Discover the Douro DOZ21
|Resort:||Discover the Douro DOZ21|
|Operator:||Great Rail Journeys|
The magnificent Douro is Iberia’s most famous waterway, winding through golden valleys alongside enchanting towns and past regal wine estates. This cruise on board the Douro Serenity reveals the innate and timeless beauty of this fantastic river, stopping at hand-picked ports of call along the way.
Day 1 – London to Porto, and embarkation
We meet today at the airport, where you and your group board your flight for Porto. Upon arrival in this fantastic Portuguese city, we are escorted by coach to our ship, the Douro Serenity. After settling into our cabins, we are welcomed with a cocktail. Later, we sit down to our first on-board meal, after which you are free to enjoy your first night on the ship. Perhaps enjoy the views from the sun deck or live music in the lounge area.
Day 2 – Lamego
Today, our ship docks at Regua. In the afternoon, we pay a visit to Lamego, a picturesque village near the banks of the Douro for a guided tour. The cathedral is the centrepoint of Lamego, a remarkable example of Baroque architecture. Arguably more impressive however, are 700 steps which lead up to its doors, decorated in cheerful white and blue tiles. Enjoy dinner at a local wine estate later. These marvellous vineyards provide the sublime Port wines which are such an integral part of the Douro’s viticulture. Many of them are housed in delightful, sprawling farmland, lending a memorable touch to our meal this evening.
Day 3 – Castelo Rodrigo
Our ship sails to Barca d’Alva today where we dock. After lunch, we embark on an excursion to the historical town of Castelo Rodrigo. This charming destination offers a look into the medieval past of Portugal and the Douro region, with a history that goes all the way back to the Roman period. All the different eras are evident from the fascinating buildings which line the streets, including a synagogue and the remains of medieval townhouses. We enjoy a tour here, which takes in the old castle. Afterwards, you have time to wander the ancient streets and discover stories that breathe life into Castelo Rodrigo.
Days 4-5 – Salamanca
Our travels today take us across the border into Portugal’s beautiful neighbour, Spain. We travel through the enchanting countryside to the golden city of Salamanca, in the Castille y Lon region. Salamanca is the academic capital of Spain, which is evidenced in the sandstone university buildings that make up one of the most prestigious centres of learning in the country. Our tour takes us to see these buildings, as well as the decorative House of Shells, and the thriving Plaza Mayor. Enjoy free time afterwards before we sample a traditional Spanish lunch at a local restaurant. Our entertainment during the meal is a dazzling flamenco show, where trained dancers perform this iconic Spanish dance of passion and finesse. On our return to the ship, we enjoy a BBQ dinner on the sun deck (weather permitting).
Day 5 is spent cruising through to Peso de Regua. After dinner, we sample some of the region’s vintage Port following a traditional opening ceremony.
Day 6 – Mateus Palace & Gardens
We pay a visit to the gorgeous Mateus Palace today and its stunning gardens. This 18th-century stately home is a delight to explore with its classic, Italianate exterior, decorative interiors and beautifully manicured gardens. We take a tour before free time to visit the property’s chapel and winery. On our return to the ship, we sit down with the captain for a resplendent gala dinner, offering a chance to reminisce about our adventures on Portugal’s finest river. After our meal, we enjoy a traditional folk dance performance from a local troupe.
Day 7 – Porto
Arriving into Porto this morning, you have a choice of excursions to explore this famous port city that marks the endpoint of the Duoro River. Your first option is an insightful tour of the city both by coach and on foot. The tour takes us along the winding streets, cutting between the city’s superb architecture, historical townhouses, regal churches, and crossing the famous iron bridge. We continue to the district of Foz at the mouth of the Douro, where we see the impressive villas which dot the hills here.
Your second option is to travel to the nearby city of Guimares, with its fantastically well-preserved medieval buildings, dating back to the 10th century. We enjoy a tour through the colourful streets and the lively squares before visiting the castle and its gardens. In the afternoon you can relax on board before our 4-course farewell dinner.
Day 8 – Return Home
After our final breakfast, we depart our ship for a transfer to the airport. Here we board our flight back to the UK, where your Portuguese adventure comes to an end.