- Discover the city of Oporto
Port wine, perhaps Portugal’s most internationally famous export, takes its name from the city of Oporto, situated in the estuary of the Douro river, where it is both produced and shipped from.
The city's historic centre, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, has important Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance and baroque monuments. The Plaza Mayor, with its galleries and arcades, is particularly impressive.
- Casa de Mateus Palace
Enjoy an incuded excursion to this 17th century manor house, considered to be Portugal's most beautiful baroque building. Today, Casa de Mateus Palace is most known for its beautiful gardens and the production of Mateus Rosé.
Douro Discovery for Solo Travellers
The Dourofrom £1,799 per person 7 1 Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £20 if not required
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- Exclusive to Saga
- Solo Travellers
- All Inclusive on board ship
Cathedrals, palaces and port – this Douro cruise reserved exclusively for solo travellers explores the many sides of Portugal
Admire the beautiful landscapes and quaint towns of the Douro Valley on this solos cruise through Portugal which includes a visit to Salamanca in Spain. A dedicated Solos Host will organise a drinks party and social activities exclusively for the solo travellers on board.
20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
- VIP door-to-door travel service on all 2020 departures
- Free bar open 12 hours a day†
- Optional travel insurance underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK
- Return flights and transfers
- Meet and greet at the airport on all 2020 departures
- Airport lounge and fast-track security at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester on all 2020 departures
- Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on the ship
- Welcome dinner and drinks reception
- Solos drinks party
- Farewell dinner
- Solos Host
- Social activities
- Entertainment and activities on the ship
- Saga Cruise Assistant
- Dinner at a local quinta
- Tour of Lamego
- Visit Figueira Castelo de Rodrigo
- Sightseeing in Salamanca
- Casa de Mateus Palace
- A tour of beautiful Oporto including a port wine cellar visit
Day 1 UK to Oporto
After your meet and greet service at the gate, enjoy a fast-track path through security and time in an airport lounge (2020 departures only) before you fly to Oporto. Upon arrival transfer to embark your ship the Douro Queen at Vila Nova de Gaia on the south bank of the Douro. You'll remain moored here overnight.
Day 2 Oporto to Régua to Pinhão
This afternoon travel by coach from Régua to Lamego, one of the most attractive cities in Portugal. On arrival, you’ll see the elaborate Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, which is set atop nine steep terraces overlooking the town. There’ll be free time to explore this impressive baroque church and walk down into the city from the Sanctuary using the ornate staircase – but be warned, there are almost 700 steps! Alternatively, take the coach down to the city and visit the lovely Gothic cathedral, which in parts dates back to the 12th century! Re-join your ship in Régua then continue your cruise to Pinhão.
Day 3 Pinhão to Vega de Térron
Depart Pinhão early this morning and take in the scenery as you sail towards Vega de Térron. This afternoon, join an included excursion to Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, a small medieval village with a stunning hilltop location. See the 18th-century baroque church and stroll around the village in your own time. Back on board ship look forward to a traditional Portuguese dinner.
Day 4 Vega de Térron to Barca d'Alva
Today join an included excursion across the border to the city of Salamanca in Spain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its beautiful old university buildings of golden-coloured stone. The journey here usually takes about two hours, during which your guide will give an interesting commentary on Spanish history. After half an hour of free time join a walking tour with a local guide to the magnificent Plaza Mayor, one of the finest town squares in Spain. You also see the famous cathedral, built in two parts. The original Catedral Vieja, which dates from the 12th century, is now incorporated into the much larger 16th-century Catedral Nueva. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, followed by a flamenco show to give you a taste of traditional Spanish culture. Return to the Douro Queen which will now be in Barca d’Alva and moor overnight.
Day 5 Barca d'Alva to Pinhão
Depart Barca d’Alva and enjoy the wonderful views as you spend the morning sailing towards Pinhão, arriving after lunch. This afternoon pay a visit to Quinta do Seixo, a local winery. Here you’ll join an included tour of the estate, followed by an opportunity to taste their port wines. This evening there’ll be an included trip to another local vineyard for dinner, with wine and entertainment included. The ship remains moored in Pinhão overnight.
