Set sail through the terraced vineyards of Douro wine country on a 17-day river cruise with National Geographic and Scenic. Renowned for its World-Heritage landmarks, spectacular beauty and age-old villages, step back in time as you explore the wonders of the Douro. Take the opportunity to cross into Spain where you can soak in the Renaissance streets of Salamanca and the vibrant city of Madrid. Taste award-winning wines from Porto, learn more about the regions rich past, enjoy traditional flamenco and explore grand castles alongside National Geographic Experts, who will accompany you for the duration of the cruise.

Trip highlights

See the Côa Valley from a new perspective as you paddle a canoe along the pristine Sabor River in Portugal taking in the wonderful sights and peaceful scenery.

Experience classic Porto culture as you enjoy a private concert in the gilded nave of Porto’s Igreja de São Francisco, a historic baroque church.

Enjoy a unique extended wildlife walk along the Douro Estuary where you can spot an array of wildlife including birds among the salt marshes.

Itinerary - 17 Days

1 Bem-vindo

On arrival at Lisbon Airport you’ll be escorted to your hotel for the next three nights. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner with your Tour Director and fellow guests. A truly wonderful experience awaits you. (B)

2 Lisbon

This morning, take part in a guided exploration of Portugal’s pretty capital.

Freechoice: Journey to Lisbon’s seaside suburb of Cascais and enjoy a picturesque and informative tour of this former fishing village. Alternatively, climb to the hilltop town of Sintra and visit the Sintra Palace.
(B)

3 Lisbon

Enjoy time at leisure to take advantage of everything that Lisbon has to offer. This evening you’ll get to experience Portuguese cuisine at its finest. (B,D)

4 Lisbon > Porto

Our journey via Portugal’s medieval capital, Coimbra, will see you travelling to Porto where you’ll board the luxurious Scenic Azure to begin your cruise of the idyllic Douro Valley. (B,D)

5 Porto

On a walking tour of Porto’s historic old town, explore medieval treasures, examine famous azulejo tiles, and stroll the waterfront. Visit the Palácio da Bolsa, the city’s old stock exchange, and gaze at the gilded Moorish motifs coating the walls of its Salão Árabe—or Arabian Room. This afternoon we begin our cruise along the Douro, tracing the river through the rural landscapes of northern Portugal. (B,L,D)

6 Guimarães/Douro Valley

Freechoice: Delve into history at the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança in Guimarães, Portugal’s first capital and the birthplace of its first king, Afonso Henriques; or venture to the stunning Quinta da Aveleda winery and gardens in the Vinho Verde wine region, where we’ll sip on this producer’s famous sparkling whites.

Glide into the stunning Douro Valley this afternoon and stop in Peso da Régua to visit the Douro Museum for an introduction to the area and its wine-making history.(B,L,D)

7 Douro Valley

We continue our exploration of the Douro Valley at the skeletal ruins of the 12th-century Mosteiro de São João de Tarouca, Portugal’s first Cistercian monastery.


Freechoice: En route to the site, stroll the Ponte de Ucanha, a fortified medieval toll bridge, then wander the abandoned monks’ quarters and restored church. Alternatively, choose to tour the elegant town of Lamego, home to a stunning baroque staircase leading to the Senhora dos Remédios pilgrimage church; or join a guide to explore the opulent Mateus Palace, famously featured on bottles of Mateus rosé.(B,L,D)

8 On the Douro

Take in scenes from the Douro Valley from the comfort of the ship lounge as we wind our way past the charming terra-cotta-roofed towns and vine-striped hillsides that earned the region its World Heritage designation. Enjoy the amenities on board, including a plunge pool, fitness center, and expansive sundeck.(B,L,D)

9 Salamanca, Spain

Cross into Spain for a visit to Salamanca. Take in the city’s Renaissance splendor on a guided city tour, then enjoy some time to explore on your own. Gaze at façades of golden sandstone, soak in the grandeur of the Plaza Mayor, and see the pair of cathedrals that crown the city. Enjoy lunch in town, with live entertainment from flamenco dancers before a visit to the historic university in the afternoon.(B,L,D)

10 Côa Valley, Portugal

Freechoice: Venture into the Côa Valley and visit the Côa Museum to learn about the prehistoric rock art at the World Heritage-listed Foz Côa, where thousands of stone carvings created over thousands of years have been found. Opt to ride a 4x4 vehicle to the archaeological site, and set out on a hike to view these fascinating carvings. You may instead choose to paddle a canoe along the pristine Sabor River, a rugged tributary to the Douro that has remained virtually undeveloped. Or set out on a culinary excursion to the Casa Painova estate and taste their delicious almond and olive products.


Tonight, local musicians join us on board to perform traditional Portuguese songs.(B,L,D)

11 Provesende

Drive into the hills of the Douro Valley to the time-locked town of Provesende, perched high above the river. Wander the stone streets of this quaint village, and get a glimpse into daily life here while meeting with local residents. Pop into the town bakery, enjoy a special recital in the church, and sip on wine at the charming Morgadio da Calçada manor house.

Freechoice: Later, visit the Quinta da Roêda estate to try their famous ports and, if you wish, walk among the vines for a special al fresco tasting.(B,L,D)

12 Porto

Relax on board today and enjoy a tasting of Douro Valley wines as we sail back toward Porto.

Enrich
This evening, head to Porto’s Igreja de São Francisco for a private concert in this baroque church’s spectacular gilded nave.(B,L,D)

13 Porto

Cruise just beyond the city to the Douro Estuary, home to a nature reserve harboring an array of birds, including kingfishers, cormorants, and several species of heron.

Freechoice: Set out on an extended walking tour from the edge of town into the reserve, spotting birdlife amid the salt marshes. Meet fishermen returning with the day's catch along the way, and sample fresh sardines grilled on an open fire. There are also options today to visit Porto’s oldest canning factory, or go for a tasting in one of the city’s most celebrated port cellars.(B,L,D)

14 Porto > Madrid

Today you’ll board your included flight from Porto to Madrid. On arrival transfer to your luxurious hotel, your residence for the next three nights. (B)

15 Madrid

This morning, enjoy a tour of Madrid, including the 17th century Austrian Quarter, the Sabatini Gardens and the famous Cibeles and Neptuno Fountains.

Freechoice: This afternoon, you can choose between the exceptional Prado Museum, or the equally delightful 18th century Royal Palace of Madrid.

This evening, enjoy fine Spanish cuisine in a superb local restaurant. (B,L,D)

16 Madrid

Today is yours to enjoy at leisure in Spain’s largest city. Stroll the fashionable boutiques that adorn the city centre’s many plazas, relax in one of Madrid’s manicured gardens, or simply explore the surrounding area. (B)

17 Madrid

After breakfast, with memories of a truly unforgettable journey, you’ll be transferred to Madrid airport.

Please note: Itinerary is subject to change. (B)

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