Set sail along the Douro River in northern Portugal. Take in the terraced vineyards of Douro wine country and marvel at the spectacular views that guide you throughout your journey. Step back in time as you explore medieval villages and examine world-renowned rock art before crossing into Spain where you will wander the romantic Renaissance streets of Salamanca. Enjoy a taste of Portugal as you visit famed wineries in Porto and dance to traditional rhythms of fado and flamenco in spectacular settings. Special offer: Price includes a discount of £600pp. Offer ends 31/12/2018

Trip highlights

Be joined onboard by one of two National Geographic experts; Tim Weed or Franklin Knight as well as one of two National Geographic photographers; Gianluca Colla or Krista Rossow, who will enhance your river cruise experience.

Explore some of the world’s most magnificent and historical sites including Côa Valley, Ponte de Ucanha and many award-winning wineries.

Enjoy dining experiences like no other with flamenco dancers in Salamanca and a special onboard performance with traditional Portuguese performances whilst in the Côa Valley.

Itinerary - 11 Days

1-2 Porto, Portugal

Arrive in Porto, a quaint World Heritage-listed city straddling a gorge on the Douro River. Embark the Scenic Azure and enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board.
The second day of your river cruise will take you on a magnificent walking tour of Porto’s historic old town. You will be able to explore medieval treasures, examine famous azulejo tiles, and stroll along the famous 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.

3 Guimarães/Douro Valley

Located in the district of Braga, Guimarães is a historic, UNESCO listed town. Noted as being an "exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town", Guimarães is the perfect place to explore.
The enchanted valley of Douro is a beautiful and peaceful valley that begins in Soria Province and flows across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet in Porto.

Explore the remarkable history in the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança in Guimarães, Portugal’s first capital and the birthplace of its first king, Afonso Henriques. Alternatively, venture to the stunning Quinta da Aveleda winery and gardens in the Vinho Verde wine region, where you can taste 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.

4 Douro Valley

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

En route to the site, stroll the Ponte de Ucanha, a fortified medieval toll bridge and wander the abandoned monks’ quarters and restored church. Alternatively, take a 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.

5 On the Douro

Enjoy your cruise along the Douro Valley from the magnificent 5-star surroundings of Scenic Azure. Take advantage of all-inclusive food & drink and sit back whilst you enjoy the stunning backdrop of the Douro from the ship lounge. Pass 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 centre, and expansive sundeck.

6 Salamanca, Spain

As the Scenic Azure crosses into Spain, you’ll visit Salamanca. Soak up the renaissance that is abundant in the city as you head out on a guided tour. You’ll furthermore have some time to explore the city on your own, wandering the streets head for the Plaza Mayor or the pair of dominating cathedrals that crown the city.
Lunch in the city will be accompanied by live entertainment from flamenco dancers before a visit to the historic university in the afternoon.

7 Côa Valley, Portugal

Listed as a World Heritage Site, the Foz Côa Valley is considered “the most important open-air Palaeolithic rock art site”. There are over one thousand rocks with rupestral marks, across 70 different places in the valley. The predominately Palaeolithic engravings are thought to date back around 25.000 years, making for an impressive exploration.

As you venture into the Côa Valley take a trip to the Côa Museum where you will learn about the prehistoric rock art at the World Heritage-listed Foz Côa. You also have the option to ride in a 4x4 to visit archaeological site and set out on a hike to view these fascinating carvings. Canoe along the peaceful Sabor River or enjoy a culinary excursion the to Casa Painova estate and taste their delicious almond and olive products.
Tonight, local musicians join us on board to perform traditional Portuguese songs.

8 Provesende

High in the Douro Valley, Provesende is a small village nestled within the hills. Best explored on foot, Provesende offers a wealth of historical sites such as the pillory, Baroque church, fountain, as well as an array of very beautiful XVIII stately manor houses. Meet local residents as you wander the stone streets and enjoy local delicacies from the many local cafes and restaurants.

After a morning of exploration, 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.

9 Porto

Relax on board the Scenic Azure today and enjoy a tasting of Douro Valley wines as we sail back along the Douro towards Porto.

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

10 Porto

Cruise just beyond the city to the Douro Estuary, home to a nature reserve where you may be lucky enough to spot an array of birds, including kingfishers, cormorants, and several species of heron.

Enjoy 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.

11 Porto

Enjoy a final breakfast on board, then transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Please note: Itinerary is subject to change

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