Spain & Portugal
Spain & Portugal
Duration : 7 Days 6 Nights
Max People : 19
Start Location: Cambados, Spain
Travel Date : 13 Sep , 2024 - 19 Sep , 2024
One Trip, Two Countries
We just couldn’t decide. Both Spain and Portugal are amazing destinations. For our first tour on the Iberian Peninsula, which one should we choose? The solution? Both! Galicia in northwestern Spain snuggles up to Portugal allowing us to showcase two distinct regions within a compact area. What is even more fun, is that on the day we transition between the two, we will launch our boats in Spain, and end the row in Portugal. The tour is bookended by two iconic destinations. Consider arriving early to explore Santiago de Compostela and extending your travel with a stay in Porto at the end. In between, enjoy great rowing and experience beautiful green landscapes, fascinating culture and superb accommodation and gastronomy.
In Galicia we will explore the estuary called Ria de Arousa with three very different rows. The first is an out and back, potentially circumnavigating an island. We will then venture further, ultimately crossing the bay to leave the boats in a fishing community. If conditions permit, the final row will take us almost to the open Atlantic ending at one of the most fascinating villages in Galicia. Within this one estuary, there are big tidal differentials exposing vast mudflats and shellfish beds, contrasting with some of the most perfect white sand beaches you have ever seen. In this region most rowing and clubs use the traditional fixed boats called trainera. We hope to give that a little try too. In Portugal we will row on rivers, although still using the coastal boats. Our final row in Viana do Castelo may see us head out onto the open Atlantic to play in some swells – weather and water conditions permitting. We have rated this trip as challenging for two reasons. Most of the rowing will be under coastal conditions, sometimes on fairly open water. Some distances are long, at least 25 km or more. This is also a test trip with potential unknowns. A higher level of fitness and adaptability will be required.
Traditions, Gastronomy and Comfort
Exceptional accommodations are booked for this trip. In Spain both of our hotels are paradors. These are luxury hotels located in converted historical properties. Cambados is in the heart of the Albariño wine region plus a renowned fishing port. We will visit a wine museum and enjoy these famous white wines with seafood. Tui is best known for its cathedral, but it also boasts a renowned wine, D.O. Rías Baixas. Our final hotel in Viana do Castello Portugal is equally gorgeous but totally different. Modern, spacious and poised on the dunes leading to gorgeous beaches on wild Atlantic. It is a sport hotel, attracting cyclists, surfers, wind surfers – we will feel right at home here. And while the rowing is the focus and will fill the days, there are plenty of traditions and cultures to learn about in both countries, ranging from the grey granite house, distinctive stone granaries, a multitude of crosses and miradors, colourful costumes and delicate gold and silver jewelry.
|Difficulty & Daily Distances
20-30+ km per day
|Coastal coxed quads
|Minimum is 9 rowers, maximum 19
!IMPORTANT! – This is mostly a coastal rowing trip requiring a higher level of rowing skills and fitness. We may require a more detailed evaluation of a potential guest and we retain the right to refuse their registrations at our own discretion. In that case a full refund of the deposit will be provided.
- Six nights’ accommodation in luxury hotels
- All breakfasts, five lunches and five dinners
- Five days of rowing
- Guide services and tour support. Trip Leader is Ruth Marr supported by a team of guides and boat managers in both Spain and Portugal
- Cultural visits and alternate activities for poor weather days
Note that tides, weather and water conditions may mean deviations from the itinerary described below.
Arrival in Cambados. Make your way here independently or join our afternoon transfer from the airport and train station at Santiago de Compostela. Meet the group and our guides for a trip briefing and welcome dinner.
Let the rowing begin. After breakfast a short transfer to the rowing club in nearby Vilanova de Arousa where our coastal boats are waiting for us. We will do an out and back row today, rowing by and maybe around (tides!) Illa de Arousa, dodging frequent mussel and oyster beds. We will note the lighthouse at rocky Punta Cabalo which has been operating since 1853. A small national park on the southern tip of the island offers white sand beaches perfect for our picnic lunch. We will return to Cambados, get cleaned up and stroll to the Pazo de Fefiñáns. Considered one of the best examples of stately architecture in Galicia, the palace is both a museum and a renowned winery. Dinner on your own tonight.
We depart from Vilanova de Arousa, heading northeast, following the shore as much as the tides will allow us. We may be able to get as far as the ruins at Torres do Oeste on the Rio Ulla but we want to be sure to have time to take a break on the northern shore at the stunning beach of Tanxil. Our final destination is the rowing club at Cabo de Cruz, where we will leave the boats overnight. If time permits, we might take a trainera out for a spin on the bay. Transfer by coach back to the parador and a well-earned dinner.
We leave Cambados early, loading our luggage onto the coach then driving back to Cabo de Cruz. We will continue our exploration of the peninsula forming the northern shore of Ria de Arousa. Lots of bays to poke around in, islands to circle. Our final destination is the Clube de Remo Náutico de Ribeira near the tip with the Atlantic Ocean. We will load the boats onto the trailer then board our bus for the drive to Tui about 1.5 to 2 hours away. It is a long day, but if we can squeeze in the short walk to the cathedral it will be worth more than the stretch of the legs. A relaxing dinner in our parador with local wines this evening.
The Spanish call the river Miño. The Portuguese call it Minho. We call it beautiful. We will launch our boats from the rowing club in Tui and begin the row down the river with Spain to the north, Portugal to the south. Green hills drop steeply to the water with towns and villages lining the shore. In which country should we have our lunch break? Our end point is the rowing club in Caminha, Portugal. We load the boats and then head to FeelViana, our sports hotel to the south of Viana do Castelo. Dinner at the hotel, looking out onto the dunes.
Conditions will determine our final row from the rowing club in Viana do Castelo. We might row up the Lima River, the final length determined by the tides. And/or we could row past the city and the port, clearing the breakwater to experience rowing on the Atlantic Ocean. Lunch on your own and you decide how to fill your afternoon. Perhaps take the little ferry from near the hotel across to Viana do Castelo to explore the town with its shops and museums. For the vigorous, hike the hill to Santa Luzia and its splendid view. Or take the funicular. Alternately rent a road or mountain bike from the hotel with suggested routes provided. Or just hang on the beach watching the surfers and the windsurfers and all the families strolling and enjoying a beautiful part of Portugal. Farewell dinner.
Sad farewells. We will provide a transfer to Porto airport.