National Geographic Expedition — Douro River Cruise with Lisbon and Madrid

National Geographic and Scenic Luxury River Cruises have teamed up to launch a new line of National Geographic River Cruises. These itineraries combine Scenic’s all-inclusive luxury river cruise experience with National Geographic's legacy of science, conservation and exploration to create unforgettable experiences along the waterways of Europe and South East Asia.

Aboard each Scenic river cruise expedition a National Geographic Expert will join guests to share their knowledge and insights, and enrich the experience through fascinating presentations and informal discussions. A National Geographic photographer, who will offer photography tips on technique and artistry, will also join European river cruising itineraries.

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Lisbon > Madrid

The Age of Discovery first began in the 15th century in Lisbon. Naturally, it’s also the perfect place to begin your own journey. From Lisbon, you’ll set off for wonderful Porto, gateway to the beautiful Douro Valley. You can look forward to splendid days cruising this truly timeless waterway, visiting the vineyards and discovering the region’s fascinating history, before concluding in lively Madrid.

17 Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Bem-vindo

    Start your journey with a three night stay in Lisbon.

    Meals included: Dinner


  • Day 2 - Lisbon

    Take a guided tour of Lisbon.


    Visit the Maritime Museum and learn the nautical history of this once dominant seafaring nation or visit the hilltop Sintra Palace.

    Meals included: Breakfast


  • Day 3 - Lisbon

    Enjoy time at leisure before experiencing Portuguese cuisine at its finest tonight.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner


  • Day 4 - Lisbon > Porto

    Your journey via Portugal’s medieval capital, Coimbra, takes you to Porto where you’ll board the luxurious Scenic Azure.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner


  • Day 5 - Porto > Entre-os-Rios
    Historic Porto

    Discover the historic treasures of Porto, including a visit to Palacio da Bolsa, a neoclassical style building which started construction in 1842 and took over 65 years to complete. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon of cruising as your luxurious Scenic Space-Ship meanders its way to Entre-os-Rios.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Day 6 - Entre-os-Rios
    Quinta Aveleda

    Guimarães was the seat of the first King of Portugal and is dominated by the impressive Ducal Palace, which dates back to medieval times. It’s a great tour to kickstart your interest in this fascinating region. Alternatively, you could choose a tasting at the fairytale property of Quinta Aveleda. Located in the famous Vino Verde region and a renowned regional sparkling wine producer, the incredible gardens alone make the excursion worthwhile.

    Enjoy a blissful cruise to Regua where you have the chance to explore the Douro Museum at your leisure. Learn about the culture, history and identity of the people living in this wine growing region of the Douro Valley.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Day 7 - Regua
    Ucanha and Varosa Valley

    This morning, discover the captivating Varosa Valley and visit the charming village of Tarouca where you’ll explore the restored Monastery of Saint John of Tarouca. En route, walk the fortified bridge of Ucanha, Portugal’s first toll bridge, spanning the crystal-clear waters of the Varosa River.


    Tour the elegant town of Lamego, with its many fine Baroque structures such as the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios and the Lamego museum, both of which you will get the opportunity to visit. Alternatively, enjoy a guided visit of Mateus Palace, the historic icon depicted on the labels of Portugal’s famous Mateus rosé wine.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Day 8 - Regua > Vega de Terron
    Cruising Vinhateiro

    Enjoy a full day cruising the Douro Valley’s Vinhateiro wine growing region. A World Heritage-listed Site, Vinhateiro has a history of wine production that stretches back for 2,000 years. In fact, its impeccable port wines have been world-famous since at least the 18th century.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Day 9 - Salamanca
    Spanish dining and Flamenco

    Take your time absorbing the architectural splendour of Salamanca, a city as visually striking as it is historically intriguing. From humble beginnings during the Iron Age to darker times, such as economic crises and the War of the Spanish Succession, Salamanca has been shaped over time to become the fascinating beauty it is today. Explore the city on a guided tour before some time at leisure followed by a fabulous ‘Tastes of Spain’ experience. Your lunch today will be accompanied by an energetic Flamenco dance performance.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Day 10 - Pocinho > Pinhão
    Côa Valley

    Enjoy a leisurely cruise to nearby Pocinho for our Côa Valley discovery.


    Visit the award-winning Côa Valley Museum and enjoy a pre-historic workshop. If you’re more adventurous at heart, take a canoeing excursion on the Sabor River. Alternatively, you could join the ‘Tastes of the Côa Valley’ excursion and visit Casa Painova for a sweet almond workshop and a tasting of their almond, olive and fruit products.


    Enjoy a cocktail on the Sun Deck of Scenic Azure, surrounded by newfound friends as you sail this picturesque stretch of the river towards Pinhão.

    Tonight, be entertained by a traditional Portuguese musical performance on board.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Day 11 - Pinhão
    Scenic village experience

    Visit the remarkable village of Provesende, showcasing the Portugal of yesteryear, and wander the quaint streets with locals as they proudly introduce you to their way of life – including their local bakery. This is a specially choreographed experience exclusive to Scenic guests. You’ll also visit the church for a special recital, and enjoy wine tasting at the restored manor house of Morgadio da Calçada.


