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Portugal & the Douro

(21 reviews)

A rail and cruise tour through the Douro Valley

14 days Sold out

2020 Tour code: POG20

About the tour

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.


What’s included


Days 1-2 - To Biarritz and Salamanca

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.

  • Day 1 - Eurostar Meal, Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Discovering Salamanca

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.

  • Day 3 - Breakfast
Day 4 - Cruise to Peso da Régua

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 tour. 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.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Peso da Régua
Day 5 - Exploring the Douro Valley by train

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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Douro Valley
Day 6 - By Rail to Porto

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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Guimarães and Bom Jesus do Monte

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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - At Leisure in Porto

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.

  • Breakfast
Day 9 - To Lisbon

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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Sintra

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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - Discovering Lisbon

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.

  • Breakfast
Days 12-14 - San Sebastián and the Guggenheim

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 tour concludes.

  • Day 12 - Breakfast
  • Day 13 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 14 - Breakfast, Eurostar Meal
San Sebastian

Additional information

Recommended airports

For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and end point.

Visa Requirements

It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.


Hotel PortoBay Marquês

Hotel PortoBay Marquês, Lisbon

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Hotel Régua Douro, Peso da Régua

Hotel Régua Douro, Peso da Régua

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Hotel PortoBay Teatro

Hotel PortoBay Teatro, Porto

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Hotel Catalonia Plaza Mayor, Salamanca

Hotel Catalonia Plaza Mayor, Salamanca

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NH Collection Aranzazu

NH Collection Aranzazu, San Sebastian

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100% of travellers would recommend this tour

Based on 21 verified reviews

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Mr P Cooke

Submitted Oct 21, 2019

Excellent variety of stopovers and interesting places


Submitted Oct 14, 2019

We thought the tour was excellent with the only downside being the location of the hotels in San Sebastián and Lisbon which were both too far away from the centre of the towns.

Miss S O'Leary

Submitted Dec 17, 2018

A lovely tour with many highlights to a beautiful country and led by a very well organised and friendly Tour Leader. Unfortunately once again I feel that these tours are designed with couples in mind which makes life difficult for myself as a single traveller. The first part of the tour was fine in terms of my being on my own as most events were attended as a group but toward the end of the tour there was a lot of free time. As I was the only single person on the tour with 10 couples I found myself wandering around on my own thinking "I've paid a lot of money to wander about alone" and looking for take away services for meals or having a picnic in my hotel room for dinner.


Submitted Nov 17, 2018

Excellent planning and wonderful manager

Mrs M Cameron

Submitted Oct 29, 2018

Great tour with one caveat (see below). Would also have liked a longer time in Bilbao -felt our time in the Guggenheim was far too short given it’s quite a long coach journey to get there.

Mr P Brainch

Submitted Oct 22, 2018

It proved to be a super 'tour' (tour!) with excellent weather, a good group of fellow travellers, a well-thought out itinerary, good hotels and a brilliant tour manager.

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