At the forefront of discovery, Portugal is known for its rich culture, fascinating history, and stunning beauty. On this comprehensive river and land journey, explore ancient sites during two days around Lisbon followed by a seven-night cruise on the Douro River from Porto to Pinhao. 

Starting at: $4,090 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Douro River running through Porto  Rabelo boats in Porto  The palace in Sintra  Guimaraes  Cascais  The medieval Belém Tower in Lisbon  Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon

Portrait of Portugal: Cruising the Douro

With three nights in Lisbon

12 days from $4,090

At the forefront of discovery, Portugal is known for its rich culture, fascinating history, and stunning beauty. On this comprehensive river and land journey, explore ancient sites during two days around Lisbon followed by a seven-night cruise on the Douro River from Porto to Pinhao. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.

Envision a capital city showcasing the Age of Discovery, Old World towns and centers of learning, rabelo (sail boats) loaded with casks of port plying the Douro, and distinctive blue azuelos (tiles). You’ll encounter this and much more during a cruise aboard the intimate Gil Eanes.

Highlights Include

  • Lisbon to Coimbra: In Lisbon, visit the Jeronimos Monastery, Tower of Belem, and Monument to the Discoveries, and listen to the strains of traditional fado music. Explore the ancient town of Sintra and fishing villages of Cascais and Estoril and stop in lovely medieval Obidos with its blossoming bougainvillea. And in Coimbra, gaze upon the sumptuous university library and fortress-like cathedral.
  • Cruising the Douro: In Porto, discover sites on a city walking tour or take a tram tour, and savor a taste of the area’s port wine. Visit the town of Guimaraes, Portugal’s birthplace, or take a hike along the river. Cruise along the meandering Douro River to Pinhao, stopping off at traditional towns and vineyards along the famous wine trail. And on a day excursion, explore the glories of Spain’s Salamanca on foot or by bicycle.
  • Gil Eanes: A gracious staff welcomes you to this fine upscale riverboat, completed in 2015. Enjoy panoramic views from cabins, the restaurant, lounge and bar, and exterior Sun Deck.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. for Lisbon, Portugal

Smithsonian Travelers depart the U.S. for Lisbon via overnight flights. After a morning arrival at Lisbon’s Portela International Airport, transfer to the upscale Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade Hotel. Each traveler will receive a customized welcome kit that contains information on Portugal and a map of Lisbon. The Smithsonian Journeys travel director will be on-hand to help with information and suggestions for independent activities. Get settled and relax with some “quiet time.” In the early evening, meet fellow travelers at a Smithsonian Journeys welcome reception featuring local wine and light snacks. (R)

Day 3 — Lisbon

Start each day with a buffet breakfast at the hotel. Attend a morning talk by an expert local speaker on early Portuguese Explorers. Later, explore the historic and cultural highlights of Lisbon including the Jeronimos Monastery, burial place of Vasco da Gama, and the Tower of Belém, a designated World Heritage site. 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 ship’s bow looking out to the horizon. The balance of the day is free of planned activities so you can follow your own path. Fado, meaning “fate,” is a musical artform made famous by the Portuguese. This evening, dine in a cozy Fado Restaurant where you’ll hear these dramatic, sorrowful songs accompanied by dual guitarists. (B,D)

Day 4 — Lisbon

After breakfast, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an engaging presentation. Later, depart for the charming and historic town of Sintra where you’ll visit the Main Square and the Town Palace. Enjoy time at your leisure with a stroll through town and perhaps a drink at a local café. Next, motor to the glamorous beach resort of Estoril with its stunning villas, palaces, and casinos. In the fishing village of Cascais, see local fishermen mending their nets. A stop will be made for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the bay. Before dinner, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert in the Traveler's Corner for an informal discussion of the day’s experiences. (B,L)

Day 5 — Lisbon and Porto

Today, depart Lisbon and drive to the colorful, fortified town of Obidos, renowned for its charm and unique handcrafted pottery and woolen items. Enjoy time at leisure before continuing the drive to Coimbra where lunch, featuring Portuguese specialties, will be served. Visit the Cathedral, and the Library and Ceremonial Hall of the University of Coimbra. The city was the first capital of Portugal and is a center of fine arts and literature. Drive on to Porto and embark the Gil Eanes for your seven-night cruise on the Douro River. After settling-in, attend a welcome reception before dinner is on board. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Porto

Start the day with a talk by a local expert introducing you to Douro Wine Country. During the cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to personalize your journey with a choice of fascinating tours ashore.

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 the port.

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 free of planned activities. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Porto and Peso de Regua

Enjoy local cultural and historic highlights with a choice of one of the following shore excursions.

Choice #1 – Guimarães: This historic city, a World Heritage site, is considered Portugal’s birthplace. See its medieval castle and magnificently well-preserved historic town center. With an expert local guide, tour this university town on foot and explore its historic treasures. Discover the Nossa Senhora de Oliveira Church, the most important religious landmark in the city. A maze of lanes and picturesque plazas are evocative of how life was lived in the past.

Choice #2 – Hiking Along the Douro: Set out with a local guide for a 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 one of a local quintas.

This afternoon, the ship will cruise on the Douro toward Peso de Regua. This region of Portugal is known as the Alto Douro, a World Heritage site and is the world’s major producer of port wine. Late this afternoon, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an engaging talk. In the Travelers Corner, gather to talk about the day’s experiences. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Peso de Regua and Vega de Teron

Begin the day with a morning excursion to Vila Réal, a small town set amidst the vineyards and famous for its variations of religious architecture. After a panoramic tour of the town, stop and sample a local pastry. Continue for a visit to the Manor Solar de Mateus, built in the 18th century, and considered one of the most beautiful manor houses in northern Portugal. Stroll through the perfectly manicured formal gardens, and see an 115-foot tunnel of old cedar trees. Return to the ship in Pinhao ou Tavora then spend a quiet afternoon sailing to Vega de Teron. Join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an informative presentation. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Salamanca

Today, personalize your Salamanca experience with a choice of shore tours.

Choice #1 – Salamanca City Tour: This morning, cross the border into Spain to visit the historic Old Town of Salamanca, a designated World Heritage site. Visit the Cathedral that has, over time, evolved in style from late Gothic to the Baroque. Visit the University, one of the world’s oldest which first opened in 1218. Enjoy lunch, before returning to the ship.

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.

Spend time sharing experiences with fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Travelers Corner. The ship departs for Barca d’Alva this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Barca d’Alva

After breakfast, 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 Ferradosa before an afternoon cruise along the Douro. Late this afternoon, attend a presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Pinhao ou Tavora

This morning, 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. This evening, you’re invited to a farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,D) ​

Day 12 — Depart for the U.S.

After an early breakfast, transfer to Porto Airport for the flight to your U.S. gateway city. (B)​

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)