Douro's Valleys & Vineyards 2021 Viking River Cruise
As you cruise through the Douro River Valley, sail into the history of fine Portuguese wine. Surrounded by terraced hills, spot some of the area’s quintas, or wine estates, clinging to the slopes. Experience the town of Porto, where you can roam the port warehouses and take in the town’s rich cultural heritage. Visit quaint Régua, Barca d’Alva, and Favaios, home to one of the last traditional bakeries in the Douro Valley. Explore Salamanca, Spain, a UNESCO Site and one of Iberia’s oldest university towns.
Upon arrival in Porto, proceed to the dock at Vila Nova de Gaia to board your ship. Then, after boarding, you can relax and get settled in your stateroom before a welcome cocktail and dinner is served.
After breakfast, take a city tour of Porto, a charming riverside community whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire its graceful bridges, grand cathedrals and romantic 16th- through 19th-century buildings nestled together on narrow cobblestone streets.
This afternoon you have time to explore Porto on your own, or take an optional excursion to Guimar\xC3£es and its medieval quarter. Sample wines that have been in the making for generations at the historic Quinta da Aveleda estate, or soar over the historic “City of Bridges” on a thrilling helicopter sightseeing tour. This evening, enjoy a festive farewell dinner.
This morning you sail along the Douro, arriving at Régua in early afternoon. Disembark for an excursion to Vila Real, site of the extraordinary Mateus Palace (the building depicted on the Mateus Rosé wine labels). 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, exquisite sculpted hedges and statuary and serene bodies of water. As you depart, catch glimpses of the town’s ornamental carvings and tiled walls. Visit one of the area’s iconic port wine–making institutions. See its vineyard and tour the facility to learn how these unique Portuguese products are crafted, then sample the libation in their tasting room. Rejoin your ship in Pinh\xC3£o for dinner.
This morning, you sail east along the Douro. See dramatic, sheer rock formations, picturesque terraced vineyards, and graceful bridges and trestles along the way; you also pass through two of the river’s locks at the Valeira and Pocinho Dams. Arrive at Barca d’Alva, not far from the Spanish border, in mid-afternoon.
This afternoon, enjoy a tour 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. Here you see Sinagoga Street, a remembrance of the Jewish community established by refugees from the Spanish Inquisition; you can visit the local church as well. As we ride back to our ship, we will stop along the way to admire panoramic views.
Today you have a full-day excursion 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 with a large population of international students. Take a ride through the Iberian countryside to Salamanca, then spend some time exploring the 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. The Old Cathedral still exists and can be visited during free time. Rejoin your ship in Vega de Terrón.
This morning, sail west along the Douro passing some of the area’s quintas (vineyards), where you may catch glimpses of vintners tending their vines.
After breakfast, disembark for 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 local fortified wine such as muscatel. Rejoin your ship in Pinh\xC3£o and set sail to Régua, where you remain docked overnight.
After breakfast, disembark for a visit to 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. Return to your ship for lunch and scenic afternoon sailing along the Douro, back toward Porto. After arriving in port, enjoy a festive farewell dinner; we are docked overnight, so feel free to take an evening stroll or join the activities in the Lounge.
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.
|Date||Fares from (pp)|
|7 September 2021||£3,195|
|14 September 2021||£3,195|
|21 September 2021||£3,195|
|28 September 2021||£3,195|
|12 October 2021||£2,995|
|19 October 2021||£2,995|
|26 October 2021||£2,545|
|2 November 2021||£2,545|
Extend your stay, pre or post cruise, with these great value cruise extensions! Simply give our award winning team a call for full details on 0800 810 8220
- 2 Nights post cruise "Road to Santiago" stay from only £449pp
- Onboard gratuities
- Return scheduled flights from the UK from a choice of up to 14 regional airports at no extra cost. Please call for details
- 7 nights in a river-view stateroom
- Beer, wine and soft drinks with on board lunch & dinner
- One complimentary shore excursion in every port of call
- Visit various UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Complimentary internet service
- Welcome cocktail reception & farewell dinner
- 24/7 specialty coffees, teas & bottled water
- Room steward & twice-daily housekeeping service
- All port charges & overseas transfers