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Fly to Portugal
Depart the U.S. and board an overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal.
Welcome to Lisbon! Enjoy a Welcome Dinner with fellow travelers tonight
Arrive in Portugal’s capital city today. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, our representative will meet you outside the arrivals area at the airport and assist you with your transfer to the hotel. Travelers who took the optional pre-trip extension to Madeira will meet up with fellow travelers on Day 2. Enjoy a Welcome Briefing and Dinner this evening.
Tour Lisbon’s famed monuments and sample a culinary favorite
Begin the day with a guided panoramic and walking tour of Lisbon’s famed monuments, including Belém Tower and the courtyards of the Jeronimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. During your city tour, you’ll sample a classic Portuguese pastry: the mouthwatering pastéis de Belém. One taste of this creamy egg custard wrapped in buttery, flaky crust, and you’ll see why this is Portugal’s favorite treat! Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure by exploring Lisbon’s cobblestoned charm on your own, perhaps even joining your Cruise Director for a pub crawl.
Explore Lisbon on your own, or get a change of scenery in Sintra and Cascais
A day at leisure lets you decide between more time in Lisbon and an optional day tour exploring the scenic Portuguese coast. You’ll head to the UNESCO town of Sintra — home of the opulent Moorish Castle — and onward to the fishing village of Cascais and its dramatic seaside cliffs, sweeping beaches, and bustling marina. If you stay in Lisbon, active travelers can embark on a hike through the Seven Hills of Lisbon, a trademark for must-see views of the city. Or, you can head over to Castelo neighborhood for a trek up to the São Jorge Castle, which offers stunning city overlooks 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 at numerous restaurants (all offering fresh regional specialties!) and take in the postcard-perfect scenery before returning to the ship this evening.
The storied walls of Óbidos and seaside Nazaré; embarking the 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 historic city center, and an unmistakably hip vibe that makes a delightful contrast to the city’s medieval walls and myriad architectural styles. On the way to Porto, explore Óbidos on a walking tour before venturing to Nazaré, a beach town famous for its monstrous waves and surfing culture. Enjoy lunch here before continuing on to Porto, where you’ll embark the m/s Douro Serenity and enjoy a Welcome Reception with fellow travelers.
Discover Porto and enjoy 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. No visit to Porto is complete without enjoying its signature wine, of course, so you’ll seek out port-wine at one of the city’s best-known cellars. Learn about and sample the varieties of this digestif while enjoying views of Porto and the Douro River. Back on the ship this evening, a local artisan will give a talk on “Portuguese Filigree.” Following dinner, enjoy a lively performance by a local tuna band.
Explore Historic Guimarães or join a walking tour of Porto’s Ribeira district
Enjoy your choice of excursions today: A morning guided tour of the UNESCO-listed historical center and castle of Guimarães, a preserved medieval city; or, discover more of Porto with a walking tour of its oldest district, Ribeira. However you choose to spend the morning, you’ll return to the ship for lunch and scenic sailing toward Bitetos with live commentary. Before dinner on board, learn about Portugal's thriving cork industry in the lounge; then, let music transport you back in time when local performers come on board to play favorites from the '60s, '70s, and '80s.
Scenic sailing: Tonight begins your sail down the UNESCO-listed Douro River, lined with terraced vineyards and quintas, or rural estates. During the length of our cruise, you’ll pass multiple locks and hear onboard commentary on certain stretches, while enjoying slow sailing to savor every view!
Sample vintages and regional delicacies at Aveleda Winery before touring Régua
A plethora of cultural delights awaits you today! Begin the day in Bitetos, where a short drive brings us to Aveleda Winery for an upgraded tasting of Quinta da Aveleda and Casal Garcia rosé wines, expertly paired with grilled Portuguese sausage, a cheese and jam spread, and other regional delicacies. After lunch on board, enjoy an authentic Portuguese tea experience — complete with pastries — while learning about the traditions surrounding regional tea drinking and tea production. In the afternoon, head off on a short walk to Régua and visit its Museu do Douro to learn about the storied Douro River during a lecture and wine tasting. Alternately, skip the museum and explore more of the town on an active walk. Later, delve into the recipe behind pastéis de nata, one of Portugal’s favorite treats, during an onboard cooking lesson.
Harvest Season Exclusive:
Tour the highlights of Lamego, followed by a regional tasting at a local quinta
Today you’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. Your tour begins at the church, then you can descend all 700 steps and admire the surrounding gardens filled with monuments, terraces, fountains, and pretty tile mosaics. You’ll also visit the Lamego Museum, which houses a collection of works by Portuguese painter Grão Vasco. Enjoy lunch on board and an afternoon at leisure, during which you’ll cruise to Pinhão and get “A Look Inside Portugal” with another lecture. Early this evening, venture to another local quinta to sample more fantastic regional wines in yet another breathtaking Douro setting. Before the Captain's Dinner, catch a demonstration on how to open and decant a fine vintage port in preparation for serving, followed by a tasting. Then, experience the tradition of Portuguese folk music during an onboard performance.
Harvest Season Exclusive:
Toast the season with a full-day Harvest Celebration at Quinta da Avessada
Today will go down as a highlight of your journey after you make a special full “Harvest Day” visit to Quinta da Avessada, 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 muscatel wine. Along with a tour of the cellars and museum, 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 of the UNESCO-listed Alto Douro Wine Region. Return to the ship for an afternoon at leisure. After dinner tonight, gather in the lounge for a movie and popcorn.
Harvest Season Exclusive:
Revel in more Portuguese culture at Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
After sailing from Pinhão to Barca d'Alva (where travelers can see Spain in the distance!), turn back the clock 600 years on a visit to the fortified hill town of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. A walking tour introduces its preserved medieval architecture, 16th-century pillory, local parish church, and more. You’ll also enjoy a small tasting of local products here. Later, enjoy a special “World of Discoveries” themed dinner on board with a vintage wine opening.
Harvest Season Exclusive:
Discover Salamanca’s Old City, then head to Madrid
Discover the magic of Salamanca on a walking tour. Then, explore its UNESCO-listed Old City and see the town’s grand cathedral and baroque Plaza Mayor, where you can seek out churros and do some shopping and independent wandering along the town's main street. Lunch, typically tapas, will be on your own. We’ll depart for Madrid after lunch — practice your pronunciation during the drive, with a Spanish language lesson and an introduction to Spain! We'll reach Madrid and check into our centrally-located hotel, close to many restaurants, the Royal Palace, and the famous El Corte Inglés shopping mall (just across the street). Tonight, regroup for a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Tour Madrid’s landmarks, try tapas at the Mercado Central, see what’s new at the Prado Museum, and enjoy a flamenco dinner show
Explore vibrant Madrid on foot, walking through Plaza Sol and Plaza Mayor, savoring city views, and passing multiple other historic monuments. Then, embark on a panoramic drive and walking tour that includes the Atocha Station, Retiro Park, Gran Vía, and an outside look at the Royal Palace. Later, visit the city’s Mercado Central for an included tapas tasting! The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to further explore, or, see what’s on at the renowned Prado Museum on an optional tour. Tonight, witness Spanish history come to life during a stirring flamenco dinner show.
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. (You'll spend two hours in the museum, and another two hours factoring in lunch, sightseeing, and transfer time.)
Explore Madrid at your leisure, or join an optional tour of Toledo
Enjoy a free day to pursue your own interests with recommendations provided by your Cruise Director. 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. The evening is at leisure with dinner on your own.
Return home, or head to Barcelona on an optional extension
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or continue your travels by next heading 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 on our special harvest itineraries, winery visits may occur on days other than advertised.