The Douro River

Flowing through Northern Portugal from Spain, the Douro River cuts a dramatic swathe through the Douro Valley, traversing a spectacularly beautiful region. You will be treated to enchanting landscapes, local culinary delights, port and wine tastings and tales of a fascinating history and culture.

Portugal was the world’s first global empire, expanding across the planet during the 15th and 16th centuries and its influence can still be felt across dozens of countries today. Step into history itself and immerse yourself in timeless villages, terraced landscapes, family-run quintas (estates) and hilltop wine estates scattered amongst the hills.

As your Scenic Space-Ship weaves through the undulating hillside curves of the beautiful Douro Valley you’ll be treated to enchanting landscapes, rich cultures and all the produce of the wine country.

With four World Heritage-listed sites - the Alta Douro, Historic Centre of Porto, the old city of Salamanca and prehistoric rock art sites of the Côa Valley, a Scenic River Cruise along the Douro River is nothing short of spectacular.

Discover magnificent Porto on a river cruise through Portugal. Visit the port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, encounter the archaeological heritage of the Vale do Côa, and wander through the vertiginous granite terraced vineyards of the Alto Douro.

Destinations in Douro

Beginning in the Atlantic coast city of Porto, one of Europe’s most charismatic destinations with its cobblestone streets, boutiques, cafes, wine bars and shipbuilding legacy, you’ll soon discover that a river cruise on the Douro is synonymous with all the very best things in life - great food, wine, stories and nature. 

You’ll meander your way along the river aboard your luxury Space-Ship before kickstarting your interest in this fascinating region with a tour of the impressive Ducal Palace or alternatively a spot of wine-tasting at Quinta Avelada. An exclusive Sundowners event at the Douro Museum will be a highlight as is your exploration of the elegant Baroque town of Lamego.

From there you’ll cruise through the Varossa Valley, the World Heritage-listed Vinhateiro wine growing region and spend time in the architectural splendour of Salamanca. 

Sample Portuguese fare in the extraordinary Côa Valley before visiting the village of Provesende where, as part of a Scenic exclusive experience, you’ll have the opportunity to step back in time with the locals as they introduce you to a way of life little changed in centuries.

Your cruise concludes once more in beautiful Porto where you’ll have time to unearth the true spirit of this extraordinary land with plenty of taste-testing, meandering and marvelling. Portugal might just be Europe’s best kept secret.

A cultural treasure

The dramatic landscape of the Douro has protected a culture that has evolved since the Stone Age. Some of the ancient villages date back to Roman times whilst others are influenced by the agricultural practices of Benedictine monks.

You’ll find handicrafts of metal, stone, ceramic and wool are aplenty and discover unique embroidery, black clay pieces and wooden masks.

The cities are just as alluring. Get your Spanish fix in intriguing Salamanca and explore cosmopolitan Porto, rich in architecture, stories of the seas, and lush green parks and gardens.

A culinary connection

The classic fortified port style is exclusive to the Douro Valley, one of the world’s oldest protected wine regions.

Alongside its famed wine, the region’s gastronomy is unquestionably among its most important treasures. The best place to enjoy both is at family-run quintas (estates), where you’ll get the opportunity to enjoy port as an apéritif before you dine on fresh fish and local delicacies such as goat, veal, smoked meats and artisanal cheeses.

Portugal is a seafaring nation with a well-developed fishing industry and this is reflected in the amount of sumptuous fish dishes on offer. The most typical Portuguese style fish is bacalhau, a dried and salted cod that could almost be considered the national dish. The fertile soil also yields olives and almonds, the latter starring in the traditional sweet treats best enjoyed with a speciality liqueur.

A river of gold

The Douro is intrinsically connected to wine. Grapes were first cultivated around 4,000 B.C and Port shipments began in 1678 when British traders blockading France sailed this ‘golden’ river to meet Portuguese vintners who stabilised red wine with brandy for the long trip to London.

The Douro’s history is more than wine; you’ll discover the significance of the Palaeolithic Vale do Côa rock paintings, witness traces of Spanish, Celtic, French and Arabic influences from across the ages, and revel in multiple World Heritage-listed sites including Porto’s Historic Centre, the Alta Douro region, the city of Salamanca and the prehistoric rock art sites in the Côa Valley.