A visit to Quinta do Seixo, with a chance to sample the Port Wine, is an inclusive part of this cruise

16–23 March 2018

THE SCRATCH® RIVER OF GOLD

Portugal’s breathtaking ‘River of Gold’: the Douro

Please note the slightly later start-date for this cruise (formerly 14–21 March).

More information

About the Douro
Portugal’s Douro River tends to be off the beaten river-cruising track in comparison to the popular Rhine, Danube and Rhone, yet a week spent cruising this scenic river is full of unforgettable experiences. As well as time spent in the wonderful UNESCO city of Porto (known for its historic centre, graceful bridges and world-famous port-wine houses), there are long, blissful spells on the water without seeing other boats, cruising narrow stretches of the upper Douro between steep, rocky slopes on which thousands of hectares of port-wine grapes are cultivated. With little urban development, the Douro is wonderfully photogenic – bring your camera!

About the ship
The Douro Serenity is a modern, stylish ship with fitness facilities, swimming pool, shop and spa. All cabins are air-conditioned, outward facing and en suite and are equipped with telephone, hair-dryer, TV, Wi-Fi and safe. Accommodation in your chosen cabin includes full board; unlimited house wine, tea and coffee is served with dinner.

What we will see (an asterisk indicates an optional excursion, at additional cost)
A Douro cruise sets a pretty leisurely pace with some unique experiences along the way. We start in Porto, with a *city tour taking in its 12th-century cathedral and a tour and tasting at one of the Port wine lodges. Further upstream, you can wander around the medieval hilltop village of *Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, and visit vineyards in *Pinhão and *Lamego and the Sandeman cellars at Quinta do Seixa with a superb view over the River. And you will also have the chance to venture outside Portugal, spending a day across the Spanish border in *Salamanca: this amazing and ancient university town, with its exquisite beauty and history, is one of the best-kept secrets in the whole of Europe. Disembarking on Friday, we travel to Porto Airport via the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Guimarães. Download the full itinerary.

The musical side
With a musical team comprising cruise regulars Brian Kay and Maria Marchant, you are assured of a first-rate week of singing. Bob Chilcott’s Dances of Time was written to celebrate Brian’s 20th anniversary as conductor of the Leith Hill Musical Festival, and has already proved its popularity among choral groups since its 2015 première. We will also explore music from four centuries earlier in the shape of a collection of madrigals: familiar pieces for many singers, no doubt. Both pieces of music should be procured in advance, as we will not have spares on board. If you don’t have a convenient music shop, then Blackwell’s Music Shop can supply both items: telephone 01865 333582 or email printed.music@blackwell.co.uk.

Click back to The Scratch River of Gold front page or click on for booking instructions.