Day 1 - Porto, Portugal
Arrive in Porto, a World Heritage-listed city straddling a gorge on the Douro River. Embark the Scenic Azure and enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board. (Dinner)
Day 2 - Porto
On a walking tour of Porto’s historic old town, explore medieval treasures, examine famous azulejo tiles, and stroll the waterfront. Visit the Palácio da Bolsa, the city’s old stock exchange, and gaze at the gilded Moorish motifs coating the walls of its Salão Árabe—or Arabian Room. This afternoon we begin our cruise along the Douro, tracing the river through the rural landscapes of northern Portugal. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 - Guimarães/Douro Valley
Delve into history at the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança in Guimarães, Portugal’s first capital and the birthplace of its first king, Afonso Henriques; or venture to the stunning Quinta da Aveleda winery and gardens in the Vinho Verde wine region, where we’ll sip on this producer’s famous sparkling whites.
Glide into the stunning Douro Valley this afternoon and stop in Peso da Régua to visit the Douro Museum for an introduction to the area and its wine-making history. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 - Douro Valley
We continue our exploration of the Douro Valley at the skeletal ruins of the 12th-century Mosteiro de São João de Tarouca, Portugal’s first Cistercian monastery.
En route to the site, stroll the Ponte de Ucanha, a fortified medieval toll bridge, then wander the abandoned monks’ quarters and restored church. Alternatively, choose to tour the elegant town of Lamego, home to a stunning baroque staircase leading to the Senhora dos Remédios pilgrimage church; or join a guide to explore the opulent Mateus Palace, famously featured on bottles of Mateus rosé. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 - On the Douro
Take in scenes from the Douro Valley from the comfort of the ship lounge as we wind our way past the charming terra-cotta-roofed towns and vine-striped hillsides that earned the region its World Heritage designation. Enjoy the amenities on board, including a plunge pool, fitness center, and expansive sundeck. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 - Salamanca, Spain
Cross into Spain for a visit to Salamanca. Take in the city’s Renaissance splendor on a guided city tour, then enjoy some time to explore on your own. Gaze at façades of golden sandstone, soak in the grandeur of the Plaza Mayor, and see the pair of cathedrals that crown the city. Enjoy lunch in town, with live entertainment from flamenco dancers before a visit to the historic university in the afternoon. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 - Côa Valley, Portugal
Venture into the Côa Valley and visit the Côa Museum to learn about the prehistoric rock art at the World Heritage-listed Foz Côa, where thousands of stone carvings created over thousands of years have been found. Opt to ride a 4x4 vehicle to the archaeological site, and set out on a hike to view these fascinating carvings. You may instead choose to paddle a canoe along the pristine Sabor River, a rugged tributary to the Douro that has remained virtually undeveloped. Or set out on a culinary excursion to the Casa Painova estate and taste their delicious almond and olive products.
Tonight, local musicians join us on board to perform traditional Portuguese songs. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 - Provesende
Drive into the hills of the Douro Valley to the time-locked town of Provesende, perched high above the river. Wander the stone streets of this quaint village, and get a glimpse into daily life here while meeting with local residents. Pop into the town bakery, enjoy a special recital in the church, and sip on wine at the charming Morgadio da Calçada manor house.
Later, visit the Quinta da Roêda estate to try their famous ports and, if you wish, walk among the vines for a special al fresco tasting. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 - Porto
Relax on board today and enjoy a tasting of Douro Valley wines as we sail back toward Porto.
This evening, head to Porto’s Igreja de São Francisco for a private concert in this baroque church’s spectacular gilded nave. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10 - Porto
Cruise just beyond the city to the Douro Estuary, home to a nature reserve harboring an array of birds, including kingfishers, cormorants, and several species of heron.
Set out on an extended walking tour from the edge of town into the reserve, spotting birdlife amid the salt marshes. Meet fishermen returning with the day's catch along the way, and sample fresh sardines grilled on an open fire. There are also options today to visit Porto’s oldest canning factory, or go for a tasting in one of the city’s most celebrated port cellars. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 - Porto > Madrid
Today you’ll board your included flight from Porto to Madrid. On arrival transfer to your luxurious hotel, your residence for the next three nights. (Breakfast)
Day 12 - Madrid
This morning, enjoy a tour of Madrid, including the 17th century Austrian Quarter, the Sabatini Gardens and the famous Cibeles and Neptuno Fountains.
