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 riverboat, 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.
Why should I choose a river cruise?
As one of the main arteries from coastal Portugal into Spain, the Douro River makes for a great way to see all that the Iberian Peninsula has to offer. And the best part is that it's all-inclusive, meaning that once you've purchased your ticket, you won't have to worry about meals, tours, or lodging. Plus the transportation is the same as your hotel, so every morning when you wake up, you'll have brand new views out of your cabin window without ever having to pack and unpack your bags.
What should I look for on a Douro riverboat?
Our hand-selected riverboats
were designed specifically to offer passengers comfort and style for their Douro River cruises. You will enjoy a panoramic sun deck, comfortable rooms, and a spacious dining area and bar, accompanied by a friendly captain and crew. While these aren't considered five-star vessels due to their space-limited amenities, they are guaranteed to offer an unforgettable and wonderful experience as you explore Portugal and Spain.
Should I get a room with a balcony?
Balconies tend to be an unneccesary expense on Douro River cruises. The boats feature large panoramic sun decks, and balconies can cost hundreds of dollars more. Unless you have your heart set on a balcony, then a great alternative is getting a room with large windows or a sliding glass door that opens right out towards the fresh air (known as a "French balcony").
What is dining like?
You'll get a fantastic taste of the Iberian palate on a Douro River cruise. Spanish and Portuguese cuisine and a variety of international plates will be prepared and served by expert local chefs.
Do river cruises ever visit destinations that aren't on the river?
Not really. The Douro River cruises tend to be shorter than many of the other cruises in Europe. On the cruises that last more than a week, you might depart the Douro River towards a vineyard or village further inland, but generally you'll find that the Douro River cruises stay close to the river.
Will my vessel have WiFi?
Most but not all Douro Riverboats have WiFi. the newer riverboats have free WiFi access in your room, a few riverboats charge, and some have reception only in public deck areas and not in the rooms. It's important to check with your Adventure Life representative to confirm that your riverboat of choice has WiFi onboard.
What kind of power outlets are there? Will I need a converter?
In Europe the power is 220v, not the 110v like in North America, but typically devices can handle both without the need for a converter. You will need plug adapters for European style with two round prongs.
How can I save money on a river cruise?
A great option to save money on a river cruise is consulting our deals page
to see what the latest promotions are. You can also let us know which cruises interest you or which destinations you'd like to visit and we'll let you know as soon as there are promotions. It's advisable to NOT try to save money by reserving cheaper cabins since this often results in less space or worse views.
Are Douro River cruises a good family vacation?
Douro River cruises are a great way to enjoy a family vacation, and you can find more information on our Family Travel page. Wine tours are more suited for adults only, but all of the other options are a great way to share time with your whole family.
Do Americans and Canadians need a passport and visa to travel to the Douro River?
All citizens of North America traveling to Europe need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. In recent years, it has not been necessary to apply for a visa before traveling to Europe if you plan to stay less than three months, however, this situation may change in the future. See current European visa requirements