If you want to visit one of the most beautiful landscapes in Northern Portugal, there are several Douro cruise options available. In one day you can discover part of the beauty of the Douro River, which rises in the province of Sória (Spain) and ends in the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia (Portugal). Spanning about 895 kilometers, it is the third longest river in the Iberian Peninsula, though only the stretch in Portugal is navigable. In days of yore, it was considered a dangerous river and only ‘rabelo’ boats were able to sail through it. Now it is totally safe, as its 5 dams make it possible to control river flows (and produce electricity).
Most Douro cruises set off from Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia towards Peso da Régua or Pinhão. The estates that have been producing excellent Portuguese wines for more than 2,000 years – including the famous Port Wine – are located In the winegrowing region of Alto Douro. Alto Douro was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001, under the cultural landscape category.
Wineries on the Rio Douro. Photo: Internet
Douro Cruise routes
Douro cruise routes Most Douro cruises set off from Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia early in the morning and come back early evening. They include on-board meals, usually breakfast and lunch. Part of the journey is made by boat, and another by bus or train.
If you prefer to go up the river by boat, you should leave Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia early in the morning. You will reach Peso da Régua in the afternoon. Most cruises include breakfast and lunch, as well as a visit to an estate where you can taste regional wines. Visitors usually come back by train or bus. If you prefer to go down the river on a cruise, you should take the train at São Bento Station, which reaches Régua late in the morning. That’s where you should take the boat to Porto. You can enjoy the beautiful sunset scenery.
Longer Douro cruises
If you want to explore this region a little better, you can join a longer cruise and experience two, three or even eight days aboard a ship hotel. These cruises will provide you with a deeper knowledge of the region, as they include visits to places such as Mateus Palace, Vila Real, Lamego, Quinta do Seixo, Quinta da Avesada and Douro Museum (in Peso da Régua). Some cruises also include a visit to Salamanca.
Rio Douro. Photo: Internet
The water level in the river rises due to frequent rains between December and March, which makes cruising trips unfeasible. After a cruise along the Douro River, how about a light meal – like a salad – at YOURS Bistrô
You can also have a quiet night’s sleep in one of the comfortable rooms at YOURS Guesthouse