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Lisbon and Douro Cruise

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4.5 stars(12 reviews)
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A Portuguese voyage of discovery

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
11 days From £3,095 per person

2023 Tour code: DOR23

About the tour

Travel to shimmering Lisbon and resplendent Sintra on a Portuguese voyage of discovery before continuing on a fantastic 7-night cruise along the golden Douro.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To Lisbon

We meet at the airport today, where you are introduced to your Tour Manager. From here, we board our flight to Lisbon where we are transferred to our hotel. On arrival, we are greeted with a welcome drink after which you are free to settle into your room. For dinner this evening, we head to our hotel's excellent restaurant for our first meal of the holiday. Afterwards, you may wish to acquaint yourself with the city a little before you retire for the night.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Exploring Lisbon

Our excursion today whisks us away on a splendid tour of Portugal's famous capital. As a special touch, our tour includes a segment in a specially-chartered tram from the 1930s and 40s, lending a nostalgic feeling to proceedings. Our tour reveals the brilliant colours of Lisbon, and the history of its streets, squares and boulevards. We finish in the waterfront district of Belem, famous for its pastries and villas. Here,we stop off at one of the pastry shops to sample the Belem pastries.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Sintra

Today, we travel to the beautiful town of Sintra, located up in the hills behind Lisbon. A tantalising selection of summer palaces of all colours and shapes await us here, at what is famously the summer retreat of Portuguese royalty. We enjoy free time in this fairytale town, giving you an opportunity to discover its history and the people behind the magnificent buildings lining its streets before dinner tonight.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Embarkation in Porto

Leaving Lisbon this morning, we set out on a rail journey through the Portugese countryside to the historical city of Porto - famous for the explorers who gathered here to journey to the New World.

Upon arrival in this fantastic Portuguese city, we are escorted by coach to our excellent ship, the Douro Serenity where, after settling into our cabins, we are welcomed with a cocktail as the captain and his crew are introduced. Later we are sat down to our first on-board meal, after which you are free to enjoy your first night on the ship. Perhaps take in the evening air with a drink or sit back to the live music in the lounge area.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Lamego

Today, our ship docks at Regua. In the afternoon, we pay a visit to Lamego, a picturesque village near the banks of the Douro for 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. These marvellous institutions provide the sublime port wines which are such an integral part of the Douro's viticulture. Many of them are housed in delightful, sprawling farmland, lending an memorable touch to our meal this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Castelo Rodrigo

Our ship sails to Barca d'Alva today where we dock. After lunch, we embark on an excursion to the historical town of Castelo Rodrigo. This charming destination offers a look into the medieval past of Portugal and the Douro region, with a history that goes all the way back to the times of the Romans. The various peoples who have passed through the country and left their mark is evident from the fascinating buildings which line the streets, including a synagogue and the remains of medieval townhouses. We enjoy a tour here, which takes in the old castle from which the town takes its name. Afterwards, you have time to wander the ancient streets and discover the stories that breathe life into Castelo Rodrigo.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Salamanca

Our travels today take us across the border into Portugal's beautiful neighbour Spain, where we travel through the enchanting countryside to the golden city of Salamanca in the Castille y Léon region. Salamanca is the academic capital of Spain, and its educational prowess is evidenced in the glorious sandstone university buildings which make up one of the most prestigious centres of learning in the country.

Our tour here takes us to see these buildings, as well as the decorative House of Shells and the thriving Plaza Mayor. Enjoy free time afterwards before we sample a traditional Spanish lunch at a local restaurant. Our entertainment during the meal is a dazzling flamenco show, as trained dancers demonstrate an iconic Spanish dance of passion and finesse. On our return to the ship, we take a BBQ dinner on the sun deck (weather permitting).

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Peso de Regua

Day 8 is spent cruising through the stunning landscape to Peso de Regua, and you are at leisure on board. After dinner, we sample some of the region's vintage Port in an opening ceremony.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Mateus Palace & Gardens

We pay a visit to the gorgeous Mateus Palace today and its stunning gardens. Located at the heart of the Vila Real region, this 18th century stately home is a delight to explore, with its classic, Italianate exterior, decorative interiors and beautifully manicured parks and gardens which lead up to the palace itself. Originally built in the 18th century by acclaimed Portuguese architect Nicolau Nasoni, the design lends it a timeless, yet quintessentially Portuguese quality. We take a tour of the building itself, before enjoying free time to visit the built-in chapel and the winery.

