Discover the unique culture of the golden Douro
Free standard class return tickets to London from your local station, on selected 2019 European holidays by rail when you book between 15th February 2019 and the 10th May 2019.
Iconic port wine, enigmatic cities and Portuguese charm, all on a ship used by Her Majesty the Queen, makes this cruise one to remember. Discover the unique culture of the golden Douro river on board the exclusively chartered Spirit of Chartwell.
After meeting at the airport, we board our flight today from London to Lisbon. We enjoy a guided tour of this exceptional European city on Day 2 as we visit the many attractions including the cathedral and the natural harbour, Belem. Our tour finishes at the wonderful Pasteis de Belem café where we sample some local delicacies.
Our excursion today takes us to the charming village of Sintra. Used as a retreat by various royals and aristocrats, Sintra is made up by a variety of different castles and palaces, painted in a myriad of pale colours. Arguably the centrepiece of all these is the instantly recognisable Pena Palace, with its honey coloured tower. We enjoy a day at leisure here.
Today we travel by rail to Porto. On arrival into this classic Portuguese city, transfer to the dock where you board your ship, the exquisite Spirit of Chartwell. After settling in to your elegant cabin, enjoy an exotic cocktail while the captain and his crew welcome you aboard as the upper deck is bathed in the golden glow of the Portuguese sunset. Enjoy a delicious dinner together on board this evening.
Day 5 begins with a city tour of Porto. Enjoy the sights of this charming city including the city bridge, the manors of the Foz district and the cathedral with its commanding views from the top of the Penaventosa Hill. Our tour also includes a visit to a Port Wine Lodge, where we will see old casks full of Port and have the opportunity to sample the famous Portugese wine. The Spirit of Chartwell sets sail in the afternoon, on its way to Entre-os-Rios. We enjoy a vintage port wine celebration on board this evening.
Today, your ship docks at Regua. This morning, you are given a culinary demonstration introducing you to the gastronomic traditions of this part of the world. In the afternoon, you pay a visit to Lamego, a picturesque village near the banks of the Douro where you take a guided tour. The Cathedral is the centrepoint of Lamego, a remarkable example of Baroque architecture.
Arguably more impressive however, are 700 steps which lead up to its doors, decorated as they are in cheerful white and blue tiles. Enjoy dinner at a local wine estate later.
Barca d'Alva is today's docking point and from here, you take an excursion to Castelo Rodrigo. A fascinating medieval town, hidden in the hills, Castelo Rodrigo has seen a variety of different peoples and civilisations come and go. Enjoy a historical tour here. Later, you take dinner with the Captain at the Captain's Dinner before a Portuguese Music Show which features a delightful performance of folk music.
Your excursion on Day 8 sees you venture from Portugal into neighbouring Spain by coach, where you visit the magnificent city of Salamanca. This honey-coloured city is home to some stunning buildings and architecture, both of which you discover on your tour here. We see the oldest university in Spain, the decorous House of Shells and the grand Plaza Mayor.
The Spirit of Chartwell departs Barca d'Alva today, sailing back to Regua. On arrival, you pay a visit to the Vila Real and the Casa de Mateus. This romantic villa was owned by the Count of Vila Real, and features a chapel and gracefully manicured gardens. After the dinner tonight, we enjoy a tasting of Graham's Six Grapes, Winston Churchill's favourite port.
Sail today to Entre-os-Rios this morning for your excursion to Quinta da Aveleda. One of the notable wine estates which sit near the banks of the Douro, the Quinta da Aveleda belongs to the Guedes family who have been in operation since the mid-19th century. Tonight, the Spirit of Chartwell returns to Porto and it is here where you are treated to a farewell sunset cruise across the harbour.
Disembark the Spirit of Chartwell today for your transfer to the airport and your flight to London.
On the evening of Day 1, on selected tours we are joined by our special guest speaker, former ITN Royal Correspondent Nicholas Owen. Nicholas' gives a talk on the Royal Family, a suitable topic given the Spirit of Chartwell's impressive royal connection.
Please note: The departures on the 17th and 24th of September, and the 1st of October, are special harvest sailings, featuring a harvest experience in a quinta along the Douro river, with a presentation, lunch and a local wine tasting. The rest of the itinerary may also differ.
Please call for more details.
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.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Discover the unique culture of the golden Douro