River Douro Cruises from Porto in Portugal
Known as the River of Gold, the River Douro (d'Ouro) meets the Atlantic Ocean at Porto. Famous for the port wine trade started by the British, warehouses bearing the names of famous port wine shippers line the river. Terraces of ancient houses climb up Porto's hills, and notable is Eiffel's high level river bridge.
From Porto, our River Douro cruises head into a rural landscape with golden hued vineyards reaching down to the river. An overnight stop at the riverside town of Regua is a base for excursions to Lamego and Vila Real.
Lamego is a market town with an ancient cathedral and a 11th century castle. High above the town is Nossa Schrum, a shrine reached by flights of steps climbed by centuries of pilgrims. Near Vila Real is the beautiful Mateus Palace of the Counts of Vila Real, as depicted on labels of Mateus Rose wine.
The River Douro is noted for its deep locks, some of the deepest in Europe, which lead upward to a scenic stretch of gorges and crags overlooked by terraces of vines. At Pinhao the railway station has decorated tiles showing historic Douro scenes.
The navigable section of the Douro ends at the Spanish border, starting point for a day trip to the World Heritage Site of Salamanca in Spain, noted for golden stone buildings, cobbled streets and the huge Plaza Mayor.