This afternoon, you can choose between the exceptional Prado Museum, or the equally delightful 18th century Royal Palace of Madrid.
This evening, enjoy fine Spanish cuisine in a superb local restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 13 - Madrid
Today is yours to enjoy at leisure in Spain’s largest city. Stroll the fashionable boutiques that adorn the city centre’s many plazas, relax in one of Madrid’s manicured gardens, or simply explore the surrounding area. (Breakfast)
Day 14 - Madrid
After breakfast, with memories of a truly unforgettable journey, you’ll be transferred to Madrid airport. (Breakfast)
In northern Portugal, the Douro River curves through the terraced vineyards of Douro wine country, a World Heritage-designated region celebrated for its spectacular beauty and centuries-old viticulture. Step back in time in medieval villages, examine world-renowned rock art, and cross into Spain to roam the Renaissance streets of Salamanca. Along the way, taste excellent wines in the cellars of Porto and historic countryside estates, and listen to traditional rhythms of fado and flamenco in spectacular settings.
These departures will be accompanied by a National Geographic expert who will give talks throughout the week and join guests on off-ship excursions. Additionally, a National Geographic photographer will be on board to share techniques and help guests hone their photography skills. We've added extra choice excursions as well, from hikes and bike rides to in-depth learning experiences that focus on the natural world, culture, and history.
National Geographic Expert, Sergio Coimbra
Sergio Coimbra helped launch and served as the first Editor-in-Chief of the Portuguese edition of National Geographic magazine. He was born in Mozambique, a former Portuguese territory, then moved with his family to Portugal while still a boy. He began his journalism career travelling extensively in Europe and Africa and covering hard-news stories such as the siege of Sarajevo, the “troubles” in Northern Ireland, and the war of independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. Sergio went on to become the Editor-in-Chief of Portugal’s leading travel magazine, where he explored the beauty and wonders of our world. In 2000, he was named the Director of National Geographic Portugal. In this role, he helped internationalize National Geographic’s Explorers Program, launched a Portuguese version of the National Geographic Bee, and encouraged other endeavors to promote a better understanding of the planet. In 2005, Sergio set off on his own voyage of discovery within Portugal to deepen his understanding of his country’s cultural and geographical resources. The result of the trip was his book Passeios com o Moby—literally Travels with Moby. In this tribute to John Steinbeck’s classic Travels with Charlie, he compares the Portugal he experienced at 12 with the country today. Sergio is a member of Sociedade Geografia de Lisboa, the guardian of historical documents from the Portuguese Age of Discovery and its overseas territories, and of Real Associacao de Lisboa, an institution that promotes and preserves Portugal’s heritage.
National Geographic Photographer, Krista Rossow
For more than a decade, Krista Rossow has worked as a photographer, photo editor, and educator for National Geographic. She began her career as a photo editor at National Geographic Traveler magazine, where she shaped compelling stories from world-class imagery. In her freelance career, she has shot feature stories for Traveler in South Africa, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Japan, and various U.S. cities. Her images are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection, and she regularly judges Instagram contests for @NatGeoTravel and photo edits for National Geographic Books. Krista also travels with National Geographic Expeditions teaching photography around the world–from the Galápagos Islands, Patagonia, and Morocco to Alaska, Antarctica, and the Arctic. She enjoys photographing throughout Europe and the Iberian Peninsula as well, drawn to the way of life in Portugal and Spain. Krista sees the camera as a passport to exploring new places and cultures, and she looks forward to sharing insights on how to tell the story of people and places through images.
In the company of a National Geographic expert, see the fascinating engravings of Foz Côa—widely considered the world’s most important open-air Paleolithic rock art site.
Explore the wetlands at the edge of Porto on a morning walk, looking for birdlife and meeting fisherman as they pull in with their catch. Attend on board photo talks led by a National Geographic photographer, and practice landscape shots on the sinuous vineyards that flank the Douro.
Enjoy a festive flamenco performance in Salamanca and a private concert in the spectacular gilded nave of Porto’s Igreja de São Francisco.
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.