4 DAYS FROM $1,199
4 DAYS FROM $699
Featuring year-round balmy weather and a trademark fortified wine, the Portuguese island of Madeira also boasts a lushness that earned its label as the “Floating Garden of the Atlantic.” During your three-day stay in the lovely island capital of Funchal, you’ll enjoy a half-day city tour and immersion into local island life. You’ll peruse the covered market at the edge of the Old Town and visit a local wine cellar, where you’ll savor the island’s titular Madeira wine. You’ll also have the option of an espetada evening complete with dinner and a folklore show, and a chance to explore the Madeira’s natural wonders on an island and botanical garden tour. Raise a glass to this oceanic outpost — the perfect complement to your cruise through the mainland!
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.
Tour Lisbon’s famed monuments, optional Jewish Heritage Walking Tour
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 and the courtyards of the Monastery of Jerónimos, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure by exploring Lisbon’s cobblestoned charm on your own, or join an optional Jewish Heritage Walking Tour, which takes you inside the city’s historical Jewish sites, including the local synagogue, the Alfama Quarter, the Baixa district, and more! 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.
The storied walls of Óbidos and the seaside town of Nazaré, then embark 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, where you’ll have lunch before continuing on to Porto. Here, you’ll embark the m/s Douro Serenity and enjoy a Welcome Reception with fellow travelers.
Cultural Connection: Following dinner, enjoy a lively performance by a local tuna band.
Choice of tours in Porto, plus an excursion to Aveleda Winery
Following breakfast on board, you’ll have your choice of tours: 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 — or a walking tour of Porto’s riverside Ribeira neighborhood, one of the oldest, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cultural Connection: This afternoon, join an excursion to 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.
Cultural Connection: Back on board, a lecture about Portugal’s cork industry will further enhance your 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 a local trio.
Régua walking tour, visiting quaint Lamego
Enjoy scenic morning sailing before embarking 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. This afternoon, head to 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.
Portuguese tea time, touring Figueira Castelo Rodrigo
Cultural Connection: During this morning’s sailing, enjoy an authentic Portuguese tea time complete with pastries while learning about the traditions surrounding tea drinking and tea production.
This afternoon you’ll visit 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.
Explore Salamanca’s Old City and its Mercado Central
The word “magical” is often used to describe Salamanca, and you’ll find out why on a full-day 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, and visit the Salamanca Mercado Central (Central Market), housed in a historic 19th-century building. Here, you’ll enjoy a sampling of local products, and you might also seek out churros, tapas, and more with provided lunch money. You’ll also have time for shopping and independent wandering, too.
Culinary demos, visits to Avessada Winery and Mateus Manor House
Cultural Connection and Culinary Feature: While morning sailing brings you back into Portugal, you’ll delve into the recipe behind pastéis de nata, one of the country’s favorite treats, during an onboard cooking lesson.
Cultural Connection: Head to the Avessada Winery, where you’ll sample more fine vintages and a delectable lunch. Then watch the magnificent palace depicted on Mateus rosé wine bottles come to life as we spend the afternoon 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: This evening, experience the tradition of Portuguese folk music as you enjoy a performance on board.
Porto’s signature tipple, a guided tour of UNESCO-listed Guimarães
During morning sailing to Porto, enjoy another Cultural Connection: A lecture titled “A Look Inside Portugal.” Unforgettable Moment: and Cultural Connection No visit to Porto is complete without enjoying its signature wine, of course, so you’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.
Afterward, 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 this evening, a local artisan will give a talk on “Portuguese Filigree.”
Highlights of Madrid, Mercado Central tapas tasting
Today you’ll disembark the Douro Serenity and head to the Porto airport for a flight to one of the world’s great capitals: Madrid.
Unforgettable Moment: Embark on a panoramic drive and walking tour that includes the Plaza Mayor and the new Madrid-Rio area. Cultural Connection: Later, visit the city’s Mercado Central for an included tapas tasting! Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Uncover Madrid’s charms on your own
Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Madrid on your own. Shopping, museums, food — it’s all here and more. Work with your complimentary worldwide Concierge to plan something catered to your interests or ask your Adventure Leader on recommendations on where to wander and what to eat. Cultural Connection: Tonight, Spanish history and intoxicating culture come to life during a stirring flamenco Farewell 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.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or head to Barcelona for your extension
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or continue your travels by heading boarding a high-speed train 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.