Dive into one of Europe’s most intriguing regions as you experience the people, places, and culture that helped shape Spain and Portugal into the top destinations that they are today. This illuminating Douro River journey is bookended by stays in vibrant Lisbon and cosmopolitan Madrid — two of Europe’s most historic capitals. Then, follow the path of one of the most storied river valleys on the continent as your European river cruise ship glides past graceful terraced vineyards, narrow canyon walls, and bucolic villages. You'll navigate the scenic Douro aboard a brand new, privately chartered river vessel, the 126-passenger ms Douro Serenity or its sister ship the ms Douro Splendour, for a delectable journey through two of Europe's most spirited countries.
You'll explore the treasures of Oporto (including its eponymous wine), see the place where Portugal was “born,” and set off on an excursion to the magnificent university town of Salamanca, Spain, as well as experience five incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll also find a wonderful selection of food and wine throughout this Portugal exploration, served up to you in a number of tantalizing venues, including the historic Avessada Winery. From grand palaces and medieval towns to folk music and port wine tastings, you’ll experience the rich history, vibrant spirit, and serene landscapes of Portugal and Spain in an enriching and unforgettable way.
Depart home for Spain’s capital city, Madrid
After an overnight flight, you'll arrive in Spain’s capital.
Arrive in Madrid
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, our representative will meet you outside the arrivals area and assist you with your transfer to the hotel. Enjoy a Welcome Briefing and Dinner this...
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, our representative will meet you outside the arrivals area and assist you with your transfer to the hotel. Enjoy a Welcome Briefing and Dinner this evening.
Uncover the fascinating gems of Madrid during a city tour
Explore this vibrant city today. Truly one of the world’s great capitals, Madrid is teeming with fascinating sights. Unforgettable Moment: Your included tour will take you past all the fascinating faces and personalities of Madrid: people watching in elegant squares like Oriente and España Plazas, strolling along the new Madrid-Rio area, driving down the grand Mayor Street. Other highlights we'll spot include the lovely memorial Retiro Park, the Fountain of Neptune, the famous Las Ventas Bullring, and the Santiago Bernabéu Football Stadium.
Enjoy your afternoon at leisure – perhaps visiting the world famous Prado Museum or simply wandering the various shops and restaurants near your centrally located hotel – or set off on an optional tour of Toledo and the charming, narrow lanes of its UNESCO-listed historic center.
Explore Salamanca’s ornate architecture and historic university
Unforgettable Moment: The word “magical” has frequently been used to describe Salamanca, and you’ll find out why on a walking tour of the city today. You’ll spend time exploring the Old City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about the esteemed University of Salamanca. Founded in the 13th century by King Alfonso IX, the university is the oldest in Spain and considered among the finest in Europe. You’ll also see the remarkable cathedral as well as the gorgeous main square, where you'll have some free time to wander. This evening, you'll be greeted with a Welcome Reception and dinner onboard ship.
Savor Portugal’s culinary culture, from Figueira Castelo Rodrigo to cooking demonstrations onboard your ship
After a buffet breakfast onboard, enjoy an excursion to Figueira Castelo Rodrigo. This medieval town features some fascinating architectural accents, including 16thcentury facades and...
After a buffet breakfast onboard, enjoy an excursion to Figueira Castelo Rodrigo. This medieval town features some fascinating architectural accents, including 16thcentury facades and Manuelino-style windows. You’ll enjoy a small tasting of local products here, introducing you to the culinary culture of the area.
Cultural Connection: Continuing the culinary theme today, you’ll enjoy an onboard demonstration of a classic Portuguese egg pastry, pastéis de nata. (You'll get to compare your recipe to a local version later in Lisbon.) You'll also enjoy an authentic Portuguese tea experience complete with pastries while learning about the traditions surrounded tea drinking and production.
Toast the season with a full day Harvest Celebration at the Avessada Winery Estate
Harvest Season Exclusive: Today is a journey highlight indeed as you enjoy a special full-day “Harvest Day” visit to Avessada Winery hosted by Luis Barros, the estate’s fifth generation owner. Located at the highest point on the Douro, this winery produces a staggering 30,000,000 bottles of Moscatel wine. Here, you’ll revel in the full beauty of the surrounding Alto Douro Wine Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with a tour of the cellars and museum, you’ll pick grapes in the vineyard, enjoy local entertainment, and channel your inner Lucille Ball during a grape stomping experience, a truly enjoyable way to celebrate the culture of this region. Back on board this evening, join your fellow travelers for a fabulous Captain's Dinner.
Enjoy a tasting at Quinta do Seixo, then tour the highlights of Lamego
Enjoy a fascinating lecture this morning entitled “Society and Economy of Portugal” onboard during some scenic sailing. In the afternoon, you'll head to Lamego, a town well known for...
Enjoy a fascinating lecture this morning entitled “Society and Economy of Portugal” onboard during some scenic sailing. In the afternoon, you'll head to Lamego, a town well known for its wine and the Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios shrine. The elaborate structure is a regular stop for Catholic pilgrims, who climb its nearly 700 steps in order to ask the Virgin Mary to rid them of their afflictions. You’ll also visit Quinta do Seixo, where you'll sample the fantastic local foods and wines of the region. Harvest Season Exclusive: Before dinner, enjoy a demonstration on how to open and decant a fine vintage port in preparation for serving, followed by a tasting. This evening, we'll honor the tradition of Portuguese folk music as we watch a performance onboard following a delicious Captain's dinner.
A tour of Regua, then a sampling of vintages and regional delicacies at Aveleda Winery
Your day begins with a walking tour of Regua, including a visit to the Douro Museum, where you’ll learn all about the picturesque Douro River Valley you’ve been admiring from the deck...
