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 loveliest river valleys on the continent as your European river cruise ship glides past graceful terraced vineyards, narrow canyon walls, and bucolic villages. What’s more, 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 one of the finest river cruising experiences in the industry.
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 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll also find a wonderful selection of food and wine on this Portugal river cruise, served up to you in a number of tantalizing venues, including the Avessada Winery. From grand palaces and medieval towns to folk music and port wine tastings, you’ll experience the rich history, vibrant spirit, and beautiful landscapes of Portugal and Spain on this enriching journey.
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: Today you'll embark on a panoramic city tour. Enjoy your afternoon at leisure – perhaps visiting the world famous Prado Museum – 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 Figueria Castelo Rodrigo to cooking demonstrations onboard your ship
After a buffet breakfast onboard, enjoy an excursion to Figueria Castelo Rodrigo. This medieval town features some fascinating architectural accents, including 16th century 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 a tea presentation and an onboard demonstration of the making of cod fish cakes, one of the region’s famed delicacies.
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 da Roêda, 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 da Roêda, 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.
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
Following breakfast at the hotel, get to know Oporto better with a full city tour and panoramic drive, including a visit to the historic center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the market area....
Following breakfast at the hotel, get to know Oporto better with a full city 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 checking out one of the top bookstores in the world – Livraria Lello – where you can peruse the shelves of this one-of-a-kind gem that is said to have been an inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Cultural Connection and Unforgettable Moment: One can’t visit Oporto without enjoying its signature wine, of course, so you’ll pay a visit to a local port wine cellar for a sampling of this world-famous drink.
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 cobble stone alleyways on your own.
Cultural Connection: While on your city tour, sample pasteis de Belém, 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.
Get to know Spain’s capital in depth by extending your stay here. Madrid will come alive as you discover its most important avenues and gathering places, such as Retiro Park and Plaza Mayor. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore on your own, giving you a chance experience treasures like the Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums.
DAYS 1-2 : Depart home / Overnight flight / Madrid, Spain
Depart your home city for an overnight flight to Madrid, Spain. Upon arrival in Madrid, you’ll be met by a Vantage Representative and transferred to your hotel. Tonight enjoy dinner on your own in this wonderful city.
DAY 3 : Madrid
This morning after breakfast at the hotel, set off on a walking tour of Spain's capital, seeing many of this historic city's most impressive sights, including Retiro & Plaza Mayor. Your afternoon and evening are yours to discover Madrid's many splendors. Or enjoy the "Flamenco Evening" optional tour at a local "tablao."
DAY 4 : Madrid / Join Base Program
After breakfast at the hotel, embark on your own explorations of this sophisticated city. You'll join Day 2 of the Base Program later this afternoon.
You'll experience an exciting new side of Portugal while visiting Madeira, the “Floating Garden of the Atlantic.” Prince Henry the Navigator claimed this mid-Atlantic island for Portugal in the early 15th century, and since the 19th century, it has been a favorite of travelers seeking a pastoral retreat. During your three-day stay in the island capital, Funchal, enjoy a half-day city tour—including a ride in a wicker toboggan, once a common mode of local transportation. Immerse yourself in local life as you visit the covered market at the edge of the Old Town and pay a visit to a traditional Madeira wine cellar, where you’ll sample the trademark sweet wine named for the island. This visit gives you the unique opportunity to explore the cellars, get an inside look at the production process, and learn about the winery’s culture and history (Madeira Wine was used to toast the Signing of the Declaration of Independence). Of course, you’ll also enjoy a small sampling of Madeira wines. You’ll also have the option of an Espetada evening complete with dinner and a folklore show. It’s the perfect complement to your European river cruise on the mainland!
DAY 14: Fly to Madeira and embark on an orientation walk
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Madeira, Portugal. Then, join your Vantage Regional expert for a briefing and optional short orientation walk in the neighborhood of the hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in this wonderful city.
Pestana Carlton Madeira Hotel > or similar
DAY 15: Tour Madeira’s marketplace and Old Town
Set out this morning for a half-day city tour including the Marketplace and Old Town. You'll enjoy magnificent city views of Funchal as you take a traditional toboggan or “sledge basket” ride from the town of Monte. Your afternoon is free. Before returning to your hotel, you'll stop at one of Madeira's oldest wine cellars to sample a local vintage. This evening is at your leisure, or join an optional tour and witness folklore music and dancing at a local restaurant.
DAY 16: A day at leisure, or take a trip to Madeira Island
Spend the day at leisure or choose an optional full-day tour through the interior of this magnificent island, including the botanical garden and the Laurel Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
DAY 17: Fly home
After breakfast, depart for the Lisbon airport for your flight home.
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.
Optional 3-day pre-extension: Madrid, Spain
Optional 4-day post-extension: Madeira, Portugal