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
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
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 vacation. 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 center 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
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 vacation
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
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.
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.
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 center of the towns.
Miss S O'Leary
Submitted Dec 17, 2018
A lovely vacation 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 traveler. 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 vacation 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 'vacation' (tour!) with excellent weather, a good group of fellow travelers, a well-thought out itinerary, good hotels and a brilliant tour manager.