Europe never ceases to amaze its visitors, and river cruises offer an extraordinary glimpse of the ancient continent's shiniest treasures. On your next trip, skip the beaten tourist path and book an unforgettable ride through Portugal's terraced valley of emerald. This once-in-a-lifetime experience showcases UNESCO World Heritage Sites and top-notch wine tastings as it meanders from two of Europe's ancient, Porto and Salamanca. Here are the cities you can explore on a river cruise through Portugal.
Hop between as many iconic landmarks as possible or explore unique gastronomy at a leisurely pace. Either way, Porto delivers. Portugal's second-largest city, sometimes boasted as the capital of the north, is among the world's trendiest destinations. Regal gardens perch beside lookout points, contemporary art galleries hide in plain sight, and cozy rooftop terraces make this city shine. Of course, don't forget the Port wine tastings at centuries-old cellars too.
The Douro River flows straight from Porto to the heart of this wine country. Cruisers dock at Regua, where visitors can learn about the local wine-making history. Among its most famous landmarks is the Douro Museum. In Régua, sip on the local wares while snacking on country bread drizzled with Portuguese olive oil. Or, book a day of pampering and relaxation at the five-star Six Senses Spa Douro Valley.
Another day's journey leads to the sleepy town of Pinhão. Like most of Portugal, this settlement seems to have stopped in time, offering a glimpse of days long-gone. Personality to charmingly humble infrastructure exists in the blue and white tiles, called azulejos (as is characteristic in the Iberian Peninsula). Eating and drinking are the town's best activities. Pinhão is home to famous vine estates, and the Ponte do Pinhão (the local bridge) connects two of the best known in Portugal, the Quinta do Bomfim and the Quinta das Carvalhas. A skip and jump farther east heads to another estate, the Quinta da Roêda, and it's croft port wine.
Tua Valley and Trás-os-Montes
If traveling by train, Tua may be the last stop on your itinerary, reachable in under three hours. By river cruise, it's nearly a week's journey. Either way, this is among the last destinations before entering Portugal's most remote region, Trás-os-Montes. An exhibit of rural tourism at its finest, the region is famous long-standing traditions, experienced in its local cuisine and town festivals. If you're feeling adventurous, order the Alheira da Mirandela, a breaded sausage filled with game meats.
While the world is exploring Europe's most popular capitals, veer the off the beaten path and sail the Douro River through an untouched part of Portugal. You can even design an itinerary specifically catered to your taste. If you're looking for a luxury escape with your significant one or looking for honeymoon ideas, these wonderful cities have everything to satisfy the luster for life of the most discerning travelers. Curious about exploring these incredible cities? Get in touch today and find out how you can explore the Douro River in style.