The Douro is not the longest, grandest or most historic of Europe’s rivers, but it certainly is one of the most untouched and beautiful. From its meagre beginnings in the hills north of Madrid it makes its way through Northern Portugal in a meandering flourish to the ocean and the endlessly fascinating city of Oporto. Our cruise aboard the delightful MS Gil Eanes offers the opportunity to sail this delightful river and experience some of the local flavour. Where vessels once laden with barrels of port drifted to Oporto, we will cruise along this lovely river, relaxing on board whilst admiring the beautiful passing scenery and stopping each day for fascinating excursions.

Our navigation of the Douro will take us from Oporto on a wonderfully scenic path, past sleepy villages and a tranquil countryside of almond and citrus trees to just before the Spanish border. From here we will visit Spain’s ancient seat of learning, Salamanca with its grand buildings in rich copper hues and the country’s most magnificent square, Plaza Mayor. Along the way we will visit the world renowned port wine region, restored palaces, places of pilgrimage and cultural centres. Small towns and settlements perched on the sloping hillsides of the region have retained an aura of Medieval simplicity, its many tiny communities, largely agricultural, clustering round historic churches, monasteries and castles.

Highlights


Salamanca
This ancient university town north-west of Madrid was first conquered by the Carthaginians in the 3rd century B.C. It then became a Roman settlement before being ruled by the Moors until the 11th century. The university, one of the oldest in Europe, reached its high point during Salamanca's golden age. The city's historic centre has important Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque monuments. The Plaza Mayor, with its galleries and arcades, is particularly impressive

Fly by scheduled flight. Upon arrival transfer to the MS Gil Eanes and embark. This evening meet your fellow travellers at the welcome dinner. Flights can be taken off if required and credited.
This morning there will be a guided tour of Oporto, Portugal’s second largest city and a World Heritage Site. This attractive city was originally a Celtic-Iberian settlement and became a prosperous Roman village thanks to its natural harbour. During our tour we will drive through its narrow streets to find 16th century arcaded buildings, Baroque churches and chapels, as well as the city’s iconic 19th century iron bridge, built by the school of Gustav Eiffel. We continue along the coastal road of the Atlantic to the mouth of the Douro River to view this wealthy neighbourhood with its fashionable villas and manor houses. Our final visit will be to the city’s cathedral, located on the top of the Penaventosa Hill. Inside are beautiful examples of golden carved altarpieces and paintings from the Nasoni period, whilst outside we will enjoy the amazing view over the river. The tour will conclude with a visit to a port wine lodge where we will see the old casks full of port and enjoy a sample of this delicious world famous wine. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon on board.
From our mooring at Regua we will visit the unique 18th century Mateus Manor House and its gardens. This fine looking palace and gardens is still owned by the Count of Vila Real and is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Portugal. On our guided tour of the Palace we will see the “rare books” library, as well as vestments and religious icons and view the remarkable chestnut wood crafting on the ceilings, as well as some beautiful paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries. Stroll around the romantic gardens which feature a unique 100 foot long cedar tunnel and formal garden and visit the villa’s pretty chapel. Return to the vessel which will have sailed to Tavora to meet us. Enjoy lunch on board and continue cruising towards the Spanish border.
Today we will enjoy a full day tour to Salamanca, a Spanish city rich in culture and tradition. Salamanca has been famous as a seat of learning since the early 13th century and has an impressive history, with many fine monuments and architecture. The city attracts around 40,000 international students each year, giving it a cosmopolitan and modern feel. Our guided tour will include the University, House of Shells and the classic Plaza Mayor, formally a bullfighting site. We will also visit the Gothic “New Cathedral” which was actually constructed in the 16th century, replacing the original 12th century Salamanca Cathedral. After lunch in a local restaurant, enjoy some free time to explore independently. Maybe visit the Casa Lis (the Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco), or simply stroll through the plazas and side streets of this delightful city. Return later to the vessel for dinner.
This morning depart for an excursion to the picturesque Medieval town of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, known as the white village because of its surrounding almond trees. Located at about 2200 feet above sea level, and one of Portugal’s 12 historical parishes, its streets are typically narrow and steep with 16th century facades and Manuelino style windows. The Romans were the first to build a fortress here, then in 1209 Alfonso IX built the fortress wall. During the centuries Jews, Christians and Arabs lived peacefully here, and evidence of this can be seen on Sinagoga (Synagogue Street). However, the once large Jewish community fled during the Inquisition.
Enjoy a leisurely morning on board as we cruise to Pinhao. After lunch we will depart for our visit to Quinta do Seixo, an ancient property with 99 hectares of vineyards and a modern winery. The drive takes us through steep terraced vineyards which boast breathtaking views. On a guided tour we will learn about the production methods, and we will have the chance to sample some of the local wines.
Sail early this morning towards Folgosa where we will disembark and enjoy a half day excursion to the historical and charming town of Lamego. This city houses one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Portugal - the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies. Built in the second half of the 18th century over the remains of a 14th century chapel, it is an excellent example of Portuguese Baroque style. It is wonderfully decorated with enormous panels of blue and white tiles, with an impressive staircase of nearly 700 steps. During lunch on board we sail back to Oporto crossing the Crestuma-Lever dam. On our final evening we will be entertained by a Portuguese folklore show on board.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for the return scheduled flight to London. Flights can be removed, you will be issued with a credit

