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. 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 the Castelo da Pena, a wonderful fairytale castle dating back to Portugal’s Romantic period. Afterwards, enjoy a wine tasting or free time on your own.
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. Prefer to get more active, you can hike to the winery. Later, savor a pre-dinner glass of port wine and the breathtaking view of the river valley from the terrace of the centuries-old Alpendurada Monastery, followed by a traditional “home cooked” meal.
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 Holy Staircase of nearly 700 steps, beautifully decorated with white and blue tiles, which for the more active adventurer will want to 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. Later in the day, venture to Quinta do Seixo, producers of some of the most traditionally made wine in the Douro region. An expert from the Sandeman Winery will take you on a tasting and private tour of the wine cellars, teaching you about the centuries-old winemaking methods.
Spend time soaking up the beauty of the Douro River as you cruise to Barca d’Alva, where you will visitCastelo Rodrigo, a small fortified village perched high on a hilltop with centuries-old walls, steep narrow streets and fantastic views. Youcan also opt to hike up to the village should you wish a more active exploration. While here, taste some delicious locally grown produce.
Day 8: Vega Terron | Salamanca | Barca D'alva, Portugal
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 yourescorted tour, which includes the city’s elegant university buildings, the twin-towered Cathedral, the intriguingly decorated House ofShells and Plaza Mayor.
Be treated to an exclusive lunch at Quinta da Avessada, where you’ll enjoy an authentic and traditional dining experience complete with entertainment. The warm, spirited hospitality of this family-run Quinta is quite special as you will discover. Several family members play in a band, and while dining, they will entertain you. Quinta de 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. Later cruise to Régua where you can visit the Baroque-style Palacio de Mateus and its gardens, located in the beautiful Trás-os-Montes region. Inside the house you’ll see exhibits of religious images and beautiful furnishings, paintings and a ceiling of intricately carved wood. The gardens here are considered some of the most beautiful in Portugal.
You’ll be taken to a very special wine tasting at Casa de Sezim, a magnificent house that has belonged to the same family since 1376. This beautiful and historic house is in the heart of the Minho, the Garden of Portugal, near the UNESCO World Heritage Guimarães, Portugal’s first capital. The interior has a series of living rooms that run into one another along the entire side of the house. The walls are covered with detailed scenes from India, America, the Netherlands and other countries. All of them hand-painted onto sheets of wallpaper that have stood the test of time with resiliently bright colors. Its vineyards produce an award-winning Vinho Verde, green wine. Production started back in the 1930s and the old winemaking equipment can still be seen.
Day 11: Porto | Disembark
Disembark the ship and you prepare for your flight home.
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Panoramic Window, 161 sq. ft. Private, TV, A/C, hairdryer, ample closet space, vanity with sitting area and full length mirror.
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161 sq. feet. 9 cabins on Main Deck. Picture windows, TV, A/C, hairdryer, ample closet space, vanity with sitting area and full length mirror.
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161 sq. feet. 18 cabins on Main Deck. Picture windows, TV, A/C, hairdryer, ample closet space, vanity with sitting area and full length mirror.
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215 sq. feet. 10 cabins on Upper Deck. Private balcony, TV, A/C, hairdryer, ample closet space, vanity with sitting area and full length mirror.
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215 sq. feet. 28 cabins on Upper Deck. Private balcony, TV, A/C, hairdryer, ample closet space, vanity with sitting area and full length mirror.
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Outside Balcony, 323 sq. ft. Private balcony, TV, A/C, hairdryer, ample closet space, vanity with sitting area and full length mirror.
- 7 nights luxury accommodation in an outside stateroom (most with outside balconies)
- Computer for internet access
- Entertainment-On-Demand in all staterooms featuring free high-speed internet access, movies, a music library and English language TV stations
- Desk and sitting area
- Bottled water replenished daily
- Personalized service from a highly trained Cruise Manager during both cruise and land programs
- Internet and Wi-Fi access
- Sun deck pool with pool
- Fitness room
- Main Lounge with panoramic views and bar
- Daily entertainment including cultural performances
- All onboard dining in a variety of venues
- Regionally inspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients
- Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner, Captain's Cocktail and Gala Dinner
- Unlimited fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Unlimited sparkling wine and fresh juice with breakfast
- Sip & Sail Daily Cocktail Hour with complimentary wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks
- Sandwiches, snacks and refreshments served daily in the Main Lounge
- Immersive tours in every destination
- Gentle, regular, active and late-riser tour options
- Guided hikes
- Special Interest Tours
- Knowledgeable guides
- Personal headset for easy exploration
- Airport transfers with purchase of air from the expedition company
- Land Program
- 3 nights hotel in Lisbon at the InterContinental Lisbon (or similar), including city tour, Royal Sintra excursion and daily breakfast
- Transfer from the hotel to Porto via high-speed train
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!