The Mondego is one of the only rivers in Portugal in which it’s possible to kayak comfortably all year round, and the 18km, 3–4 hour kayaking trips are a real highlight of any visit to the region. Penacova-based O Pioneiro do Mondego (239 478 385) was the first company to offer kayaking tours and can arrange pick-ups or meeting points at various spots along the river between Penacova and Coimbra. Once on the river you’ll be guided downstream with a gentle current – and the odd set of gentle rapids – taking you down pine- and eucalyptus-lined valleys, where black kites fish in summer and grapes vines dangle over the river in autumn. You end up on a river beach where you can swim before being taken back to your starting point.

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