Portugal & Spain: Treasures Along the Golden Douro - 2019

Lisbon • Oporto • Entre-os-Rios • Régua • Pinhão • Barca d'Alva • Salamanca • Madrid
  • ADMIRE STUNNING SCENERY AS YOU CRUISE ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST PICTURESQUE LOCALES, THE DOURO RIVER VALLEY
  • ENJOY A PANORAMIC CITY TOUR OF LISBON'S HIGHLIGHTS, INCLUDING THE MONUMENT TO DISCOVERIES
  • CITY TOUR OF OPORTO, CHIEF EXPORT CITY OF PORT WINE, WITH AN INCLUDED PORT WINE CELLAR VISIT
  • VISIT LAMEGO, KNOWN FOR ITS BAROQUE-STYLE SHRINE DEDICATED TO OUR LADY OF REMEDIES
  • DISCOVER MADRID, ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST HISTORIC AND COSMOPOLITAN CAPITALS
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  • $285
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  • 14
    DAYS
  • 28
    TOURS
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Barcelona, Spain

4 DAYS FROM $1,499

Madeira, Portugal

4 DAYS FROM $699

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Follow the “river of gold” on this sweeping cruise through Portugal and Spain that showcases the culture, history, and wine of the Douro River Valley, arguably the world’s most beautiful wine region. From craggy granite bluffs to vineyard-laced hillsides, you’ll savor the views — and the vintages — of quaint quintas and picturesque wineries lining the storied Douro. You’ll also explore Lisbon — Portugal’s romantic cultural darling — as well as Porto, the seaside town renowned for its signature tipple, and Madrid, Spain’s regal and energetic metropolis. Experience as many as five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Salamanca’s Old City and the preserved ancient town of Guimarães, Portugal’s original first capital and the cradle of the Portuguese identity.

You’ll discover the bucolic hideaways, timeworn charm, and grand palaces of Portugal and Spain aboard the 124-passenger ms Douro Serenity, a brand-new, privately chartered river vessel. Maximize your time with pre- and post-trip extensions to Madeira and Barcelona on this traveler favorite, now with additional dates for the 2019 season!

Lisbon to Madrid

Pre-Trip Extension

Madeira, Portugal

FROM: $699 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $175 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Depart home for Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon

Depart the U.S. and board an overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal.

DAY 2:

Arrive in Lisbon

Arrive in Portugal’s capital. 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.

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

Tour Lisbon’s famed monuments

Wake up to views of Lisbon’s famed hillsides. This sloping city is a delight to explore on foot, with cobblestoned alleyways lined with shops, historical discoveries, and endless nooks and crannies — not to mention cinematic views of the Tagus River the higher you trek.

Begin the day with a guided panoramic tour of Lisbon’s famed monuments, including Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to 1514. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure by exploring Lisbon’s cobblestoned charm on your own. Cultural Connection: During your city tour, you’ll sample a classic Portuguese pastry: pastéis de nata. One taste of this creamy egg custard wrapped in buttery, flaky crust, and you’ll see why this is Portugal’s favorite treat!

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 4:

Further explore historical Lisbon on your own, or opt for a scenic coastal tour

Enjoy a day at leisure today. You might take our optional day tour down the scenic Portuguese coast to the UNESCO town of Sintra — home of the opulent, Moorish Sintra Palace — and onward to the fishing village of Cascais and its dramatic seaside cliffs, sweeping beaches, and bustling marina.

Or, further your Lisbon explorations with a taste of the city’s dynamic culinary scene at a gourmet market or by sampling local seafood in one of Lisbon’s celebrated restaurants. Portugal is renowned for bacalhau — dried, salted codfish — as well as its tinned seafood, much of which is sardines, and you’ll find these delicacies almost everywhere.

Active travelers can embark on a hike through Lisbon’s trademark seven hills for must-see views of the city or head over to the Castelo neighborhood for a trek up to Sao Jorge Castle. This Moorish fortress offers a stunning overlook of the entire city and shopping opportunities for everything from local pottery to Portugal’s famous azulejo tiles.

Included Meals:

Breakfast
Optional Tour: Sintra & the Coast of Portugal

Sintra & the Coast of Portugal

  • Approximate Cost: $59 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 6 hours
  • Location: Portugal
  • When: Full-day tour

Your coastal trek begins in the town of Sintra; 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. Later, your tour continues 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 returning to the ship this evening.


DAY 5:

The storied walls of Óbidos and the seaside town of Nazaré, then embark your ship in Porto

Today, head to the port wine capital of Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city featuring a charming tangle of alleyways, a walkable and historic center, and an unmistakably hip vibe that juxtaposes the city’s myriad architectural styles.

