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~ The Guide ~

Hello! I am Freya van Dien the guide of the Caminho do Dão.

Walking is one of my passions in life and the desire to walk has grown with the years. For me it fulfills a need to explore the world and connect with nature and I benefit greatly from the way it refreshes and balances my body and soul. I believe in the power of walking as a way to connect with and be at peace in the world and in ourselves.

As Henry David Thoreau said:“when I walk I receive pure presence by the ton”.

As a guide my goal is to facilitate a sense of connection with nature and culture in the Dão valley while walking mindfully. In my role as a guide I like to describe myself as: in tune with nature and in touch with local culture and history.

Familiar with the Dão region since 1989.

When I walked the Caminho do Dão for the first time in 2019 it was 30 years ago (1989) that I first set foot in the Dão valley and the Beira Alta region. 1989 was the year my adventurous mother bought an old millers farm on the banks of the Dão river, named it Moinhos do Dão and started building an eco-tourism business. In 2013 my husband Steven and I took over the business and came to live in the Dão valley.

Ever since I moved here I have imagined how wonderful it would be to walk the entire length of the Dão valley. In the spring of 2019 this idea became a reality and, together with my dear friend Nadine we walked the 100km length of the river valley. The experience exceeded all expectations and made me decide to start offering the Caminho do Dão as a hiking tour.

I am excited to get more people to walk the Dão valley, local people as well as from abroad, and share in the beautiful simplicity of the act of walking.
Visit the testimonials page to see how others have experienced hiking the Caminho do Dão with me.

Certificate Rewiling Tourism Training 2021

Relevant experience & knowledge.

~ Management of Moinhos do Dão ~ Eco Quinta tourism business.
~ Courses for guides: CTO hiking guide training & Rewilding Tourism training.
~ Trained in Horticulture, Arboriculture and Permaculture at Merrit College.
~ Knowledge of botany, the local flora and fauna, geology and agriculture.
~ Management of the volunteer and tour guide program at the Ruth Bancroft Garden.
~ Organization of spring flower hikes in California with ethnobotanist Doc Hale.
~ Volunteer experience as a docent for outdoor education programs at Crab Cove – East Bay Parks.

I hope that this website gives you a good impression of the Caminho do Dão and some insight in the motivations and ideas behind the project. Above all I hope that it inspires you to come walking in the beautiful Dão valley!

Feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions.
Looking forward to hearing from you!

Freya van Dien,
Moinhos do Dão March 2024

Certificate Hiking Guides Training 2024