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Immerse yourself in the festive and warm atmosphere of Portugal and Spain where you will discover a unique way of life. You will visit Porto, a subtle mixture of modernity and history famous for its wine, or Salamanca and its cathedral, Spain's "golden city". It has a rich architectural, religious and gastronomic culture.
Pinhão is a small city that lives in sync with the rhythm of the river. One of its most cherished treasures is the quaint railway station, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Azulejo tiles showing the vineyards and landscapes in the region decorate the station's facade.
You'll enjoy a tasting of the world-renowned port wine at a local quinta. This outing is also a great opportunity to discover the region and its gorgeous scenery. We'll return on board the ship.
We'll leave from Vila Nova de Gaia by coach for downtown Porto. Once we arrive, we'll board one of the city's trams and partake in this urban-tourism experience all the way to the mouth of the Douro. Our visit will include a stop at the tram museum (Museu do Carro Eléctrico), housed in a former thermo-electric power plant. The museum collection comprises the oldest cars pulled by horses, called "Americanos,” to the last trams from the 1950s and 1960s. We'll finish up our excursion with a tasting of some of the local specialties*. At the end of our tour, we'll return to the ship by coach.
We'll leave from Regua or Pinhão for Vila Real, where aristocrats built grand palaces during the 16th and 18th centuries. The architecture of the religious buildings is here extremely varied. We'll take a panoramic tour of the city by coach, followed by a tasting of the local pastry, Cristas de Galo.
We'll then set out to explore Mateus Palace, the most beautiful and astonishing manor in all of Northern Portugal. This 18th-century beauty is set in a hilly landscape reminding us of Mexico. The subtle mixture of granite, white walls and extravagance from the Age of Enlightenment such as ledges covered in statues and Baroque style pilasters is a striking feature. Behind the manor is a delightful garden with box hedges, more statues, and a spectacular 115-foot cedar tunnel. After our tour, we'll return to our ship in Regua or Pinhão.
You’ll leave by coach with our team from Barca d’Alva for Salamanca, where you’ll meet up with the local guide for a tapas food tour in several eateries in the city center. Discover the wide range of Spanish delights and flavors served as appetizers or snacks. The most well known include patatas bravas, salads, and cold cuts (chorizo, lomo, Jamón ibérico)—all sublime when served with a glass of Spanish wine. You’ll have lunch in a local restaurant to prolong your immersion in Spanish cuisine. Afterwards, enjoy some free time to stroll about the town on your own. At the end of our tour, we’ll return on board the ship in Vega de Terron.
A unique opportunity to admire the city of Porto by night during a panoramic tour by bus. You will love the old, preserved districts of this city of immense character, classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Porto is not only a city rich in vestiges from a glorious past, but also the young-spirited, warm capital city of a region marked by its winemaking as well as its closeness to the ocean. During the tour of the historic center, your guide will schedule a stop at the Sao Bento railway station to look at its magnificent azulejos. Return on board by coach.
Departure by coach from the Villa Nova de Gaia Quay, facing Porto from across the Douro river and the famous Dom Luis I Bridge, built between 1881 and 1886 by French engineer Theophile Seyrig, one of Gustave Eiffel's pupils.
Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, stands out from the steep banks of the Douro river with its mixture of grey facades and red tiles interspersed with unusual architectural masterpieces.
Its historical center was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. We'll discover The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Building), built in 1834 by the city's Commercial Association. It has remained their headquarters to this day. After climbing up the beautiful granite and marble stairway, we'll visit the former Tribunal Room, the Golden Room and the Arab Room, decorated in the exotic Moorish Revival style. Afterwards, we'll visit the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), also known as the "Golden Church”. It was originally a modest convent founded by Franciscan monks in the 12th century, before being further altered by prominent Porto families in the 15th and 16th centuries. They were responsible for the Baroque style interior which mingles with the large, elaborate rose window in Gothic style on the main façade in a fascinating mixture of styles reflecting the various eras it went through.
We'll cross the Dom Luis I Bridge again back to Villa Nova de Gaia for the visit of a wine cellar. Porto's pride notably stems from its famous wine known the world over, which you will get to taste*. We'll return on board by coach.
Departure by coach towards Salamanca where you'll meet up with your guides.
Since 1988, the Old Town of Salamanca has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The classified area extends on the major part of the city as it used to be until the middle of the 20th century and is responsible for its growing popularity. We'll visit the cathedral whose successive extensions created a mixture of styles going from late Gothic to Baroque, including Renaissance. Afterwards, we'll visit one of the world's oldest Universities which 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. Its wonderful library brims with old manuscripts dating back from prior to the 19th century. You'll enjoy lunch and be free to discover the city on your own. Return on board in Vega de Teron.