SPAIN, PORTUGAL AND THE DOURO RIVER
May 12, 2018 – May 26, 2018
September 14 – September 28, 2018 – SOLD OUT
Explore intimate villages and sample local wines during the harvest time. Enjoy a river cruise on the scenic Douro River, featuring our private charter of the royal Spirit of Chartwell, a luxurious riverboat fit for a queen.
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YOUR 15-DAY JOURNEY
|Day 1||Depart North America|
Our driver greets you at your door, helps with your luggage and gets you settled into your private car before
driving you to the airport. Guests departing from Toronto Pearson airport are assisted with their check in. Meet your Journey Manager and fellow travellers and board your flight to Europe.
On arrival in Madrid, our local guide greets us with a smile. Settle in to your hotel with the afternoon at
leisure. Our local guide and your Journey Manager are on hand to assist those who want to discover the local area. This evening, join us for a relaxing welcome dinner and meet your fellow travellers. (D)
Overnight Madrid, Hotel Meliã Fenix, 3 nights
|Day 3||City Tour|
Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a cosmopolitan city that combines the most modern infrastructures and the status as an economic, financial, administrative and service centre, with a large cultural and artistic heritage, a legacy of centuries of exciting history.
Strategically located in the geographic centre of the Iberian Peninsula at an altitude of 646 m above sea level, Madrid has one of the most important historic centres of all the great European cities. This heritage merges seamlessly with the city's modern and convenient infrastructures, a wide-ranging offer of accommodation and services, and all the latest state-of-the-art technologies in audiovisual and communications media. These conditions, together with all the drive of a dynamic and open society –as well as high-spirited and friendly– have made this metropolis one of the great capitals of the Western world.
On our morning city tour will pass some of the most important spots such as the Gran Via, literally meaning “Great Way , Plaza de Espana which features a monument to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Castellana, one of the longest and widest avenues of Madrid. Our tour ends at Plaza Mayor the main square of Madrid. Following lunch the afternoon is at your leisure to explore this fantastic city. This evening we enjoy dinner and Flamenco show in one of the most famous houses “El Corral de la Moreria”. (B,L,D
|Day 4||Ávila & Segovia|
Today we head northwest to the city of Ávila, a UNESCO World Heritage site best known for its intact medieval walls, with 80-plus fortified, semicircular towers and 9 gates, including the arched Alcázar. Its walls, with more than 2,5km long, are the better preserved in all Spain. The city is also the home land of Santa Teresa of Jesus a Carmelite nun, known as Santa Teresa of Ávila.
We continue to Segovia, with centuries of settlement have resulted in a rich architectural legacy, including medieval walls, Romanesque churches, a former royal palace and a Gothic cathedral. Its iconic ancient Roman aqueduct has more than 160 arches, most in the original mortarless granite, and stands above Plaza Azoguejo in the heart of the city. We return to Madrid at the end of the afternoon and the reminder of the evening is at your leisure. (B,L)
|Day 5||Trujillo, Spain and Évora, Portugal|
This morning we depart Madrid and travel to the area of Castilla la Mancha, Spain, famous for its castles and the setting for the fictional tale of Don Quixote. We stop for lunch in the historic city of Trujillo, birthplace of discoverers, at a Parador which occupies the former convent of Santa Clara. We cross the border into Portugal and drive to the city of Évora. (B,L,D)
Overnight Évora, Mar de Ar Aqueduto, 1 night
|Day 6||Évora and Lisbon, Portugal|
Évora is the capital of Portugal's south-central Alentejo region. In the city's historic center stands the ancient Roman Temple of Diana. Nearby, whitewashed houses surround the Cathedral of Évora, a massive Gothic structure begun in the 12th century. The Igreja de São Francisco features Gothic and baroque architecture along with the skeleton-adorned Chapel of Bones.
This morning we enjoy a walking tour of Évora and pass the Diana Temple, the Cathedral, Geraldes Square. S. Francis church and Chapel of Bones. This afternoon we travel to the capital of Portugal, Lisbon and crosss the 17 km long bridge, Vasco da Gama to reach the city. This evening our guide treats us to a traditional dinner and Fado Folklore Show. (B,L,D)
Overnight Lisbon, Hotel Avenida Palace, 2 nights
|Day 7||Discovering Lisbon |
This morning, all of Lisbon awaits as we discover Rossio Square, Liberty Avenue, the Belém area with the St.
