Experience the renaissance of Lisbon, newly invigorated with trending galleries and restaurants. Explore two of Iberia’s oldest university towns: Coimbra, Portugal and Salamanca, Spain. Roam the port warehouses of Porto. Enjoy traditional cuisine, wine, and fado singing. Cruise the Douro River Valley, the world’s oldest demarcated wine region, and a UNESCO Site.
10 Days from $2,799
Book by Feb 28, 2018 to save $500 per person on air
Your Portugal River Cruise
Read about this fascinating river cruise here. Then contact an Acendas River Cruise Advisor to plan your journey.
You’ll begin your adventure with a half-day tour of Lisbon, including a tour of the Jerónimos Monastery, one of the most prominent examples of Portuguese late Gothic Manueline style of architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Tower of Belém that you also explore. Then take a walking tour through the narrow streets of the Alfama District where you learn about Lisbon’s long, multicultural history.
In the evening, you will take a scenic ride to Porto where you will board your Viking River Cruise ship and stopping for lunch in Coimbra, the birthplace of six Portuguese kings and home to one of Europe’s oldest universities.
During a city tour of Porto, you’ll visit a charming riverside community whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll love experiencing its graceful bridges, baroque cathedrals, and romantic 16th- through 19th-century buildings nestled together on narrow cobbled streets. On this day, you will also visit a port wine–making center.
This afternoon and evening you have time to explore Porto on your own. The possibilities are endless and optional excursions are available.
In the morning, you will begin your river cruise adventure along the Douro. Along the way, you will visit Vila Real, site of the extraordinary Mateus Palace. This stunning baroque palace was the home of the last count of Vila Real; its pinnacled facade, grand stairway, richly appointed interiors and priceless objects on display will astonish you, as will the palace’s enchanting formal gardens featuring cedar-lined walkways, exquisitely sculpted hedges, and statuary and serene bodies of water. This day will also take you to visit one of the area’s iconic port wine–making institutions. Here you will see its vineyard, tour the facility, learn how these unique Portuguese products are crafted and then sample the libation in their tasting room.
Sailing east along the Douro, you’ll experience dramatic, sheer rock formations, picturesque terraced vineyards and graceful bridges. A day-long excursion brings you to Castelo Rodrigo. Located approximately 2,200 feet above sea level and surrounded by almond trees, Castelo Rodrigo is one of Portugal’s 12 historic parishes; its streets are narrow and steep and its houses still present 16th-century facades and the distinctively Portuguese Manueline-style windows.
At this point of your river cruise, you will be very near the Spanish border. You will take a ride through the Iberian countryside to Salamanca, Spain. This ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a living museum that takes visitors back to the Middle Ages; yet it is also a cosmopolitan and multicultural city. You will have time to explore shops and cafés of the Plaza Mayor (Main Square) on your own. Your afternoon guided city tour takes you to the Gothic House of Shells, the 13th-century Salamanca University and the New Cathedral, built from 1513 through 1733.
Next, you will sail west along the Douro passing some of the area’s quintas (vineyards), where you can glimpse of vintners tending their vines. On this day, you will enjoy a scenic drive up to the little village of Favaios and make your way to one of the last traditional bakeries in the Douro River Valley. Discover how bread was made in the old days and how it tasted with a sample fresh from the oven. Visit the local museum for a wine-and-bread repast, and explore a typical Portuguese village not yet discovered by the masses. Then continue for lunch at Quinta da Avessada, a rustic centuries-old winery in the heart of the Douro Wine District (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and sample some local varieties of port, such as moscatel.
For your final full day on the Douro, you’ll visit Lamego, a small town known for its baroque Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, dating back to the 14th century and still used by pilgrims today. Visit the shrine, decorated with exquisite tilework in the Moorish manner, and descend the grand baroque staircase. You also see the town’s Gothic cathedral and the ruins of 12th-century Lamego Castle with its unusual vaulted cistern. Your Viking River Cruise along the Douro will end with a picturesque sailing back into Porto and a festive farewell dinner.