Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley 2013
11 days with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises Rating:
800-510-4002 800-510-4002 Itinerary
Day 1: Lisbon
Arrive at Lisbon’s Portela Airport where you’ll be transferred to the hotel.
Day 2: Lisbon
Featured Excursion: Lisbon city tour
Stand on the banks of the Tejo River and take a deep breath. This is the sea air the great Portuguese explorers breathed as they dreamed of opening trade routes to India, dreams that led to the establishment of Portuguese colonies all over the world. Now turn around and look at the city climbing the hills above you. This is where your adventure begins.
Start with a guided tour that takes you to the historic district of Belém and the Belém Tower, the traditional starting and ending point of Portuguese voyages of discovery, past Rossio plaza with its wavy black-and-white paving and lively street life, and into the hills of the Alfama district. Sample a sugar-dusted pastel de Belém, the city’s trademark pastry. Step into the spectacular Manueline Baroque Jerónimos church, which withstood the 1755 earthquakes that leveled so much of the extravagant old city. (BB)
Day 3: Lisbon
Spend leisure time enjoying this cosmopolitan city. Window shop in elegant Chiado. Wander through the steep, cobblestone streets of the Alfama district. Ride the famous Santa Justa elevator to Carmo Square; it was erected at the beginning of the 20th century as a means of taming one of Lisbon’s steep hills. If it reminds you of the Eiffel Tower, that’s because it was built by a student of the iron master who designed the Parisian landmark. Have a glass of wine and listen to some fado, the traditional, mournful, and beautiful music of the city, in one of the colorful taverns. Learn about Portugal’s celebrated blue-and-white tile at the National Azulejo Museum. (BB)
Day 4: Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto (embark)
Featured Excursion: Coimbra tour with Joanina library visit and family-style lunch
In the morning, you’ll head through the countryside to Porto, driving past cork forests and fields. En route, you’ll stop in Portugal’s third-largest city, Coimbra, birthplace of six of Portugal’s kings and home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. In fact, Coimbra is sometimes called the University City. You’ll see the university’s Biblioteca Joanina, a gem of a library whose gorgeous Baroque decor was done entirely by Portuguese
artists; it houses an important collection of books from the 12th century. From this hilltop center of learning, you’ll head off to enjoy a typical Portuguese lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to the ship, which is docked in Porto. (BB, L, D)
Day 5: Porto, Bitetos
Featured Excursions: Choice of Porto city tour OR Ribeira District walking tour
Birthplace of Henry the Navigator, who launched Portugal’s voyages of exploration, and longtime hub of the trade in Port wine, Porto combines well-preserved historic buildings with cutting-edge architecture and a booming cultural revival. Your tour will take you to the 19th-century Palácio da Bolsa, with its famous Moorish Revival-style Arab Room; the austere hilltop cathedral with its amazing views of the city below; and the vivacious pedestrian shopping street, Santa Catarina. If you prefer, you can explore the UNESCO-designated Ribeira district on foot; the colorful heart of the old port city entices you with Medieval lanes and zigzagging stairways. After lunch, stop by the prestigious Port wine cellars in Cais de Gaia for an introduction to the country’s namesake wine. Then it’s all hands on deck— or perhaps in your luxurious stateroom—as the ship sets sail up the Douro for Bitetos. (BB, L, D)
Day 6: Régua, Pinhão
Featured Excursions: Mateus Palace and Gardens, Douro Museum, and dinner at Quinta da Avessada
