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Hotel boat cruises on the River Douro
One of the most beautiful rivers in Europe and passing through the port wine vineyards
Complete list of the Douro Cruises
Name INVICTA Length 68 metres Beam 8.65 metres Average speed 12 knots Cabins 40 Double
with shower and WC.
Facilities Sun deck Panoramic Bar Restaurant Air conditioned Gym Capacity 80 passengers
The Douro used to be famous for its rushing waters through which the 'Rabelas' used to navigate bring the casks of wine down from the vineyards to the port wine houses at Vila Nova de Gaia on the opposite bank of the river from where the cruise commences.
In the 1980's a series of dams were constructed for flood control and the generation of electricity for hydroelectric power. The planners had the foresight to include locks in these dams which has enabled navigation right across the breadth of Portugal and into Spain. The once fast flowing river is now a series of tranquil lakes with spectacular scenery.
Day 1 - Saturday
Check in on the Invicta in the early evening before dining on board.
Overnight is spent on board in Porto.
Day 2 - Sunday
After breakfast there is a guided tour of Porto. This historic city has UNESCO World Heritage status and was "European City of Culture" in 2001.
On the other side of the river in Vila Nova de Gaia the Port Wine lodges lining the river and one of the main tourist attractions is a visit to one of these lodges for a tour before sapling the product.
After lunch on board, the cruise upstream starts and passes through the Crestuma-Lever dam.
On arrival at Bitetos, visit to the 12th century monastery Convento de Alpendurada for a traditional dinner in a magnificent setting.
Day 3 - Monday
During breakfast continue up river to Regua, the official boundary of the demarcated wine region of the Douro.
On route, negotiate the Carrapatelo dam which has the highest lock in Western Europe with a rise of 135 metres
After lunch on board, travel by coach to Vila Real with its 16th century cathedral, and on to the gardens of the Palace of Mateus. The picture of this mansion is well known as it appears on every bottle of Mateus Rose wine.
Dinner is taken in a typical Port Wine producing Quinta.
Day 4 - Tuesday
After breakfast the cruise continues along the Douro, Passing through three more dams, and arriving in the early evening at the border town of Barca de Alva.
Lunch and dinner are taken on board.
Day 5 - Wednesday
In the morning cross the border into Spain, arriving at Vega Terron. From here there is an optional coach tour to the 13th century university town of Salamanca, another World Heritage City. After a guided tour, lunch is taken in a typical Spanish restaurant. The afternoon is free for shopping or just strolling through this beautiful city.
In the evening dinner is served on board the Invicta. This is followed by a spectacular flamenco music and dance show.
Day 6 - Thursday
In the morning, commence the return journey downstream. After lunch there is a coach tour to São Joao da Pesqueira and São Salvador do Mundo. The route gives magnificent views of the terraced vineyards of the Douro wine producing region which are dotted with wine producing quintas. The tour includes a visit to one of these quintas to see the production process.
After the tour, the cruise continues to Pinhao where dinner is served on board.
Day 7 - Friday
Continue downstream to Regua and take a coach tour to the ancient town of Lamego with its 12th century cathedral, Renaissance and Baroque churches. The most dramatic sight is that of the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios which stands at the top of a seemingly endless staircase, adorned at every turn with beautiful "azulejos" friezes. The spectacular view is well worth the climb.
Return to the Invicta for lunch.
In the afternoon, cruise the final stretch of the Douro into Porto for the final night's dinner on board.
Day 8 - Saturday
Check out after breakfast on board.
The above itinerary may be changed to suite the conditions