Jewels of Spain, Portugal & the Douro River 2019 Uniworld River Cruise
Before setting sail on the Douro River, experience three legendary Spanish cities: Salamanca, the lovely "Golden City"; Madrid, renowned for its museums, stately royal palace and vibrant nightlife; and Toledo, the city of El Greco and a magnificent tribute to the three great cultures that forged Spain.
Cruise through the UNESCO-designated Douro Valley, where grapes have been grown for 2,000 years, visiting picturesque quintas and meeting the winemakers who operate them, as well as tasting the wine. Get even closer to natural treasures at the Douro International Natural Park, where you can get a better understanding of the flora and fauna of the land with an intimate boat cruise, and at the Quinta Aveleda's gardens, offering an enchanting landscape that boasts a cascading waterfall, graceful swans swimming, peacocks flaunting their colours and so much more. Visit the walled village of Castelo Rodrigo, a site that dates back to the 12th century, and the pilgrimage town of Lamego to see the monumental baroque Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. Travel through the verdant countryside to Óbidos, a charming hilltop town that has entranced visitors since the 13th century en route to Portugal's colourful capital of Lisbon.
Arrive at Madrid–Barajas Airport, where you will be transferred to your hotel. Join a guided walk to begin getting acquainted with the city.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Madrid city tour with Prado Museum OR exclusive guided "Go Active" walking tour with Prado Museum visit, and dinner with flamenco show.
Madrid may very well be Europe’s liveliest capital city, a place where people eat late and stay up even later. Get your bearings with a panoramic overview or a more intimate walking tour, both of which include a visit to the extraordinary Prado Museum. Tonight, enjoy dinner and a colorful, passionate, foot-stomping show at the city’s finest flamenco venue. The capital of Spain, Madrid boasts incomparable artwork, an amazing range of architectural styles— from Moorish to postmodern—and exceptional food. Your Iberian adventure begins here as you sample some of its highlights.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Toledo city tour.
Toledo is said to be Spain’s spiritual heart, a timeless, UNESCO-listed city where Muslims, Jews and Christians have peacefully co-existed for three centuries. After your city tour you’ll have time to explore—and eat—on your own; the food here is so exceptional that Toledo was named Spain’s gastronomic capital in 2016. A one-time ancient Roman colony, medieval Moorish capital and center for religious tolerance (that allowed Muslims, Jews and Christians to thrive), Toledo has been called Spain’s spiritual heart.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Full day Salamanca tour.
What adventures await you in Spain? Today, you’ll visit the historic university town of Salamanca—the “Golden City”—famous for its sand-colored buildings and abundance of churches. Walk with a local expert through the Plaza Mayor, considered one of the most beautiful squares in Spain, and visit the university and the city’s astounding Food Hall. You’ll check out of your hotel this morning, heading from Madrid toward Portugal and your ship, which is waiting in Vega de Terrón, near the Portuguese border. Along the way you’ll visit beautiful Salamanca, the university town where Columbus sought advice before sailing west in search of a new route to the Indies.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Castelo Rodrigo OR half day scenic cruise at the Douro International Natural Park.
Go medieval today at Castelo Rodrigo, both the name of a hilltop castle as well as the village that surrounds it. The view from the top is incredible and the village is a charming place to ramble, relax and replenish. Or opt to take a small boat excursion into a national park to explore the Spanish side of the Douro. A tiny village surrounded by mountains, Barca d’Alva is your base as you explore Castelo Rodrigo, which has been singled out as one of Portugal’s 12 historic villages for its medieval beauty, or opt instead to cruise through a nature preserve along the Douro.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Quinta do Seixo guided tour and tasting OR famous Pinhão wine estate and visit to family-owned quinta, and Douro Museum.
Today is all about wine, which has been cultivated in the Douro River Valley since ancient Roman times. You’ll get a crash course in the history of making Port during your visit to the Douro Museum, then head to the hills to a prestigious wine estate, where you can sip Port while savouring marvelous views. Or, take a scenic drive to a family-owned quinta, where you’ll have a firsthand look at grape harvesting. Start the morning off by choosing a way to experience life in the Douro Valley: You can venture overland to Amarante, an ancient town on the banks of the Tâmega River, or visit a lovely quinta.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Lamego walking tour with wine tasting at a local quinta.
