Portugal's River of Gold 2019 Viking River Cruise
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. This 10-day cruise includes a hotel stay in Lisbon and the added bonus of a visit to Spain.
From Lisbon airport we take you to your hotel for a two-night stay. Settle in and relax, or head out and begin to explore this lovely city.
After breakfast, embark on a half-day tour of Lisbon. Begin at Belém with 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.
Have breakfast, then check out of your hotel and take a scenic ride to Porto. You will stop for lunch in Coimbra, birthplace of six Portuguese kings and home to one of Europe’s oldest universities. 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, baroque cathedrals and romantic 16th- through 19th-century buildings nestled together on narrow cobbled streets. Visit a typical port wine–making facility, then return to your ship for lunch.
This afternoon you have time to explore Porto on your own, or take an optional excursion to Guimarães, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guimarães has a medieval quarter with narrow streets, a main square and palaces and monasteries dating back to the 10th century. In the 12th century, it was Portugal’s first capital and home to its first king, Afonso Henriques.
Enjoy your evening at leisure in Porto, where your ship remains docked overnight.
This morning 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 Pinhão for dinner.
This morning, sail east along the Douro. You will see dramatic, sheer rock formations, picturesque terraced vineyards and graceful bridges and trestles along the way; you will also pass through two of the river’s locks at the Valeira and Pocinho Dams. We’ll 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 and the distinctively Portuguese Manueline-style windows. Here you will 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’ll 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 some local varieties of port, such as moscatel. Rejoin your ship in Pinhao where you remain docked overnight.
Arrive in Régua after breakfast then 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, we will 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, we take you to Porto airport for your return flight to the UK.
Please note all departure dates are listed in the enquiry form
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Extend Your Cruise
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 pre cruise stay in Lisbon from only £389pp
- 3 Nights pre cruise stay in Madrid from only £699pp
- 2 Nights post cruise "Road to Santiago" stay from only £469pp
- Savings of £500pp plus free gratuities*
- Return flights from a choice of UK airports (some may require a supplement)
- 9 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