Rail Journeys

Railway Ramble – Vale do Vouga

Tour Date: May 9 to 16, 2024
Location: Portugal

We are once again offering you the chance to relive the experience of travelling on now closed railway lines in northern Portugal, albeit at a much slower pace than was possible by train! But the scenery is the same, and now we have much more time in which to enjoy it.

This year we will walk the closed section of the Vale do Vouga Line which ran between Aveiro and Viseu. Part of the line, from Aveiro to Sernada do Vouga, is still open, so on our first day we will ride on a train as far as Macinhata to visit the charming little museum before making the short hop by train to Sernada in time for lunch. We then begin our walking in earnest as we follow the old alignment towards Viseu, walking on average 15 km per day. Each morning our transport will take us to the starting point of the walk for that day, and collect us at the end of the day and bring us back to Aveiro. All seven nights will be in the lovely town of Aveiro. On one of the days, we will take a break from walking to travel by train along the northern section of the line from Oliveira de Azeméis to Espinho.

At this time of year, the weather should be comfortable and without the excessive heat experienced in the summer months. On the walking days, we aim to cover an average of 15 km per day.

Tour Highlights

  • Well off the usual tourist trail
  • Beautiful scenery and time to enjoy it
  • Experience local restaurants
  • Seeing parts of Portugal you wouldn’t otherwise visit

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Thursday 9th May

Fly from various airports in the UK direct to Porto, and transfer by metro and suburban train to Aveiro.

Day 2 Friday 10th May (B,D)

The first section of the Linha do Vouga as far as Sernada do Vouga is still open, and the first 2 kilometres beyond Sernada are now covered by a road without a suitable pavement for pedestrians to walk on, our minibus will take us directly from our hotel to the start of the walk at Carvoeiro. From here the walk is well-defined and highlights today include Santiago Bridge and four tunnels. Our minibus will be waiting at Cedrim to take us back to Aveiro, with our Welcome Dinner at an excellent local restaurant.

Day 3 Saturday 11th May (B)

Returning to Cedrim on our minibus, we restart our walk from where we left off yesterday, covering the 15 km to Nespereira do Vouga. While this section has no major bridges or tunnels, it is a particularly scenic section of the line. Return to Aveiro at the end of the day.

Day 4 Sunday 12th May (B)

We take a break from walking today and instead over the whole of the remaining parts of the Vouga metre gauge system that are still open. We start by walking to Aveiro station to catch a train to Macinhata to visit the lovely little railway museum there before making the final hop by train to Sernada do Vouga, crossing the only remaining road-rail bridge in Portugal. Sernada is where the maintenance depot for the whole Vouga system is located, and is now also home to the Vouga Historic Train and is where other out-of-use steam locos and railcars are stored. The central section of the line, between Sernada and Oliveira de Azeméis, has no public service due to the poor track conditions, but is still used to move the diesel units to and from Sernada for maintenance. As it is an open railway, we cannot walk along the track, so our minibus will take us, calling in at some of the stations along the route. At Oliveira de Azeméis we take a service train to Espinho, and from there, a suburban train back to Aveiro.

Day 5 Monday 13th May (B)

Today we return in our minibus to Nespereira do Vouga to walk another 15 kilometres as far as Vouzela, one of the major towns on the line. Of particular note today is the impressive viaduct that takes the line through Vouzela. From here we return to Aveiro.

Day 6 Tuesday 14th May (B)

Heading back to Vouzela , the site of the station has been redeveloped, but there is still a water tower that marks the location. The first section of line today is now a road, but we soon find ourselves back on the track bed. Our destination today is Moçâmedes, and the route is a mix of dirt track and cycle path. A highlight today is a grand curved viaduct at São Pedro do Sul.

Old station and water tower at Bodiosa

Day 7 Wednesday 15th May (B,D)

Our last day of walking takes us from Moçâmedes to the main town of Viseu, the largest town in Portugal without a railway station. However, in the past, Viseu was served by two metre gauge lines, the line we are walking on this week from Aveiro and also the Linha do Dão which connected to the main broad-gauge line from Lisbon to Guarda at Santa Comba Dão. Annoyingly, as we get closer to Viseu a lot of the old line has been built over with new roads, but we can still trace the approximate route it took. We return to Aveiro for our Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 8 Thursday 16th May (B)

We return to Porto by suburban train and then catch the metro to the airport for our flights home.

The main objective of this trip is to enjoy the scenery we pass through and the company of the group, so the pace will be leisurely, and a balance will be struck depending on the abilities and desires of the participants in the group. Normally we limit our walk to a maximum of 20 km (12 Miles) in one day, though usually it is less.

Prices & Options

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • Full 8 day holiday from Gatwick: £1,595
  • Full 8 day holiday from Stansted: £1,595
  • Full 8 day holiday from Bristol: £1,595
  • Full 8 day holiday from Manchester: £1,595
  • Full 8 day holiday from Porto: £1,350


  • Single room Supplement: £330


  • £500

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • En-suite accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted.

Transport & Accommodation


Hotel in Aveiro (7 nights)


  • BA2872 14:15 Heathrow to Porto (arr.16:35)
  • TP1331 12.00 Gatwick South to Porto (arr.14.25)
  • EZ2097 07:20 Luton to Porto (arr. 09:45)
  • FR1275 11:40 Stansted to Porto
  • EZ6147 18:10 Bristol to Porto

Overland by Rail

It is possible to travel from the UK to Porto via rail:

2 May: London – Paris, Paris – Hendaye (night in hotel)*
3 May: Irun* – Madrid – Vigo (night in Vigo)
4 May: Vigo – Porto

Hendaye (France) and Irun (Spain) are each side of the border and only half a mile apart.

Return by rail is similar but with a night in Monforte de Lemos and Hendaye.