On our return to the ship later, we sit down with the captain for a resplendent gala dinner, offering a chance to reminisce about our adventures on Portugal's finest river. After the food, we are given a traditional folk dance performance from a local troupe.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Porto

Arriving into Porto this morning, you have a choice of excursions to explore this famous port city which heralds the point at which the Douro ends. Your first option is an insightful and engaging tour of the city both by coach and by foot. The tour takes us along the winding streets, cutting between the city's superb architecture, historical townhouses, regal churches, and crossing the famous iron bridge. We continue to the district of Foz at the mouth of the Douro where we see the impressive villas which dot the hills here. Finally we pay a visit to the magnificent cathedral at the peak of the Penaventosa Hill, where we can look down across the rest of the city in all its splendour. Our tour finishes at a port wine lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia where we have the opportunity to sample the iconic drink for ourselves.

Your second option is to travel to the nearby city of Guimarães. What sets Guimarães apart is its fantastically well-preserved medieval buildings, which date as far back as the 10th century. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the jewel in Guimarães' crown is the imposing medieval fortress which watches over the city. We enjoy a tour through the colourful streets and the lively squares before visiting the castle and its gardens. In the afternoon, you are free before your 4-course farewell dinner on board.

Day 11 - Return Home

After our final breakfast, we depart our ship for a transfer to the airport. Here we board our flight back to the UK, where your Portuguese adventure comes to an end.

Includes
  • Breakfast

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 Mundial, Lisbon

Hotel Mundial, Lisbon

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Hotel PortoBay Marquês

Hotel PortoBay Marquês, Lisbon

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Ship

Douro Serenity

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Door to door luggage from £180
Flight upgrades
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 12 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (6)
  2. 4 stars
    (6)
  3. 3 stars
    (0)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

David Luckett

4 stars

Submitted 29/Sep

Excellent, centrally placed hotel in Lisbon. VG, interesting and informative 3 hr tour of Lisbon, including tram ride.. good train excursion to Sintra and Cascais, but would have liked a little more detailed information. Efficient, interesting train transfer from Lisbon to Porto. River Douro cruise: disappointing not to stop at any villages along the route but very relaxing cruising and interesting transiting the numerous locks. .Interesting excursions but often spoilt by guides who talked nonstop with often irrelevant and unnecessary historical dates and facts without giving information about the places we were passing, especially going in to Salamanca. However the city guide there was excellent. The ship, Douro Serenity. was excellent but the cabin 314 was very small, considering this was an upgrade this was very expensive and not worth the expense, the only benefit being an upper deck.. All the staff were excellent and helpful. The food was varied and with good choices. Full of praise to staff who were happy to arrange a table together with friends we had made on the tour. Interesting visit to the Sandman’s for Port tasting in Porto. Tour manager was not as good as those we had on previous Great Rail holidays. Although an enjoyable river cruise and city visit, this was not as good as the River Danube or the Adriatic cruises.

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L Ogilvie

5 stars

Submitted 22/Sep

This was the first experience of river cruising but we would definitely do it again. We liked the fact that it was small scale. On board the accommodation was excellent and the was food was delicious and generous. All staff were charming, attentive and professional. The excursions were well planned with knowledgeable local guides.

Collected by Trustpilot

M Harrington

5 stars

Submitted 20/Sep

Lovely ship, lovely food, lovely scenery, lovely crew, one hell of a lovely holiday

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P Eveson

5 stars

Submitted 20/Sep

The whole holiday was very well organised. The city tour of Lisbon was excellent including a tram ride. The all day pass to Sintra was great as we visited the lighthouse and Caiscais on the way back to Lisbon. The boat trip up the River Douro was spectacular, excellent food and the excursions were good, especially the tour to Salamanca. It was a most enjoyable experience. I would recommend this tour.

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John

5 stars

Submitted 20/Sep

Excellent service and facilities on board.

Collected by Trustpilot

Robert M

4 stars

Submitted 7/Jul

All transfers were fine and on time. Lisbon and the hotel were excellent. The river trip was good and the trips out varied, so no complaints. The food on the first night buffet was chaotic with not enough food for all the passengers. We were able to get some food but other passengers went without. The served meals were excellent but on the other occasion when a buffet was supplied it was disappointing. Having paid over £3000 for the holiday I was not expecting a second buffet meal of disappointing standard. Give me served meals any day. Having been on a Danube cruise with GRJ, the Douro buffet food was a disappointment. GRJ realise the pitfalls and have offered £100 voucher for another European holiday but only until December 2022, which is only 6 months away. I won't be able to take advantage of it.

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A Portuguese voyage of discovery

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