Wine Route Along the River Douro, Portugal
The best way to explore Portugal and Spain is on a Douro River cruise. Incredible scenery and culture is complimented by the comfortable, convenient, and gourmet on-board experience. During a cruise in Portugal, you will be able to explore incredibly majestic sites such as the Vila Real and the gardens of the manor house of Solar de Mateus. The Douro Valley is home to delicious treasures and will take you along the Port wine route. You will admire this incredible terraced vineyard which extends over a hundred kilometres along the Douro to the Spanish border. You will also visit the historical cities such as Porto, Braga and Guimarães.
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001, the “Golden River” Douro offers its lucky passengers a captivating panorama, there among the vines in terraces as far as the eye can see, on the side of sunny hills. Discover also the splendid city of Porto, with the sweet authentic charm, before venturing more in the heart of the country, among the innumerable quintas (vineyards) and pretty small traditional villages.
- Intoxicating getaway between vineyards and the river
- Heritage, flavors, dances and traditional songs
- Fado, flamenco, and traditional evenings on board your river cruise vessel
Optional Shore Excursions
Guided Tour of Lamego
Departure by coach from Regua to Lamego for a guided tour of the city centre by coach and on foot. Lamego is a charming episcopal and commercial town where you’ll get to discover the Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Sanctuary. This 18th century church stands out with its white façade dominating a baroque staircase with 686 steps ending in a shrine built in the rocaille style and adorned with azulejos. The first stone was laid on February 14th, 1750 and gave way to the construction of a massive temple overlooking the city and providing a breathtaking view over the misty mountains of the surrounding landscape. Return on board in Regua.
Porto By Night
A unique opportunity to admire the city of Porto by Night during a panoramic tour by bus. You will love the old, preserved districts of this city of immense character, classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Porto is not only a city rich in vestiges from a glorious past, but also the young-spirited, warm capital city of a region marked by its wine-making as well as its closeness to the ocean. During the tour of the historic centre, your guide will schedule a stop at the Sao Bento railway station to look at its magnificent azulejos. Return on board by coach.
Wines Trail of Porto
Departure from Ferradosa for an excursion along the Porto wine route.
You’ll discover this incredible vineyard extending over 100 km along the Douro river all the way to the Spanish border. You’ll visit San Salvador do Mundo and Sao Joao da Pesqueira, two small towns set among the vineyards in the Rio Torto valley. In Sao Joao da Pesqueira, you will have the opportunity to explore the arcaded main square, the chapel and the white houses with their balconies. You will visit a quinta (wine cellar) to taste the famous Porto* and return on board in Pinhao or Folgosa.
Guided Tour of Porto & Wine Tasting
Departure by coach from the Villa Nova de Gaia Quay, facing Porto from across the Douro river and the famous Dom Luis I Bridge, built between 1881 and 1886 by French engineer Theophile Seyrig, one of Gustave Eiffel’s pupils.
Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, stands out from the steep banks of the Douro river with its mixture of grey facades and red tiles interspersed with unusual architectural masterpieces.
Its historical centre was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. You’ll discover The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Building), built in 1834 by the city’s Commercial Association. It has remained their headquarters to this day. After climbing up the beautiful granite and marble stairway, you’ll visit the former Tribunal Room, the Golden Room and the Arab Room, decorated in the exotic Moorish Revival style. Afterwards, you’ll visit the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), also known as the “Golden Church”. It was originally a modest convent founded by Franciscan monks in the 12th century, before being further altered by prominent Porto families in the 15th and 16th centuries. They were responsible for the Baroque style interior which mingles with the large, elaborate rose window in Gothic style on the main façade in a fascinating mixture of styles reflecting the various eras it went through.
You’ll cross the Dom Luis I Bridge again back to Villa Nova de Gaia for the visit of a wine cellar. Porto’s pride notably stems from its famous wine known the world over, which you will get to taste and then return on board by coach.
Guided Tour of Salamanca
Departure by coach towards Salamanca where you’ll meet up with your guides.
Since 1988, the Old Town of Salamanca has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The classified area extends on the major part of the city as it used to be until the middle of the 20th century and is responsible for its growing popularity. You’ll visit the cathedral whose successive extensions created a mixture of styles going from late Gothic to Baroque, including Renaissance. Afterwards, you’ll visit one of the world’s oldest Universities which first opened in 1218. Also known as “Escuelas Mayores”, the University building has a sumptuous gate adorned with the city’s most famous design: a frog atop a skull – symbolic of the sin of lust being punished after death. Its wonderful library brims with old manuscripts dating back from prior to the 19th century. You’ll enjoy lunch and be free to discover the city on your own. Return on board in Vega de Teron.
Vila Real & Mateus Palace
You’ll leave from Regua or Pinhão for Vila Real, where aristocrats built grand palaces during the 16th and 17th centuries. The architecture of the religious buildings is here extremely varied. You’ll take a panoramic tour of the city by coach, followed by a tasting of the local pastry, Cristas de Galo.
You’ll then set out to explore Mateus Palace, the most beautiful and astonishing manor in all of Northern Portugal. This 18th-century beauty is set in a hilly landscape reminding us of Mexico. The subtle mixture of granite, white walls and extravagance from the Age of Enlightenment such as ledges covered in statues and Baroque style pilasters is a striking feature. Behind the manor is a delightful garden with box hedges, more statues, and a spectacular 115-foot cedar tunnel. After the tour, you’ll return to our ship in Regua or Pinhão.
You’ll leave by coach from Porto for Guimarães. With a guide, you’ll begin the tour of this university town on foot to discover its historical treasures. You’ll get the chance to discover the Nossa Senhora de Oliveira Church (outdoors), the most important religious building in the city. The medieval heart of Guimarães is a labyrinth of lanes and picturesque plazas framed by 14th-century buildings. You’ll continue on to the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, a medieval estate and former residence of the first Dukes of Braganza with striking architecture. The palace is closed on May 1 and Easter Day.
At the end of the visit, you’ll return on board in Porto.
Hiking Along The Douro
Leave by coach for the mouth of the Douro River. Here, you’ll set out with your guide for a hike along the Douro, passing through the traditional fishing village of São Pedro da Afurada. You’ll have a great view of Porto and its famous Ribeira Square before arriving in Vila Nova de Gaia, where the prestigious wine is aged in renowned cellars. You’ll visit a wine cellar and enjoy a tasting. After our hike, you’ll return to the ship on foot.
Touring Porto Via Tram & Visiting The Tram Museum
You’ll leave from Vila Nova de Gaia by coach for downtown Porto. Once you arrive, you’ll board one of the city’s trams and partake in this urban-tourism experience all the way to the mouth of the Douro. Your visit will include a stop at the tram museum (Museu do Carro Eléctrico), housed in a former thermo-electric power plant. The museum collection comprises the oldest cars pulled by horses, called “Americanos,” to the last trams from the 1950s and 1960s. you’ll finish your excursion with a tasting of some of the local specialties. At the end of the tour, you’ll return to the ship by coach.