See for yourself why the Douro Valley has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status as we sail along its picturesque riverbanks. We'll slip past miles of terraced hills with vineyards which rise in the steep terrace from the shoreline and spot quintas on the hillsides in the distance. Explore this enchanting region with an itinerary that encompasses a mixture of authentic local experiences, sightseeing and plenty of opportunity to taste Portuguese port and wine. Experience the city of Porto, where you can roam the port warehouses and take in the town’s rich cultural heritage. Enjoy free time in the quaint town of Lamego, home of Portugal’s sparkling wine, Raposeira. Visit the walled village of Castelo Rodrigo and the well-manicured gardens of Mateus Gardens. Explore historic Salamanca, a UNESCO Site and one of Iberia’s oldest university towns. This river cruise captures the scenic beauty of the Douro Valley - ideal for wine aficionados, history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.
After arriving in Porto, we'll transfer to our beautifully crafted ship. This first-class vessel is brand new for 2024 so you’ll be among the first to enjoy its luxurious facilities and that new ship smell. From the moment you board, the welcoming crew is at your service. Relax and settle into your accommodation before sitting down to our first delicious meal on board.
This morning, we'll explore Porto on a coach tour of the city, passing through the terraced streets of the old town and taking in the charming atmosphere. Along the way, we will pause to appreciate the stunning architecture, bell towers, baroque churches, and intricate tiles that are typical of traditional Portugal. We will also come across cosy cafes offering an array of cakes and pastries. Top tip: If you love a sweet treat, look no further than a pastel de nata the traditional Portuguese custard tart – they're delicious but devilishly moreish!
This afternoon, we’ll set sail for Régua, giving us the perfect opportunity to enjoy the ship's five-star facilities - enjoy the scenery along the Douro whilst chatting with fellow explorers on the sun deck, take a dip in the refreshing splash pool or head to the bar for a cool drink.
After docking this evening in the charming town of Peso da Régua, we'll visit the 126-acre Quinta da Pacheca, known as the first quinta to bottle wine under the name of its owner, the aristocrat Mariana Pacheco Pereira.
Here we'll stop for dinner accompanied by a selection of their wines, while enjoying dramatic views over the Douro. We'll have an opportunity to wander through the estate, which dates back to the 18th century and is one of the most beautiful properties in the region.
Enjoy a lazy morning sailing, relaxing over a leisurely breakfast. While we cruise down the river, you’ll have the opportunity to test out our brand-new facilities or lounge on the sundeck with a book - although we make no promises that you’ll be able to concentrate with views like these.
In the past, the Douro river was untamed and difficult to navigate, especially for the flat-bottomed boats that frequently sank in its waters. Today, the river has been controlled with dams and locks that have raised the water level, resulting in a landscape similar to Scotland's lochs and adding to the beauty of the valley - which we'll have time to appreciate as we sail this morning.
This afternoon we visit the historic 12th-century walled village of Castelo Rodrigo, tucked away in the picturesque highland ranges bordering Spain. The village is home to a well-preserved Gothic castle, a rare example of Leonese-style architecture. It's said that Saint Francis stayed here as the church was a resting place on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. From Castelo Rodrigo, enjoy unobstructed views of the Spanish border and beyond - you can also see the town of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo and the Monastery of Santa Maria de Aguiar.
Located in western Spain, Salamanca combines history, culture and vibrant energy. This morning, we'll embark on a guided tour of the city and visit Salamanca's two cathedrals.
The old cathedral, built in the 12th century, is a beautiful example of Gothic and Baroque architecture featuring a stunning fresco of the Final Judgement in the Apse. The new cathedral shares a wall with the old one. It was built in the 16th century in a matching Gothic style to keep harmony with the old cathedral. Here you can enjoy the elaborately carved choir before continuing our guided tour of the city.
Over a local lunch, we'll be seduced by the fiery passion and energy of a traditional flamenco show before time at leisure to explore Salamanca on your own.
Visit the city's famous Plaza Mayor where many love affairs began. It was common from the mid-14th to the mid-20th century for men and women to walk in opposite directions around the gardens at the centre of the square to set up dates. If you're still looking for your one true love, you’re (unfortunately) out of luck as this tradition has faded out over time but the Plaza Mayor is still a must-see with a grand square with intricate facades and bustling cafes - a great place to stop and relax before we head back to the ship.
