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.