledo beach along the new pedestrian path (ecovia). Walk through a beautiful pine forest to the mouth of the River Minho and on to the riverside town of Caminha with plenty of time to stop for a swim along the way. Visit Caminha’s medieval clock tower and Gothic parish church or simply relax in the beautiful main square around a 16th-century fountain.
Accommodation: 4-star hotel
Day 8 Caminha (Departure day)
Check out of the hotel in time for your onward journey. End of our services.
If you have more time to spare, you can extend this coastal walking holiday by beginning your walk from Porto or simply spend a few days there and/or continue north into Spain as far as the alluring seaside town of Baiona.
Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.
Prices are for double room occupancy unless indicated otherwise.
Price varies between high and low seasons.
- Low Season: March 1st - May 31st & September 16th - October 31st
- High Season: June 1st - September 15th
Deposit per person
30% of the trip price
Private Room - sleeps 1 - price per person
Low Season: 1,170 € pp High Season: 1,330 € pp
Shared Room - sleeps 2 - price per person
Low Season: 780 € pp High Season: 840 € pp
- Private transfer between Porto hotel and Porto airport: 40 € for up to 3 people, 65 € for 4-7 people
- Private transfer from Caminha to Porto city/airport: 160 € for up to 3 people, 195 € for 4-7 people
- Extra night at Porto Hotel (4-star hotel): 90 € pp in a shared double room, 165 € pp in a private single room
Payment & Cancellation Policy
- More than 30 days before the expected arrival date: no costs
- From 29 to 15 days before the expected arrival date: we retain 50% of the total cost
- Less than 14 days before the expected arrival date: we retain 100% of the total cost
We firmly believe that travel should be a safe and rewarding experience for all concerned, including the destinations that you visit and the people you meet. This walking tour was crafted using extensive local knowledge and designed to respect both the way of life of local populations as well as the natural environment.
We wanted to highlight the beautiful and diverse coastline north of Porto on this fascinating coastal trail that passes through historical towns, traditional villages, fishing communities, nature reserves, and delightful beaches and countryside. Along the 77 km of coastline that they traverse, clients will encounter a wide variety of biologically diverse natural habitats and sites of ecological interest. We took into consideration such local environmental issues when planning this route.
- Traveler's conduct
Because much of the trail involves boardwalks that take guests alongside the ocean or across fragile ecosystems in the sand dunes, we use our welcome briefing to highlight the traveler’s code of conduct and emphasize the importance of sticking to the boardwalks in protected areas so as to respect and protect the exceptional quality of this natural and scenic heritage. We also provide refillable water bottles and encourage clients to drink excellent quality tap water instead of buying disposable bottles. There’s no need to buy disposable batteries either as we supply rechargeable batteries and a charger for our GPS devices on self-guided walks. In a further bid to reduce the need to print documents, our route information is now available as an App.
For luggage transfers between accommodations on this linear route, we use local taxis, thus keeping driving distances and carbon emissions to a minimum.
- Wine Production
The wine region has undergone a significant transformation in terms of sustainability thanks to the "Green Wine Sustainability Program". A certification labeling wineries as producers of environmentally friendly wine is granted to those that meet certain standards. Some of the key areas of focus for the program include reducing energy consumption, conserving water, minimizing the use of pesticides and other chemicals, and implementing recycling and waste reduction programs.
Among the most interesting experiences along this route are the fishing communities in small coastal villages such as Angeiras, Apúlia, Castelo de Neiva, and Vila Praia de Âncora. In these places full of colorfully painted boats and huts, clients can observe and engage with fishermen while they are mending nets, preparing bait, or getting their boats ready to go fishing.
Of course, the best way to get the full flavor of the sea is to eat the catch of the day at one of the many specialty restaurants along the coast. At any of these eateries, clients are simultaneously contributing to the local economy and savoring the flavors alongside local people. If you like octopus, we have a great recommendation for you in Apúlia, i.e. Restaurante Paredão.
On Saturdays during the summer months, Praça da República is a riot of color and flavors as women dressed in the bright traditional costumes of the region sell local cakes. With a bit of luck, guests can experience one of the many festivities that take place throughout the year and bring an added dash of life and entertainment to the city.
Health & Safety
Be sure you have traveler's insurance.
What does the Physical Rating of "Average" mean?
These walks don’t require any special preparation although you should be reasonably fit and in good health as there may be some small hills. The aim is to provide a leisurely experience with time to appreciate your surroundings.
Distance: Max 15 km (9.3 miles) per day
Elevation gain: Max 300 m per day
Note: This trip has one day of walking 18.5km (11 miles).
What are the accommodations like?
A combination of 3/4-star and boutique hotels. All rooms have their own bathrooms. We’ve chosen these accommodations for their hospitality, comfort, and location.
What is a self-guided tour?
On a self-guided tour, you navigate the route yourself with the aid of our Roadbook and GPS with all the tracks. We provide all the information you need including suggestions, maps, instructions, directions, and things to see. Our self-guided tours are a complete and affordable holiday, tailored specifically for independent travelers. They offer the same quality, style, service, and comforts of typical guided trips with the freedom and flexibility of making your own decisions about how you spend your time. Read more about self-guided tours here.
How many days are walking days, and what's the total distance covered?
There are 6 walking days on this itinerary. Total distance covered is 77 km (47.8 miles).
How do I prepare for a walking tour?
We recommend that before starting you should adapt your body for long walks. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. You should be comfortable with walking for 4 to 6 hours for consecutive days with some ups and downs on varied terrain, from tarmac roads to dirt paths and rocky or muddy tracks. Hill walking, with a reasonable amount of ascent and descent, is the best training for a walking holiday.
What do I need to bring?
Most of this walking holiday is off-road on a rugged terrain so you will need:
- Proper walking shoes with cushioning and support.
- Weather protection (there is little shade so adequate weather protection is vital).
- Walking poles are recommended.