Spend the morning relaxing onboard as cruise down the winding Douro river through its majestic valleys. The rugged terrain and dramatic cliffs create a striking backdrop for a relaxing morning enjoying breakfast and unwinding on the sundeck.
After mooring in Pinhão, we'll visit Quinta da Avessada - an estate renowned for its exquisite moscatel wines, where a traditionally cooked lunch awaits.
We'll follow the quinta owner on a guided tour as he entertains us with stories about the area's history and wine-making traditions. Stepping into the heart of the production process, we'll explore the vineyards, witness the meticulous cultivation of the muscat grapes that become moscatel wine and learn about the unique characteristics of the terroir and the viticultural practices that make this wine so exceptional - and, of course, we'll taste the local wines with the rustic lunch.
This evening, we'll enjoy free time in the picturesque town of Pinhão, which sits on a bend of the Douro, encircled by a terraced hillside. Here, some of the world's best port and table wines are produced. Wander through the town of white buildings and terracotta-coloured roofs and visit the delightful train station decorated with azulejos - Portuguese hand-painted tiles - celebrating Pinhão history with images of the grape harvest.
After breakfast, we'll take a short drive to the historic city of Lamego. It's known for its church, the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, which is situated at the top of a beautifully tiled baroque staircase. If you’re up for a challenge, it’s worth climbing the 686 steps to the top of the staircase for stunning views of the city - don't worry, you can stop to admire the fountains, mosaics and hedges along the way.
Other highlights of this delightful town include an ancient Moorish castle, a Gothic cathedral and elegant 18th-century villas. Head to the Avenida - the town's grand boulevard - for tea in one of the open-air cafes and to test your bargaining skills at the market stalls.
After lunch onboard, we visit the landscaped gardens of Mateus Palace. Wine aficionados will recognise the palace from the label of Mateus Rosé, whose logo depicts the impressive facade. The owner of Mateus Palace was offered a few pennies commission for every bottle sold. However, he turned it down in favour of a one-off lump sum. This was a major mistake as the brand became one of the most successful wines, exported to over 100 countries and it continues to be Portugal's number one-selling wine. Despite this financial misstep, the well-preserved Mateus Palace is still one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Portugal. Here, there'll be time to explore the gardens surrounding the palace, decorated with boxwood hedges, statues and a fragrant cypress tunnel and view the magnificent structure from all angles.
Tonight, after dinner, enjoy a Portuguese folklore show on board.
Spend this morning enjoying the five-star facilities onboard. This afternoon, you can choose to return to Vila Nova de Gaia for a port tasting or join the tour to Guimarães, known for its foundational role in Portuguese history.
Porto is synonymous with delicious port wine - all the famous port producers are here, including Cálem, Sandeman and Ferreira - and it wouldn't be a tour of Porto without a visit to one of them in Vila Nova de Gaia. It's said that port was invented, almost by accident, when a pair of English brothers fortified Portuguese wine with grape brandy before taking it back to England in the late 1600s. We'll learn more about its fascinating history and production on our visits and, of course, you'll get the chance to sample various port styles at the end of our visit.
Alternatively, explore Guimarães, known as the birthplace of Portugal. The city is believed to be the hometown of Portugal's first King who was born in the Romanesque castle which overlooks the city from its hilltop. On our tour, we'll visit the Paço dos Duques de Bragança. Once the home of the first Duke of Braganza, the palace has been beautifully restored, and the preserved architectural treasures housed here tell the tale of this historic city.
Here, there’ll be chance to find lunch in one of the city’s many cosy cafes. Don’t be surprised if you hear the locals ask for café com cheirinho. Coffee with a splash of wine, fruit, or pomace brandy is practically a requirement for a lazy afternoon in the city.
This evening, we'll enjoy a Captain's dinner during your last night on board, expertly served by our restaurant staff under the supervision of the maître d’.
(*Please note lunch is not included if choosing the excursion to Guimarães).
All good things must come to an end, and our Portuguese adventure is (unfortunately) no exception. After breakfast, you’ll catch a transfer to the airport for your flight home with memories and souvenirs to remind you of this fascinating region.
Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of sole occupancy cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes:
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship for the duration of your cruise. Please note that speeds may vary.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependant on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Arivial Airport||Ship location||Transfer time||Departure Airport||Transfer time|
|Porto Airport||Porto||45 mins||Porto Airport||45 mins|