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Portugal & the Douro

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Experience a scenic cruise, overnight rail journey, and tour through the Douro Valley and Spain

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
12 days From $4,395 per person

2021 Tour code: GR-POGA-21

About the tour

Flowing from northern Spain to the ocean, the Douro River carves our route through a rolling landscape of vineyards towards historic Porto on this 12-day voyage. We explore the ever-changing scenery, as well as the gastronomic delights, along the way, as we travel from Biarritz, France to the coast of Portugal. We enjoy sights of the "glowing" sandstone buildings of Salamanca, a cruise through the Douro Valley on the "Golden River," the vibrant city of Lisbon, the beautiful art of the Guggenheim Museum, guided city tours and so much more. First-class rail travel between destinations and beautiful hotel accommodations throughout both Spain and Portugal further enhance this journey.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-2 - To Biarritz and Salamanca

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 onward 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.

Includes
  • 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 Conchas.

Includes
  • 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 Régua Douro. 

Includes
  • 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 epicenter 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 Douro.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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 unspoiled charm. We stay at the 4-Star Hotel PortoBay Teatro for the next three nights. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Bom Jesus do Monte and Guimarães

This morning we head to the vast Bom Jesus do Monte, known for its grand staircase up to the church that climbs a staggering 381 feet (116 meters). 

After time to explore, we continue to Guimarães, the first capital of Portugal, whose attractive, narrow streets have UNESCO World Heritage status. 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
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

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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 colored Pena Palace. Your time in Sintra is free to explore at leisure.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - Discovering Lisbon

Today we take a guided tour of Lisbon by historic tram, before free time. Tonight enjoy your last evening in Spain. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 12 - Travel Home

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

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 vacation 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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Trains

Eurostar
TGV

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