Enchanting Douro (Portugal)

Deluxe Riverboat Journey from Lisbon to Porto

Tour Highlights

This is an opportunity to explore the history and charm of Northern Portugal, and enjoy the beautiful vistas of vineyards and wineries.
The valley of the Douro Wine Region is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, and the terraced slopes of the valley covered in vines offer one of the world’s most striking man-made rural landscapes.  

We begin this delightful holiday with a 3-night stay in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, with excursions to the fairy-tale village of Sintra - one of the most picturesque mountain villages in Portugal, and the world-renowned pilgrimage site of Fatima - famous for the 1917 apparitions of the Virgin Mary.  

Then we will cruise on the historic Douro River in the comfort of the modern DeluxeMS AmaDouro, and enjoy daily shore excursions to some of the most interesting sites, including the beautiful cities of Regua, Pinaho, Salamanca and Porto. Many of the places we see in this wonderful region have remained unchanged for centuries.  

Along the way we will sail by terraced vineyards that climb hundreds of feet above the river valley, past palaces, monasteries and ancient manor houses as we learn about the region’s fascinating history. 

A highlight of the tour is the city of Porto, built on granite cliffs towering over the river. Known for its production of port wine, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fascinating jumble of architectural styles, with narrow medieval alleyways and squares, extravagant baroque churches and wide boulevards lined with stately edifices. 

European river cruises offer total relaxation, so this cruise is an ideal way to experience the enriching culture and breathtaking scenery of Portugal.  

*** Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Lisbon.
Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure until our Welcome Dinner.
One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Lisbon stretches across several hills along the Tagus River. Our city tour of the Portuguese capital will include a visit to Belem Tower - a fortified four-story tower made of limestone, and the Late Gothic Jeronimos Monastery - burial place of many Portuguese kings and heroes. You will also taste a typical Portuguese pastry (pasteis de Belem) before going to the Discoveries Monument - built in honour of Portugal’s greatest maritime explorers.
We will enjoy a morning excursion to Sintra - one of the most picturesque mountain villages in Portugal. Sintra was a summer residence of the Portuguese royal family and a source of inspiration for Lord Byron and generations of other artists and poets. Our guided tour of the fairytale Pena National Palace will be followed by free time to explore on your own. Lunch at a local restaurant is included before returning to our hotel.
This morning we enjoy a scenic drive through the countryside to Porto. We will stop along the way and spend some time in the world-renowned pilgrimage site of Fatima - famous for its shrine to the Virgin Mary. There will be time to explore the town on your own and enjoy lunch before continuing to Porto to embark on our ship, the MS AmaDouro. This evening we enjoy our first sumptuous meal onboard.
We travel to picturesque Lamego - home to one of the most important pilgrimage sites in all of Portugal, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies. The shrine features a Holy Staircase of nearly 700 steps, beautifully decorated with white and blue tiles (the active traveller may wish to climb the stairs. Then we will have the opportunity to sample local specialties, such as Holas de Lamego - bread filled with smoked ham, Presunto - a type of dry-cured ham, and Espumante - a Portuguese sparkling wine.
Spend time soaking up the beauty of the Douro River as we cruise to Barca d’Alva, where we will visit Castelo Rodrigo - a small fortified village perched high on a hilltop with centuries old walls, steep narrow streets and fantastic views. You can also opt to hike up to the village should you wish a more active exploration. While here, taste some delicious locally grown produce.
Today we will drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Salamanca (Spain). Built on golden sandstone, Salamanca is known as a “living museum”. Here you will feel as if you’ve stepped back to the Middle Ages as we tour the city’s elegant university buildings, the New Cathedral, the intriguingly decorated House of Shells and Plaza Mayor. We’ll enjoy lunch here as well as a traditional Flamenco show.
Today we will enjoy a traditional dining experience at the Quinta da Avessada, a lunch completed with entertainment. Later we venture to Quinta do Seixo where an expert from the Sandman Winery will take us on a tasting and private tour of the wine cellars, and teach us about the centuries-old winemaking methods.
Today we cruise to Regua where you can visit the Baroque style Palacio de Mateus and its gardens. Inside the house we’ll see beautiful paintings and a ceiling of intricately carved wood. Later we’ll savour a pre-dinner glass of port wine and the breathtaking view of the river valley from the terrace of the centuries old Alpendurada Monastery, followed by a traditional “home cooked” meal.
The colourful city of Porto blends the best of old and new. On our city tour we will discover the historic quarter - a UNESCO World Heritage Site including the Cathedral and the Sao Bento Railway Station, known for its blue and white tile panels depicting scenes from Portuguese history. We will also enjoy a tasting of Port - Portugal’s most renowned contribution to the world of wine. If you prefer a more active tour, you can hike to the winery. This evening is our Farewell Dinner.
We disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for our flight home - direct non-stop to Toronto.

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