20 May 2021
Spectacular scenery, gorgeous beaches, sparkling sunshine, divine food and a short flight time combine to make Portugal a fantastic choice whatever time of year you choose to visit, and whether you choose to explore by riverboat or by road. We’ve shared two of our favourite itineraries for discovering this perennially desirable and fascinating destination.
This dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the oldest designated wine regions in the world, and a trip along its river valley will bring you into contact with lush vineyards and wine estates beckoning you in for private tastings. Other highlights along the way might include thrilling helicopter rides, riverside cycling to the Atlantic Ocean and cork factory visits. You can also take a walking tour of Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, learn all about the history of port, dine on authentic regional cuisine at local quintas, and hike to see prehistoric carvings at an archaeological site.
Your vessel is a veritable floating boutique hotel complete with every luxury imaginable. The 100-capacity Super Ship São Gabriel, new for 2021 and with decor inspired by its destination, including Portuguese tiles, features lavish suites, a spa, an outdoor pool, and butler service that allows you to dine at any time you like. The five-star cuisine courtesy of top chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is accompanied by sublime views of towns and villages along the riverbanks.
For a limited time, solo travellers can book suites without any single supplement fees on selected cruises. Equally, a Douro river cruise is an excellent way to reconnect with other loved ones.
An immersive tour of Portugal in the company of a driver and travel director will take you to the vineyards of the Douro Valley as well as the picture-perfect beaches of the Algarve, among other destinations, with personalised service and meetings with local experts along the route. Groups average 33 people or a maximum of 24 on small-group departures, but there are new-in-2021 private group options for that added personal touch.
Along the way, you’ll have the chance to engage in memorable activities including a visit to São Bento Railway Station, walking on the Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto, seeing the Atlantic coast at the mouth of Douro, meeting a local boat captain for a cruise and lunch in a former olive oil mill, farm-to-table dining in the Douro Valley, tasting Pastéis de Belém from the iconic Lisbon patisserie that has been using the same secret recipe for almost 200 years, and experiencing the one-off sight of the Capela dos Ossos (pictured) in Evora, an extraordinary 17th-century chapel built from skulls and bones.
Great care is taken in selecting the hotels that host you along the route, with the emphasis on style, service and location, whether that be in National Parks or the heart of dynamic cities. They include a spa resort on a splendid 360-acre estate on the Algarve and a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group in the heart of Porto’s historic district, with original artworks in guest rooms. You’ll also get the full flavour of a destination by dining as the locals do, enjoying traditional meals in restaurants that only natives know about, whether that be riverside venues serving national specialities or seafront spots with seafood fresh from the waters you’re looking out over.
Call your Travel Counsellor for more information about these unforgettable trips and to book your Portugal river cruise or country roads tour now.