Delve into the Age of Discovery on our exciting river and land journey to Portugal. Explore the fascinating history of Lisbon and charming Old World towns such as Porto, then enjoy a seven-night cruise of the Douro River, stopping off at vineyards and villages along the famous wine trail.
Portrait of Portugal
Featuring a Seven-Night Cruise on the Douro River
12 days from $5,290
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
- John, S.
While our group was on a small ship with other groups, we felt very fortunate to have our own subject matter expert and logistics facilitator to make our trip special and rich.
- A Q&A with Expert Cassandra Potts Hannahs
- A Q&A with Expert Ross King
- A Q&A with Expert Grant Nel
- A Q&A with Expert Michelle Thaller
Guidance on water levels and itinerary modifications
Your ship is designed with state-of-the-art flexibility in navigating rivers. On rare occasions, river cruising is subject to challenges due to unannounced river lock maintenance and/or weather-related increases or decreases in river depth. Extreme conditions may render a portion of a river itinerary unnavigable.
Should your river cruise be affected:
- You will receive a revised schedule outlining any changes prior to your departure either by regular mail or email.
- Any additional transportation, hotel accommodations, meals or special events, as a result, changes to the published itinerary will not increase the price of your trip.
- All ports of call and trip highlights contained in your original itinerary will be included in your revised schedule. Under these extreme circumstances, additional motor coach travel, ship changes and/or hotel nights may be required to ensure participants experience the trip safely and as advertised.
To see itinerary, please click on an option below.
Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. for Lisbon, Portugal
Smithsonian Journeys Travelers depart the U.S. for Lisbon via overnight flights. Arrive at Lisbon’s Portela International Airport, and transfer to the upscale Hotel Dom Pedro Palace. Each traveler will receive a Welcome Package that contains information on Portugal and a map of Lisbon. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be on-hand to help with information for independent activities. In the early evening, meet fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers at a welcome talk and reception at the hotel. (R)
Day 3 — Lisbon
Start each day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel. Later, visit Jeronimos Monastery, burial place of Vasco da Gama, and the Tower of Belém, both designated as World Heritage sites. Following Portugal’s seafaring tradition, see the Monument to the Discoveries, built for the Portuguese World Exhibition of 1940. It’s designed in the form of a ship with a statue of Prince Henry the Navigator standing on the bow looking out to the horizon. Also see the Church of Santa Maria and the Cloister. Fado, meaning “fate,” is a musical art form made famous by the Portuguese. This evening, dine in a cozy Fado restaurant where you’ll enjoy regional favorites, local wine and hear soulful songs accompanied by dual guitarists. (B,D)
Day 4 — Sintra / Cascais and Estoril
After breakfast, depart for the historic town of Sintra where you’ll visit the Main Square and the National Palace of Sintra. Enjoy a luncheon of local specialties in Sintra, then continue along the coastal road to the quaint fishing village of Cascais.
After a guided walk through town, continue to the elegant resort of Estoril, a gathering place for Europe’s “glitterati.” In the late afternoon, a local expert will offer a talk on Portugal’s role in key events during the 20th-century. (B,L)
Day 5 — Obidos / Coimbra / Porto
This morning, depart Lisbon and drive to the charming medieval walled town of Obidos, renowned for narrow winding streets, whitewashed houses covered with bougainvillea and its well-preserved 17th-century architecture. After a guided walking tour, explore the town on your own before continuing the drive north to Coimbra. Coimbra is a World Heritage site known for its University, one of the oldest in Europe. Enjoy lunch in Coimbra then continue to see the famous Library, Saint Michael’s Chapel, and the Royal Palace including the Ceremonial Hall. After touring the University, you may want to explore the Old Cathedral commissioned by King Afonso Henriques on your own.
Afterward, continue to Porto where you’ll embark your ship. Once on board, there’s time to relax and get settled before gathering for a welcome reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)
Day 6 — Porto
Start the day with a hearty breakfast. Today you can chose between two included shore excursions.
Choice #1 – Porto City Tour: Begin exploring Porto with a visit to the Stock Exchange, built in 1842. Continue to the Igreja de Sao Francisco, a church originally built in the Gothic tradition and through successive renovations has become a Baroque masterwork. Porto is famous the world over for its fine port wine. Visit a local wine cellar, where you’ll have the chance to sample!
Choice #2 – Porto Tram Trek: Travel to the town center where you’ll board a city tram and begin a unique experience in urban sightseeing to see Porto’s points of interest. The excursion will include a stop at the Tram Museum, housed in a former power plant. The museum collection includes the oldest horse-drawn cars and the last trams in operation dating from the 1950s and 1960s. The excursion ends with a tasting of Porto’s local specialties before returning to the ship.
