Discoveries Along the Douro: Portugal’s Best-Kept Secrets

On a beautiful riverboat chartered exclusively for Road Scholar, sail the Douro River to discover hidden gems in the villages and valleys of Portugal with full access to our experts.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23416RJ
11 days
Starts at
Flights start at

At a Glance

Sail along the winding Douro River to the fairy-tale landscapes of Portugal. Aboard an exclusively chartered riverboat just for Road Scholar, you’ll have full access to our top-notch instructors as you explore medieval towns and Baroque architecture for an in-depth historical discovery. While floating from lively cities to tranquil villages, get a taste of the local culture with a bountiful selection of some of the region’s most spectacular wines and port wine. With the ship all to yourselves, soak up the most of your learning adventure by uncovering the best-kept secrets of Portugal from the locals who know it best, revealing a side of this country people seldom see.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 2 - 2.5 miles at a time during shore excursions. Walking will be on cobbled streets, gravel paths, unpaved lanes, steep slopes, and city streets. Ability to stand for up to 1 hour without sitting and climbing stairs is a must.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Explore Porto’s historic center during a walking exploration with outstanding instructors.
  • Learn about regional Port wine during an educational wine tasting with local viticulturists.
  • Discover the National Art Museum, which houses one of the finest collection of Flemish tapestries in Europe.

General Notes

Program limited to 100 participants, but divided into smaller groups with their own Group Leader.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Leonor Sousa
Leonor Sousa has been working as a Certified Guide and Tour Manager for national and international clients for a number of years. She lives in Lisbon and speaks several languages fluently, has an interest and has taken courses in medieval art, history and architecture, and is experienced in product planning and coordinating events and conferences.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Leonor Sousa
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Paula Bizarro Moreira
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Paula Cristina Afonso Fernandes
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Isabel Burnay
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Lonely Planet Portuguese Phrasebook
by Clara De MacEdo Vitorino
A handy pocket phrasebook for Portuguese basics, covering pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Journey to Portugal, In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture
by Jose Saramago
Jose Saramago's richly detailed account of his journey across Portugal in 1979. He combines his vivid impressions of the Portuguese landscape and people with a dose of history, fiction and meditations.
Cork Boat, A True Story of the Unlikeliest Boat Ever Built
by John Pollack
This endearing tale of family, loss and friendship revolves around a deliciously absurd childhood quest to build a boat of cork and sail it 133 miles on Portugal's Douro River.
Alentejo Blue
by Monica Ali
These short stories set in the Alentejo province of Portugal star a range of colorful expats and locals, including Teresa, a beautiful young girl from the village engaged to a suitable man, who yearns to see the world, and Vasco, a cafe owner losing business to the new Internet cafe down the road.
A Small Death in Lisbon
by Robert Wilson
Set in Lisbon in 1941 and 1999, this award-winning mystery intertwines a present day murder, some unsavory arms production, and smuggling in Nazi Germany. Be warned, there are some graphic passages dealing with the horrors of war and concentration camps.
A Traveller's History of Portugal
by Ian Robertson
A lively, admirably concise survey from prehistory to the present, great for travelers to Portugal who would like an overview of the country's history and culture.
Portugal Map 733
by Michelin Travel Publications
At a scale of 1:400,000, this fully indexed map also includes insets of Madeira and city maps.
Baltasar and Blimunda
by Jose Saramago
This tale of two unlikely lovers in Inquisition-era Portugal is arguably Saramago's masterwork: a philosophically charged, intellectually rigorous historical drama which is also a captivating read.
The Spanish Inquisition
by Cecil Roth
This documents the events leading up to the Inquisition, the torment that spread from Spain to Portugal and the New World -- a fascinating exploration of the roots of the Inquisition and its effects on the country.
Eyewitness Guide Portugal
by Eyewitness Guides
Featuring hundreds of photographs and drawings, an excellent overview of the culture and history, and good information about where to go and what to do.
Prince Henry "the Navigator," A Life
by Peter E. Russell
A complicated, rewarding portrait, and the first biography of this empire-minded Portuguese prince in more than a hundred years.

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