Porto, Portugal. Evening sunset picturesque view at old town with antique houses and red roofs near bridge Ponte de Dom Luis on river Douro.

The Douro River Cruises

The Douro carves a route past postcard-pretty villages, terraced vineyards and family-run quintas. Dramatic panoramas unfold at every turn as the river travels from the sun-drenched heart of Iberia to coastal Porto. 

Our Douro river cruises focus on the sights, sounds and tastes of the region, with port wine tastings, fado performances and excursions guided by local experts. 

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  • The endless views of vine-striped hills.
  • Tasting rich ports and young vinho verde (‘green wines’).
  • Photographing Porto’s picture-perfect old town.

A treat for wine connoisseurs

Following the river north, the Upper Douro region is a paradise for wine lovers. Enjoy Portugal’s finest wines (and ports, of course!), either on board or at one of the quintas (country estates) and wineries dotting the river banks.

Culture and history

On a Douro river cruise, you’ll have the chance to visit towns and cities on or near the river – places like Guimarães, described as the ‘Cradle of the Portuguese nation’, and historic Salamanca, just across the border in Spain. Porto makes a memorable start to your cruise, with its hilly cobbled streets and imposing bridges.

Foodie favourite

The Douro region is known for its delicious cuisine, from fresh seafood and hearty meat dishes, to home-grown fruit and vegetables bursting with flavour. Douro cruises give you plenty of opportunity to sample local dishes, whether it’s on board the ship or in one of our ports of call.

Historically, the Douro has been - and continues to be - crucial to the growth of Portugal's wine trade. Both the river and the aesthetic appeal of the region drew in farming communities - and led to the abundance of vineyards and olive groves which sprang up along the Peninsula. Once cultivated and fermented, wine shipments were taken downriver in ‘rabelos’: flat-bottomed boats which also transported the olives and almonds grown on the farms either side of the Douro.

As a gateway to the Iberian Peninsula, Porto was the eventual destination for trade shipments moving down the river - and remains hugely popular with visitors and native Portuguese alike. Our Douro river cruises make the most of the city: in which the architecture of a seafaring past combines with dazzling modern flourishes. For a taste of the city, visitors to Porto may seek out the 19th century Palácio da Bolsa, walk the bustling Santa Catarina shopping street or climb the soaring Clérigos Tower. Porto benefits from its centuries-old status as the hub of the Port wine trade and trips to the city's famed Port cellars are highly recommended.

Passengers on-board a Douro river cruise can expect diverse environments and experiences. Beyond the sprawl of its cities, the Douro gives way to the stunning vistas of the Iberian region. River cruises glide past the towns of Bitetos, Regua and Pinhão.

Our ships, like the Royal Barge, stop regularly throughout the region, letting passengers explore for themselves attractions like the baroque Mateus Palace and Gardens and the Douro Museum, both of which turn a rural perspective on the river's history. Close to Regua, the fascinating city of Guimarães, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, was Portugal's 12th century capital and the lavish home of the country's first king, Don Afonso Henriques. The smaller town of Pinhão is considered the epicentre of the area’s Port wine making tradition and our itinerary includes a dinner appointment at the local Quinta da Avessada winery - an unmissable opportunity to sample the region's finest food and drink.

Towards the border with Spain, our cruises arrive in Barca d'Alva, where passengers have the opportunity to make the overland trip to the Spanish city of Salamanca, which continues the region's cultural legacy as a UNESCO World Heritage City. Our Salamanca excursions place visitors amidst stunning medieval architecture, beautifully preserved and fashioned from striking gold-coloured sandstone. The city overflows with Spanish flavour: visitors can explore its 13th century university, relax in the grand Plaza Mayor or enjoy a flamenco show before they return to their cruise vessel in Portugal.

While the stunning beauty of the Douro and the surrounding Iberian countryside make any journey through the region memorable, our hand crafted itineraries ensure your time on the river is unforgettable. Our VIP home departure service provides chauffeur-driven transfers at either end of your journey and, once your trip is underway, our Tour Managers work to make every moment of your time on the Douro special, offering information and assistance 24 hours a day.

Whether you are sampling the finest of the region's Port varieties, exploring a medieval town or simply relaxing on the deck of your ship, we are sure you will agree: the Douro is a river synonymous with luxury.

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