But first you’ll explore Óbidos, where a walking tour will introduce you to one of Portugal’s prettiest towns — so pretty, in fact, that Óbidos was gifted to Queen Isabel from King Dinis on their wedding day in 1282. You’ll also venture to Nazaré, a beach town famous for its monstrous waves and surfing culture, before we reach Porto. Here, we’ll embark the ms Douro Serenity and enjoy a Welcome Reception with fellow travelers. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

An exploration of celebrated Porto, topped with a port wine sampling at a local wine cellar

Following breakfast on board, get to know Porto 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 might also visit stunning Livraria Lello, named one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. Make your way up its famous red spiral staircase (be sure to pause and admire the stained glass skylight as you climb!) and peruse the shelves of this landmark — reportedly an inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series!

Cultural Connection and Unforgettable Moment: No visit to Porto is complete without enjoying its signature wine, of course, so we’ll cross the Douro for a visit to one of the city’s best-known port-wine cellars. Learn about and sample the varieties of this digestif while enjoying the ambience of the surrounding gardens and river views below. Cultural Connection: Back on board this evening, a local artisan will give a talk on “Portuguese Filigree” as you cruise through the Douro River Valley. Following dinner, enjoy a lively performance by a local tuna band.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Tour the historic center of Guimarães

Set off on a guided tour of the historical center of Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inscribed on the city’s castle walls you’ll find the phrase Aqui Nasceu Portugal (“Portugal was born here”), a reference to the country’s first king, Afonso Henriques, who was purportedly born in Guimarães. Cultural Connection: Back on board, a lecture about Portugal’s cork industry will further enhance our understanding of regional wine culture and the ways in which the Portuguese are making use of this versatile material. Then, let music carry you back through the decades as you enjoy a performance by local musicians.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Sample vintages and regional delicacies at Aveleda Winery before touring Régua

A plethora of cultural delights awaits you today! Cultural Connection: We begin the day at Aveleda Winery, a producer of a variety of popular Portuguese wines (many of which are favorites in New England, as well). You’ll enjoy a tasting of Vinho Verde expertly paired with grilled Portuguese sausage, a cheese and jam spread, and other regional delicacies before returning to the ship for lunch. Back on board, enjoy an authentic Portuguese tea experience complete with pastries while learning about the traditions surrounding tea drinking and tea production.

This afternoon, we’ll head off on a walking tour of Régua, including a visit to the Douro Museum, where you’ll learn all about the storied Douro River Valley you’ve already been admiring from the deck of the ship. Tonight, a musical trip joins us on board.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Tour the highlights of Lamego, followed by a regional tasting at a quinta

Today we’ll explore the quaint town of Lamego, filled with terra-cotta rooftops, tree-lined streets, and a 700-step staircase that leads to the grand Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. Climb all 700 steps to this church and admire the surrounding gardens filled with monuments, terraces, fountains, and pretty tile mosaics.

Reboard the ship this afternoon and hear a lecture titled “A Look Inside Portugal” as we continue to another local quinta to sample more fantastic regional wines in yet another breathtaking Douro setting. Cultural Connection: This evening, experience the tradition of Portuguese folk music as you enjoy a performance on board.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Wander the fabulous Mateus Manor House and Gardens before sampling vintages at Avessada Winery

Watch the magnificent palace depicted on Mateus rosé wine bottles come to life as we spend the morning at the 18th-century Mateus Manor House and Gardens. This sweeping baroque property houses a maze of manicured hedgerows, elegant parterres, and a lake that reflects the palace in its mirror-still surface. Cultural Connection: Lunchtime finds us at the Avessada Winery, where you’ll sample more fine vintages and a delectable lunch. Cultural Connection & Culinary Feature: Back on the ship, delve into the recipe behind pastéis de nata, one of Portugal’s favorite treats, during an onboard cooking lesson.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Savor Portugal’s culinary culture at Figueira Castelo Rodrigo

We’ll venture on shore today on a visit to the fortified hill town of Figueira Castelo Rodrigo. With its preserved medieval architecture, a visit here truly feels like turning back the clock 600 years. Visit the old walls, the 16th-century pillory, the local parish church, and more on a walking tour. You’ll also enjoy a small tasting of local products here, introducing you to the culinary culture of the area.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

Explore Salamanca’s ornate architecture 

The word “magical” is often used to describe Salamanca, and you’ll find out why on a walking tour of the city today. Unforgettable Moment: Explore Salamanca’s Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about the revered University of Salamanca and its students who infuse the city with even more character and vitality. 

