- A peaceful pousada
Enjoy your pousada stay in Peneda-Geres – the only National Park in Portugal.
- The famous vineyards of the Douro
Port wine grapes grow along the Douro valley and the wine takes its name from Oporto, at the estuary.
Cross the border to see stunning Spanish sights including the Cathedral of Salamanca on an included tour.
- Mountain views
Pousada Geres-Canicada overlooks the river Cávado.
- Casa de Mateus Palace gardens
An optional excursion visits the 17th-century manor house from the famous Mateus Rosé wine label.
- Half board at hotel/All inclusive on ship
Discover spectacular historic cities and famous vineyards during this pousada hotel stay and Douro river cruise
Relax for three nights in a picturesque converted hunting chalet on a mountainside in Portugal’s only National Park before boarding your ship to cruise to characterful towns, spectacular cities and the wine-growing areas of Portugal through the Douro Valley. Enjoy an included tour of Oporto and some traditional Fado music before cruising to Regua and Vega de Térron, from where you can visit the famous Mateus Palace which you may know from the rosé wine label.
After some Flamenco music on board join an included visit across the border to Salamanca in Spain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with plenty to explore. Perhaps join a trip to a winery to learn about port wine production, and try a taste too of course, and stop in at picturesque Lamego with more than 800 years of history, before returning to Oporto and making your way home.
3 nights in a pousada hotel, 7 nights aboard the ship
26 meals: 10 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 10 dinners
VIP door-to-door travel service on all 2020 departures
- Free bar open 12 hours a day†
- Captain’s dinner and drinks reception
- Entertainment and activities on the ship
- Saga Cruise Assistant
- Complimentary WiFi on board
- A scenic drive through Peneda-Geres National Park
- Excursion to Braga
- A tour of beautiful Oporto
- Sightseeing in Salamanca
- Tour of Lamego
Plus all this…
- Optional travel insurance underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK
- Return flights and transfers
Day 1 UK-Oporto
Fly to Oporto and transfer to Pousada Canicada-Geres (4Q). This picturesque hunting chalet on a mountainside in Portugal’s only National Park has been converted into a unique 36-room hotel where you’ll stay for three nights on half-board. In addition to a restaurant and bar/lounge with a stone fireplace and wooden beams, your hotel boasts an outdoor swimming pool and a rooftop terrace — the perfect place to drink in spectacular views over the park, the River Cavado and the Canicada dam. You can even see Spain in the distance! D.
Day 2 Pousada Canicada-Geres
Enjoy a scenic drive through the surrounding Peneda-Gerês National Park — the only one in Portugal. The vast natural amphitheatre was crafted by geological formations, winds and water and extends from the plateau of Castro Laboreiro to the plateau of Mourela, covering the mountain ranges of Peneda, Soajo, Amarela and Gerês.
Marvel at the mountains and their picturesque waterfalls and keep an eye out for the local wildlife, including wild dogs and golden eagles — if you get the chance, indulge in some local cuisine too. This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy more of your idyllic surroundings and their spectacular views. B, D.
Day 3 Pousada Canicada-Geres and Braga
Travel to the historic city of Braga where you will have time to explore at your own pace and find somewhere to have lunch. Built more than 2,000 years ago, Braga was once an important administrative centre in the Roman Empire while its cathedral is also the oldest in the country — built in the 12th century by the parents of Portugal’s first King, who are buried there. The city is also one of Portugal’s main religious centres, with visitors flocking to the Holy Week Celebrations and the São João Festival. In addition to the cathedral’s own museum of treasures, it is worth visiting the Biscainhos Museum, housed in a baroque palace, and seeing Roman remains at the D. Diogo de Sousa Archaeological Museum. The historic city centre is a great place for a stroll, with striking churches, houses and historical buildings to behold, including the Palácio do Raio, Theatro Circo and Arco da Porta Nova. Why not have a coffee at the Brasileira cafe and watch the world go by on the busy Avenida Central. B, D.
Day 4 Pousada Canicada-Geres to Oporto
After breakfast, depart your pousada and return to Oporto, with a stop on the way when you can enjoy lunch at your own expense. Embark your ship, MS Gil Eanes or MS Miguel Torga, at Vila Nova de Gaia on the south bank. You'll remain moored here overnight and you will enjoy a welcome drinks reception and have the opportunity to enjoy an optional coach tour of the city after dark.
Day 5 Oporto
Spend the morning exploring Portugal’s second-largest city on an included tour. Its historical centre was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. You’ll discover The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Building) which dates back to 1834, and after climbing a beautiful granite and marble stairway, you'll visit the former Tribunal Room, the Golden Room and the Arab Room, decorated in the exotic Moorish Revival style.
Afterwards continue to the Igreja de São Francisco, also known as the ‘Golden Church,’ originally a modest convent founded by Franciscan monks in the 12th century. It now has a Baroque style interior which mingles with the large, elaborate rose window in Gothic style on the main façade. This afternoon is at leisure to explore independently. Remain moored in Vila Nova de Gaia overnight and enjoy dinner and an evening of traditional Portuguese Fado music on board.
Day 6 Oporto to Regua
Perhaps opt to join a morning excursion to tour the historic city of Guimaraes, which has a UNESCO-listed centre with an 11th-century castle, gothic and Romanesque churches and the stunning Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. Sail to Regua this afternoon, arriving in time to head into town this evening, perhaps in search of live music or dancing.
Day 7 Regua to Vega de Térron
An optional 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. Return to the water this afternoon and look forward to an evening of Flamenco entertainment on board.
Day 8 Barca d'Alva and Salamanca
Today join an included excursion across the border to the city of Salamanca in Spain. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is famed for its beautiful old university buildings of golden-coloured stone. One of the world’s oldest universities, it first opened in 1218. Also known as ‘Escuelas Mayores’, the University building has a sumptuous gate adorned with the city's most famous design: a frog atop a skull - symbolic of the sin of lust being punished after death. The university wonderful library brims with old manuscripts.
You’ll also visit the 12th century Catedral Vieja and 16th century Catedral Nueva, created using a mixture of styles going from late Gothic to Baroque, including Renaissance, before lunch and some free time in the city.
Later return to your ship, in Barca d'Alva for an evening of onboard entertainment and moor overnight.
Day 9 Barca d'Alva to Ferradosa to Pinhão
Depart Barca d’Alva and enjoy the wonderful views as you spend the morning sailing towards Pinhão. You might wish to disembark in Ferrados to join an optional excursion to a local winery where you will have the opportunity to taste their port wine and learn about the production of this famous drink. Later rejoin your ship which will moor in Pinhão overnight, allowing you to enjoy a gala dinner and entertainment onboard.
Day 10 Pinhão to Oporto
This morning travel by coach 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. Rejoin your ship before spending the afternoon at leisure as you sail back towards Oporto. Enjoy an evening of traditional folk entertainment as you remain moored in Vila Nova de Gaia overnight.
Day 11 Oporto to UK
Disembark after breakfast and travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
Package includes the following four excursions:
- Porto by night
- Vila Real and Casa de Mateus with wine tasting
- Porto's wine road - Sao Salvador da Mundo
Optional on 10 nights itinerary
†Free bar excludes Champagne, branded spirits and drinks from the wine list. Bar opening times may vary subject to the daily programme on board.
Some of the highlights may only be seen on optional excursions at an additional cost, or by exploring independently.
October 2020 departure will operate using a slightly different itinerary, all inclusive on board and with eight excursions included in the price of the holiday.