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Fly to Madrid
Depart the U.S. and board an overnight flight to Madrid, Spain.
Welcome to Spain! Enjoy a Welcome Dinner tonight
Arrive in Spain’s capital city. 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 on the optional pre-trip extension to Barcelona will meet up with fellow travelers on Day 2. Enjoy a Welcome Briefing and Dinner this evening.
Uncover Madrid’s charms during a city tour, and a stirring flamenco show
Explore vibrant Madrid on on a coach and walking tour that leads you 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 de San Miguel for an included tapas tasting! The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to further explore, or, view the works of Spanish masters such as Goya and Velázquez at the renowned Prado Museum on an optional tour. Tonight, witness Spanish history come to life during a stirring flamenco dinner show. 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.
Discover Salamanca’s Old City and embark your Douro river cruise
Discover the magic of Salamanca on a walking tour. Then, explore the 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 Barca d'Alva after lunch; practice your pronunciation during the drive with a with a language lesson and introduction to Portugal. Afterward, transfer to the pier and embark the m/s Douro Serenity. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Drink and Briefing before your first dinner on board.
Journey back to medieval times in Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
Turn back the clock 600 years today on a coach and walking tour of the fortified hill town of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. A walking tour takes you to the city’s old walls, 16th-century pillory, the local parish church, and more. You’ll also enjoy a small tasting of local products here, which will introduce you to the culinary culture of the area. Continuing the culinary theme today, you can later participate in an onboard demonstration of the classic Portuguese egg pastry, pastéis de nata. (You'll get to compare your recipe to a local version later in Lisbon.) You'll also enjoy an authentic Portuguese tea experience — complete with pastries — while learning about the traditions surrounding tea drinking and tea production.
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!
Mateus Manor House and Garden and Quinta da Avessada
Spend the morning at the magnificent 18th-century Mateus Manor House and Garden. On a walking tour, discover this sweeping baroque property and palace, including a maze of manicured hedgerows, elegant parterres, and a lake reflecting the palace in its mirror-still surface. Lunchtime brings you to Quinta da Avessada, where you’ll meet the winery host, view generations of wine production, and come closer to a true understanding of this region's way of life. Many of our travelers rave that this is the best meal on the cruise! After dinner tonight, gather in the lounge for a movie and popcorn.
Highlights of Lamego and an evening of traditional entertainment
After breakfast, get “A Look Inside Portugal” with another lecture, then visit a local quinta to sample more fantastic regional wines in yet another breathtaking Douro setting. Return to the ship for lunch as you sail to Lamego, site of your afternoon explorations. This quaint town is 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 a former episcopal palace that’s now the Lamego Museum, which houses a collection of works by Portuguese painter Grão Vasco. Tonight, experience traditional Portuguese fado music with an onboard performance and attend the Captain's Dinner.
Tour Régua before sampling local vintages at Aveleda Winery
A plethora of cultural delights awaits you today! Begin the day in Régua to 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. Lunch is on board as the ship sails to Bitetos. Here, a short drive brings us to Aveleda Winery for a tasting of Vinho Verde and snacks. Enjoy dinner on board tonight, then let music transport you back in time when local performers come on board to play favorites from the '60s, '70s, and '80s.
Discover Porto and enjoy a port wine sampling at a local wine cellar
After breakfast, get insights into Portugal's booming cork industry as you sail to the port wine capital of Porto. No visit to Porto is complete without enjoying its signature wine, of course! So, we’ll seek our port-wine at one of the city’s best-known cellars. Lunch is back on board before a panoramic city tour of Porto, including a visit to the historic center — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — and the market area. 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 reembark the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure in Porto. Later, enjoy a special “World of Discoveries” themed dinner on board.
The storied walls of Óbidos and seaside Nazaré; disembarking the ship in Lisbon
This morning, say goodbye to the m/s Douro Serenity and transfer to the final city on your tour: Lisbon. On the way, stop for lunch in Nazaré, a beach town famous for its monstrous waves and surfing culture before exploring Óbidos. Tonight, gather in the hotel restaurant for a Farewell Dinner.
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.
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 São Jorge Castle, which offers a stunning overlook of the 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 at numerous restaurants (all offering fresh regional specialties!) and take in the postcard-perfect scenery before returning to the ship this evening.
Fly home — or head to Madeira on an optional extension
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or continue your travels by next heading to the island of Madeira 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.