Portugal’s Douro River elegantly meanders its way through beautiful Port wine countryside, a pristine setting of dramatic gorges, steeply terraced vineyards, and traditional wine farms called quintas. Your journey on this unspoiled river features explorations of the historic cities of Lisbon, Porto, and Spain’s “golden city” of Salamanca, plenty of wine tastings and regional culinary treats, an unforgettable meal at a centuries-old monastery, and much more.
The entire crew of the AmaVida deserve a big thank you, especially cruise manager Mariana, who was wonderful, enthusiastic, very friendly, and helpful.
— Pat S., North Oaks, MN
Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.
Arrive in Lisbon, Portugal
Arrive in Lisbon and check into your hotel. The remainder of the day and evening is free to explore on your own.
One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Lisbon sprawls across several hills along the Tagus River. Your city tour visits Belem Tower and the spectacular 16th-century Jerónimos Monastery. You will also see the Discoveries Monument, the city’s most famous monument, built in honor of Portugal’s greatest maritime explorers. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore the city’s other top sights, such as the Castle of São Jorge or the Santa Justa Elevator that overlooks the castle, river, and Rossio Square.
Lisbon / Sintra
Enjoy a morning excursion to Serra de Sintra, one of the loveliest mountain villages in Portugal, a favorite summer residence of the Portuguese royal family for more than 500 years. Long an inspiration for artists and poets, Lord Byron once called it “perhaps the most delightful [village] in Europe.” High up on a rocky peak, you will tour the Castelo da Pena, a wonderful fairytale castle dating from Portugal’s Romantic period. Afterwards, enjoy a wine tasting or time on your own
Lisbon / Fatima / Porto / Embarkation
After breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive through the countryside to Porto. Stop along the way in Fatima, famous for its shrine to the Virgin Mary and a world-renowned pilgrimage site. Explore the town and enjoy lunch on your own before continuing to Porto to board your ship. Gather on board tonight for a Welcome Dinner.
Porto / Régua
Spend a leisurely morning soaking up the beauty of the Douro River as you cruise to Régua, a Portuguese town renowned for its utterly spectacular scenery. After arriving this afternoon, enjoy a port wine tasting at Quinto do Seixo, a lovely 108-acre country estate that offers an interactive wine museum and breathtaking views of steeply terraced hillside vineyards, the Douro River, and the nearby village of Pinhão. All port made here is destined for Sandeman, a company known around the world for its quality wines. Later, you may choose to visit the Douro Museum, which offers a comprehensive and fascinating in-depth look at the unique Douro wine-growing region. Your ship moors in Régua overnight.
Régua / Barca D’alva
This morning, you will have an excursion to ancient and picturesque Lamego, home to one of the most important pilgrimage sites in all of Portugal, the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies). The shrine features a staircase of nearly 700 steps, beautifully decorated with white and blue tiles. Other attractions include a Gothic cathedral, a museum, and charming cafés. This afternoon, enjoy the wild, rugged scenery as your ship cruises through the dramatic gorges of the Douro river valley en route to Barca d’Alva. (B,L,D)
Salamanca, Spain / Vega de Terrón, Portugal
Drive to Salamanca today for a full-day tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, located at the center of Spain’s Castilla y León region. Built of golden sandstone, Salamanca is known as a “living museum,” an opportunity to step back in time to the Middle Ages. During your guided tour, you will see the city’s elegant university buildings, the twin-towered Cathedral, the intriguingly decorated House of Shells, as well as Plaza Mayor, considered the most magnificent main square in Spain. You will rejoin the ship in Vega Terrón, where the ship moors overnight.
Vega de Terrón / Pinhão
After breakfast, tour Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, a small fortified village perched high on a hilltop with 16th-century walls and steep, narrow streets. Stop to admire the Chafariz dos Pretos, a striking and very unique fountain decorated with black faces. Return to the ship for lunch and cruise onward to Pinhão. This evening, you will be treated to a wine tasting and dinner at a local quinta. We moor overnight in Pinhão.
Régua / Bitetos
This morning, cruise to Régua for a morning excursion to the Baroque-style Palacio de Mateus and its gardens, located in the beautiful Trás-os-Montes region near the city of Vila Real. Inside the house you’ll see exhibits of religious images and beautiful furnishings, paintings and ceiling of intricately carved wood. The gardens here are considered some of the most beautiful in Portugal. Return to the ship for lunch while the ship cruises to Entre-Os-Rios, arriving this evening. Tonight, you will enjoy a traditional home-cooked Portuguese meal at the Alpendurada Monastery. Savor a glass of port as you take in the gorgeous view from the monastery’s terrace.
Your ship arrives in Porto, the capital of northern Portugal, early this morning. Your guided tour of the historical quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes a number of iconic sights: the Porto Cathedral, one of the city’s oldest and most impressive monuments; the bustling main square; and the Sao Bento Railway Station, renowned for its magnificent blue and white tile panels depicting scenes from Portuguese history. You’ll also enjoy a tasting of port wine, which derives its name from this very city. The ship moors overnight in Porto.
Porto / Disembark
Your cruise comes to an end as you prepare for your homeward flight.