Rambling vineyards and charming native farms cling to the steep sides of the Douro River Valley, creating an incomparable backdrop to one of Europe’s most unspoiled regions and to Port country — the world’s oldest demarcated wine region. Visit Porto, the beautiful “City of Bridges”; and Salamanca, the “Golden City.” Taste wines from historic wineries and soak up the genuine beauty of one of Europe’s most unadulterated landscapes.
Tour Belem Tower, a fortified 4-story tower made of limestone
Explore the Castelo da Pena, a wonderful fairytale castle
Travel to Lamego, and visit Nossa Senhora dos Remédio (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies)
Enjoy Sandeman Winery where you will have a tasting and private tour of the wine cellars
One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Lisbon, stretches across several hills along the Tagus River. On your escorted tour, you’ll see Belem Tower, a fortified 4-story tower made of limestone, and visit the late Gothic Jerónimos Monastery, the burial place of many Portuguese kings and heroes. You will also taste a typical Portuguese pastry, Pastéis de Belém, before going to Discoveries Monument, built in honor of Portugal’s greatest maritime explorers.
Day 3: Lisbon | Sintra
Enjoy a morning excursion to Serra de Sintra, one of the loveliest mountain villages in Portugal and a favorite summer residence of the Portuguese royal family for more than 500 years. Long an inspiration for artists and poets, Lord Byron once called it “perhaps the most delightful village in Europe.” High up on a rocky peak, you will tour Pena Palace, a wonderful fairytale castle dating back to Portugal’s Romantic period.
Ride a motorcoach to Tomar and take in the Castle and Covent of the Order of Christ, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a brilliant work of 12th- to 16th-century architecture. Continue on to Porto and board the ship for your Enticing Douro cruise.
Entre-os-Rios translates to “between the rivers,” and this small village is, quite appropriately, located at the confluence of the Tâmega and Douro rivers. This tranquil village offers an authentic slice of Douro River life. In the afternoon, indulge in a traditional Portuguese lunch with your fellow travelers in Entre-os-Rios at a local quinta – a country estate – for a truly authentic culinary experience.
Visit the Baroque-style Palacio de Mateus and its gardens. Inside the house, you’ll see interesting furnishings, paintings and a ceiling of intricately carved wood. The gardens here are considered some of the most beautiful in Portugal. Later in the day, savor the flavors of Portugal’s renowned fortified wine, vinho do porto, made exclusively in the Douro Valley. Head to a local quinta for your authentic Port-wine tasting experience and enjoy the sweet nectar of this fascinating region.
Drive to Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built of golden sandstone, Salamanca is known as a “living museum,” and you will have an opportunity to step back in time to the Middle Ages during your escorted tour, which includes the city’s elegant university buildings, the New Cathedral, the intriguingly decorated House of Shells and Plaza Mayor.
Day 8: Vega Terron | Salamanca | Barca D'alva, Portugal
Spend time soaking up the beauty of the Douro River as you cruise to Barca d’Alva, where you 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. Be treated to an exclusive dinner at Quinta da Avessada, where you’ll enjoy an authentic and traditional dining experience complete with entertainment. Quinta da Avessada is also a fascinating interactive museum commemorating the history and culture of wine in the Alto Douro region, so you’ll have fun discovering all the various stages of wine production as well as doing plenty of tasting.
Travel to picturesque Lamego, home to one of the most important pilgrimage sites in all of Portugal, where you’ll go to the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies). The shrine features a staircase of nearly 700 steps, beautifully decorated with white and blue tiles, which the more active adventurer will want to climb on a guided hike. Concluding both tours, you will have the opportunity to sample local traditional specialties, such as bôlas de Lamego, bread filled with smoked ham; presunto, a type of dry-cured ham; and Espumante, a Portuguese sparkling wine.
The colorful city of Porto blends the best of old and new, which you can discover on an escorted tour of the historic quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the Cathedral, one of the city’s oldest monuments; and the São Bento Railway Station, known for its blue and white tile panels depicting scenes from Portuguese history. You’ll also enjoy a tasting of Port, Portugal’s most renowned contribution to the world of wine. If you prefer to get more active, you can go on a guided hike and then enjoy a Port wine tasting. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore all of Porto’s charms on your own.
Day 11: Porto | Disembark
Disembark the ship and you prepare for your flight home.
This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).