Cruising the Douro River traveling through Portugal and Spain is a captivating experience. There are a lot of reasons to take a cruise on the Douro River. Besides the outstanding scenery, the oldest wine region in the world offers plenty of wine tasting in historic wineries. Indeed, it stands to be the best in Europe. During a Douro cruise, you can choose from several different activities. Here is a perfect cruise guide.
How to Get to Douro River
The adventure begins at the train station in Porto. From where one can see the Douro valley through tiled views. Connect to river Douro from Porto by car and cruise down the River to Porto by ship or a boat.
Essentials to pack for the cruise
Bring casual clothes and comfortable walking shoes for a relaxed, informal atmosphere for river cruising on the Douro. Ensure your backpack is well equipped with necessities to get you through the day of excursions. Include items such as water, a camera, and local currency for shopping.
Top activities to venture around Douro River
The picturesque town of Lamego is home to one of the most important pilgrimage sites in all of Portugal. Visit Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies). The Shrine’s almost 700 steps, decorated with white and blue tiles, will appeal to adventurers with active lifestyles.
Senhora dos Remédios in Lamego
Step back in time to the Middle Ages during your escorted tour of Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take time to explore the two cathedrals in this beautiful city.
Salamanca Cathedral in Spain
Today you will cruise to Barca d’Alva to visit a hilltop medieval castle (Castelo Rodrigo) with steep narrow streets with centuries-old walls. Also, you can opt to hike to the village to explore more local culture.
Do not forget your camera to capture the views.
medieval Castelo Rodrigo
For a truly authentic culinary experience, your cruise stops between the rivers in a tranquil village for a traditional Portuguese lunch. Quench your thirst in this village with your fellow travelers. Wine tasting is an activity you can not think of neglecting.
Here, in Porto, you will have an exclusive opportunity to learn much about this wine-producing center in Portugal. With the help of a local guide who will unveil the history of Porto. Your cruise will involve sampling the delightful vintages and other fabulous wine estates. Also, wine lovers should visit the Douro museum wine-producing region.
Porto Portugal wine cellar
Dishes to try
The excellent culinary skills give an exceptional taste of bacalhau ’a bras. Order a plate full mouthwatering of seafood, olives, and a fried egg for diner relaxing listening to fado music.
When’s the best time to go on a Douro cruise?
Typically, the popular times to cruise are in spring (May & June) or during the fall (Sept & Oct) when the temperatures are pleasant. Inland during the summer months, the temperatures are hot while cities are crowded. Nevertheless, cruising starts in March and ends in November.
Porto on the Douro River
Extend your cruise on land
Certainly, seven nights on the river cruise may seem short. If you extend your stay with three pre-cruise nights in Lisbon, you will experience the Portuguese culture. Tour the capital city with an excursion to the fairytale castle Pena Palace with your guide.
Take a view of Douro by making stopovers at different spots for sightseeing. Get to explore the very best of Douro valley by visiting areas like the green hills, vineyards, and estates. Visit the scenic places to discover the fascinating towns and villages. The sleepy Pinhao, the golden Salamanca, Lamego, and Barcos are some of the magical Cities worth exploring.