4 DAYS FROM $1,499
4 DAYS FROM $699
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!
Depart home for Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon
Depart the U.S. and board an overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal.
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.
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 the UNESCO World Heritage 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, you'll sample a classic Portuguese pastry: pastéis de nata. One taste of this creamy egg custard wrapped in buttery, flaky crust, and it's easy to see why this is 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 quiet fishing village of Cascais.
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.
The storied walls of Óbidos and the seaside town of Nazaré, then embark your ship in Oporto
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 Óbidos , where you’ll enjoy a walking tour through this beautifully preserved walled town that was once part of the “Queen’s Estate.” Known as the "Wedding Present Town", Óbidos was gifted to Queen Isabel from King Dinis on their wedding day in 1282. Later, you’ll make another stop in the seaside town of Nazaré, a beach famous for its monstrous waves and surfing culture. Then it’s onward to Oporto, where you’ll embark the ms Douro Serenity and enjoy a Welcome Reception with fellow travelers. Cultural Connection & Culinary Feature: Delve into the recipe behind one of Portugal's favorite treats during an onboard cooking lesson before dinner. This evening: Portuguese egg tart pastries, or pastéis de nata.
An exploration of celebrated Oporto, topped with a port wine sampling at a local wine cellar
Following breakfast on board, 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 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 and Unforgettable Moment: One can’t visit Oporto without enjoying its signature wine, of course, so you'll head across the river for 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. Cultural Connection: Back on board this evening, enjoy a "Portuguese Filigree" presentation by a local artisan as you cruise along the lovely Douro River Valley. Following dinner, 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 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: You'll also attend a fascinating lecture entitled “Society and Economy of Portugal.” Back on board this evening, let music carry you back through the decades as you enjoy a performance by local musicians.
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 with a visit to Aveleda Winery, 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 surrounded tea drinking and tea production.
In the afternoon, we'll embark 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 been admiring from the deck of the ship.
Tour the highlights of Lamego, followed by a regional tasting at Quinta da Roêda
Your day begins with a walking tour of 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. Reboard the ship this afternoon and continue to Quinta da Roêda, where you will get to sample the fantastic wines of the region. Cultural Connection: This evening, experience the tradition of Portuguese folk music as you enjoy a performance on board.
Wander the fabulous Mateus Manor House & Garden before sampling vintages at Avessada Winery
Experience the beauty of the Alto Douro Wine Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Watch the magnificent palace depicted on Mateus rosé wine bottles come to life as we spend the day at the 18th-century Mateus Manor House & Garden. Be sure to admire the baroque architecture and elaborately manicured gardens as you explore this stately property. Later, enjoy a leisurely afternoon of scenic sailing along the Douro. Cultural Connection: This evening finds us at the Avessada Winery, where you'll get a change to sample the finest vintages of this area and savor a delectable dinner.
Savor Portugal’s culinary culture at Figueria Castelo Rodrigo
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 enjoy a small tasting of local products here, introducing you to the culinary culture of the area.
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. After disembarking the ship, 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 and shop. After lunch on our own, we depart for the lively city of Madrid; practice your enunciation during the drive with a Spanish language lesson. Tonight you'll enjoy a delectable Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Uncover the fascinating gems of Madrid during a city tour
Truly one of the world’s great capitals, Madrid is teeming with fascinating sights. 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: Board a panoramic drive to continue your city tour, including the Plaza Mayor, Cybele’s fountain, the memorial Retiro Park, Las Ventas (the bullring), and more, as well as entrance to Royal Palace. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to further explore at your own pace, or you can choose to join an optional guided tour of the Prado Museum. Cultural Connection: Tonight, watch Spanish history and culture combine during a powerful flamenco show, followed by dinner.
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, taking time to soak in the broad range of architectural history or sample its rich culinary traditions — or set off on an optional tour of Toledo and the charming, narrow lanes of its UNESCO-listed historic center.
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.
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.