Paradise Uncorked: Hiking Portugal’s Douro Valley
Discover lovely Portugal by river and by foot in hillside vineyards, in timeless villages, in the warmth of its people — even in a book store said to have inspired author J.K. Rowling.
Program No. 21157RJ
9 days
Starts at
Flights start at
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9 days
8 nights
18 meals
7 B 4 L 7 D
Getting There
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In Transit to Program
In Flight
Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa

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

Morning: Transfer to the hotel and enjoy the time to relax and freshen up.

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: Check in to the hotel and continue to enjoy downtown Porto. Orientation: Gather in our private meeting room at the hotel where the Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. The ship offers a variety of shore excursions. We have made special arrangements for activities ashore that are included in the price of your Road Scholar program. These excursions will be fully described in the pre-departure information packets sent from Road Scholar as well as by staff aboard ship. All transportation will be provided via motor coach unless specified otherwise. During this program, our Group Leader will also serve as our Study Leader. Lectures and field trips will be led by our Group Leader or by local experts unless specified otherwise. Excursions will include walking up to 3 miles at an even pace on terrain including hilly and winding streets, cobblestone streets, sidewalks, and steps with/without railings. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Each afternoon and evening, join your fellow participants in the ship’s restaurant for a plated, multi-course meal featuring fresh and local cuisine, plus coffee, tea, assorted juices, beer, wine, and water. The menu will be displayed ahead of time in the ship’s lobby, offering participant’s time to request an alternative course with your server. Breakfast features a plentiful buffet including breakfast meats, a variety of eggs, pastries and spreads, yogurt, cereal, and fruit, plus coffee, tea, assorted juices, and water.

Dinner: At the hotel or local restaurant, enjoy our welcome dinner, plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Portuguese History, Walk Porto, Embark Ship
Vila Nova de Gaia
MS Miguel Torgua

Activity note: Walking up to 2.5 miles in about 1 hour on coastal and city roads. Luggage will stay at the hotel during our morning walk and transferred to the motorcoach before lunch.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: Begin our day with an introductory presentation on the rich history and people of Portugal. We then check out of the hotel and set out to discover the different sides of Porto, both the old and the new, with a local expert. Boarding a motorcoach, we will ride to the seafront for a walk along the rocky beaches of the city towards the mouth of the Douro River.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like or sample the local flavor.

Afternoon: Begin with a walking discovery of Porto’s historic center - the Ribeira - a UNESCO World Heritage Site where traditional plazas and small storefronts stand atop Roman Ruins. Returning to the coach, we will discover the six bridges of Porto. Each bridge has its own distinctive style as they were used to carry Porto’s wine cargoes. Our field trip ends at Vila Nova de Gaia on the Douro’s south bank, where we will embark the ship. Upon our arrival, crew members will be waiting to assist with luggage and bring it to your room. Check in at the front desk and settle into your cabin before the presentation of the crew.

Dinner: Multi-course plated meal in the restaurant, plus coffee, tea, assorted juices, wine, beer, water.

Evening: At leisure. The ship will remain docked in Via Nova de Gaia overnight.

Nature Reserve Walk, Set Sail, Contemporary Portugal
Peso da Regua
MS Miguel Torgua

Activity note: Walking up to 5 miles in about 2 hours on roads in the nature reserve.

Breakfast: Enjoy a plentiful buffet in the restaurant, plus coffee, tea, juices, water.

Morning: From the ship, we’ll drive to the local Nature Reserve of the Douro estuary. With a local expert, we’ll take a relaxing walk through the natural haven created in 2007. The reserve's main purpose is to protect the birds and the local landscape. Start the ornithology route on the south bank of the Douro, where the river empties into the Atlantic and approach the center of Gaia ending the morning at the boat to start cruising upstream.

Lunch: Multi-course plated meal in the restaurant, plus coffee, tea, wine, water.

Afternoon: Enjoy the landscape and passing dams as we sail towards Peso de Regua and attend a lecture on Portugal in the 20th and 21st centuries, learning how the past centuries have shaped modern day Portugal.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Sit back, relax, and enjoy a show put on by the ship’s crew in the lounge.

