Douro river cruises
Discover one of Europe’s most picturesque rivers – the River of Gold - on our Douro river cruises 2024
Cruise on the Douro River, past UNESCO-listed wine terraces carpeting the surrounding slopes, and into what was once the heart of the ancient kingdom of Portugal. Along the way there’s plenty of opportunities to step ashore and explore.
Spend days out seeing the sights in the region’s cities such as Porto, Lisbon and Salamanca, sample fresh produce and Douro Valley wines, and wander the cobbled streets in small riverside villages.
The weather in Douro Valley is typically warm, with pleasant temperatures bathing the valley from spring through autumn – ample time to embark on a cruise along the Douro River and experience what the region has to offer.
Our holidays in Douro River Cruises
The Douro river ports
One of the most famous Douro River cities, Porto is well-known as the centre of port wine production. Step ashore and spend time seeing the sights, soaking up culture and enjoying a slice of local life in Portugal’s second-largest city.
The Portuguese capital plays host to a wealth of fascinating sights. From the 16th-century Belem Tower to the 12th-century Cathedral, its wealth of historical and cultural attractions makes this enigmatic city a must-see on a Douro cruise.
Close to the Spanish border, the village of Barca d’Alva may be small, but it’s full of charm. Take a stroll around the quiet streets, admire the old cottages and peer into the intriguing disused train station – all on a scenic backdrop of vine-clad terraces.
Pretty Pinhão is perched on a particularly attractive bend of the Douro. The numerous Douro Valley vineyards that cling to the terraces surrounding the town are renowned for producing some of the region’s best wines. Ambling along the waterside and indulging in a long lunch of locally produced food and wine is the order of the day in Pinhão.
Dubbed the gateway to the Alto Douro, Régua boomed as a centre for the port wine trade in the 18th century. Today port wine remains an important part of Régua’s identity. The town’s Museu do Douro is dedicated to the region’s wine-producing heritage.
Vega de Térron
Providing a gateway to the Spanish city of Salamanca, Vega de Térron is a small town with a quiet, rural ambience. From here, there’s the chance to spend the day exploring the nearby UNESCO-listed sights of Salamanca.
When to cruise the Douro river
Best explored between Spring and Autumn, cruises on Douro River, Portugal offer the chance to immerse yourself in the lush landscape of the region.
Springtime sees the valley begin to burst into life once more following the cooler winter months. Expect hillsides coloured white and pink by blooming almond and cherry trees. Temperatures during this time of year pleasant and there are fewer tourist crowds to contend with.
The Douro Valley weather in summer is typically warm. The region basks in glorious long, sunny days which also means this is the peak travel season. The terraced vineyards alongside the river become vibrantly green, and a lively atmosphere fills the region’s towns and cities.
Delight in the lingering warmth of summer as the Autumn brings a warm glow to the Douro Valley, Portugal. The scenery glows with golden leaves as the grape harvest season begins. This is an ideal time to take a Douro Valley trip for those looking for fewer crowds and cooler temperatures.
Unique Douro river cruise experiences
Step off the boat and immerse yourself in the history, culture and local life of the region with these top Douro Valley river cruise experiences.
Explore Mateus Palace and Garden
Take the opportunity to stop off on your Douro Valley cruise and stroll among the opulent interiors and lush gardens of the 19th-century House of Mateus. The work of Italian architect Niccolò Nasoni, the Baroque manor house is opulently decorated with a large collection of notable pieces of art and antique furniture. Join a guide as you learn about the story of the estate, and discover its tranquil gardens replete with skilful topiary work and centenary camelia trees.
Dine at a local wine estate
Wine has been produced in the Douro Valley for some 2,000 years. Over the centuries, the landscape of the Douro has been shaped by its terraced vineyards and white-washed farm estates known as quintas. Spend some time sampling the rich array of food and wine produced along the slopes of the river valley on a Douro Valley wine tour. Enjoy the opportunity to visit bucolic vineyards such as the 17th-century Quinta do Seixo, set in the heart of the valley, and linger over long meals paired with locally grown wine at charming estates.
Spend the day in Salamanca
Hop over the border on a day trip to Salamanca. The UNESCO-recognised city hides a wealth of fascinating historic sites along with an enigmatic mix of culture and local life. Those looking for river cruises in Spain will enjoy spending the day exploring the history of this Spanish city. Salamanca has long been a hub for education and religion – its university, founded in 1218, is one of the oldest in the world. Join a guide as you stop off at the city’s impressive landmarks such as Plaza Mayor – Spain’s most beautiful city square – take a break for a local lunch and flamenco show, before visiting the architecturally rich Catedral Vieja, which was founded in the 12th century.
Enjoy a Fado Show and Dinner
Fado music has long played an important part in the everyday life the region. With roots the area’s working-class community, no Douro Valley trip would be complete without experience a traditional fado performance. Arrive at Lisbon in time to see the city elegantly lit up for the evening and round up the day with a dinner and show in the city’s Old Quarter. Take your seat at Páteo de Alfama and enjoy a traditional Portuguese dinner soundtracked by tantalising fado music performances. Accompanied by colourful choreography, the show tells the history of fado, from its 19th-centry origins when it was performed in local taverns, to its cultural importance in the modern day.
Saga's Douro River Cruises
Whether you’re after a jazz cruise or a special cruise for single travellers, our Douro river cruises are carefully thought out. Our excursion programme is hugely varied so you won't miss any of the Douro Valley's highlights.
Our return UK travel service is included on all river cruises.
Return UK travel service included on all river cruises
Our popular return UK travel service is the perfect way to get your trip on one of our Saga river cruise ships off to a great start, and it's included on all our river cruises.Find out more