European Luxury River Cruises

Portuguese Paradise!

 

 Portugal is one of the most beautiful places you can visit on earth. Officially called the Portuguese Republic, it can be found in southwest Europe and is located on the Iberian Peninsula and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The country is named after its second largest city, Porto, which is famous for its delicious port wine.

 

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Delicious port

 

 Portugal’s natural beauty and long history is a huge attraction for people and is one of the 20 most visited countries in the world. Its largest city Lisbon attracts the most tourists but Porto and Northern Portugal near the Douro River valley, has grown quickly in popularity. Sailing down the Douro River on a river cruise is probably one of the best ways to experience this amazing country.

 

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River Cruise Ship

 

First visit the capital city of Lisbon and see the wonderful architecture and exquisite statues. Begin at Belém and see the Tower of Belém a Hieronymite and the Jerónimos Monastery, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

 

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Amazing Lisbon

 

 Next make your way to Porto which sits at the mouth of the Douro River ready to take you on its magical journey. Renowned for its port wine, Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the oldest, dating back many centuries. It also has been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts more and more new tourists in recent years.

 

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Famous Ports

 

At Porto you can embark on a river cruise ship to bygone places. The Douro River takes you on a magical journey through a winding easterly course between stunning terraced vineyards, charming town squares, beautiful baroque mansions, majestic castles and historic monasteries.

 

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Majestic castles in Portugal

 

Some river cruises also take you for a trip to the medieval city of Salamanca in Spain. Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this living museum is quite unique as it is both historical and cosmopolitan at the same time, mixing the ancient with the new in a vibrant multicultural city.

 

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Salamanca

 

The Portugal experience is a must in your travels across the world. As well as the stunning sights, feast yourself on specialties like salt cod, hearty soups and stews and wash this all down with the sensational port and tawny wines.  To visit Portugal is a wonderful treat, to experience it on a river cruise sailing on the beautiful Douro river is just paradise and will hold special memories for ever.

 

Behold the River of Gold!

You can’t get much better than the magnificent Douro River! 

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It is the third longest river in the Iberian Peninsula and flows from north-central Spain through Portugal to its outlet at Porto on the Atlantic Ocean. The name Douro itself originates from the ancient Celtic tribal word for water.

 The river was even personified as a god ‘Durius’ during the Roman period and now has an UNESCO  World Heritage Site classification in some parts of the Douro Valley in Portugal. For example, the Tower of Belém in Lisbon is a wonderful sight to see.

 

 

The river is wild but beautiful and certainly unspoiled, magnificently picturesque and dotted by terraced hills, small towns, wine-producing farms, and small fishing boats.

 

 

Traditional rabelo sailing boats also line the river with their casks of port wine made in century-old wineries such as the Quinta da Avessada in Pinhão.

 

 

Although the Douro is narrow in parts and in the past water levels quite inconsistent, but there are now five dams on the Portuguese section of the river  helping to stabilize water levels and  produce electricity. Subsequently, this has allowed the scheduling of river cruise sailing tours along the Douro River Valley. In fact, Viking River Cruises in particular have just launched two brand new ships for the Douro called the Viking Hemming and Viking Torgil. To say they look amazing is an understatement, built exclusively to sail Portugal’s Douro River and offering state-of-the-art engineering, deluxe accommodations and Viking’s signature Scandinavian décor – wow!

 

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A Viking longship.

 

Furthermore, Viking are now offering a whopping £1000 discount per person on 2015 river cruise tours, which certainly is outstanding value!

 

 

The Douro is often called the River of Gold, and believe me, a river cruise down this magnificent river would certainly be worth its weight in gold!

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