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The magical Douro River in Portugal

Douro kayak expeditions

Douro kayak expeditionsThe terms: rolling hills, steep valleys and grape vine terraces may have been coined in the Douro Valley and they here apply as nowhere else.

Come join one of our expeditions and you will certainly agree with our past clients who very often say it’s the best trip they have even taken. We offer two trips. 10 days (Itinerary I) and 6 days (Itinerary II). The principal differences between the 10 and 6 day trips are the number of days and the distances covered each day.

In 2018 we are again offering stand up paddle boarding as an activity on most days on both our trips. We also are offering the possibility of taking a day off the river to hike, visit a winery or visit a museum.

Douro kayak expeditions

Our 10 day expedition: paddle across Portugal from Spain to the sea (itinerary I)

Visit three World Heritage Sites in ten days and nine nights filled with mystery, beauty, history, nature and gastronomy. This is the Douro River Expedition. The Douro River is an extraordinary place, magical some people say. We’ll find high steep banks that in many places are sheer granite walls raising several hundred feet. In other places the very steep banks are terraced through many years of hard work. In fact many of these terraces were first created by the Romans when they were raising grapes to make wine sent to all the Roman Empire. Some places the terraced mountainsides stretch as far as we can see.


The Douro River brings life to all it passes and in Portugal this life is very much alive as you will experience if you join us. We start to paddle in the World Heritage Site of the landscapes of the Alto Douro Wine Region and continue through another World Heritage Site of Prehistoric Rock Art in the Coa Valley. Continuing our journey we live and operate according to the traditional Environmentalist Creed; “Take only pictures and leave only footprints”. We are not tourists, we are travelers. We go down the Douro River to observe, learn and enjoy and make new friends as we go along. We start and end our expedition in Porto, the third World Heritage Site. When we arrive back in Porto we toast with port wine to having paddled across Portugal. Our longest paddling day is 15.5 mi and our average is 11.3 mi.

Douro kayak expeditions

Our 6 day expedition of the upper Douro wine region declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site : (itinerary II)

This expedition of five nights and six days, combines the World Heritage Site city of Porto with its wine cellars and Art Deco, the famous train line “Linha do Douro” the Douro Valley World Heritage Site, the World Heritage Site of the prehistoric rock engravings of Foz Coa, the towns of Foz Coa, Tua, Pinhao and Peso da Regua, the small hilltop village of Sao Xisto and paddling the Douro River to unite all the above. This trip covers most of the port wine area of the Douro Valley at a leisurely pace with more time to absorb and appreciate what we are seeing. We have a private wine tasting on a wine estate and a private guided tour of the Rock Art Museum. Our longest paddling day is 7.7 mi and our average is 7.6 mi. We always work in practice rescues and other fun activities for those who want more action.

Douro kayak expeditions

“Given your own contributions of commentary on history, local culture, and the remarkable places you’ve found for people to stay over and dine, what you offer could be described as a work of art.”
Haydon, Virginia, USA.

Endorsed by Burnham Guides:

Last year was declared by the UN as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism and we are very proud to always focus our trips on sustainable tourism with a serious social dedication. Douro Kayak Expeditions aims to provide authentic experiences of the highest quality.

Douro kayak expeditions

Family and team building groups.
We offer a wonderful opportunity for far flung families and affinity groups to spend quality time together. These groups are looking to create long lasting memories and we can provide a perfect setting. These trips are tailor made for each group and can vary from soft to hard. Please consult us as long as possible in advance for these special opportunities.

All our Expeditions are limited to only 12 plus guides. We feel this provides optimum possibilities to form a compact group and provide the best experience.

Douro kayak expeditions

About us
Jack Atkinson has been the instigator and driving force behind both Douro and Algarve Kayak Expeditions. After having lived and worked in several parts of the world, Jack settled in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) more than 45 years ago and has been an English teacher, language school owner and sea kayak guide during this time. Jack teamed up with Rui Calado several years ago and to this day they don’t have a written contract. Each knows his job and does it.

Rui Calado is the foremost Portuguese authority on kayaking. Rui has paddled the entire Portuguese coastline and also paddled more than 120 rivers in Europe, Asia and North and South America.  Rui has dedicated his life to kayaking in many facets including kayak design and construction. Among other achievements, two years ago Rui led an international group of 15 on a winter descent of the Grand Canyon. Between Rui and Jack they have logged more kayaking on the Douro River than anyone else and they are experts on both the Douro River as well as the Algarve.

Douro kayak expeditions

Douro Kayak Expeditions, organizes expeditions on the Douro River. Our expeditions differ in several ways from other trips on the same river. Ours are the only ones that can do the whole 130 mi. of the river as it crosses Portugal and we are the only ones who can go through all the locks.
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About thepaddlerezine (654 Articles)
Editor of The Paddler magazine and Publisher of Stand Up Paddle Mag UK.

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