WHET YOUR APPETITE
From the tattered, timeless charm of historic Porto, to the dramatically terraced vineyards of the Alto Douro, to the stoic legacy of medieval Guimarães’ — all three UNESCO World Heritage sites — Northern Portugal is a land of colorful contrasts and deep-rooted traditions.
Local friends and special hosts help us uncork the region’s concentrated cultural milieu, from the workshops of Tras Os Montes’ artisan mask-makers, to the Minho’s vibrant weekly crafts markets, to the tasting rooms of some of country’s finest port wine producers.
This cultural and culinary expedition along Portugal’s backroads takes us into the heart and homes of its magical Northern provinces. This is the hidden world of Northern Portugal we are eager to share with you, our faithful family of fellow Xplorers.
Meet Dirk Van der Neipoort, a 5th generation iconoclast of the Douro Valley who remains genuine, grounded & accessible, despite his growing fame and rock-star status amongst wine aficionados worldwide. Over a family-style lunch and a private tour, Dirk shares his singular vision for crafting world-class wines & port.
LIFE AT GROUND LEVEL
Enter the workshops of Tras os Montes mask & costume makers who maintain this border region’s vibrant festival traditions, some of which predate the founding of either Portugal or Spain.
ACCESS & EXPERTISE
Accompany the impassioned owners of several historic buildings in Porto’s atmospheric urban core for an insider’s glimpse into the architectural & cultural renaissance taking shape behind formerly forlorn façades.
EXTEND YOUR EXPERIENCE
World class art & architecture, fine wines, Michelin-starred restaurants and a bevy of UNESCO world heritage sites feature prominently in the minds of travelers looking to explore this remarkable region. However, it’s the fascinating personality beneath this glistening surface which captivates & transforms the traveler fortunate enough to have experienced it.
From millennial Galician rituals to modern Basque gastronomic societies; from organic farms in Asturias to traditional cider houses in Tolosa. This is the hidden world of Northern Spain we are eager to share with you, our faithful family of fellow Xplorers.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
At Culture Xplorers, we insist on being not only responsible travelers, but on making a positive impact on the communities with which we come into contact. We work hand-in-hand with local leaders in the destinations we visit to spend time as well as money in their communities, to exchange views and to support the living traditions that make these destinations unique.
As a catalyst to these deep-rooted partnerships in each of our destinations, the non-profit Culture Xplorers Foundation was created in 2007 with the goal of fostering the sustainability of local culture in indigenous communities worldwide.
We constantly look for ways to minimize our carbon footprint before, during and even after our travels. We start in the office by not producing or printing any printed brochures. We have adhered to this leading-edge environmental practice since 2005, sending all our correspondence electronically as PDFʼs, from program itineraries to comprehensive pre-departure materials, to invoices, to our feedback & evaluation forms after the journey ends.
Traveling in extremely small groups (maximum 10 travelers) helps us minimize our ecological footprint in other ways. We stay in locally run, upscale boutique lodging brimming with local character — often in converted historic buildings, rural haciendas & renovated manor homes. This re-purposed lodging not only transmit a deeply authentic sense of place, they eliminate the need for additional tourism infrastructure.
When it comes to food ways and traditions, we emphasize visits with farmers and local producers and during each of our trips we participate in a hands-on culinary workshop focused on locally sourced foods & regional specialties.