Uniworld River Cruises' Jewels of Spain, Portugal & the Douro River Cruise
Cruise Line: Uniworld River Cruising
Cruise Type: River
Length of Stay: 13 Days
Departure From: Paris
Departure date: 07/19/2019
Return date: 08/01/2019
Two intriguing countries and one dramatic river equal a grand adventure.
Before setting sail on the Douro River, experience three legendary Spanish cities: Salamanca, the lovely “Golden City”; Madrid, renowned for its museums, stately royal palace and vibrant nightlife; and Toledo, the city of El Greco and a magnificent tribute to the three great cultures that forged Spain.
Day 1-2 : Lisbon
Day 1: Arrive at Lisbon Portela Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the hotel.
Everything old is new again in the Portuguese capital, which is undergoing a remarkable rebirth of late. Get to know this hilly metropolis with a city tour that shows you all the top sights and treats you to a unique pastry with an intriguing (and delicious) history. Dynamic, colorful and picturesque, Lisbon will continually surprise you. Glorious historic architecture reflects the wealth brought in during the “Age of Discovery,” when the Portuguese owned the seas, but it is also a modern center of finance and international trade.
Lisbon city tour with visit to the Church of the Jerónimos Monastery
Day 3 : Lisbon, Óbidos, Transfer to Porto (Embark)
You’ll board a motorcoach this morning, heading north through Portugal’s picturesque countryside toward Porto—but you’ll stop in fascinating Óbidos before you reach the colorful city. The tiny whitewashed village of Óbidos is so charming that Portuguese kings traditionally gave it to their brides as a wedding gift. Need we say more? Climb up to the imposing hilltop castle for spectacular, Instagram-worthy photos of the countryside and the sea beyond.
Guided stroll through Óbidos
Day 4-5 : Porto
Day 4: There’s much more to Portugal’s second city than its eponymous fortified wine—historic architecture, cutting-edge design, fabulous food and wine, and a hip, laid-back vibe. Discover its many charms with your choice of distinctively different tours today. Today you cruise to the mouth of the Douro and Portugal’s second city (after Lisbon), Porto, which gave its name to the nation’s most famous export, Port wine, and to the nation itself. The city is a fascinating combination of historic buildings and cutting-edge architecture, tradition and vivacious modernity.
Choice of Porto city tour or Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Porto walking tour with local tastings and vintage tram ride
Guimarães or Porto? That’s the question of the day today (you really can’t go wrong either way). Guimarães is the town where Portugal was born and its well-preserved architecture and stylish young residents make it a pleasure to visit. Or opt to explore one of Porto’s oldest neighborhoods, picturesque Ribeira, considered the soul of the city.
Choice of Guimarães: the cradle of Portugal or Porto shopping experience
Day 6 : Entre-os-Rios (Amarante)
The family-owned Quinta da Aveleda looks like something out of a fairytale, with its lush flower gardens, peacocks and swans, shady terraces and whimsical follies—the perfect place to relax over a glass of vinho verde, the preferred drink of the region. After your visit to the quinta, you will get a crash course in the history of making Port during your visit to the Douro Museum.
Quinta da Aveleda visit with gardens
Douro Museum and Port wine history
Day 7 : Régua (Lamego), Pinhão
One of Portugal’s top pilgrimage sites is our destination today, Our Lady of Remedies in Lamego. The church sits high above the town, accessible via hundreds of zigzagging steps adorned with beautiful blue and white tiles. After seeing the sights with a local expert, enjoy a tasting of locally made wines at a picturesque quinta.
Lamego city tour with a sparkling wine tasting at the Quinta da Pacheca
Scenic Stroll to Pinhão station
Day 8 : Pinhão, Pocinho
Today is all about wine, which has been cultivated in the Douro River Valley since ancient Roman times. You’ll head to the hills to a prestigious wine estate, where you can sip Port while savoring marvelous views. Or, take a scenic drive to a family-owned quinta, where you’ll have a firsthand look at grape harvesting.
Choice of Quinta do Seixo guided tour with tasting or Vineyard hike and wine tasting at a local quinta
Whichever excursion you opt for, you’ll spend the afternoon cruising along a stretch of the Douro that is considered one of the most beautiful in all of Europe, boasting dramatic vistas, bountiful countryside and terraced vineyards, as well as picturesque villages tucked along the riverbanks.
Day 9 : Pocinho, Barca d’Alva (Castelo Rodrigo)
A tiny village surrounded by mountains, Barca d’Alva is your base for today's adventures. Go medieval today at Castelo Rodrigo, both the name of a hilltop castle as well as the village that surrounds it. It has been singled out as one of Portugal’s 12 historic villages for its medieval beauty. The view from the top is incredible and the village is a charming place to ramble, relax and replenish. Or, if you wish, you can also lace up your hiking boots and unleash your inner Indiana Jones with an up-close gander at some prehistoric carvings during a visit to Portugal’s first archaeological park, Foz Côa.
Choice of Castelo Rodrigo or Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley
In the evening, a special Gala Dinner will be prepared for you.
Day 10 : Vega de Terrón (Disembark), Salamanca, Transfer to Madrid
What adventures await you in Spain? You’ll disembark today, heading towards Madrid. Along the way you’ll visit the beautiful and historic university town of Salamanca—the “Golden City”—famous for its sand-colored buildings and abundance of churches. This is the university town where Columbus sought advice before sailing west in search of the new route to the Indies. Walk with a local expert through the Plaza Mayor, considered one of the most beautiful squares in Spain, and visit the university and the city’s astounding Food Hall.
Salamanca walking tour
After checking into your hotel in Madrid, join a guided “Madrid at Your Doorstep” vicinity walk to begin getting acquainted with the city.
Day 11-13 : Madrid
Madrid may very well be Europe’s liveliest capital city, a place where people eat late and stay up even later. Get your bearings with a panoramic overview or a more intimate walking tour, both of which include a visit to the extraordinary Prado Museum. Tonight, enjoy dinner and a colorful, passionate, foot-stomping show at the city’s finest flamenco venue. The capital of Spain, Madrid boasts incomparable artwork, an amazing range of architectural styles— from Moorish to postmodern—and exceptional food. Your Iberian adventure begins here as you sample some of its highlights.
Corral de la Moreria - award winning Flamenco performance and dinner
Choice of Madrid panoramic city tour with Prado Visit or Madrid panoramic and active walking tour: historic center and Prado visit
A one-time ancient Roman colony, medieval Moorish capital and center for religious tolerance, Toledo is said to be Spain’s spiritual heart: a timeless, UNESCO-listed city where Muslims, Jews and Christians have peacefully co-existed for three centuries. After your city tour you’ll have time to explore—and eat—on your own; the food here is so exceptional that Toledo was named Spain’s gastronomic capital in 2016.
Toledo walking exploration: city of walls, silk and swords
Day 13: You’ve experienced the best of Spain, Portugal and the pristine Douro River, but now the journey comes to a close. If your cruise/tour package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Madrid-Barajas Airport for your flight home. Your Uniworld adventure may be over, but we know you’ll enjoy the memories you’ve made for years to come.