E Main /Middle Deck Double/Twin Cabin

£2,895 GBP pp
tbc

D Middle Deck Double/Twin cabin

£3,095 GBP pp
tbc

C Upper Deck Double/Twin Cabin

£3,295 GBP pp
tbc

E Main /Middle Deck Cabin for sole use

£3,495 GBP pp
tbc

B Middle Deck Suite

£3,695 GBP pp
tbc

A Upper Deck Suite

£4,595 GBP pp
tbc

E Main /Middle Deck Double/Twin Cabin

£2,895 GBP pp
tbc

D Middle Deck Double/Twin cabin

£3,095 GBP pp
tbc

C Upper Deck Double/Twin Cabin

£3,295 GBP pp
tbc

E Main /Middle Deck Cabin for sole use

£3,495 GBP pp
tbc

B Middle Deck Suite

£3,695 GBP pp
tbc

A Upper Deck Suite

£4,595 GBP pp
tbc

E Main /Middle Deck Double/Twin Cabin

£2,895 GBP pp
tbc

D Middle Deck Double/Twin cabin

£3,095 GBP pp
tbc

C Upper Deck Double/Twin Cabin

£3,295 GBP pp
tbc

E Main /Middle Deck Cabin for sole use

£3,495 GBP pp
tbc

B Middle Deck Suite

£3,695 GBP pp
tbc

A Upper Deck Suite

£4,595 GBP pp
tbc

Gil Eanes

Launched in 2015, the MS Gil Eanes has a modern feel and offers a tranquil atmosphere on which to relax and enjoy the picturesque panoramas of the region. Cabins are located over three decks, and have a bright airy feel. Public areas include the restaurant, the lounge bar with floor to ceiling windows, and the Sun Deck with comfortable loungers, and some tables and chairs under a shaded area. There is ample opportunity to watch the world gently pass by as you relax on board your comfortable floating hotel.

Pre Cruise Portugal Extension (1145.00 GBP)

Inclusions


• Voyage on board in selected cabin category
• House wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board
• Expedition team
• Shore excursions as per the itinerary (Note: Some itineraries have optional excursions as per the specific exclusions)
• Gratuities
• Port Charges/ Taxes
• Transfers as per the itinerary (Note: Transfers are offered in conjunction with group flights only when booked together, both can be taken off if included in the itinerary and credited)
• All-inclusive drinks from 10am to 11pm (please note that premium brands & sparkling wines are not included)

Exclusions


• Passport and Visa costs where applicable
• Travel insurance
• Beverages other than those listed in inclusions
• Meals when not on board the ship unless otherwise stated
• Pre and post voyage accommodation unless otherwise stated
• Optional excursions as per specific itinerary
• Any items of a personal nature
8 Days from
£2,895 GBP pp

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