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Portugal and the Douro

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4.1 stars(37 reviews)
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Small Group

A rail and cruise tour through the Douro Valley

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
15 days From £3,295 per person

2023 Tour code: POG23

About the tour

Flowing from Northern Spain to the Atlantic ocean in Porto, the Douro River carves our route through a rolling landscape of vineyards. Discover the ever-changing scenery and culinary delights of this Port-producing region before we continue to vibrant Lisbon, with its Moorish influences, modern squares and charming streets.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and Biarritz

We take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris, continuing to Biarritz in Spain, where we spend the night.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – Salamanca

Travelling by rail and coach, today we make our way to the ancient city of Salamanca for two nights. After checking into our hotel in the heart of Salamanca we dine at a traditional restaurant in the city's vibrant main square, Plaza Mayor. The city's beautiful monuments are floodlit at night to dramatic effect and an evening stroll through the Old City is magical.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Discovering Salamanca

Today we take a guided tour of Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage site - known as the 'Golden City' due to the honey-coloured glow of its sandstone buildings - where Spain's oldest and most distinguished university was established in 1218. We see the city's two wonderful cathedrals, the Baroque city hall - decorated with allegoric figures including Ferdinand VI, Cervantes and St. Theresa - and the Renaissance-era Monterrey Palace. We pass elegant college buildings and see the unusual Casa de las Conchas, its shell-studded medieval façade now housing an extensive public library. Famous alumni of Salamanca include the author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, the conquistador Hernán Cortés, and the contemporary film director Alexander Payne.

Includes
  • Day 3 - Breakfast
Day 4 - Douro cruise and Peso da Régua

We travel by coach to Barca d'Alva in Portugal. Here, we board a boat for a cruise along the 'Golden River' through the heart of the Port-producing Douro Valley. Terraced hillsides surround the riverbanks, with vineyards plunging from the hilltops to the very edge of the water as we pass isolated Port 'quintas' - wine-growing estates that produce the region's high-quality fortified wines. We enjoy lunch on board, as we pass sleepy towns and villages, gliding past delightful almond orchards and through dramatic gorges, eventually arriving in Peso da Régua, a town situated in a peaceful spot beneath the Serra do Maoro Mountains. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel for two nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 – The Douro Valley by train

We travel by train to Pinhão, a small town located at the confluence of the Douro and Pinhão rivers and the epicentre of this Port-making region. We enjoy a Port tasting on arrival, followed by some free time to explore. We return to Peso da Régua for a relaxed afternoon when you could visit the town's celebrated Douro Museum, which describes the history of Port production in the area. Later, we dine in a beautiful local Port wine estate a short distance from Peso da Régua, in the idyllic Portuguese countryside. The excellent Quinta da Casa Amarela is set in beautiful surroundings with terrific views of the Douro.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – Porto

We take the train to Porto, a city once regarded as the edge of the known world, for two nights. Exploring the winding streets with our guide, we admire the city's superb architecture, historical townhouses and regal churches before crossing the famous iron bridge. We continue to the district of Foz do Douro, at the mouth of the Douro, where stately villas dot the hills, and pay a visit to the magnificent cathedral at the peak of the Penaventosa Hill, from where we enjoy panoramic views across the city. We also see the Neoclassical Palacio da Bolsa, built in the 19th century as the Stock Exchange Palace, now a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Guimarães

We head to Guimarães today, the first capital of Portugal whose attractive, narrow streets have UNESCO World Heritage status thanks to the city's fantastically well-preserved buildings, dating back to the 10th century. The jewel in Guimarães' crown is the imposing medieval fortress watching over the city. We enjoy a tour through the colourful streets and lively squares before visiting the castle and its gardens as well as Bom Jesus do Monte, known for its grand, ceramic-tiled staircase. Our evening is spent back in Porto at a wonderful Port wine cellar where we enjoy a tasting followed by dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - At Leisure in Porto

Today you are free to explore Porto. You could visit Livraria Lello, one of the oldest bookshops in the country. It's hidden behind a glorious Art Nouveau and Neo-Gothic façade and features wood panelling, a double spiral staircase and a striking stained glass ceiling. Another unusual destination is Porto's McDonald's, regarded as the most beautiful in the world. Occupying a space previously used by the Imperial Café, a 1930s Portuguese institution, this chain restaurant is an Art Deco treasure with crystal chandeliers, ornate ceilings, a stained glass wall and a giant bronze eagle sat above the familiar logo outside.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 – Porto to Lisbon

