At a glance
8 Day Cruise on ms Andorinha, Tauck - Call for price
Departure 12 June 2020 | Villages and Vintages Douro River Cruise
- Porto and The Douro Valley
- Peso da Régua and Pinhão
- Vega de Terron
- Pocinho and Pinhão
- Pinhão and Régua
- Guimarães and Gaia
All departures (13)
Villages and Vintages Douro River Cruise
Discover the bohemian heart of the city that gave Port-wine its name... sample its treasures in the wine caves of Vila Nova de Gaia... sail deep into the mountain landscapes of Portuguese wine country to find wine estates, lush vineyards, idyllic riverside villages, baroque castles, hilltop medieval ruins, and rock art from the valley's earliest inhabitants.
This new eight-day riverboat cruise on Portugal's Douro River offers an authentic taste of life and world-class wines in a region steeped in winemaking for over 2,000 years. Explore the colourful city of Porto, an enticing labyrinth of winding streets, baroque churches and blue-tiled houses, where port wine is made and stored.
Board ms Andorinha and trace the wine to its source, the quintas and picture-postcard villages of the Douro River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Discover terraced vineyards and enjoy tours, tastings, wine pairings, and a lesson in port cocktail-making. Tour baroque Mateus Palace, and immerse yourself in local history and culture, the prehistoric art of Foz Côa, the views from hilltop Castelo Rodrigo and more.
Douro River Cruises
Day by day itinerary
A transfer is included from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto Airport) to your riverboat, ms Andorinha, on the Douro River. Settle in, then join your fellow guests for a welcome reception followed by dinner and onboard entertainment.
Rising on staggered hills along the river, colorful Porto beckons you to its labyrinthine streets and stairways, medieval alleys, Baroque churches, fountains, and bell towers, Beaux-Arts buildings, and bohemian neighborhoods. Choose a walking tour of the town's historic center or a guided stroll through Ribeira, the riverfront district. It's hard to take a bad picture in Porto, where houses are clad in painted tiles and beguiling, eclectic architecture is around every corner. Return to your riverboat and sail to the Douro River Valley and its astonishing landscapes. All along the winding river, rugged conical mountains and shale hills carved by concentric vineyard terraces tell of a winemaking history thousands of years old. Inhospitable to most kinds of farming, the terroir is perfect for Portugal's indigenous wine grapes, whose hardy roots can go down 30 feet or more in search of water. And since the 18th century, when Portuguese vintners created a sweet fortified wine – now famous as Port – that could make the long sea voyage to Britain without spoiling, the Douro Valley has been the only supplier of Port to the world, and the oldest demarcated wine region.
Dock in the historic town of Peso da Régua, once a busy hub where wooden boats called rabelos, laden with barrels of Port, sailed downriver to Vila Nova de Gaia. At the Museo do Douro, housed in a renovated 18th-century mansion, multimedia exhibits offer a history of viniculture in the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site; you also have the choice of a port cocktail-making workshop.
This afternoon, sail to the idyllic, tranquil village of Pinhão, nestled at a dramatic bend in the river; Pinhão is known as the gateway to the valley's quintas (vineyards) and large wine estates. From here it's a short drive to Quinta do Portal, a family-run estate in the Cima Corgo region where renowned Port and non-fortified wines are made. Your visit includes an introduction to the vineyards and a private dinner with wine pairings.
The Douro River Valley and its unique landscapes of terraced mountains, villages, and wine estates unfolds today on a full day's sail to the small Spanish port town of Vega de Terron, where the Douro forms the border between Spain and Portugal. The landscape, at a confluence of rivers, is tranquil, beautiful and unspoiled, at the edge of Douro International Natural Park.
At the town of Pocinho you have a choice of shore excursions. Visit Castelo Rodrigo, a medieval hilltop village with a turbulent history, where battles were once fought against Moors and Spanish rule; the empty ruins of its 13th-century palace still stand guard over the walled town with its churches, Manueline pillory, cistern, and panoramic vistas.
Alternatively, travel to the Museu do Côa in the Vale do Côa Archaelogical Park, for stunning exhibits of rock art from the valley's Paleolithic era, discovered in the 1990s when excavations began for a Côa River dam; unlike cave art found in other parts of Europe, the thousands of petroglyphs in the Côa region were created in the open air by the valley's earliest inhabitants, and the museum explores their mystery through state-of-the-art multimedia exhibits.
Return to the riverboat for lunch and sail back to Pinhão, arriving this evening.
Your choice of excursions this morning includes a walking tour of Pinhão and its early-20th century train station, adorned with blue-painted tiles (azulejos); or a vigorous hike in the hilltop vineyards with striking views of the town and river.
Sail to Régua, and drive to Vila Real for a visit to 18th-century Mateus Palace, a lavish Baroque residence designed by Nicolau Nasoni, now a museum with period furnishings and artwork, a heraldic hall, formal gardens, a winery, and a chapel with tombs and reliquaries.
Begin the return trip to Porto, and dock overnight in this verdant wine country, where some traditional farms grow vines on pergolas and fences so high the grapes must be harvested with ladders.
Explore the medieval town of Guimarães, known as the “Cradle City; the kingdom of Portugal was born here after a famous battle in 1128. The city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a wealth of architectural treasures, including the ruined Castle of Guimãraes, with its tempestuous history and sweeping views, the opulent Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, lush with 17th-century furnishings and tapestries, and the 13th-century Church of São Miguel do Castelo.
Arrive late afternoon in Porto and cross the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, the destination of wines shipped from the vineyards, and home to many Port wine warehouses and cellars; visit one of its "caves" for a tour and tasting, and toast the end of your Douro River journey.
Join your Tauck directors and guests this evening for a farewell reception and dinner aboard ship.
Disembark and take your included transfer from your riverboat to Porto Airport.
Sailing on ms Andorinha
Custom-built to accommodate no more than 84 guests within an innovative deck plan featuring 12 Tauck Suites and 20 cabins, this brand-new 80-meter (263-foot) riverboat is specifically designed for cruising along Portugal’s golden Douro River.