Douro River Cruise: Into the Heart of Portugal

Portugal’s Douro River winds it way through towns that have somehow managed to preserve their distinctive culture and way of life. Enjoy it all on this 10 day cruise from Porto to Vega de Terron.

11 Days
Porto to Porto
From (GBP)
£ 4,645
£ 4,495
Dates & Pricing

2020 Porto > Porto

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. As we sail this storied waterway, enjoy the freedom and flexibility to tailor the itinerary to your interests, choosing from a variety of available excursions at each port of call—from guided tours of iconic sites to culinary experiences and active adventures.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
DOUR
Duration:
11 days
Departure City:
Porto
Return City:
Porto
Krista Rossow

National Geographic Photographer, Krista Rossow

Departure date: September 22, 2020

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.

11 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Porto, Portugal

    Arrive in Porto, a World Heritage-listed city straddling the Douro River. Embark the Scenic Azure and enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Porto

    On a walking tour of Porto’s historic old town the following morning, explore medieval treasures, examine azulejo tiles, and visit the Palácio da Bolsa—the city’s old stock exchange. Later, we begin our cruise along the Douro.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Guimarães/Douro Valley

    Delve into history at the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança in Guimarães, or venture to the stunning Quinta da Aveleda winery and gardens in the Vinho Verde wine region, where we’ll sip on sparkling whites. Cruise into the stunning Douro Valley this afternoon and get introduced to the history and culture of the region at the award-winning Douro Museum in Peso da Régua.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Douro Valley

    Today, explore the Varosa Valley, home to the elegant town of Lamego and a rich Cistercian heritage that dates back to the 12th century. On an afternoon excursion, choose to delve into the region’s past at the ruins of the Mosteiro de São João de Tarouca, Portugal’s first Cistercian monastery, and at the Monastery of Santa Maria de Salzedas’ historical collections. Or visit the opulent Mateus Palace, famously featured on bottles of Mateus rosé.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - On the Douro

    Take in scenes of the Douro Valley as we wind our way past charming terra-cotta-roofed towns, through towering locks, and past the vine-striped hillsides that earned the region its World Heritage designation. Watch the terroir transition from granite outcroppings to slate-terraced vineyards, and spend time documenting these picturesque scenes with your National Geographic photographer; or listen to an afternoon lecture given by your National Geographic Expert.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Salamanca, Spain

    Cross into Spain for a visit to Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Two options for exploration await you in this fabled city. Visit the storied hallways and classrooms of the University of Salamanca, founded in 1218, and enjoy a discussion with students and professors about their studies and research. Alternatively, take in the city’s Renaissance splendor on a guided city tour, then enjoy some time to explore on your own. Have lunch in town with live entertainment before returning to our ship.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Côa Valley, Portugal

    Explore notable tributaries of the Douro River today, choosing from adventures on the Côa and Sabor Rivers.  Venture into the Côa Valley to learn about the prehistoric rock art at the World Heritage-listed Foz Côa. Opt for a thrilling ride in a 4x4 vehicle, and then hike to the archaeological site to witness these fascinating carvings. You may instead choose a canoeing excursion along the pristine Sabor River, a rugged tributary of the Douro. Or, for those more interested in the flavors of the region, 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.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Provesende

    Drive into the hills of the Douro Valley to the time-locked town of Provesende. Wander this quaint village and get a glimpse into daily life during visits to the town church and the local bakery, and enjoy a glass of port wine at the charming Morgadio da Calçada manor house. This afternoon, experience a tasting at a winery along the river, opting for a walk through the vineyards, if you choose.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Porto

    Enjoy a relaxing day onboard as we sail back toward Porto. Expert talks, wine tastings, and handicraft workshops are all options as we cross back over the coastal range. Upon arrival in Porto, head to Igreja de São Francisco for a private concert in this opulent church.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  10. Day 10 - Porto

    Tour the Douro Estuary on foot, spotting birdlife and then tapping into the rhythms of a nearby fishing village. There are also options to visit Porto’s oldest canning factory, or go for a tasting in one of the city’s most celebrated port cellars.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  11. Day 11 - Porto

    Disembark on our final morning and depart for home.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

Expedition Overview
  • Tour some of the Douro Valley’s most prestigious vineyards, sip port at a celebrated cellar in Porto, and enjoy interpretive wine tastings on board as we sail.
  • 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.
  • Take in a festive flamenco performance in Salamanca and a private classical music concert in the spectacular gilded nave of Porto’s Igreja de São Francisco.
  • Attend on-board photo talks by our National Geographic photographer, and practice landscape shots on the sinuous vineyards that flank the Douro.

Pricing & Availability