Jerome Monastery, the Belém Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries. Next we go to the Coach Museum which houses one of the finest collections of historical carriages in the world. This afternoon is yours to continue exploring this fantastic city. (B)
|Day 8||Coimbra and Porto, UNESCO World Heritage|
Coimbra, set along the banks of the Mondego River, has been home to one of Europe’s oldest universities for
13 centuries and is Europe’s oldest university town. Enjoy some free time to take photos of the dramatic
views from the top of the town hill. A visit to the University’s 18th century Library, considered one of the first Copyright libraries in the world, is a must. For lunch we indulge in the traditional roasted sirloin pig with the good “champagne” from the area.
After lunch, we continue north to Porto, one of the most picturesque cities in Portugal. Built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro River, it is an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000 year history. Or arrival in Porto we drive to the Pier and board the Spirit of Chartwell. (B,L,D)
Overnight Porto, Spirit of Chartwell, 7 night
|Day 9||Quinta da Aveleda|
Today we will visit Quinta da Aveleda to explore the wonderful grounds and enjoy a fantastic meal. The history of the Quinta da Aveleda estate is lost in time, but there are countless records of this estate after the 16th century. Aveleda is a name which spans several generations. The first records of the sale of bottled wine date back to 1870, with Manuel Pedro Guedes. Since then, the successive generations of the family have been devoted to the production of high quality wines, preserving this family legacy. Aside from its important architectural heritage, the Quinta da Aveleda estate is also appreciated for its parks and gardens, where rare species of trees flourish, some of which have been around for over two hundred years. Currently the Quinta da Aveleda is the largest Vinho Verde exporting company, Aveleda is proud to remain a family-owned business in every way. This evening sample some vintage Port Wine during dinner. (B,L,D)
|Day 10||Lamego, one of Portugal’s prettiest cities|
Lamego, an old and historical town, is picturesque, warm and very charming. It houses one of
the most important places of pilgrimage in the country, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, which has witnessed pilgrimages since the city’s very beginning. The origins of the Sanctuary date back to the 14th century and a small chapel dedicated to Saint Estevão. In the 16th century a new church was built over the old chapel, as it was almost in ruins. Construction began in the 18th century and was finished almost 200 years later. This is a very good example of the Portuguese baroque style.
At the top of the hill, an impressive staircase of 686 steps is decorated with enormous panels of blue and white tiles. We also visit the town’s museum and have time to wander the narrow winding streets. Lamego also
lays claim to some impressive cuisine, namely the local smoked ham, the ‘bola e Lamego,’ a bread filled with smoked ham, roasted kid, regional cakes and a tasty sparkling wine called ‘Raposeira.’ We rejoin the Spirit if Chartwell. This evening, enjoy a Portuguese Folk Music Show onboard. (B,L,D)
Overnight in Pinhão
Please note – the walk up to the Lamego Castle is very steep and may not be suitable for all guests. Guests with walking challenges will not be able to experience this feature.
|Day 11||Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo|
This morning we cruise a scenic section of the Douro on our way to Barca d’Alva. After lunch, we venture ashore for a tour to Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, a small fortified village with 13th century walls.
Castelo Rodrigo is one of the 12 historical Parishes of Portugal and is located 2 200 feet above
sea level. Its medieval streets are very narrow and steep and boast 16th century façades with Manuelino style windows. The Romans were the first to build a fortress here and in 1209 Alfonso IX built the walls surrounding the Roman fortress. The village became part of the Portuguese territory in 1297, at the time of King Dinis. Jews, Arabs and Christians have peacefully co-existed here throughout the centuries and comprise the social fabric of Castelo Rodrigo.
Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo is known as the white village because of the almond trees found around it. It became the capital of the county in 1836 by the order of Maria II. Monks began producing wine here in the
12th century and today it has become a successful wine cooperative with a gold medal wine in 1991, the white
Quinta do Cardo. Storks have flocked to this city for centuries and have become the town’s symbol. This evening we enjoy the Captain’s Dinner onboard. (B,L,D)
Overnight Barca d Alva
|Day 12||Salamanca, UNESCO World Heritage Site & Plaza Mayor|
Our journey takes us to explore Salamanca, a seat of learning since the early 13th century. Salamanca is situated in the centre of the ‘Castillo e León’ region and is very rich in tradition. Founded by Celtic Iberian tribes on the banks of the river Tormes, it was later occupied by the Romans and Arabs and finally re conquered by the Christians in the 12th century. During the 13th century the oldest university of the Iberian Peninsula was created. Over the centuries, the city was enriched by visiting kings, princes, bishops and artists. As such, many call this beautiful and historic city a living museum and our visit may well be transporting us back to the Middle Ages.
