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Total meals included:
The ship will be docked at Vila Nova de Gaia, embarkation will commence after 16.00 hrs. Free time until dinner.
Notes about excursions listed for this vacation:(1) These excursions are part of the optional Excursion Package that can be purchased in advance on MyCosmos.
(2) These optional excursions are available for purchase once on board.
Set sail early this morning on the start of our cruise. On arrival in Régua we begin our excursion (1) to Vila Real to visit the famous Mateus Palace. We then continue to the Quinta Avessada for a traditional dinner with wine and musical accompaniment. For those passengers not taking the excursion to Vila Real we have a transfer from the ship to the Quinta to join the included dinner. We rejoin the ship in Pinhão for a Portuguese folk music concert.
(1) Excursion To the Mateus Palace in Vila Real Drive to Vila Real, where members of the Portugese aristocracy settled between the 15th and 17th centuries. The town's main attraction is the Mateus Palace, home to the last Count of Vila Real. The baroque palace is situated in well-tended parks with unique shaped hedges and ancient trees. The gardens are considered among the most beautiful in the whole of Europe.
Spend a relaxing morning on board, enjoying the passing scenery of the Douro Valley. After lunch on board we arrive in Vega de Terrón on the border with Spain. This is the starting point for the excursion (1) to Castelo Rodrigo, one of 12 historic Portuguese villages. There are 14 listed medieval buildings here, as well as the castle. This evening we have dinner on board the ship.
(1) Excursion to Castelo Rodrigo We travel to Castelo Rodrigo, one of Portugal's 12 historic parishes, which lies 670 m above sea level. On account of the many almond trees this medieval village is known as “The White Village”. The day continues with a visit to the castle, palace ruins and exploring the cobbled streets with their 16th Century facades and window decorations in the famous Manuelino style.
From Vega de Terrón, we travel by coach to the famous Spanish university city of Salamanca (1). Our guided walk takes in the Plaza Mayor with its arcades, Spain's oldest university, the Casa de las Conchas, the baroque church of La Clereria, the old and new cathedrals and the Roman bridge – the Puente Romano. Then we return to the ship in Barca d'Alva for a traditional Portuguese barbecue.
(1) Excursion - Full day excursion to Salamanca – the golden City. All the city centre buildings are made from a golden coloured stone, giving Salamanca its unique character. Our guide takes us past Spain's oldest university to the Plaza Mayor, where bull fights were once held. We then continue to the House of Shells (Casa de las Conchas), a Gothic building celebrating the marriage between two influential local families. Next a visit to the 16th Century New Cathedral, which has replaced the Old Cathedral, dating back to the 12th Century. Next an included lunch stop at a local hotel accompanied by a traditional demonstration of fiery Flamenco dancing, followed by time at leisure before we board the coach for the return journey through a fascinating and varied landscape.
This morning the MS Douro Spirit begins its journey downstream. After lunch we offer an excursion (1) from Pinhão to the Quinta do Seixo, rejoining the ship in Régua. This evening the Captain invites us to enjoy cocktails before our Gala Dinner.
(1) Excursion to the Quinta do Seixo – a typical Portuguese wine producer. A short bus ride takes us to the Quinto do Seixo winery. An included tour gives an insight into local wine growing culture, followed by a wine tasting session with spectacular views of the Douro Valley.
After breakfast we offer an excursion (1) to the ancient area of Lamego. This colourful town is surrounded by vineyards, enjoy the beautiful views, as well as a chance to explore it's cathedral and museum.
(1) Excursion to Lamego – a famous pilgrimage site. Small and picturesque Lamego was founded in the baroque era. It is the burial place of Saint of Remedies. Those who wish can descend the 600 steps from the pilgrimage centre into the town. Here we visit the Gothic cathedral and the local museum, with its impressive collection of paintings. Lamego is also famous for its cuisine, including smoked ham rolls (Bola de Lamego), venison and Raposeira wine.
In Vila Nova de Gaia we get the chance to experience lovely views across the River Douro to the rooftops of Porto, Portugal's second largest city. Our morning coach tour (1) in Porto takes us from the colourful Cais da Ribeira to the ancient Alfandega. We should not miss a chance to sample local wines in one of the many wineries. We also offer an afternoon excursion to Guimares (2), with its narrow streets and small squares surrounded by medieval houses. The town is dominated by its castle. Alternatively you have the chance to explore Porto on foot at your leisure. This evening concludes with our final dinner on board.
(1) Excursion Coach tour of Porto with a wine tasting. Fishermen, sailors, merchants and boat builders from Porto all played a role in the Portuguese voyages of discovery. In the 18th Century Porto gave its name to one of the world's noblest wines – Port Wine. We have a chance to sample it in a typical winery. We drive through narrow streets and discover centuries old buildings, as well as the famous railway bridge, built by Gustav Eiffel. From the Cathedral on Penaventosa Hill we have a spectacular view of the river.
(2) Excursion to Guimares – the cradle of Portugal. Guimares is one of Portugal's most attractive towns with its 15th Century palace of the Dukes of Braganca, the family of the last Kings of Portugal. In December 2001 the town centre was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List and in 2012 Guimares was one of the European Capitals of Culture.
Disembark after breakfast.
The MS Douro Spirit of the shipping company DouroAzul went on her maiden voyage in 2011. The modern ship offers comfort in the public areas as well as in the cabins.
All cabins have a French balcony, seating consisting of small table and chairs, shower/WC, hairdryer, flat-screen TV, telephone, safe and individually adjustable air conditioning. The cabin size for the 2-bed cabins middle and upper deck as well as for the 1-bed cabins middle deck approx. 14m2, for the cabins in the bow area (2-bed cabin middle deck in front) approx. 13m2 and for the 1-bed cabins middle deck in front approx. 12m2. The junior suite on the central deck (approx. 20m2) and the suites on the upper deck (approx. 21m2) are equipped with a bathtub.
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