Douro River Cruise on the Royal Barge
22 May — 29 May 2020 | Tour Director: Martin Symington
• Sail aboard the Spirit of Chartwell, formerly Her Majesty’s Royal Barge, as it cruises along the ‘River of Gold’
• Take in the vineyards and historical towns of Portugal’s northern valleys
• Learn about the history of port, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Martin Symington, BA, is a travel journalist and is the author of the Dorling Kindersley guidebook to Portugal and the AA Essential Guide to Portugal.
Depart London Gatwick 1150 on TAP Portugal, arriving Oporto 1400. Walking tour of Oporto. Embark Spirit of Chartwell for seven nights. Overnight Oporto.
Cruise up the river through the Douro Valley to Entre-os-Rios. Continue to Régua for the Douro Museum and overnight stay. Evening lecture: Douro River & the Region.
Lamego (pilgrimage town): museum, Sanctuário Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies). Cruise to the riverside town of Pinhão for walking tour and overnight stay. Evening lecture: Port.
Sail past rolling hills and terraced vineyards to Barca d’Alva (on the Spanish border). Afternoon excursion to the medieval Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. Evening lecture: Portugal’s History followed by Captain’s dinner on board. Overnight Barca d’Alva.
Whole day excursion to Salamanca (UNESCO World Heritage site): Plaza Mayor, Casa de las Conchas (Gothic building dating from 1493), Salamanca University, New Cathedral (16th–18th century). Overnight Pocinho.
Morning cruise to Régua. Visit to Mateus Palace (beautiful gardens, chapel and winery). Evening lecture: Portugal in the 20th Century. Overnight Porto Antigo.
Morning cruise down river to Oporto (UNESCO World Heritage site): visit to the historical Factory House of the British Association and visit to Graham’s Port Lodge (Symington Family Estates). Overnight Oporto.
Disembark Spirit of Chartwell. Some free time in Oporto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Depart Oporto 1755, arriving Gatwick 2005.
22 May — 29 May 2020
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The visits and excursions in and around this stunning and interesting area of Portugal, together with its history, made this a very special tour for me.
Recent ACE Customer
The Spirit of Chartwell
Refurbished for use by Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, the Spirit of Chartwell is the flagship vessel on the River Douro.
Overall, this tour is not especially strenuous, and participants can easily opt out of the more difficult elements.
Cost of £3150 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded cabin, full board with unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks, tea & coffee with lunch & dinner, shore excursions & admissions, crew gratuities.
Not included: travel insurance, supplement for the Royal Suite £125, cabin for single use supplement £1750.