Discover River Cruise: Porto Douro River Valley
A slow meander through the country. A journey down the Douro starts energetically: From colorful Lisbon with its historic towers and street art-covered tenements, you’ll bus to Porto, arriving in time to see the river turn orange at sunset.
Lisbon-to-Porto drive itineraries often include a stop at the ancient university town of Coimbra, which was J.K. Rowling’s possible real-life template for Hogwarts. Students in floor-length robes share scholarly stories—quite a contrast from later in Porto, where street musicians and carnival booths enliven the riverside dining scene.
Douro itineraries are typically a loop, which is convenient for the many people who want more time in Porto. The Gaia side (Gaia is a different town than Porto, but you’d never know to look at it) is where all the great port houses have wine cellars/tasting rooms just a few steps away from the riverfront. Porto Must See: The Teleferico cable car ver the bridge provides the best view of both cities and the dividing river What to Eat in Porto: Porto Must Drink: Caves – explain
About Coimbra: As the ship chugs into Portuguese wine country, cruisers relax into long, easy days of day-drinking vinho verde and dozing under the hot sun while green-golden countryside slips by quietly. The port towns of Pinhao and Regua are charmingly small and a bit dusty. Sandeman’s giant caped Don sculpture towers over Regua from a hilltop like an intimidating superhero. The quirkiest attraction in Regua is wine country tours aboard itty-bitty trains, departing from the center of town. If you want to stay close to the boat, check out the Museo do Douro.
Enter The Sandeman
Sandeman’s Quinta do Seixo is an impressive introduction to port wine. The gardens of Mateus are a stunning display of old world wine family wealth. A cruise usually offers at least one excursion to a more modest quinta. The rest, you glimpse in passing, surrounded by terraced vineyards. Add a paragraph — offshoot journey to Santuario de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios When the river turns a somnolent copper-platinum color and ships can go no further, cruisers travel by bus to the ruins of Castelo Rodrigo.
Add a paragraph on Castelo Rodrigo Beyond the border:
Salamanca and then cross to Spain for platters of tapas and a flamenco performance before turning back toward Porto.
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