Today you enter Port wine country. The Douro River winds through 100 miles of granite mountains, carving out a valley whose steep slopes hold terraces that were cut by hand into the rocky soil and planted with grapes centuries ago. A stop at the Douro Museum in Régua will introduce you to the oldest delimited wine-growing region in the world, while Mateus Palace and Gardens, with one of the most beautiful gardens in the country, shows you what Port can build. These are exciting times in the Douro region, as a group of dedicated winemakers are rapidly shifting the focus from Port to table wines, producing bottles of premium red—and even some white wines. Is the Douro the next great wine region to be discovered? Taste and decide for yourself. Begin your discovery of the region with a tour of the family-owned Quinta da Avessada, which produces premium Moscatel. Tramp between the vines with the vineyard’s owner, who will tell you how he cultivates the grapes he grows, and pause to look out over the lovely hillsides at the river far below. Inside the old stone walls of the winery, which was founded in the 1750s, partake in a rustic local dinner, complete with live traditional music. It’s a merry evening, capped off by a glass of fine local wine. (BB, L, D)
Day 7: Pinhão, Vega de Terrón (Spain)
Featured Excursion: Wine tasting at a local quinta
Pinhão is the epicenter of the Port winemaking, so it is only fitting you visit a quinta to learn the history of, and sample, the country’s most celebrated beverage. In the afternoon, enjoy the breathtaking scenery while sailing the remote Douro Valley. (BB, L, Captain’s Dinner)
Day 8: Vega de Terrón (Salamanca, Spain)
Featured Excursion: Full-day Salamanca tour with traditional Spanish lunch and flamenco show
From Vega de Terrón, on the Spanish border, travel overland to Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage city. This charming town is untouched in its architectural purity, and throughout the centuries the sandstone buildings have gained an exquisite golden glow, giving the city the nickname the “Golden City.” Visit Salamanca’s historic university before having lunch with a flamenco show at a local restaurant. (BB, L, D)
Day 9: Barca d'Alva (Castelo Rodrigo), Régua
Featured Excursion: Castelo Rodrigo tour
Visit the 12th-century walled village of Castelo Rodrigo, a charming and captivating place with Medieval streets, thick stonewall houses, and a remarkably distinctive fountain, Chafariz dos Pretos. (BB, L, D)
Day 10: Porto (Guimarães)
Featured Excursions: Choice of Guimarães city tour OR “Hidden Treasures of Porto” walking tour
Visit historic Guimarães, Portugal’s first capital back in the 12th century and home to its first king, Don Afonso Henriques. It has been called the birthplace of the Portuguese nation. Dominated by Afonso Henriques’s grand castle, Guimarães was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its extraordinarily well-preserved city center. Or opt to discover some of Porto’s hidden treasures, visiting such highlights as the church of São Francisco, with its amazing gilded woodwork, and the beautiful Art Nouveau bookstore Lello—with a coffee break at a traditional pasteleria. Later, enjoy dinner while sailing to the mouth of the Douro River. (BB, L, D)
Day 11: Porto (disembark), transfer to the airport
Disembark the ship and transfer to the Porto airport for your flight home. (CB/BB)
800-510-4002 800-510-4002 Map
800-510-4002 800-510-4002 All This Included
The Douro River, rising in Spain and reaching the Atlantic Ocean in Porto, has created the spectacular Douro River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rambling vineyards and charming native farms called quintas cling to the steep sides of the Douro River Valley, creating an incomparable backdrop to one of Europe’s most unspoiled regions and to Port country—the oldest demarcated wine region in the world.
Explore the seven hills of cosmopolitan Lisbon, uncovering a treasure trove of Old World architecture. Visit Coimbra, the “Birthplace of Kings”; Porto, the beautiful “City of Bridges,” with its UNESCO World Heritage-designated Medieval city center and UNESCO Palacio de Bolsa; Guimarães, which has its own UNESCO-listed Medieval city center and is a 2012 European Cultural Capital; and Salamanca, Spain, another declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Taste a variety of local wines from village vineyards, including Port wine, the region’s sweet fortified wine. Feast on a traditional meal with wine quinta overlooking the Douro Valley and enjoy a traditional Spanish-style lunch complete with a flamenco show. Along the way,
uncover a land of genuine beauty and breathtaking charm, and meet warm-hearted, friendly people with welcoming open arms.
800-510-4002 800-510-4002 Accommodations
Lisbon: Tiara Park Atlantic
Cruising: cabin aboard Queen Isabel
800-510-4002 800-510-4002 Notes
800-510-4002 800-510-4002 Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.