1. Arrive Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Embark Ship
Fly into Porto today, a perfect introduction to sunny Portugal. Spain’s smaller, but no less magnificent, neighbour, Portugal is one of Europe’s warmest countries and boasts a mix of vibrant art, music, wine and food, as well as endless sunny days. Be met at the airport and transferred to your river ship, the MS Douro Serenity. Tonight meet your fellow travellers and Travelmarvel Cruise Director at a Welcome Reception as you take in the sights along the Douro River on a sunset cruise.
2. Régua, Mateus Palace, Pinhão
Today you begin your cruise along the spectacular Douro River. Flowing from the northern reaches of Spain, through Portugal and into the Atlantic, this river is bordered by countless vineyards. As you cruise this morning, you’ll take part in a Portuguese language lesson, during which you’ll learn some essential phrases of this beautiful language. Disembark your ship in Régua and join an excursion by coach to the splendid Gardens and Palace of Mateus. Tour this living museum which is still owned by the Count of Vila Real. Discover for yourself the connection between this beautiful 18th-century palace and the famous Mateus Rose wine.
3. Vega de Terrón, Castelo Rodrigo
Today, cruise across the border into Vega de Terrón in Spain. Enjoy some time at leisure before joining an excursion to Castelo Rodrigo. This tiny village sits atop a hill overlooking both Spain and Portugal, and features a number of well-preserved ruins, an impressive castle and a magnificent stone statue of Santiago Matamoros. After exploring this charming little town, you’ll board a coach and return to your ship.
4. Salamanca, Barca d’Alva
Today you’ll disembark and board a coach to set off for the glorious Spanish city of Salamanca. This gorgeous city is arguably one of the most beautiful in Spain, and boasts sunlit sandstone buildings along with a majestic city square and an ancient university. Here you’ll enjoy a Flamenco show and lunch. Be entranced by captivating Flamenco dancers as they astound you with their stomping feet in a fiery performance. Afterwards, return by coach back over the border to Barca d’Alva, the last Portuguese village along the Douro, where your ship awaits. Back on board, this evening enjoy a traditional Portuguese barbecue dinner.
This morning after breakfast, enjoy a Portuguese cooking demonstration on board as your ship cruises past Pinhão to Régua. After visiting a local quinta, board a coach and take a scenic drive past swathes of expansive vineyards visiting the picturesque village of Lamego and the elaborately decorated baroque cathedral, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, an important Portuguese place of pilgrimage. While in Lamego, visit one of Portugal’s best museums. Once an episcopal palace, this beautiful building is home to a vast collection of paintings, tapestries and jewellery. You may also like to sample one of the town’s famous specialties Bola de Lamego, a sumptuous smoked ham roll.
This morning, enjoy free time to explore Régua - you may like to wander along the riverfront, or venture into the lovely Old Town. Afterwards, continue on to the riverside town of Entre-os-Rios. On arrival, enjoy free time to explore this gorgeous, vibrant town as you please. Tonight be treated to an energetic performance of traditional Portuguese folk music back on board at a special Captain’s Dinner.
7. Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto
After breakfast, cruise back to the enchanting city of Vila Nova de Gaia. On arrival, join a fascinating tour of nearby Porto, which sits just across the river. Here, you’ll be led past a collection of the city’s most famous attractions, and visit a local port winery for a tour and tasting. This afternoon, there’s ample time for you to step back out to explore Porto at leisure. You may like to visit a Portuguese boutique to buy authentic, local souvenirs. Or perhaps take a stroll through the city’s old-fashioned Bolhao food market. Alternatively, you might choose to take an optional excursion to the World Heritage-listed city of Guimarães. This evening back on board your ship, enjoy a final Farewell Dinner with your new-found friends.
8. Disembark Ship, Depart Porto
After enjoying a final breakfast on board, transfer to the airport in Porto for your onward flight.