One of Portugal’s top pilgrimage sites is our destination today, Our Lady of Remedies in Lamego. The church sits high above the town, accessible via hundreds of zigzagging steps adorned with beautiful blue and white tiles. After seeing the sights with a local expert, enjoy a tasting of locally made wines at a picturesque quinta. Today’s highlights include a visit to a picturesque hill town and a scenic cruise along the Douro river.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Quinta Aveleda visit and gardens OR Amarante walking tour.
The family-owned Quinta Aveleda looks like something out of a fairytale, with its lush flower gardens, peacocks and swans, shady terraces and whimsical follies—the perfect place to relax over a glass of vindo verde, the preferred drink of the region. Or visit an ancient town known for an iconic pastry and a shrine dedicated to the patron saint of marriage. You have a tough choice to make today: Would you prefer to venture overland to Amarante, an ancient town on the banks of the Tâmega River, or visit a lovely quinta?
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Guimarães city tour OR "Soul of Porto" Ribeira district walking tour.
Guimarães or Porto? That’s the question of the day today (you really can’t go wrong either way). Guimarães is the town where Portugal was born and its well-preserved architecture and stylish young residents make it a pleasure to visit. Or opt to explore one of Porto’s oldest neighborhoods, picturesque Ribeira, considered the soul of the city. Today’s options include a visit to the historic town of Guimarães, where you can expand your acquaintance with Portugal’s various wine styles and traditions, and a chance to see Porto as the locals do with an adventurous walking tour.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Porto city tour OR exclusive "Do as the Locals Do" Porto walking tour.
There’s much more to Portugal’s second city than its eponymous fortified wine—historic architecture, cutting-edge design, fabulous food and wine, and a hip, laid-back vibe. Discover its many charms with your choice of distinctively different tours today. Today you cruise to the mouth of the Douro and Portugal’s second city (after Lisbon), Porto, which gave its name to the nation’s most famous export, Port wine, and to the nation itself. The city is a fascinating combination of historic buildings and cutting-edge architecture, tradition and vivacious modernity.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Guided stroll through Óbidos
The tiny whitewashed village of Óbidos is so charming that Portuguese kings traditionally gave it to their brides as a wedding gift. Need we say more? Climb up to the imposing hilltop castle for spectacular, Instagram-worthy photos of the countryside and the sea beyond. You’ll disembark this morning and board a motorcoach, heading south through Portugal’s picturesque countryside toward Lisbon—but you’ll stop in fascinating Óbidos before you reach the colorful capital city.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Lisbon city tour.
Everything old is new again in the Portuguese capital, which is undergoing a remarkable rebirth of late. Get to know this hilly metropolis with a city tour that shows you all the top sights and treats you to a unique pastry with an intriguing (and delicious) history. Dynamic, colorful and picturesque, Lisbon will continually surprise you. Glorious historic architecture reflects the wealth brought in during the “Age of Discovery,” when the Portuguese owned the seas, but it is also a modern center of finance and international trade.
Transfer to Lisbon Portela Airport for your flight home.
|20 September 2019||CALL|
|26 September 2019 (in reverse)||CALL|
- Return London Flights, other regional airports may be available at a supplement.
- 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the chic Queen Isabel
- 2 nights in Lisbon at the Corinthia Hotel (or similar) with breakfast
- 3 nights in Madrid at The Westin Palace (or similar) with breakfast
- Beautifully appointed riverview staterooms and suites with hotel-style beds, draped in fine linens with a choice of pillows
- All transfers on arrival and departure days
- All gratuities, both onboard and onshore
- Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
- All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
- Free Internet and Wi-Fi access
- 12 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners
- Gala Dinner
- Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee and tea, and mineral water
- 11 days of excursions fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
- Guided "Do as the Locals Do" and "Let's Go" programs
- 2 countries: Spain and Portugal
- 6 UNESCO World Heritage site
- State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audioheadset system on all excursions
- Captivating onboard local entertainment
- Cultural enrichment, including a Signature Lecture: "Portuguese Seafarers and Spanish Explorers”