Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley
Arrive at Lisbon Portela Airport, where you will be transferred to the hotel.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Lisbon city tour
Stand on the banks of the Tejo River and take a deep breath. Now turn around and look at the city climbing the hills above you. This is where your adventure begins. Start with a guided tour to iconic Belém Tower and Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument to Portugal’s great explorers. Step inside the spectacular Manueline (Portuguese late-Gothic) Jerónimos Monastery. Sample a traditional sweet, the pastéis de Belém, at a famous pastelería (pastry shop), then see the hills of the Alfama district and Rossio plaza, with its wavy black-and-white paving and lively street life.
Spend the day at your leisure, enjoying this breathtaking cosmopolitan city.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Coimbra tour with Joanina Library visit and family-style lunch
Travel through the countryside to Porto. En route, you’ll stop in Portugal’s third-largest city, Coimbra, the birthplace of six of Portugal’s kings and home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, Universidade de Coimbra. There you’ll see the university’s 18th-century library, the Biblioteca Joanina. It’s a magnificent place boasting frescoed ceilings, gilded archways, and elaborate carvings. From this hilltop center of learning you’ll head off to enjoy a typical Portuguese lunch at a local restaurant.
The Douro River winds through one hundred miles of granite mountains, carving out a valley whose steep slopes hold terraces that were cut by hand into the rocky soil and planted with grapes centuries ago. Visit the Douro Museum to learn about the river and its wines. See, too, Mateus Palace, which has one of the most beautiful gardens in the country. In the evening, you’ll tour the family-owned Quinta da Avessada, which produces premium Moscatel. Stroll the vineyard and enjoy its views before meeting the owner and learning about the winemaking process. Then partake in a rustic dinner inside the winery’s old stone walls featuring fine local wines and traditional live music.
Visit the 12th-century walled village of Castelo Rodrigo (one of the twelve historic villages of Portugal), with its medieval streets and stone- walled houses.
From Vega de Terrón on the Spanish border you’ll travel over the high plains of the Meseta Central to Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage city. The architectural purity of this charming town has endured through the centuries, during which times its sandstone buildings acquired the exquisite golden glow that gives Salamanca its nickname, “The Golden City.” Salamanca boasts monumental churches, a historic university, and a broad plaza where bullfights were once held and where students now hang out. Walk under plateresque arches and past ornately decorated masonry walls as you explore the university. Then enjoy a flamenco show.
Pinhão is the center of Port winemaking. Today, you’ll take a winding road up to a quinta perched high in the hills to learn about and sample the country’s most celebrated beverage. In the afternoon you’ll enjoy breathtaking scenery while sailing through the remote Douro Valley toward Spain.
Birthplace of Henry the Navigator (who launched Portugal’s voyages of exploration) and longtime hub of the Port wine trade, Porto combines well- preserved historic buildings with cutting-edge architecture and a booming cultural revival. Your tour will take you to the 19th-century Palácio da Bolsa and then on to the cathedral and the bustling shopping street, Santa Catarina. Or, if you prefer, see Porto from a different perspective, starting with a climb to the top of Clérigos Tower. Visit the world's most opulent bookstore, Livraria Lello; then see the sweeping Avenida dos Aliados followed bya a tasty stop as a pastelería. A scenic cable-car ride returns you to the riverfront, where you can walk to spectacular São Francisco Church. After lunch, you’ll visit one of the city’s famed Port cellars.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Guimarães city tour or walking tour of the Ribeira district, the "Soul of Porto"
Visit historic Guimarães. As Portugal’s first capital (back in the 12th century) and home to its first king, Don Afonso Henriques, Guimarães has been called the birthplace of the Portuguese nation. This UNESCO World Heritage city is dominated by Alfonso Henriques’s grand castle, as you’ll see on your panoramic city tour. Or, if you prefer, explore the UNESCO-designated Ribeira district on foot; here, the colorful heart of the old port city will enchant you with medieval lanes and zigzagging stairways.
In the evening, enjoy a Gala Dinner onboard your ship.
Disembark the ship and transfer to Porto Airport for your flight home, or extend your stay in dynamic Porto.
Note: Order of sightseeing may change throughout the itinerary. Substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water levels or other uncontrollable factors.