Flowing from northern Spain to the ocean in Porto, the Douro River carves our route through a rolling landscape of vineyards towards historic Porto. Exploring not only the ever-changing scenery, but also the gastronomic delights along the way, we continue to vibrant Lisbon, with its Moorish influences and charming streets.
We depart St Pancras International by Eurostar to Paris, in Standard Premier Class. In Paris we join the TGV to Biarritz, where we stay overnight. On Day 2 we transfer by coach to San Sebastian, where we board the train to Vallodolid in First Class, before transferring to a regional train for the short journey onwards to Salamanca (Standard Class). Our hotel for the next two nights is the Catalonia Plaza Mayor. This evening we dine in a traditional restaurant on the Plaza Mayor.
This morning we take a guided tour of Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage site, also known as the 'Golden City' because of the glow from its sandstone buildings. During the tour we see the 15th century cathedral, the Plaza Mayor and the unusual Casa de las Conchas.
Today we travel by coach into Portugal to Barca d'Alva. Here we board a cruise boat for a journey through the magnificent Douro Valley, one of the highlights of the holiday. Our cruise on the 'Golden River' takes us through the heart of the Port-producing region of Portugal. Here, terraced hillsides surround the riverbanks, with vineyards plunging from the hilltops to the very edge of the Douro River.
We pass splendid, isolated Port 'quintas' - wine growing estates that produce the region's high-quality fortified wines. As we enjoy lunch on board we pass quietly through the undulating landscape of sleepy towns and villages which appear on the riverbank. We glide past delightful almond orchards and through dramatic gorges, eventually arriving in Peso da Régua, the official centre of Port production in Portugal. The town lies in a peaceful spot beneath the Serra do Maoro Mountains and was traditionally the place where barrels of Port were loaded onto wooden cargo ships to be transported along the Douro to Vila Nova de Gaia. On arrival in Peso da Régua we transfer to our hotel for two nights, the Hotel Régua Douro.
Today we travel by train to Pinhão, a small town located at the confluence of the Douro and Pinhão rivers which is the epicentre of the port-making region. We enjoy a port tasting in Pinhão, followed by some free time to explore the town at leisure. We return to Peso da Régua for an afternoon at leisure, during which you could visit the celebrated Douro Museum, located in the town, which includes exhibits relating to the history of Port production in the region. Tonight we dine in a beautiful local Port wine estate, a short distance from Peso da Régua. The excellent Quinta da Casa Amarela is set in beautiful surroundings with terrific views of the Douro.
Today we continue by train down the beautiful Douro river valley to Porto, the city which was once the very edge of the known world and a port from where daring explorers risked their lives to discover the New World. On arrival, we enjoy a guided tour of the city, which has a wonderful unspoilt charm. We stay at the 4-Star Hotel PortoBay Teatro for the next three nights.
This morning we head to Guimarães, the first capital of Portugal, whose attractive, narrow streets have UNESCO World Heritage status. After time to explore, we continue to the vast Bom Jesus do Monte, known for its grand staircase up to the church that climbs a staggering 381 feet (116 metres). We spend this evening at the famous Taylors Port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. We enjoy a tasting of port and dinner at the cellars.
Today you are free to further explore the city of Porto. You could head to the ancient Ribeira (Riverbank) district to explore the narrow winding streets, or visit the charming little Harry Potter bookshop with its beautiful staircase.
Today we take a high-speed train to Lisbon arriving in the afternoon. The rest of the day is free to explore Lisbon, Portugal's vibrant capital. You could perhaps stroll through the streets to Rossio Square or ride the unique public elevators of Santa Justa or Glória to the Barrio Alto. We spend two nights at the PortoBay Marquês Hotel.
This morning we take the train to Sintra, the summer residence of many Kings of Portugal. Sintra is a beautiful village surrounded by wooded hills, home to the spectacular and brightly coloured Pena Palace. Your time in Sintra is free to explore at leisure.
Today we take a guided tour of Lisbon by historic tram, before free time. In the evening, we board an overnight sleeper train* to San Sebastián in Spain.
*Please note: your luggage will travel on the sleeper train with you, as opposed to via our luggage service.
On arrival into San Sebastián this morning we check into our hotel, the NH Collection Aranzazu. The rest of the day is free for you to explore. Perhaps stroll along the seafront, or explore the beautiful old quarter with its many wonderful tapas bars.
On Day 13 we travel by coach to nearby Bilbao to visit the famous Guggenheim Museum with its impressive art collection. We return to San Sebastián in the afternoon and you have time at leisure before a farewell dinner later tonight. On Day 14 we travel to Paris, and board the Eurostar to London as our holiday concludes.
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers travelling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
For the class of travel used on your chosen tour, please refer to the 'What's Included' section of the tour page.
Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionised train travel and meant that travelling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.
The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator, TGV trains travel over specially-constructed high speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Basel. With the exception of shorter journeys, TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.
Our accommodation in Lisbon is at the 4-Star Hotel PortoBay Marquês. Situated in a quiet area of the city, it is close to many of Lisbon's attractions, such as Rossio square, Marquês de Pombal square, and the lovely tree lined boulevard Avenida da Liberdade, that boasts luxury boutique shops. The comfortable rooms include tea & coffee making facilities, a minibar, air-conditioning, a television, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Outside your room, you can relax in the outdoor pool or the sauna. There is also a gym, a restaurant, and two bars.
The 4-Star Hotel Régua Douro is situated on the Douro River across from the train station, and has an outdoor pool, fitness centre, tennis court, jacuzzi, salon, cocktail bar and several restaurants. Room amenities include river facing views (all rooms), minibar, hairdryer, telephone television and air conditioning.
This 4* hotel is an excellent location for exploring the city of Porto and its many sites such as the Clérigos Tower, 249 feet, which boasts of stunning views across Portugal. The hotel was formerly the site of the historical Baquet Theatre, which dates back to 1859.
Rooms at Hotel PortoBay Teatro include tea and coffee making facilities, minibar and free Wi-Fi.
The 4-Star Hotel Catalonia Plaza Mayor is located in the heart of Salamanca, just a few steps from the Plaza Mayor. The hotel has air conditioning, a restaurant, bar and lounge. Its rooms come equipped with conveniences such as a television, telephone, safe, minibar and hairdryer.
In the upmarket district of Ondarreta in San Sebastián, the 4-Star NH Collection Aranzazu is near to both the city's cathedral and beach. The hotel is decorated in a contemporary style, from the gym offering state of the art equipment, to the restaurant, serving delicious traditional cuisine in sleek modern surroundings. The stylish rooms offer amenities such as a television, a minibar, an in room safe, coffee making facilities, and complimentary Wi-Fi. This is the ideal base from which to explore San Sebastian in style.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!
To arrange for a second suitcase to travel door to door, just let us know when you book. Prices start from £65 per bag (size and weight allowances may vary depending on airline polices), Please call for more details.
Upgrade your overnight cabin (Lisbon to San Sebastian) from £75 per person (twin occupancy only)
Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a
difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the
capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager
the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West
End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your
return to London, you would like to break your journey with an
overnight stay before continuing home.
We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.
|Hotel||Room Rate From Price|
|The Ambassador Hotel||From £65 per person|
Above prices are approximate, subject to availability, and per room per night based on two people sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805.
Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.
We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.
For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.