We catch the train to Lisbon for a three-night stay. After checking into our hotel for the next three nights, the rest of your afternoon is free. Lisbon is a delight to explore. A city of many hills and look out points (known as miradouros, in Portuguese), if you're feeling energetic you could hike up to St George's castle to take in the spectacular views, take a relaxed stroll through the Lisbon Botanical Garden or simply wander through the vast open squares of the waterfront into the ancient Ribeira district to sample tempting fresh cuisine such as Bacalhau or Portuguese codfish, complemented by a crisp glass of Portuguese 'vinho verde' wine.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Vintage tram tour of Lisbon

Today we enjoy a tour of Portugal's capital by vintage tram and coach. We see the neighbourhood of Alfama, one of the oldest parts of Lisbon, and Barrio Alto - a quirky maze of cobbled streets, bohemian boutiques and traditional bars. We pause at a café along the way for a traditional pastel de nata, the delicious Portuguese custard tart. This evening you are free to continue your exploration of this colourful and enchanting city.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - Sintra

You have free time in the old Moorish city of Sintra, once the summer residence of Portuguese royalty. Today, Sintra is popular thanks to its whimsical Pena Palace and walled fortress, Castle of the Moors, both set high above the city among the Serra de Sintra. Downtown is the Palacio Nacional, a preserved medieval royal palace, recognised by its two white conical chimneys - now a museum. Back in Lisbon, you may like to start the evening at a rooftop bar in the Barrio Alto, dine at one of the city's many seafood restaurants or seek out an authentic Fado experience.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 12 – Valladolid

Today we travel by train from Lisbon to Guarda, close to the border with Spain, then continue by coach to the attractive Spanish city of Valladolid. After checking into our hotel we enjoy dinner together. The atmospheric Plaza Mayor is the largest square in the whole of Spain, and the soul of the city.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 13 – San Sebastián

Arriving in San Sebastián by train, we check into our hotel with plenty of time to explore this afternoon and evening. San Sebastián is one of the most beautiful and charming Basque resorts, and sits within the fashionable La Concha Bay, home to deep, calm waters and a stunning beach area. Regarded as the culinary capital of Spain, the city is also celebrated across the continent for its pintxos, the Basque equivalent of tapas, and - after a walk along the seafront or through the beautiful old quarter - you might like immerse yourself in local life, stopping off at different eateries for a small plate or two and a drink before moving on, a tradition known as 'txikiteo'.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14 – Bilbao

We board our coach for the journey to Bilbao, a city surrounded by lush mountains and boasting a vibrant downtown area. We head to the famous Guggenheim Museum, a unique, postmodern structure designed by the famous architect, Frank Gehry. Here you can spend a relaxed few hours admiring the different modern art exhibitions, featuring works by Jeff Koons, Mark Rothko, Louise Bourgeois and Eduardo Chillida.

Includes
  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 15 - London

Saying goodbye to Spain, we transfer to the station for the train to Paris. From here, we join the Eurostar to London St Pancras.

Additional information

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

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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Trains

Eurostar
TGV

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Upgrades

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.1 stars4.1 / 5 · 37 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (11)
  2. 4 stars
    (21)
  3. 3 stars
    (4)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Terry

5 stars

Submitted 6/Oct

Hectic but interesting trip

Collected by Trustpilot

Matthew Rachel

4 stars

Submitted 2/Oct

Great tour, be prepared for lots of travelling! But worth it!

Collected by Trustpilot

robert fouracre

4 stars

Submitted 1/Oct

Well organised and great way to see the area

Collected by Trustpilot

Paul Darlington

3 stars

Submitted 1/Oct

Excellent in many ways e.g.Douro trip , services of tour manager and the places we visited.In other ways not e.g.having to rush too much,variable quality of meals,good on Douro trip ,Taylors winery poor on last night.

Collected by Trustpilot

Paul Jeater

5 stars

Submitted 1/Oct

Very well organised, we were lucky to have a great tour manager. Steve had to really think on his feet when river lock gates stopped and it took 4 hours to repair, thanks to him and the great crew on boat it was all relaxed, food and drinks helped! He also checked everywhere that there were vegetarian options. Saw many great places, trips interesting, enjoyed the free time to explore. Good accommodation, especially river view room.

Collected by Trustpilot

Mrs Beryl Whayman

4 stars

Submitted 29/Sep

Excellent, trip on Duoro very special. Because of the cancellation of the overnight train from Lisbon to San Sebastian we decided to have a quiet last day in San Sebastian rather than go to Bilbao which was an excellent choice.

Collected by Trustpilot

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Portugal and the Douro

A rail and cruise tour through the Douro Valley

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