15893
Portugal

Belo Portugal: Wine, History and Landscapes Along the Douro River

Explore little-known treasures along Europe’s Douro River, discovering local wineries, ancient architecture, Gothic cathedrals and UNESCO World Heritage Sites on expert-led excursions.
Rating (4.93)
Program No. 15893RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
900
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13 days
12 nights
28 meals
11 B 7 L 10 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Porto, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Porto
D
Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. As we travel the Douro, we will visit small villages, many with centuries-old streets, or far from major cities. Our vehicle transfers may be on narrow, winding roads, and walks will take place on narrow, cobblestoned streets (some from the Middle Ages). There will not always be handrails, paths and streets may be uneven, and cobblestones are slick when wet. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a welcome dinner, plated meal from a set menu, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. This is a Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of activities and events aboard ship that are separate from the Road Scholar program. The time available in each port is set by the cruise line. Whenever possible, the Road Scholar daily schedule indicates port arrival and departure times (subject to change by the cruise line). This may mean that free time in port is limited. Regardless of the time in port, Road Scholar delivers a robust educational program. All routes, field trips, and excursions are subject to change as weather and river conditions may affect the itinerary. River conditions could affect the progress of the ship, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Because of this, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. The operators reserve the right to change the content of field trips and excursions without prior notice.

DAY
3
Porto-Portugal, Embarkation
Porto
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Miguel Torga

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach, driving throughout the day with stops at least every 1/2 hour. Walking up to 2 miles on uneven terrain, plus standing at sites.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet meal from a set menu, plus coffee, tea, water, juice.

Morning: At the hotel, we will enjoy a lecture on an introduction to the history of Portugal, led by a local historian. We will cover the evolution of Portugal from the time of the Romans to the fall of the monarchy, as well as the role Portugal played in putting into contact people and goods from four continents: Europe; America; Africa; and Asia. Afterwards, we will leave the hotel, with our luggage, for a field trip by foot and by motorcoach to discover the city of Porto. We will see the Beaux-Arts style São Bento railway station and observe the more than 20,000 azulejos—highly detailed ceramic tiles—with historical motifs. We’ll also walk through the old part of town, formerly contained within medieval walls.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Porto, we will enjoy a meal from a set menu, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will continue our expert-led discovery of the old quarter, exploring the historic city center of Porto both on foot and by motorcoach. We will then drive to the mouth of the Douro River, driving through the modern neighborhood of Boavista before embarking. Late this afternoon, we will transfer to the ship by motorcoach, check into our cabins, and have an orientation before dinner. We will discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions.

Dinner: On board, we will enjoy a meal from a set menu, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Guimaraes, Free Time, Lecture
Porto
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Miguel Torga

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; total driving 2 hours. Walking up to 1 hour on uneven terrain and cobblestones. All visits today are outdoors.

Breakfast: Buffet on board the ship.

Morning: After leaving the ship in port and transferring an hour to Guimaraes, our local expert will lead us, on foot, through its historical evolution from a medieval settlement into a modern town. From UNESCO: “…its rich building typology exemplifies the development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to the 19th century through the consistent use of traditional building materials and techniques.”

Lunch: Plated on board the ship.

Afternoon: We will walk along the river with our Study Leader, passing under one of the many bridges along the Douro, including Gustav Eiffel’s Maria Pia Bridge, from 1877, and the Dom Luís I Bridge, from 1886. Our Group Leader will discuss these architectural marvels. Late in the afternoon, after returning to the ship, we will enjoy a lecture about the contemporary history of Portugal, in particular the Salazar dictatorship, the transition to democracy that followed, the entrance into the future EU, the European Economic Community, in 1986, and the recent economic crisis and how Portugal faced it.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Porto, Douro Valley
Do-Peso de Regua
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Miguel Torga

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach, driving around 18 miles, about 45 minutes. Standing most of the morning, walking on old streets with cobblestones and ramps. The monuments have staircases and no elevators.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: We will discover the dramatic Baroque style architecture of Porto with our Study Leader. The word baroque most likely comes from an irregularly shaped Portuguese pear called a “barocco.” Afterwards, we will rejoin the ship and continue upstream.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Our Study Leader will present a lecture on board the ship about the history of the vineyards of the Douro. The region has produced wine since at least the 3rd century CE, with port beginning in the late 17th century, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Vila Real, Lecture
Do-Vega de Teron
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Miguel Torga

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach, total driving under 2 hours. Standing for about 1 hour and walking on uneven terrain 1/2 hour.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: We will leave the ship and board a motorcoach to visit the town of Vila Real, famed for its religious architectural styles. Our Study Leader will lead on foot and point out these styles, explaining their significance in the 18th-century manors we will encounter.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: After returning to the ship, we will attend a lecture from our Study Leader on social development in Portugal, covering social security, education, healthcare and more.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure as the ship passes the border into Spain.

