4 DAYS FROM $1,499
4 DAYS FROM $699
*Note that in this special itinerary, winery visits may occur on days other than advertised.
With its Mediterranean beaches and famous Las Ramblas promenade, Barcelona beckons! On this thrilling new extension, you’ll discover the seaside splendor of Barcelona, where tapas, ancient Roman ruins, and Antoni Gaudí’s grand masterworks fuse into a global cultural capital and the ultimate foodie destination. With dozens of museums, and inviting beachfront, and an optional getaway to the mountainous outpost of Montserrat, the city and its spoils are all at your reach from your hotel, which features panoramic city views and a location just steps from the Plaza de España, Gran Via Avenue, and other landmarks. Barcelona reared a young Pablo Picasso, who regarded this Catalonian hub as his true home, and the city continues to be a beacon in a region still living on the cutting edge of design, art, and molecular gastronomy.
Depart home for Spain’s capital city, Madrid.
Depart the U.S. and board an overnight flight to Madrid, Spain.
Arrive in Madrid
Arrive in Spain’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.
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 a walking tour of sites including the Plaza Mayor and Royal Palace. 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.
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.
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 Salamanca and practice our pronunciation during the drive with a Spanish language lesson. Tonight, we’ll board our ship and enjoy a Welcome Drink and Briefing before dinner on board.
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. Cultural Connection: Continuing the culinary theme today, you’ll enjoy an onboard demonstration of a classic Portuguese egg pastry, pastéis de nata, followed by some insightful commentary as we sail leisurely along the Douro. (You'll get to compare your recipe to a local version later in Lisbon.)
Toast the season with a full-day Harvest Celebration at the Avessada Winery Estate
Harvest Season Exclusive: Today will definitely go down as a highlight of this journey after you make 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 light, fruity, fortified Moscatel wine. 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 classic way to celebrate the culture and beauty of the UNESCO-listed Alto Douro Wine Region.
Tour the highlights of Lamego, followed by a regional tasting at a local quinta
Start the day with a visit to a local quinta, where you’ll sample more fantastic regional wines in yet another breathtaking Douro setting. This afternoon, 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.
Harvest Season Exclusive: Before dinner, catch a demonstration on how to open and decant a fine vintage port in preparation for serving, followed by a tasting. Cultural Connection: This evening, we’ll dive into traditional Portuguese folk music with an onboard performance following a delicious Captain’s Dinner.
Enjoy a sampling of vintages and regional delicacies at Aveleda Winery after exploring Régua
A plethora of cultural delights awaits you today! 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. 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.
Harvest Season Exclusive: In the afternoon, we’ll visit Aveleda Winery, a producer of a variety of popular Portuguese wines (many of which are favorites in New England, as well). A tasting will feature Quinta da Aveleda and Casal Garcia rosé wines expertly paired with grilled Portuguese sausage, a cheese and jam spread, and other regional delicacies. Cultural Connection: Back on board this evening, let music carry you back in time when local performers come on board to play music from the '60s, '70s, and '80s.
An exploration of celebrated Oporto, topped with a port wine sampling at a local wine cellar
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.
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. Then, 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: 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.
Tour the historical 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. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Exploring seaside Nazaré and the storied walls of Óbidos
This morning, we’ll disembark the ms Douro Serenity and transfer to the final city on our tour: Lisbon. But first we’ll venture to Nazaré, a beach town famous for its monstrous waves and surfing culture, and Óbidos, where a walking tour will introduce us 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. Tonight, we’ll gather in the hotel restaurant for a Farewell Dinner.
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 more pastéis de nata from a local bakery.
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.
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.
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 continue your travels by transfering to Madeira for your 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.