Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley 2013
8 days with Uniworld
Day 1: Porto (embark)
Arrive to the ship docked in Porto and embark. (D)
Day 2: Porto, Bitetos
Featured Excursions: Choice of Porto city tour OR Ribeira District walking tour
Birthplace of Henry the Navigator, who launched Portugal’s voyages of exploration, and longtime hub of the trade in Port wine, Porto combines well-preserved historic buildings with cutting-edge architecture and a booming cultural revival. Your tour will take you to the 19th-century Palácio da Bolsa, with its famous Moorish Revival-style Arab Room; the austere hilltop cathedral with its amazing views of the city below; and the vivacious pedestrian shopping street, Santa Catarina. If you prefer, you can explore the UNESCO-designated Ribeira district on foot; the colorful heart of the old port city entices you with Medieval lanes and zigzagging stairways. After lunch, stop by the prestigious Port wine cellars in Cais de Gaia for an introduction to the country’s namesake wine. Then it’s all hands on deck— or perhaps in your luxurious stateroom—as the ship sets sail up the Douro for Bitetos. (BB, L, D)
Day 3: Régua, Pinhão
Featured Excursions: Mateus Palace and Gardens, Douro Museum, and dinner at Quinta da Avessada
Today you enter Port wine country. The Douro River winds through 100 miles of granite mountains, carving out a valley whose steep slopes hold terraces that were cut by hand into the rocky soil and planted with grapes centuries ago. A stop at the Douro Museum in Régua will introduce you to the oldest delimited wine-growing region in the world, while Mateus Palace and Gardens, with one of the most beautiful gardens in the country, shows you what Port can build. These are exciting times in the Douro region, as a group of dedicated winemakers are rapidly shifting the focus from Port to table wines, producing bottles of premium red—and even some white wines. Is the Douro the next great wine region to be discovered? Taste and decide for yourself. Begin your discovery of the region with a tour of the family-owned Quinta da Avessada, which produces premium Moscatel. Tramp between the vines with the vineyard’s owner, who will tell you how he cultivates the grapes he grows, and pause to look out over the lovely hillsides at the river far below. Inside the old stone walls of the winery, which was founded in the 1750s, partake in a rustic local dinner, complete with live traditional music. It’s a merry evening, capped off by a glass of fine local wine. (BB, L, D)
Day 4: Pinhão, Vega de Terrón (Spain)
Featured Excursion: Wine tasting at a local quinta
Pinhão is the epicenter of the Port winemaking, so it is only fitting you visit a quinta to learn the history of, and sample, the country’s most celebrated beverage. In the afternoon, enjoy the breathtaking scenery while sailing the remote Douro Valley. (BB, L, Captain’s Dinner)
Day 5: Vega de Terrón (Salamanca, Spain)
Featured Excursion: Full-day Salamanca tour with traditional Spanish lunch and flamenco show
From Vega de Terrón, on the Spanish border, travel overland to Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage city. This charming town is untouched in its architectural purity, and throughout the centuries the sandstone buildings have gained an exquisite golden glow, giving the city the nickname the “Golden City.” Visit Salamanca’s historic university before having lunch with a flamenco show at a local restaurant. (BB, L, D)
Day 6: Barca d'Alva (Castelo Rodrigo), Régua
Featured Excursion: Castelo Rodrigo tour
Visit the 12th-century walled village of Castelo Rodrigo, a charming and captivating place with Medieval streets, thick stonewall houses, and a remarkably distinctive fountain, Chafariz dos Pretos. (BB, L, D)
Day 7: Porto (Guimarães)
Featured Excursions: Choice of Guimarães city tour OR “Hidden Treasures of Porto” walking tour
Visit historic Guimarães, Portugal’s first capital back in the 12th century and home to its first king, Don Afonso Henriques. It has been called the birthplace of the Portuguese nation. Dominated by Afonso Henriques’s grand castle, Guimarães was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its extraordinarily well-preserved city center. Or opt to discover some of Porto’s hidden treasures, visiting such highlights as the church of São Francisco, with its amazing gilded woodwork, and the beautiful Art Nouveau bookstore Lello—with a coffee break at a traditional pasteleria. Later, enjoy dinner while sailing to the mouth of the Douro River. (BB, L, D)
Day 8: Porto (disembark), transfer to the airport
Disembark the ship and transfer to the Porto airport for your flight home. (CB/BB)
All This Included
The Douro River, rising in Spain and reaching the Atlantic Ocean in Porto, has created the spectacular Douro River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rambling vineyards and charming native farms called quintas cling to the steep sides of the Douro River Valley,
creating an incomparable backdrop to one of Europe’s most unspoiled regions and to Port country—the oldest demarcated wine region in the world.
Explore the seven hills of cosmopolitan Lisbon, uncovering a treasure trove of Old World architecture. Visit Coimbra, the “Birthplace of Kings”; Porto, the beautiful “City of Bridges,” with its UNESCO World Heritage-designated Medieval city center and UNESCO Palacio de Bolsa; Guimarães, which has its own UNESCO-listed Medieval city center and is a 2012 European Cultural Capital; and Salamanca, Spain, another declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Taste a variety of local wines from village vineyards, including Port wine, the region’s sweet fortified wine. Feast on a traditional meal with wine quinta overlooking the Douro Valley and enjoy a traditional Spanish-style lunch complete with a flamenco show. Along the way,
uncover a land of genuine beauty and breathtaking charm, and meet warm-hearted, friendly people with welcoming open arms.
7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the chic Douro Spirit.
All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients.
7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners.
1 dinner and 2 lunches onshore featuring traditional cuisine in unique settings.
Captain’s Farewell Dinner.
Complimentary soft drinks during lunch onboard; complimentary fine wines, choice of beer, and soft drinks during dinner onboard; bottled water in your stateroom; and 24-hour specialty coffee and tea bar.
9 excursions, fully hosted by English-speaking local guides.
An experienced Cruise Manager and attentive, all English-speaking staff.
State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio headset system on all shore excursions.
Captivating onboard local entertainment.
Signature Lecture: “The Magical Douro River Valley”.
All transfers on arrival and departure days.
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Queen Isabel
Cabin upgrades are available.
Prices exclude additional port charges of $140.
A limited number of singles are available for an additional supplement.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.
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