DAY
7
Salamanca-Spain, Free Time
Do-Barca D'Alva
B,D
CroisiEurope’s Miguel Torga

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach, driving 4 hours roundtrip. Standing, walking on mostly flat ground for the whole afternoon.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: We will leave the ship and drive to Salamanca to enjoy some free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Led by our local expert, we will discover the city of Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about the Roman, Arabic, and Christian architectural treasures found in this historic city. The University of Salamanca is the oldest and one of the most prestigious in Spain, and has been an important seat of learning since the 12th century. The old city is renowned for its beautiful sandstone buildings. We will then return to the ship by motorcoach.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Wine Discovery
Do-Pinhoa
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Miguel Torga

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving total 2 hours. Standing, walking for 1 hour.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: At leisure aboard the ship, sailing downstream with time to rest and relax.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: We will leave the ship to visit a local winery in the village of Pinhão for a behind-the-scenes look at the production of regional port wines with staff. We will then return to the ship.

Dinner: On board the ship, we will enjoy dinner with a ship-wide gala event.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Lamego
Porto
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Miguel Torga

Activity note: Minimal walking. Standing up to 1 hour.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: We will leave the ship to visit Lamego and discover the Shrine of Nossa Senhora and the National Art Museum with our study leader. The shrine was, until the 18th century, the most important pilgrimage center of Portugal. We will see tapestries and oil paintings dating back to the 16th century, as well as medieval sculptures.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: At leisure. We’ll pass through the last two of the five locks of the Douro River.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Disembarkation, Transfer to Lisbon, Coimbra, Lisbon
Lisbon
B,D
HF Fenix Lisboa Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; total driving 2 hours. Walking about 1 hour on uneven terrain with cobblestones.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: We will disembark the ship in Quebrantões with our luggage. En route for Lisbon by motorcoach, we will take a field trip to Coimbra, known as the City of Students because of the university, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our expert will lead us on a visit of Portugal’s oldest university and will explain the higher education system in Portugal. After that visit, we’ll enjoy a walking discovery focusing on the traditions of Coimbra and the life of its students. Once the capital of Portugal, from 1131 to 1255, the city is filled with archaeological sites dating from the Roman occupation through the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We will transfer by motorcoach to Lisbon and check into our next hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel in Lisbon, we will enjoy a meal, with coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Lisbon-Portugal
Lisbon
B,D
HF Fenix Lisboa Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Total driving about 2.5 hours. Walking about 1 hour. Standing during all the visits to monuments.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet meal, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will take a field trip to explore one of the national palaces where kings and queens of Portugal used to spend their holidays. Later, we’ll take a motorcoach to drive along the coast of Cascais and Estoril, taking in the beaches and beautiful villas. Then, we’ll transfer along the river Tagus back to Lisbon for lunch.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: We will visit monuments that bear witness to Portugal’s past glories as we explore the National Coach Museum, housing a large collection of horse-drawn carriages, and Jeronimos Church, a former monastery built in the highly ornate Manueline style. We will also stop to observe the Monument to the Discoveries as well as Belém Tower, a 16th-century fort built near the shore of the Tagus and an icon of Lisbon.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated meal from a set menu plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: During dinner, we will enjoy a traditional fado performance, a style of music believed to have originated in Lisbon in the 1820s. After dinner, we will enjoy a night motorcoach ride of Lisbon, driving past the beautiful, illuminated monuments, as we learn about the city by night.

DAY
12
Gulbenkian Museum
Lisbon
B,L
HF Fenix Lisboa Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach, minimal driving. Total walking and standing up to 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will spend our last morning in Lisbon at the Gulbenkian Museum, consisting of a collection of some of the most highly regarded European artists, such as Rembrandt, Manet, Rubens, Degas, and more, as well as an extensive section of art from classical antiquity, ancient Egypt, and beyond. The museum was founded according to the will of philanthropist Calouste Gulbenkian, who bequeathed over 6000 items from his personal collection to the museum, with a selection of about 1000 on permanent display.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Lisbon, we will enjoy a plated meal from a set menu, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After an early afternoon on our own, we will enjoy a meeting with locals at the hotel, talking about contemporary Portuguese life and topics. Before setting out for dinner, we will have a program wrap-up.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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