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River Douro

A lazy river, lit by the shimmering Iberian sun, the Douro River is a winding snake of azure crossing from Spain over to Portugal and filtering out through the explorer's city of Porto, out into the calm of the Atlantic Ocean. Beginning at its source in the rocky hills of Duruelo de la Sierra in Northern Spain, the Douro makes its graceful way past flourishing vineyards, spectacular geological formations and pretty towns, full of Spanish and Portuguese charm.

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There are 2 cruises matching River Douro

Douro Cruise onboard The Spirit of Chartwell

Iconic port wine, enigmatic cities and Portuguese charm, all on a boat used by Her Majesty the Queen, makes this cruise one to remember. Discover the unique culture of the golden Douro river on board the excellent Spirit of Chartwell as you visit quintas, explore villas and sample Portuguese delicacies.

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2018JunJulAugOct

6 days from £2,795 pp

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Luxury Douro Cruise

Flowing from northern Spain to the ocean in Porto, the Douro River carves a route through a rolling landscape of vineyards, gorges and villages. From vibrant Porto, you embark on a magnificent 8-day cruise enjoying Port wine tastings at renowned plantations, visits to historic Portuguese cities and excursions into Spain as well as an on board Flamenco performance.

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2018JunJulSepOct

7 days from £2,295 pp

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Countries of the Douro

The Douro begins in the Castille and León region of Northern Spain, the land of the guitar, the bullring and the flamenco. Beginning in Duruelo de la Sierra, a small town in the province of Soria, the Douro makes its way down through the craggy rocks of the Spanish landscape and across to the Spanish-Portuguese border. On its way, it passes the traditional town of Zamora and countless charming Spanish villages, before it reaches the border and tracks down alongside it before it finally crosses into Portugal.

From the border, the Douro drifts through this beautiful country, through valleys and under hills on its way to its outlet in the discoverer's city of Porto. The wine regions which this river sails through sow the seeds of countless vineyards for which this area is known for. Peso da Régua and Vila Nova de Gaia are both remarkable and attractive towns which sit on the banks of the Douro, before, of course, the excellent Porto sees the outlet for the river.

Highlights of the Douro

Arguably, the finest section of this magnificent river is the Douro Valley region. Famed for its wine producing prowess, the Douro Valley is a comprehensive stretch of glorious vineyards layered into man-made shelves on the verdant hills. The specialised microclimate makes the grapes here unique to this part of the world, and as a consequence of this, the Douro Valley has created its very own viticulture, based around Port wine. Quintas, Portuguese wine estates, dot the farmland and hills with many owned by world-famous Port producers such as Sandeman and Fonseca. These quintas are often housed in beautiful old buildings, many of which offer tours of their wineries and Port tastings.

The town of Lamego on the shores of the Douro are the closest anyone can get to the archetypical Douro Valley commune. With narrow, winding streets of ornate cobbles, combined with the white houses and stone arches, Lamego is a veritable maze and a delight to get lost in. The centrepiece of Lamego is the remarkable Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. This religious building is accessed by a stairway of 686 steps, which has a decorative mosaic at its base, made of blue and white tiles.

The Casa de Mateus echoes the grandeur and majesty of the Portuguese empires of old. Built in a Baroque style in the early 18th century, this beautiful palace is well worth a visit. The burgeoning gardens around it are charming and tranquil, and it is easy to lose track of time as you bask in the Portuguese sun next to the central pond.

Helpful Tips

The Douro river runs through the sunny valleys of the Iberian Peninsula and consequently it enjoys a hot and sunny climate, with an average of 21°C in August and an average 11°C in January. Be sure to bring hot weather clothes as well as something waterproof to ward of the rain which can fall throughout the year.

The languages spoken here include Spanish and Portuguese and both Spain and Portugal are both members of the European Union and use the Euro as their official currencies.

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