Vineyard Walk, Wine Producer, Sailing the Douro
Vega de Terron
MS Miguel Torgua

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles in about 1.5 hours on uneven nature trails; walking through rolling hills with some steep areas.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Ride to Provezende, a small town located in the heart of Douro wine country. With a local expert, set off on our walk through the vines where some of the best Port wines are produced. Take a break from our walk to visit a local wine producer to learn more about the vineyards we are walking through.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: The afternoon is spent sailing through the heart of the famous Porto vineyards to Vega de Teron. Take your time to sit outside and enjoy the breathtaking views of the river Gorges, the never ending terraces planted with vineyards, orange orchards, and olive trees.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Aboard ship, we have an evening of entertainment featuring Spanish cuisine and music.

Walk Douro National Park, Social Development, Captain’s Gala
Senhora da Ribeira
MS Miguel Torgua

Activity note: Walking up to 5 miles in about 3 hours on uneven, mountainous trails; some steep uphill and downhill portions.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Reaching the furthest point of our sailing, we will ride into the Douro International Natural Park and walk through the area famous for its protected flora and fauna. The route gives us an opportunity for pristine bird watching and to discover the old routes of smugglers between Portugal and Spain. Forming a natural boundary with Spain, the Douro has created a magnificent setting of rolling mountains and canyons.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: This afternoon the boat will sail down the river. Take this opportunity to have a talk with your group leader about the social development in Portugal in present days.

Dinner: Aboard ship, enjoy the opportunity to eat with the captain during the Captain’s Gala.

Evening: At leisure while enjoying some lively folk music.

Côa Valley Rock Art
MS Miguel Torgua

Activity note: Walk up to 4 miles in about 2 hours on dirt trails; walking up and down hills.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We transfer via motorcoach to Vila Nova de Foz Coa for a field trip to the Prehistoric Rock Art Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, led by a local expert. Located on the bank for the Douro’s tributary river Côa in the Côa Valley, the Paleolithic engravings are evidence of millennia of human occupation. According to UNESCO, “hundreds of panels with thousands of animal figures were carved over several millennia, representing the most remarkable open-air ensemble of Paleolithic art on the Iberian Peninsula.”

Lunch: During our field trip, we will have boxed lunches provided by the ship.

Afternoon: Back aboard the motorcoach, we will drive across the mountains to join the boat at Leverinho. Sit back, relax, and take in the scenic views as we head to the small town.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for disembarkation in the morning. Consult the Group Leader and pick up a ribbon from the front desk representing your departure time in the morning. Leave your luggage with the ribbon outside your cabin door for the ships crew to collect and bring to the main lobby

Disembark, Livraria Lello, Clerigos Tower, Free Time
Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa

Activity note: Climbing approximately 240 steps to the Clerigos Tower belfry.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Arriving in Porto, we will disembark the ship and walk to the most beautiful bookshop in the city with our Group Leader. Livraria Lello was opened by two esteemed brothers who were actively involved in the affairs of the growing and bustling city. Passionate about literature and culture, the bookshop opened in 1906 and has remained relatively unchanged. We then continue to the Clerigos Tower for an opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of northern Portugal’s largest city from the belfry. Completed in 1763, the 250-foot church tower was the tallest building in the city at the time of its construction and remains one of Porto’s most important symbols. At the moment of its construction, the Clerigos Tower was the tallest building in Portugal: 76 meters in height. It counts about 230 steps that visitors can use in order to climb the six levels of the structure in order to get to the belfry and admire the view of Porto.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like or sample the local fare.

Afternoon: Free Time. See and do what interests you most in this cultural and mercantile city. Join the group for a farewell meeting at the hotel.

Dinner: In a local restaurant, we will have our farewell dinner featuring a plated meal, plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Program Concludes
In Flight

Activity note: See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location.

Breakfast: At the hotel depending on departure flight. This concludes our program. 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 rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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