    Top off a truly unforgettable day with a visit to the estate of Quinta Roeda for a tasting of their famous export. Or, if you’re feeling energetic, you could choose a walk through the hillside vineyard for a tasting among the vines.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Day 12 - Pinhão > Porto
    Scenic Enrich at São Francisco Church

    Having spent the previous eight days discovering the treasures of the Douro, Varosa and Côa Valleys, enjoy an exclusive Douro Valley Wine Review. Otherwise, simply enjoy the beauty of the region as you cruise back into Porto.


    The sheer beauty of São Francisco Church is sure to impress. The facade is a mix of Gothic and Baroque architecture, while the interior glows with intricate wood carvings swathed in gold. Immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Portuguese music as you witness a spectacular private concert in this wondrous surrounding.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Day 13 - Porto
    Vila Nova de Gaia

    Visit the oldest remaining Canning Factory in Porto for an insight into their 100-year-old family business. Alternatively, visit a local corking factory. Or visit Vila Nova de Gaia, the historic district set on the banks of the Douro River, for a tasting of the region’s famed drop in one of the most famous cellars of Porto.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Day 14 - Porto > Madrid

    Board your included flight from Porto to Madrid and transfer to your luxurious hotel for the next three nights.

    Meals included: Breakfast


  • Day 15 - Madrid

    Enjoy a tour of Madrid, including the 17th century Austrian Quarter, the Sabatini Gardens and the Cibeles and Neptuno Fountains.


    Choose between the exceptional Prado Museum or the equally delightful 18th century Royal Palace of Madrid.

    This evening, enjoy fine Spanish cuisine in a superb local restaurant.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner


  • Day 16 - Madrid

    Today is yours to enjoy at leisure in Spain’s largest city. Stroll the fashionable boutiques, relax in one of the manicured gardens, or simply explore the surrounding area.

    Meals included: Breakfast


  • Day 17 - Madrid

    After breakfast you’ll be transferred to Madrid airport.

    Meals included: Breakfast


Departures and Pricing

22 May 2019 — From $13,495 per person

20 September 2019 — From $13,895 per person

Fly for $995pp
Fly for $995pp on your National Geographic Expedition Douro River Cruise with Lisbon and Madrid*. Book by 31 December 2018 to enjoy this amazing offer.

Save $1,600 per couple
Book by 31 December 2018 to secure a discount of $1,600 per couple*. Not combinable with flight offer.

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Meet the Experts

Expert — Franklin Knight (25 May 2019)

Historian Franklin Knight is the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor Emeritus of History and Academy Professor at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests focus on social, political, and cultural aspects of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially after the 18th century, as well as on American slave systems in their comparative dimensions. His analyses of Latin American and Caribbean issues have been aired on National Public Radio, the Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the McNeill/Lehrer Report, C-Span, and elsewhere. Franklin has held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Ford Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. A past president of both the Historical Society and the Latin American Studies Association, Franklin served as academic consultant to the television series Columbus and the Age of Discovery, The Buried Mirror, Americas, Plagued: Invisible Armies, Crucible of Empire, and The Louisiana Purchase. He was elected Corresponding Member of the Cuban Academy of History in 2012.


Photographer — Krista Rossow (25 May 2019)

For more than a decade, Krista Rossow has worked as a photographer, photo editor, and educator for National Geographic. She began her career as a photo editor at National Geographic Traveler magazine, where she shaped compelling stories from world-class imagery. As a freelance photographer she has shot feature stories for Traveler in South Africa, Costa Rica, and cities around the United States like New Orleans and San Francisco. She regularly judges Instagram contests for @NatGeoTravel and photo edits for National Geographic Books. Krista travels with National Geographic Expeditions teaching photography around the world–from the Galápagos Islands, Patagonia, and Morocco to Alaska, Antarctica, and the Arctic. She enjoys traveling and photographing throughout Europe as well, and she sees the camera as a tool for understanding new cultures, meeting the locals, and exploring the natural world. Her images are represented by National Geographic Creative. 


Expert — Tim Weed (23 September 2019)

Tim Weed is an outdoorsman and award-winning author with a long career in international education. A founding director of National Geographic Student Expeditions, he has also directed college semester abroad programs in Spain, Australia, and Venezuela; brought some of the first American students to post-Revolution Cuba in the late 1990s; led travelers through Portugal, Spain, and Patagonia for National Geographic; created and led programs for writers, artists, and musicians in Spain, Cuba, Argentina, Italy, and Ireland; and trekked the Andes in four countries. Tim has authored two books, and his articles on travel, history, outdoor adventure, and the writing craft have appeared in Talking Points MemoBackcountryWriter’s Chronicle, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog, and other publications. His is the winner of a Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award and a Solas Best Travel Writing Award.



Photographer — Ginaluca Colla (23 September 2019)

Originally from Italy, Gianluca Colla has traveled and photographed around the world, from the Arctic to the Antarctic Circle, from Africa’s deserts to the Amazon and to the Alps. He has covered a diverse range of topics including the secrets of the longest-living centenarians in the world, a lost Da Vinci painting, and hidden mummies in Sicilian crypts. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including National Geographic magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Currently based in Switzerland, he has traveled and photographed extensively around Europe.


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