The DOURO - PORTUGAL'S RIVER OF GOLD
If you have never visited Portugal, you are in for a treat; or, see a dramatic new side of this beautiful country on the Douro River.
|Day 1 - Lisbon, Portugal|
Welcome to Lisbon; we will meet you at the airport and transfer
you to the superior first- class Hotel Tivoli Lisboa (or similar) in
the heart of Lisbon. Relax this afternoon and evening or explore the
city a bit on your own.
We went to the train station and boarded a train to the city of Sintra located about 45 minutes west of Lisbon near the ocean. A page of photos of Sintra is included on this website.
|Day 2 - Lisbon, Portugal|
|After breakfast, embark on a half-day tour of Lisbon. Begin at Belém with a tour of the Jerónimos Monastery, a Hieronymite monastery regarded as the city’s most striking building. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Tower of Belém which you also explore. Then jaunt up the hill for a walking tour of the maze-like Bairro Alto (Old Town) during which you learn about Lisbon’s long, multicultural history; afterward walk back down toward the water’s edge on the narrow streets of Alfama.|
|Day 3 - Porto, Portugal|
|Have breakfast, then check out of your hotel and take a scenic ride up the Portuguese coast to Porto. You will stop for lunch in Coimbra, birthplace of six Portuguese kings and home to one of Europe’s oldest universities. Upon arrival in Porto, proceed to the dock at Vila Nova de Gaia to board your ship. Then, after boarding, you can relax and get settled in your stateroom before a welcome cocktail and dinner is served.|
|Day 4 - Porto & Bitetos, Portugal|
After breakfast, take a city tour of Porto, a charming riverside
community whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Admire its graceful bridges, baroque cathedrals and romantic 16th-
through 19th-century buildings nestled together on narrow cobbled
streets. You will see Foz, an old fishing village where the wealthy
families of Porto have always kept their summer homes. Visit a
typical port wine-making facility, then return to your ship for
This afternoon you have time to explore Porto on your own. This evening, disembark and proceed to the 11th-century Alpendurada Monastery, now a small inn and museum with a sweeping view of the river. Enjoy a leisurely dinner and fado(traditional folk music) concert.
|Day 5 - Régua & Pinhão, Portugal|
|This morning we sail along the Douro, arriving late morning in Régua. Disembark for a visit to Lamego, a small town known for its baroque Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, dating back to the 14th century and still used by pilgrims today. Visit the shrine, decorated with exquisite tilework in the Moorish manner, and descend the grand baroque staircase. You also see the town’s Gothic cathedral and the ruins of 12th-century Lamego Castle with its unusual vaulted cistern. Visit Quinta do Seixo, one of the area’s iconic port wine-making institutions. See the vineyard and tour the facility to learn how these unique Portuguese products are crafted, then sample the libation in their tasting room. Rejoin your ship in Pinhão for dinner|
|Day 6 - Barca D’Alva, Portugal|
This morning, we sail east along the Douro. You will see dramatic,
sheer rock formations, picturesque terraced vineyards and graceful
bridges and trestles along the way; you will also pass through two
of the river’s locks at the Valeira and Pocinho Dams. We'll arrive
at Barca d’Alva, not far from the Spanish border, during lunchtime.
This afternoon, enjoy a half-day tour to Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. Located approximately 2,200 feet above sea level and surrounded by almond trees, Castelo Rodrigo is one of Portugal’s 12 historic parishes; its streets are narrow and steep and its houses still present 16th-century façades and the distinctively Portuguese Manueline-style windows. Here you will see Sinagoga Street, a memento of a Jewish community established by refugees from the Spanish Inquisition; you can visit the local church as well. As we ride back to our ship, we'll stop here and there to admire panoramic views.
|Day 7 - Salamanca & Vega de Terrón, Spain|
|Today you have a full-day excursion to Salamanca, Spain. This ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a living museum that takes visitors back to the Middle Ages; yet it is also a cosmopolitan and multicultural city with a large population of international students. Take a ride through the Iberian countryside to Salamanca, then spend some time exploring the shops and cafés of the Plaza Mayor (Main Square) on your own. Lunch is served at a local restaurant that features an unforgettable flamenco show. Your afternoon guided city tour takes you to the Gothic House of Shells, the 13th-century Salamanca University and the New Cathedral, built from 1513 through 1733. The Old Cathedral still exists and can be visited during free time. Rejoin your ship in Vega de Terrón. Spend your evening at leisure as your ship remains docked overnight.|
|Day 8 - Pinhão, Portugal|
This morning, relax over a cup of coffee (or tea) and watch the
world go by as we sail west along the Douro. Passing some of the
area’s quintas (vineyards), you may catch glimpses of
vintners tending their vines, or some barcos rabelos (wine
boats), carrying casks of Port wine down the river to Porto.
After arriving in Pinhão this afternoon, drive up a scenic road to the little village of Favaios, and make your way to one of the last traditional bakeries in the Douro Valley. Discover how bread was made in the old days and how it tasted with a sample fresh from the oven. Visit the local museum for a wine-and-bread repast, and explore a typical Portuguese village not yet discovered by the masses. This evening, dine at Quinta da Avessada, a rustic century-old winery in the heart of the Douro Wine District (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and sample some local varieties of Port, such as Moscatel.
|Day 9 - Régua, Portugal|
|Arrive in Régua during breakfast, then take a morning tour to Vila Real, site of the extraordinary Mateus Palace (the building depicted on the Mateus Rosé wine labels). This stunning baroque palace was the home of the last Count of Vila Real; its pinnacled façade, grand stairway, richly appointed interiors and priceless objects on display will astonish you, as will the palace’s enchanting formal gardens featuring cedar-lined walkways, exquisite sculpted hedges and statuary and serene bodies of water. As you depart, catch glimpses of the town’s ornamental carvings, tiled walls and Manueline windows. Return to your ship for lunch and scenic afternoon sailing along the Douro, back toward Vila Nova de Gaia. Arrive in port during a festive farewell dinner; we are docked overnight so feel free to take an evening stroll or enjoy the activities in the Lounge.|
|Day 10 - Porto, Portugal|
|After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Porto airport for your return flight.|