Among its impressive monuments, is the multicultural blend of 40 000 students from all over the world mixing with 160 000 locals to create a happy, fascinating cosmopolitan city. Our tour takes us to visit the University, House of Shells and the beautiful ‘Plaza Mayor,’ formally a site of bullfighting and now a popular gathering point for locals and visitors alike. The tour also visits the Gothic ‘New’ Cathedral - a name which serves as a testimony to the city’s age and rich history - since this ‘new’ building was constructed in the 16th century to replace the original 12th century Salamanca Cathedral. During your free time, you may opt to visit the Old Cathedral to take in its classic Romanic architecture.
A capital of culture since 2002, and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988, Salamanca showcases one of the finest mixtures of Renaissance and Plataresque architecture in Spain. Our lunch is in a lovely local restaurant which gives you the chance to experience local fare and a traditional, lively Flamenco Show. This evening, enjoy a traditional Portuguese barbecue dinner on board. (B,L,D)
Overnight in Pocinho
|Day 13||Harvest Tour|
During the months of September and October, the Douro Region celebrates the ritual of the Vintage – the wine harvest. To visit the Douro during harvest is to get to know the soul of the Douro people from the inside out. The vineyards are full of activity with the smell of the grapes in the air almost asking you to participate in one of the best wines of the world. At the Quinta Avessada, a 5th generation family farm, enjoy a guided tour of the Quinta and the Adega, the historic, granite stomping tanks, followed by a wine tasting with many local delicacies.
Indulge in a traditional country lunch of mixed grill, fish and the iconic “Dona Antonia” soup. This afternoon, enter the realm of history as you venture out into the vineyard to pick as many grapes as you wish, explore or simply observe with a glass of Port or Muskatel. Following the harvesting, drop your grapes into the granite Adega, off with the shoes and socks, and into the Adega for a traditional grape stomping. Little known to outsiders is that traditional grape treading is made easier and more enjoyable by music, songs, dancing, drinking and generally playing while inside the Adega. (B,L,D)
|Day 14||Porto and Port Wine|
Spreading along the banks of the Douro River, Porto’s history and development is closely linked to this river. First a Celtic-Iberian settlement, it became a prosperous Roman village thanks to its natural harbour. In the Middle Ages, during the XV and XVI centuries, its fishermen, sailors, merchants and ship builders contributed to the success of the Portuguese Discoveries. In the XVIII century, Porto gave its name to the one of the finest wines in the world –Port Wine.
This tour introduces the city, the capital of the North of Portugal. We’ll drive through its narrow streets to find XVI century arcaded buildings and Baroque churches and chapels. We will cross the city’s iconic XIX century iron bridge, built by the school of Gustav Eiffel. The city tour takes us along the coastal road of the Atlantic to the mouth of the Douro River, located at “Foz”. There, this posh neighbourhood of Porto presents its fashionable Villas and Manor Houses. Before returning to Vila Nova de Gaia we visit the city’s cathedral. Located on the top of the Penaventosa hill with an amazing view over the river, the cathedral construction started in the late 12th century and continued until the 17th century. And the building continued receiving changes to its style until the 20th century. Inside you can find beautiful examples of golden carved altarpieces and paintings from the Nasoni period.
The tour ends with a visit to one of the Port Wine Lodges, located in Vila Nova de Gaia, where the group will have opportunity to see the old casks full of Port and have a sample of this delicious, world famous Portuguese wine. This evening, enjoy a farewell cocktail and dinner during our sunset harbour cruise. (B,L,D)
Today we bid ‘Despedida’ to our new friends in Portugal. Our coach and local guide transfer us to the airport
where we board our flights for home. Our staff will greet you on arrival at Toronto Pearson and will assist you to your private car home. (B)
|CANADIAN DOLLARS PER GUEST||DOUBLE||SINGLE|
All features listed above
Madrid city tour • Avila, World Heritage Site, • Segovia, •Trujillo Parador, • Evora City tour, •tours in Lisbon, •Coimbra, Oporto • Lamego • Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo • Salamanca Spain, home of Flamenco• flamenco performance with lunch •Spirit of Chartwell, private charter, 28 guests, • Porto – UNESCO World Heritage City tour
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We pride ourselves in providing personal service and quality in everything we do. All our journeys are personally researched, orchestrated and operated. Our Guests experience them only after we are sure every ship or hotel inspected, guides interviewed and every detail pre-arranged. When you contact our office, you know you are speaking to experts.