Discover the unique culture of the golden Douro
Free standard class return tickets to London from your local station, on selected 2019 European holidays by rail when you book between 15th February 2019 and the 17th April 2019.
Iconic port wine, enigmatic cities and Portuguese charm, all on a ship used by Her Majesty the Queen, makes this cruise one to remember. Discover the unique culture of the golden Douro river on board the exclusively chartered Spirit of Chartwell as you visit quintas, explore villas and sample Portuguese delicacies. This tour is operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys.
After meeting at the airport, we board our flight today from London to Lisbon. We enjoy a guided tour of this exceptional European city on Day 2 as we visit the many attractions including the cathedral and the natural harbour, Belem. Our tour finishes at the wonderful Pasteis de Belem café where we sample some local delicacies.
Our excursion today takes us to the charming village of Sintra. Used as a retreat by various royals and aristocrats, Sintra is made up by a variety of different castles and palaces, painted in a myriad of pale colours. Arguably the centrepiece of all these is the instantly recognisable Pena Palace, with its honey coloured tower. We enjoy a day at leisure here.
Today we travel by rail to Porto. On arrival into this classic Portuguese city, transfer to the dock where you board your ship, the exquisite Spirit of Chartwell. After settling in to your elegant cabin, enjoy an exotic cocktail while the captain and his crew welcome you aboard as the upper deck is bathed in the golden glow of the Portuguese sunset.
Shortly afterwards, take a coach into the city where you enjoy dinner with your fellow passengers at Vinum, a restaurant owned and operated by Graham's Port. Here you enjoy a tasting of Graham's famous 6 Grapes Port. This wonderful full-bodied port has earned many admirers throughout the years - none more loyal than Prime Minister and wine connoisseur Sir Winston Churchill, for whom 6 Grapes Port was a personal favourite.
Day 5 begins with a city tour of Porto. Enjoy the sights of this charming city including the city bridge, the manors of the Foz district and the cathedral with its commanding views from the top of the Penaventosa Hill. The Spirit of Chartwell sets sail in the afternoon, on its way to Entre-os-Rios.
Today, your ship docks at Regua. This morning, you are given a culinary demonstration introducing you to the gastronomic traditions of this part of the world. In the afternoon, you pay a visit to Lamego, a picturesque village near the banks of the Douro where you take a guided tour. The Cathedral is the centrepoint of Lamego, a remarkable example of Baroque architecture.
Arguably more impressive however, are 700 steps which lead up to its doors, decorated as they are in cheerful white and blue tiles. Enjoy dinner at a local wine estate later.
Barca d'Alva is today's docking point and from here, you take an excursion to Castelo Rodrigo. A fascinating medieval town, hidden in the hills, Castelo Rodrigo has seen a variety of different peoples and civilisations come and go. Enjoy a historical tour here. Later, you take dinner with the Captain at the Captain's Dinner before a Portuguese Music Show which features a delightful performance of folk music.
Your excursion on Day 8 sees you venture from Portugal into neighbouring Spain by coach, where you visit the magnificent city of Salamanca. This honey-coloured city is home to some stunning buildings and architecture, both of which you discover on your tour here. We see the oldest university in Spain, the decorous House of Shells and the grand Plaza Mayor.
The Spirit of Chartwell departs Barca d'Alva today, sailing back to Regua. On the way, you may wish to attend a lecture on Portugal in modern times. On arrival in Regua, you pay a visit to the Vila Real and the Casa de Mateus by coach. This romantic villa was owned by the Count of Vila Real, and features a chapel and gracefully manicured gardens.
Sail today to Entre-os-Rios this morning for your excursion to Quinta da Aveleda. One of the notable wine estates which sit near the banks of the Douro, the Quinta da Aveleda belongs to the Guedes family who have been in operation since the mid-19th century. Tonight, the Spirit of Chartwell returns to Porto and it is here where you are treated to a farewell sunset cruise across the harbour.
Disembark the Spirit of Chartwell today for your transfer to the airport and your flight to London.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Discover the unique culture of the golden Douro