The balance of the day will be at leisure for exploring on your own. Shuttles from the ship to Porto town center will operate this afternoon for your convenience. Later, gather for a talk by a local expert that will introduce you to the Alto Douro Wine Region. After dinner, enjoy a special musical performance by a local Tuna Band; a talented group of university students, in medieval costume, who perform in the tradition of the historic balladeers. The ship will overnight in Porto. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Porto / Guimarães and Regua
Enjoy local cultural and historic highlights with a choice of one of the following included shore excursions.
Choice #1 – Guimarães: With an expert local guide, tour this university town on foot and explore its historic treasures. The maze of lanes and picturesque plazas are evocative of how life was lived in the past.This historic city, a World Heritage site, is considered Portugal’s birthplace. Discover Nossa Senhora de Oliveira Church, the most important religious landmark in the city. Stop at the Sacred Hill to admire the Castle of Guimarães then visit the Palace of the Duques de Braganca.
Choice #2 – Hiking Along the Douro: Set out with a local guide for a comfortable hike along the Atlantic coastline and the Douro River. On the walk, pass through the fishing village of Sao Pedro da Afurada. Enjoy beautiful views of Porto and the renowned Ribeira Square. Visit the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, where the local wine is aged in its world-famous cellars. Sample the wine in a local quinta or wine cellar.
This afternoon, the ship will cruise toward Peso de Regua. This region of Portugal is known as the Alto Douro, a World Heritage site and the world’s major producer of port wine. Late this afternoon, gather with fellow participants in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner to talk about the day’s experiences. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Regua / Barca d’Alva
Take an excursion to the Mateus Palace and Vila Réal, The Mateus Palace, built in the 18th-century, and is considered one of the most beautiful manor houses in northern Portugal. Stroll through the perfectly manicured formal gardens, and see a 115-foot tunnel of old cedar trees. Continue to Vila Réal, a pleasant town set among picturesque vineyards and famous for the diversity of its religious architecture. Your guide will lead you through narrow streets to the Clerigos Chapel, a baroque church decorated with blue Azulejos tiles. Stroll through parallel shopping streets and stop to sample the local pastry. Afterwards, there will be time at leisure to discover the town on your own. Before dinner, get together in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for lively discussion. After dinner, attend a performance of Sevillanas dancers; influenced by the Spanish art of Flamenco. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Barca d’Alva / Salamanca
Depart the ship for the transfer to Salamanca, Spain where you’ll have your choice of one of the following included shore tours. A rest stop will be made enroute.
Choice #1 – Salamanca City Tour: This morning, depart the ship to visit the historic Old Town of Salamanca, a designated World Heritage site. Discover the Plaza Mayor and visit the Cathedral that has, over time, evolved in style from late Gothic to Baroque. Visit the University, one of the world’s oldest which first opened in 1218.
Choice #2 – Salamanca Bike Hike: Take a bike ride accompanied by a local guide along the Tormes River before seeing the historic and cultural highlights of Salamanca’s Old Town and some points of interest off-the-beaten-path.
Enjoy lunch in Salamanca before returning to the ship. Also, onboard the ship, spend time sharing experiences with fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. The ship remains in Barca d’Alva this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Barca d’Alva / Pinhao
Today, relax and enjoy a morning cruise from Barca d'Alva to Pinhao with a stop in Ferradosa. Depart the ship and set out to explore the wine trail of Porto to see San Salvador do Mundo and Sao Joao da Pesqueira. These small towns are situated amidst the lush vineyards of the Rio Tinto Valley. In Sao Joao da Pesqueira see the arcade of the Main Square, the town Chapel, and quaint white-washed houses. Visit a quinta to sample the famous port. Return to the ship in Pinhao. This evening enjoy a traditional Portuguese folk show onboard. The ship will overnight in Pinhao. (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Pinhao / Lamego / Porto
This morning, the ship stops in Folgosa. From there, travel to Lamego, a charming town, where you’ll visit the 18th-century Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Sanctuary, known for the 686 stairs that lead up to the shrine. It is one of the most important pilgrimage churches in Portugal. Afterward, make a stop to sample local cold cuts and the port wine. Before returning to the ship, visit the regional Lamego Museum that showcases some of Portugal’s finest examples of religious art. This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner. The ship will depart for Porto after dinner. (B,L,R,D)
Day 12 — Depart for home
After an early breakfast, transfer to Porto Airport for your flight home. (B)
Program Note: The progression of this itinerary may necessitate change due to operational considerations.
Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)