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Douro River Cruises & Small Luxury Cruise Ships

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The Douro River is one of the most important waterways of the Iberian Peninsula, originating in north-central Spain's Soria province and extending westward all the way to the Atlantic coast of Portugal. The MS Amavida ("Love Life" in English) lives up to its name, as it puts you right in the romantic heart of Spain's centuries-old culture. Along the way, you will pass by eye-catching terraces, the historic districts of Madrid, and Salamanca, where you'll see the architectural & cultural influences of Romans, Celts, Muslims, & the Spanish. Delight in the flavors of exceptional wines from local Spanish and Portuguese vineyards. You'll also spend some time getting to know a couple of Portugal's most important cultural centers - Lisbon & Porto - where the river flows into the north Atlantic. 

10 Best Douro River Cruises for 2017

Douro River Cruises (18 Results)
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Luxury Cruises on the Douro River

Trip NameFromDaysLevelSummary
Port Wine & Flamenco - Cruise Only$28998RelaxedEnjoy an 8-day cruise along the Douro region aboard the luxurious Amavida from Porto to Vega Terrón, Spain, traversing through rich wine country and dramatic scenery.
Port Wine & Flamenco (Wine Themed) - Cruise Only$28998RelaxedEmbark the luxurious MS Amavida for an 8-day wine-themed cruise along the Douro River from Porto to Vega Terrón, enjoying wine tastings and excursions in Portugal's best-known wine region.
Port Wine & Flamenco$454914RelaxedCruise from Portugal to Spain through the Douro Valley on this 14 day cruise aboard the MS Amavida. Travel past vineyards, dramatic gorges, and steeply terraced hillsides as you visit important historical sites and learn about the ancient history of the region.
Port Wine & Flamenco (Wine Themed)$454914RelaxedAfter a luxurious stay in Lisbon, embark the MS Amavida for a wine lover's journey along the Douro River from Porto to Vega Terrón, Spain, followed by a 3 night stay in Madrid.

Top Seine River Small Cruise Ships for 2017

Ship NameCapacityFromSummary
MS Renoir158$502The MS Renoir was built in 1999 and refurbished in 2011. Her renovations made her an ideal vessel for sailing the rivers and waterways of France, …
MS Botticelli151$1243Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Seine Valley on board the warm atmosphere of the MS Botticelli. Built in 2004, the MS Botticelli has a capacity …
MS Seine Princess138$764The MS Seine Princess is a comfortable and friendly ship that sails on the Seine River. Designed to accommodate 138 passengers in 67 cabins, the ship …
MS Amalyra148$2899Launched in 2008, the MS Amalyra is part of the newest, state-of-the-art fleet of river cruise vessels in Europe.

Douro River Travel Tips & Guide

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Major Ports & Towns around the Douro River
  • Porto: The second largest city in Portugal, located on the coast, and the starting and ending point for most of our cruises through Portugal & Spain.
  • Régua & Vila Réal: Located along the Douro River and home to gardens, palaces, and notable architecture.
  • Braga: Nicknamed the "Rome of Spain" for its notable religious architecture.
  • Salamanca: This is one of Spain's treasured cultural centers, with architectural highlights of Roman, Arabic, and Christian influence.
  • Ferradosa: A historic city in Portugal where you can sample some of the delicious regional wine.
  • Lamego: An important pilgrimage site in Portugal for the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies) and the Gothic cathedral.
  • Pinhão: Home to the Baroque Palacio de Mateus and Quinta da Roeda & Quinta do Seixo where you can sample their well aged wines.
  • Guimarães: A well preserved historic town with buildings dating back to medieval times.
Highlights of the Douro River
If you're hoping to see the best of Portugal and Spain's cultural centers, then a cruise along the Douro River provides an excellent way to do just that! Originating in the coastal city of Porto, Portugal, it winds through Portugal and into Spain, past centuries-old towns and villages, and ultimately past the treasured city of Salamanca. Along the way, highlights include:
  • Architecture: You will be delighted by the Baroque and Gothic architecture that can be seen in the cathedrals, towns, and even residential architecture that hallmarks western Spain & Portugal.
  • Wine: The wineries of this region produce some of the most celebrated wine in all of Europe, and almost every cruise features wine tasting tours.
  • Scenery: The rolling hills and rugged valleys along the Douro River have been inspired artists for centuries. 
Douro River Fun Facts
Did you know...
  • The Douro River Valley is where some of the most famous and flavorful wine in all of Europe is produced.
  • There was once a time when Portugal had land holdings throughout the world, including a large portion of South America, Africa, and the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • Because of this global conquest, Portuguese is the official language of nine countries.
  • In addition to being Europe's oldest country, Portugal hosts the world's oldest bookstore and one of Europe's oldest universities.
  • The country also holds the record as having the longest bridge in Europe.

Douro River Travel Suggestions

When is the best time to visit Portugal & Spain?
Comprising the entire Iberian Peninsula on the southwestern tip of Europe, Spain & Portugal enjoy all four seasons, with hot summers and chillier winters. The best times to visit are generally in the fall (August-November) and spring (March-May) months. Since winter is more mild throughout Spain, that makes these shoulder seasons ideal for warm temperatures that aren't too hot yet. In the deep winter months (December-February) in northern Spain and Portugal, the temperatures can get pretty cold, which makes this a bad time for river cruises overall. The summer months (June-August) are a popular time for river cruises, and the constantly moving river vessel makes for a nice breeze. However, prices are higher and there is considerably more tourist traffic throughout all of Iberia during these months.

What is it like aboard a river vessel?
River vessels offer a nice change of pace from your standard cruise on the open sea. While Mediterranean and Scandinavian cruises around Europe visit only coastal cities, river cruises offer the unique opportunity to explore the inland cities throughout Spain and Portugal, like Braga, Vila Real, Salamanca, and others. The design and atmosphere aboard the river vessels is quite different as well. Generally over 100 meters in length with capacity for just under 200 passengers, there is a feeling of sociality and intimacy on your cruise. The cabins are not typically spacious, but you can count on comfort no matter which boat you choose. Plus, there are plenty of open social spaces on the ship, including a lounge, dining room & restaurant, and the sundeck, which is especially popular during the sunny days along the Douro.

How long is an ideal Douro River cruise?
The average Douro River cruise is 8 days long, which is ideal for most travelers who are hoping to experience the culture, history, and scenic beauty that the region has to offer in just over a week. We do offer several cruises that are six days if you have less time or if you want to combine your cruise with other destinations throughout Europe. These cruises are a snapshot of the region, and while they are jam-packed full of exciting activities, they will leave you wanting more time. If you're lucky enough to have a couple weeks to travel, then the 11-14 day cruises go as far as France and the United Kingdom, in addition to their stops along the Portuguese coast. 

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