Your day begins with a walking tour of Regua, including a visit to the Douro Museum, where you’ll learn all about the picturesque Douro River Valley you’ve been admiring from the deck of the ship.
Cultural Connection: You'll also learn about the importance of the cork industry here in Portugal during an included lecture.
Later this afternoon, we'll visit to Aveleda Winery, producer of a variety of popular Portuguese wines (many of which are favorites in New England as well). Harvest Season Exclusive: You’ll enjoy an upgraded tasting of Vinho Verde expertly paired with grilled Portuguese sausage, a cheese and jam spread, and other regional delicacies. Back on board this evening, let music carry you back in time a local performers play music from the 60s, 70, and 80s.
An exploration of celebrated Oporto, topped with a Port sampling at a local wine cellar
Your exploration of Portugal continues with a scenic sail into Oporto, Portugal’s second-largest city and the center of the port wine trade. Cultural...
Your exploration of Portugal continues with a scenic sail into Oporto, Portugal’s second-largest city and the center of the port wine trade. Cultural Connection and Unforgettable Moment: One can’t visit Oporto without enjoying its signature wine, of course, so you'll start with a visit to one of the city's best-known port-wine cellars. Sample this world-famous drink while enjoying the ambiance of the surrounding gardens and incredible river views below. Afterwards, get to know the city better with a full tour and panoramic drive, including a visit to the historic center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the market area.
You’ll also have the option of paying a visit to the stunning Livraria Lello, named one of the world's most beautiful bookstores. Make your way up the famous red staircase (be sure to pause and admire the stained glass skylight as you climb!) and peruse the shelves of this one-of-a-kind gem, said to have been an inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series.
Cultural Connection: Back on board this evening, enjoy a lively performance by a local Tuna Band after dinner.
Your choice of tours, Oporto’s medieval Ribiera District or the historical center of Guimarães
You’ll have a choice of how to spend your day today: set off on a walking tour of Oporto — which includes an exploration of the quaint, medieval Ribiera district — or take a...
You’ll have a choice of how to spend your day today: set off on a walking tour of Oporto — which includes an exploration of the quaint, medieval Ribiera district — or take a guided tour of the historical center of Guimarães. Inscribed on the city walls is the phrase Aqui Nasceu Portugal – “Portugal was born here” – and you’ll learn how true this statement is as you explore this town’s historical center. Your afternoon is at leisure.
Disembark in Oporto, then explore the storied walls of Obidos and the seaside town of Nazaré
This morning, you'll disembark the ms Douro Serenity and transfer to the final city on your tour: Lisbon. En route, you'll stop in the seaside town of Nazaré, a beach famous...
This morning, you'll disembark the ms Douro Serenity and transfer to the final city on your tour: Lisbon. En route, you'll stop in the seaside town of Nazaré, a beach famous for its monstrous waves and surfing culture. Later, you’ll make another stop in Obidos, where you’ll enjoy lunch on your own and an orientation walk through this beautifully preserved walled town that was once part of the “Queen’s Estate.” Known as the "Wedding Present Town," Obidos was gifted to Queen Isabel from King Dinis on their wedding day in 1282. This evening, we'll arrive in Lisbon and have dinner at the hotel.
A tour of Lisbon’s famed monuments
The Age of Discoveries launched in Lisbon, so it’s fitting that you begin the day with a guided panoramic tour of the city’s famed monuments, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites like...
The Age of Discoveries launched in Lisbon, so it’s fitting that you begin the day with a guided panoramic tour of the city’s famed monuments, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Monastery of Jerónimos and Belém Tower. Later in the afternoon, enjoy a balance of leisure time as continue to explore Lisbon’s cobblestone alleyways on your own.
Cultural Connection: While on your city tour, sample pastéis de nata, Portugal’s favorite treat.
Further explore historical Lisbon on your own, or opt for a scenic coastal tour
Enjoy a day at leisure in this splendid city. Get a taste of the city’s dynamic culinary scene at a gourmet food market or corner tavern, or relax at a café and enjoy a hot bicas (espresso) or refreshing pitcher of sangria. Active travelers can embark on a hike through Lisbon’s trademark seven hills for must-see views of the city. Or, make your way down the scenic Portuguese coast during an optional day tour and visit two waterside destinations: the historic town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the fishing village of Cascais.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home or transfer to Madeira for your optional extension
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or transfer to Madeira by way of Lisbon for your optional extension.
Your Price Includes:
the maximum value for your included Vantage airfare while enhancing your travel
experience with an optional pre- or post-trip extension. This is a great way to
spend more time in a spetacular city or explore an entirely new country. Vantage
offers the lowest cost per day in deluxe travel on extensions, plus superb hotel
stays, transportation, breakfast daily, guided sightseeing, and a Vantage Program
Manager — all included.
You're moments away from enriching your Vantage vacation even more! Simply chose from our deluxe optional tours below. By doing so you'll lock in your price, then rest easy knowing your trip is fully planned!
Your tour begins with a scenic drive along the coastline to the quiet fishing village of Cascais. Once you have arrived, you can enjoy lunch on your own and take in the postcard-perfect scenery before continuing to our next destination: Sintra. The town of Sintra has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the wealth of 19th century Romantic architectural monuments it contains, as well as its predominance in Portuguese culture. You'll visit the town's ornate palace before enjoying some time on your own to explore this whimsical site.
* Prices are in U.S. dollars, per person based on double occupancy.Port charges are not included.
* Default page air pricing Includes Airfare from Boston, MA BOS* Includes international airfare from Boston, MA, BOS** Airfares are round-trip and per person and include government taxes and fees, airport transfers and air fuel surcharges. Ask our travel Consultants about add-on airfare from other cities. Please note that Vantage cannot guarantee the most direct routing to/from your gateway city.