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THE DOURO - PERFECT FOR EXPLORERS
Passing through one of the world’s oldest wine regions and visiting no fewer than four world heritage sites, this cruise along the Douro is the perfect way to experience the bucolic, sun-dappled way of life that is customary in Northern Spain and Portugal.
Winding its way through lush greenery, breathtaking mountain ranges and picturesque gorges, the Douro is undoubtedly one of Europe’s hidden gems. This charming waterway will allow you to take in the stunning, raked vineyards of Northern Portugal, the quaint beauty of Iberia’s medieval towns and the history and splendour of Northern Spain’s finest cathedrals.
Most river cruises along the Douro set off from Porto, the home of port wine, before cutting a leisurely course upstream towards Salamanca.
Known as ‘the Golden City’, the cultural importance of this stunning UNESCO World Heritage site is matched only by its beauty. Look out for intricately carved golden sandstone churches, palaces and plazas, and be sure to take in the Baroque Plaza Mayor that shimmers in the midday sun. A visit to the historically significant University of Salamanca is not to be missed. Built in 1812, this stunning university easily matches Oxford in terms of its prestige and student population, which gives the town an interesting mix of youthful exuberance and intellectual pursuit. There are also restaurants, cafes and bars in abundance, which are magically floodlit at night to give the city a magical air.
Your final stop on a Douro River Cruise is Porto, the capital of the North. It's one of Portugal’s most visited cities, so you’ll find a bustling, thriving metropolis with new independent restaurants, coffee shops and artisan markets on every corner. Be sure to schedule a visit to the Baroque Clergios Church Tower and one of the many ceramic-tile covered churches (look out for the eye-catching blue and white designs that make this city iconic). It would also be remiss to visit the home of port and not sample a tipple. You will find that the wine tastings are many and varied in this picturesque city.
Whether you’re looking to drink the best port, take in the olive groves and dotted quintas (farms) of the Mediterranean or view the medieval architecture, a river cruise along the stunning Douro is sure to tick all of your boxes.
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