You’ll also see the town’s grand cathedral and baroque Plaza Mayor, where you can seek out churros and do some shopping and independent wandering. We’ll depart for Madrid after lunch on our own; practice your pronunciation during the drive with a Spanish language lesson. Tonight, we’ll gather for a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 13:

Uncover Madrid’s charms during a city tour

Truly one of the world’s great capitals, Madrid is teeming with fascinating sights in a swirling, lively, cosmopolitan setting. You’ll begin exploring this vibrant city on foot, walking the new Madrid-Rio area, savoring city views, and passing multiple other historic monuments. Unforgettable Moment: Embark on a panoramic drive and walking tour that includes the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to further explore, or head to the renowned Prado Museum on an optional tour. Cultural Connection: Tonight, witness Spanish history and intoxicating culture come to life during a stirring flamenco dinner show.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Prado Museum Tour

Prado Museum Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $59 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Madrid, Spain
  • When: Afternoon tour
Welcome to Madrid’s treasured Prado Museum, one of the world’s greatest art galleries. Located in the eponymous street, El Paseo del Prado, you’ll find a dazzling display of priceless works by European masters such as Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens, and Bosch. The sheer scale of this museum’s collection can be daunting, so you’ll begin your tour with the expertise of a guide before having free time to explore further on your own.

DAY 14:

Spend a day exploring Madrid at your leisure, or opt for a tour of Toledo

Enjoy a free day to pursue your own interests — wander the city’s many squares, shop for espadrilles and other classic Spanish products, and get your fill of tapas — or set off on an optional tour to nearby Toledo and the charming, narrow lanes of its UNESCO-listed historic center on the Tagus River.

Included Meals:

Breakfast
Optional Tour: Toledo

Toledo

  • Approximate Cost: $99 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 6 hours
  • Location: Toledo, Spain
  • When: Full-day tour
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 15:

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or remain in the city for your optional extension

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or continue your travels by heading next to Barcelona on an optional extension.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Post-Trip Extension

Barcelona, Spain

FROM: $1499 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $375 PER DAY

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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Portugal & Spain: Treasures Along the Golden Douro - 2019

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VantageViking River CruisesUniworldVantage Advantage
JourneyThe Douro: Portugal's River of Gold & SpainPortugal's River of GoldJewels of Spain, Portugal2-for-1 Cruise Prices & up to 2-for-1 Airfare! The BEST Value in River Cruising.
Cruise-Only Price*14 Days from $3,79910 Days from $2,79913 Days from $5,899The BEST pricing & Greatest value compared to our competitors.
Per Diem$271 per day$280 per day$454 per daySave up to $366 per couple per day - that's a total of $5,124 for 14 days.
Ship & StateroomsThe Brand New 126-passenger ms Douro Serenity offer all staterooms with glorious view (cabin size ranges from 150-323 sq ft). While aboard, take advantage of the handsome, single-seating restaurant, bar/lounge, spa treatment room, pool deck, and gym. Watch the magnificent scenery of the valley unfold from your stylishly decorated cabin, which also offers individual air conditioning, a TV with Video on Demand, and a private bath with shower.The ship features a restaurant, lounge, and bar, and a sun deck with lounge chairs. Laundry and ironing services are available for a small fee. There are no dry cleaning services on board. There is an elevator that serves the three inner decks. The Sun Deck is served by a chair lift.Viking Torgil offer you a choice of stateroom category (cabin size ranges from 155-302 sq ft). The 118-passenger Queen Isabel has Suites and Staterooms from 161-323 sq ft. Join us and unpack just once! We have the most square footage on lower and bottom cabins, plus the best Suite Life Deal in the cruise business!
Single TravelersSingle-friendly prices, with last-minute single offers based upon availability. 100% Single SupplementA limited number of singles are available for an additional supplement. Single-friendly prices!
Included Tours14 Included Tours,12 Cultural Connections, Plus 4 UNESCO sites8 included tours5 UNESCO sites11 Included Tours, Plus 6 UNESCO sitesThe most complimentary bikes, culinary demos, and included features—exclusive to Vantage travelers!The most Included tours, and special harvest dates!
Special FeaturesExclusive harvest season departures with added tastings and tours!All dates feature port wine tastings; wine cave visit; dinner at Alpendurada Monastery; Mateus House visit; Cooking demonstrations onboard; Flamenco show; Tuna show on board; Portuguese Folk music show, lectures, and more!Sample wines, flamenco show, lectureComplimentary use of bicycles,lectures, wine tastingExperience the Best of Lisbon, Spain, and the Douro River Valley with more Cultural Connections & exclusive features
Meals30 meals + complimentary wine/beer/soda with dinner22 meals28 mealsThe most meals ashore-get a true taste of your destination with local cuisine!
Discover More4 days Madrid from $999 per person, 4 days Barcelona from $1439 per person3 days Lisbon starting at $699
 3 days Madrid, starting at $6993 days Santiago, starting at $499
No extension choicesThe best choices at the best price—we are the ONLY company to feature Madeira, one of our top-rated extensions!
10 Ways to SaveEnjoy traveler referral rewards & SmartPay early-payment savings plan: Save up to $1800 per couple combining maximum SmartPay savings and Past Traveler Discounts (based on a $6,000 trip cost)Past travelers rewards – reserve trip within one year — $200 per person; within two years $100 per person.NoneThe Best Travel Rewards Program in the Market

*Prices are subject to change and based on comparable departure months.
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