Departure Date: Return Date:
Saturday, August 11 Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Tour Length: 11 Days/10 Nights (M)
Day One: Depart the USA
Depart the USA on your overnight flight to Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.
Day Two: Lisbon, Portugal
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by your Tour Manager and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore this city that launched the great "Age of Discovery." This evening, join your Tour Manager and fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner.
Day Three: Discover Lisbon
After breakfast, enjoy a guided city tour. Visit Jerónimos Monastery – a masterpiece of Manuelino architecture. See the intricately carved statues on the "Monument to the Discoveries" paying homage to the explorers from the Golden Age of Discovery. Belem Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, still regally stands guard over the waterfront. Enjoy the remainder of the day to shop, dine and experience Lisbon on your own.
Day Four: Fátima/Coimbra/Ship embarkation
This morning, depart Lisbon for Porto, the embarkation point for your cruise. Enroute, visit Fátima, home to one of the most important Catholic shrines. The city’s fame originates from the apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary that appeared to three shepherd children in the nearby fields. Continue on to Coimbra and visit the amazing library of its famous university. Upon arrival at the port of Vila Nova de Gaia in the late afternoon, the MS Douro Queen, home for the next seven nights, awaits your embarkation. The ship remains in port overnight as you enjoy a Welcome Reception and dinner onboard.
Day Five: Régua/Pinhão
Enjoy the first morning onboard sailing through the picturesque Douro River Valley. Best known for its fortified Port wines, this valley is one of the world’s oldest defined wine regions. This afternoon, visit the magnificent 18th-century manor house depicted on Mateus Rosé wine bottles. Stroll the amazing grounds, from the beautiful reflection pool at the entrance to the manicured gardens in back. A local guide will escort you through the rooms of the historic Château, one of the best examples of baroque architecture in Portugal. At the end of the tour, return to the ship in Pinhão. A festive treat awaits ashore this evening with a visit to Quinta Avessada, a family-owned working vineyard estate, where you learn about the making of Muscatel wine. Highlights of the evening will be the wine tasting, dinner and local entertainment at the estate.
Day Six: Pinhão/Castelo Rodrigo
Fresh air and beautiful scenery greet you this morning as you sail along the river. On the afternoon’s excursion, travel back in history to the medieval village of Castelo Rodrigo. Travel via coach through a scenic landscape of olive and almond trees before arriving at the stone archway entrance to the walled village. An inside visit to the well-preserved Church of Our Lady of Rocamador showcases relics of the period. See the ruins of the castle and clock tower as well as the former prison house, medieval well and pillory as you stroll through the cobblestone lanes.
Day Seven: Salamanca, Spain
Today’s excursion travels through rolling hills, past small villages and hilltop towns to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Salamanca, Spain. During the guided walking tour of one of the most important university cities in Spain, you’ll see amazingly detailed and intricately carved buildings of the university, the 12th-century Romanesque church of San Martin and the House of Shells. Regal splendor abounds in the Plaza Mayor, the heartbeat of the city, and cultural immersion ensues with a lunch of deliciously authentic cuisine and a Flamenco show in a local restaurant. After spending the day in Spain, return to the ship in Portugal where a dinner of barbecue Portuguese specialties awaits.
Day Eight; Régua and Lamego
Enjoy the morning onboard leisurely sailing along the Douro through landscapes of terraced vineyards and small towns. An afternoon excursion to the countryside visits the wine château Quinta do Seixo. Learn about the wine making process of Port wine before sampling the vintage from the tasting room offering spectacular views of the river valley and vineyards below. This is sure to be a life-enriching experience! Touring continues in Lamego, home to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, and one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Portugal. You have the opportunity to walk down the iconic 686-step granite staircase, decorated with the traditional Portuguese blue and white ‘azulejos’ tiles. Special entertainment is presented onboard this evening with a local folklore and Fado show.
Day Nine: Régua and Entre-os-Rios
Following a morning at leisure in Régua, enjoy a final day of cruising along the Douro as scenic landscapes unfold around every bend. This evening, in Entre-os-Rios, an off-ship adventure awaits with a visit to the 13th-century Benedictine Alpendurada Monastery for our included dinner. Your guides lead you through the hallways and small chambers as they explain about the art and architecture of the monastery. Enjoy a welcome drink before arriving at the dining room where our dinner is served in this atmospheric venue.
Day Ten: Porto
Porto is one of the oldest European centers and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the included city tour, experience the beautiful views of the “French Riviera of Porto” on the drive along the coastal road of the Atlantic Ocean to the mouth of the Douro River. During a short walking tour, see the city’s cathedral and São Bento train station with its elaborate interior tile mosaics. During a visit to a Port wine cave you can sample this local vintage during an included wine tasting. The final excursion visits Guimarães, one of the country’s most important historical cities that had an important role in the formation of Portugal. The well-preserved city center has earned Guimarães a spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On the included walking tour, see the Castelo de Guimarães, former palace of the Dukes of Bragança, quaint town squares and picturesque residential lanes as your guide walks you through this historic city.
Day Eleven: Porto/USA
This morning, disembark the MS Douro Queen and bid a fond farewell to Portugal filled with memories of this remarkable river cruise.
Your Package Includes:
- 10 Nights accommodations
- 9 Breakfasts
- 6 Lunches
- 8 Dinners
- Stop in Fátima and included sightseeing in Coimbra en-route
- Visit to the oldest university of Portugal in Coimbra
- Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Monument to the Discoveries, Belem Tower, Guimarães, Porto and Salamanca, Spain
- Experience the Douro River aboard the exclusively chartered river vessel the MS Douro Queen on a seven-night cruise
- All shore excursions included with English-speaking guides
- All meals included while on the river cruise featuring local and international specialties served at one leisurely seating
- All onboard dinners are served with complimentary local wines
- Evening events onboard
- Airport transfers
- Fully escorted
- Motor coach transportation for land excursions
- Taxes and Gratuities (NOTE: Gratuities for the full-time escort, local guide’s and coach driver are not included and are at your discretion based on service.)
- Per person double occupancy: 4,399.00
- Per person single occupancy: 7,478.00
- Per person double occupancy: 4,599.00
- Per person single occupancy: 7,818.00
- Per person double occupancy: 4,799.00
- Per person single occupancy: 8,158.00
NOTE: Above prices do not include air transportation to Lisbon and from Portugal. Notch Above Tours will gladly arrange air transportation as well as pre and post night stays upon request.