You can’t get much better than the magnificent Douro River!
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!
Furthermore, Viking are now offering a whopping £1000 discount per person on 2015 river cruise tours, which certainly is outstanding value!