Day 6 Pinhão to Regua to Entre-os-Rios
Sail from Pinhão to Regua early this morning. From here an included excursion visits Mateus Palace gardens. Your guide will give you an introduction to the palace, one of the loveliest country houses in Portugal and which famously features on the Mateus rosé wine label. Explore these exceptional formal gardens as well as examining the exterior of the palace. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure on board as the Douro Queen departs Régua and look forward to a traditional Portuguese folk music show after dinner. Moor overnight in Entre-os-Rios.
Day 7 Entre-os-Rios to Oporto
Spend the morning at leisure as you sail back towards Oporto. Learn the history of Portugal’s second-largest city on an included tour. This famous centre of port wine production is beautifully located on the Douro estuary. The coach tour includes a visit to Sé Cathedral, which dates from the 12th century, and is where Phillipa of Lancaster married King Joao I of Portugal in 1387 becoming the first and only English queen of Portugal. Your tour also includes a visit to a port wine cellar where you’ll learn about the production of this famous drink and enjoy a tasting. Remain moored in Vila Nova de Gaia overnight.
Day 8 Oporto to UK
Disembark after breakfast and travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
On selected departures you have the opportunity to spend two nights after your cruise in Oporto, at the Mercure Hotel Porto Centro (4Q) or the HF Ipanema Porto (4Q), staying on a bed-and-breakfast basis. A local Saga-appointed representative will visit the hotel during your stay. Transfers between the ship and hotel, and between the hotel and Oporto airport, are included.
Mercure Hotel Porto Centro
The hotel is in the city centre, near São João Theatre, about 200 metres from São Bento railway station and 500 metres from the cathedral. It has a lounge, bar and restaurant. All 149 rooms have a television, telephone, hairdryer and minibar (extra charge). Room service and laundry service are available for an extra charge. The distance from the hotel to the airport is approximately 16 kilometres.
HF Ipanema Porto
The hotel is in the city centre, just a five-minute walk from the bank of the river and close to one of the main shopping districts. It has a bar and restaurant. Each of the 150 rooms has free Wi-Fi, a television, telephone, and safe. The distance from the hotel to the airport is approximately 15 kilometres.
What to discover
Lamego nestles at the base of an immense flight of blue-and-white tiled steps which lead to its most famous monument - the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, situated high above the town on the Monte de Sao Estevão. You will have the chance to explore this monumental baroque shrine, dedicated to the Virgin Mary; flanked by dramatic twin bell towers and surrounded with immaculate gardens. Fortunately, however, you won’t have to climb the 700 zigzagging steps leading up to it from the village below! A visit to the shrine is said to be rewarded by miracles of healing, and many pilgrims make the steep 600-metre climb, sometimes on their knees. The town pays homage, too, with a splendid yearly festival: the Romaria de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, held in late August or early September.
The Douro wine region valley
This beautiful valley is listed as a World Heritage Site and is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world; officially established in 1756. Those generally rated as the best producers of fine port are found in the valleys around the railway town of Pinhão; another stop on your cruise. Douro light table wines are now an important addition to the region’s commercial success. Once, they were only considered to be a way of using up the grapes left over from making port, but now, with the help of modern technology, producers are now creating exceptional red, white and rosé wines.
Casa de Mateus Palace
If the 18th century Casa de Mateus looks strangely familiar, that’s because it’s depicted on the label of Mateus Rosé wine! It’s one of Portugal’s great baroque masterpieces, dating from the first half of the 18th century. Set in manicured gardens amidst acres of farmland, the house plays many roles today. The descendants of the family of its first owner, Count Vila Real, are still in residence, and many of the main rooms are also open to the public. It is also home to the Casa de Mateus Foundation, one of the most active cultural organisations in the country, which promotes and hosts concerts, seminars, training courses (mainly musical) and exhibitions.
Tours are conducted in English, French, Spanish and German. After the initial wow factor of the grand façade, you’ll discover that its Italian-born architect, Nicolau Nasoni, was ingenious in designing the interior: combining the baroque magnificence that his client undoubtedly commissioned, with the traditional, comfortable ease of noble Portuguese homes. Finally, near the point where you’ll begin your guided tour of the interior, there’s a little wine shop where for four euros, you can taste three of the locally-produced wines. Interestingly, the Alvarelhão that you’ll sample is essentially the same fine rosé originally bottled by Mateus in the 1940s.
†The free bar is open from 11am to 11pm for non-branded alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Some of the highlights may only be seen on optional excursions at additional cost, or by exploring independently.