The Douro: Portugal’s River of Gold & Spain - 2017

Madrid • Barca d'Alva • Pinhão • Régua • Entre-os-Rios • Oporto • Lisbon
Moderate Deluxe
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Follow the path of one of the loveliest river valleys on the continent on this popular European river cruise through Portugal and Spain. Enjoy the experience as your European river cruise ship glides past graceful terraced vineyards, narrow canyon walls, and bucolic villages. You'll navigate the Douro aboard the brand new, privately chartered river vessel, the 126-passenger ms Douro Serenity. This brand new ship offers the finest river cruising experience available on Portugal’s most alluring river.

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. Your Douro River journey is bookended by stays in vibrant Lisbon and the cosmopolitan Madrid – two of Europe’s most historic capitals. 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 culture, and beautiful landscapes of Portugal and Spain on this enriching journey.

Lisbon to Madrid

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DAYS 1-2:

Depart home / Overnight flight / Lisbon, Portugal

After an overnight flight, arrive in Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon. 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 at your hotel this evening.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:


The Age of Discoveries launched in Lisbon, so it’s fitting that you start off Day 3 with a guided panoramic tour by the city’s famed monuments, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Monastery of Jerónimos and Belém Tower. Cultural Connection: While on your tour, sample pasteis de Belém, Portugal’s favorite treat. Later in the afternoon, you can continue to explore Lisbon on your own. Or, make your way down the scenic Portuguese coast during an optional day tour and visit two waterside areas: the historic town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the quiet fishing village of Cascais. 

Included Meals:

Optional Tour: Sintra & the Coast of Portugal

Sintra & the Coast of Portugal

  • Approximate Cost: $59 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Portugal
  • When: Half-day Tour

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 your coastal trek 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. 

DAY 4:

Lisbon / Oporto / Embarkation

Your exploration of Portugal continues as you travel to Oporto, Portugal’s second-largest city and the center of the port wine trade. First, stop in Obidos, where you’ll enjoy a walking tour through this beautifully preserved walled town that was once part of the “Queen’s Estate.” You’ll make another stop in the beach town of Nazaré, where you'll have free time to wander and enjoy lunch. Then it’s onward to Oporto, where you’ll embark the ms Douro Serenity and enjoy a Welcome Reception onboard.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 5:


Following breakfast onboard, get to know Oporto better with a panoramic city tour, 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 book series. Cultural Connection: One can’t visit Oporto without enjoying its signature wine, of course, so you’ll also stop by a port-wine cellar for a sampling of this world-famous drink. Back on board this evening, enjoy a lively performance by a local Tuna Band. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

Oporto / 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 guided tour of the historical center of Guimarães. Inscribed on the walls of the castle here 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. Cultural Connection: Learn about the importance of the cork industry here in Portugal during an included lecture. Enjoy live musical entertainment back on board this evening. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:


Your day begins with a visit to Regua, as well as Douro Museum, where you’ll learn all about the picturesque Douro River Valley you’ve been admiring from the deck of the ship. In the afternoon, set off on an excursion to Amarante, where you’ll stop for an authentic Portuguese tea experience at the Casa da Calçada. Here, you’ll learn about the traditions surrounded tea drinking and tea production while sampling some of the finest teas the country has to offer.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Lamego / Pinhao

Today finds us in 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 to walk in order to ask the Virgin Mary to rid them of their afflictions. You’ll also visit Quinto do Seixo, where you will get to sample the fantastic local foods and wines of the region. Enjoy a charming Portuguese folk music performance this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:


Experience the exquisite beauty of the Alto Douro Wine Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. First, you’ll see the magnificent palace depicted on Mateus rosé wine bottles come to life on an excursion to the 18th-century Mateus Manor House & Garden. Take time to admire the Baroque architecture and elaborately manicured gardens at this stately property. Then, visit the Avessada Winery to sample the finest vintages of this area and savor a delectable lunch. You’ll enjoy scenic cruising in the afternoon, giving you the opportunity to relax and take in your postcard-pretty surroundings.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Pocinho / Barca d'Alva

Enjoy more scenic sailing before an excursion to Figueria Castelo Rodrigo. This medieval town features some fascinating architectural accents, including 16th century facades and Manuelino-style windows. You’ll also savor 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 demonstration of the making of cod fish cakes, one of the region’s famed delicacies. Tonight, enjoy a delicious Captain's dinner with your fellow travelers.

Culinary Feature: Get a taste for regional delicacies during an onboard cooking lesson in the Captains’ Club. This morning: Portuguese cod fish cakes, or Bolinho de Bacalhau.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Barca d'Alva / Disembarkation / Madrid

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 before we continue to Madrid. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a delicious Farewell Dinner at the hotel. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 12:


Explore this vibrant city today. Truly one of the world’s great capitals, Madrid is teeming with fascinating sights. Your included tour will take you on a panoramic drive through the city, including the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Cibele’s fountain, and more. 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.

Included Meals:

Optional Tour: Toledo


  • Approximate Cost: $99 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 5 hours
  • Location: Toledo, Spain
  • When: Afternoon
In the UNESCO World Heritage City of Toledo, southwest of Madrid, visitors enjoy a cross-sectional view of Spanish heritage spanning more than 2,000 years. Buildings dating to the Roman era have been repurposed and transformed by decoration by successive rulers, from the Visigoths to the Moors, right through the Spanish Civil War! Within the city walls you’ll find exquisite examples of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian houses of worship, proving that at one time, people of different religions could exist peacefully side-by-side. Your tour includes a stop at the mountaintop old town, where you’ll find the Alcázar, the cathedral, and the main market square — not to mention show-stopping views over the city!

DAY 13:

Madrid / Return home

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or continue enjoying your time in the Spanish capital on your optional extension.

Included Meals:


Important Notice:The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.

Please Note: Port Times & Itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.

*Note that in this special itinerary, winery visits may occur on days other than advertised

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The Douro: Portugal’s River of Gold & Spain - 2017

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Journey The Douro: Portugal's River of Gold Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley Portugal's River of Gold [OFFER]
Cruise-Only Price [PRICE] $4,149 $2,756 Save up to $2,400 per couple when compared to the competition!
Trip Length [DAYS] 11 days 10 days The Lowest Per-Day Price and the Most Value for Your Travel Investment!
Per diem [PERDIEM] $377 $276 Save up to $104 per person per day!
Cabin Upgrades $150-$300 increments $300-$350 Suites $325-$600 increments $670-$1,400 Suites $100-$600 increments $1,500 suites Lowest Price to Upgrade Your Cabin Choice!
Included Tours 9 Included Tours, Plus 5 UNESCO sites 8 Included Tours, Plus 5 UNESCO sites 8 Included Tours, Plus 4 UNESCO sites Most Included Tours! 6 Christmas markets, most time in Budapest & Vienna, Private classical concert in Vienna
Special Features Port Wine tastings; Wine cave visit; Dinner at Alpendurada Monastery; Visit Mateus House; Cooking demonstration onboard; Flamenco show onboard; Tuna show on board; Portuguese Folk music show, lectures, and HARVEST FESTIVAL on select departures! Complimentary use of bicycles,lectures, wine tasting Sample port wines, flamenco show, lecture Experience the Best of Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro River Valley with More Cultural Connections
Meals 26 meals + complimentary Wine/beer/soda with dinner 24 meals 23 meals The Most meals ashore!
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