Trip Operator:

About the Trip

JULY 5 – 13, 2019

Reward your inner explorer with Portugal & the Douro River, an all gay adventure that blends captivating cities, picturesque villages, and unparalleled scenic cruising through this less-traveled corner of Europe.

It’s the perfect combination of inspiring places and rich history in the comfort of an all-gay environment.

This trip is currently sold out, and available by waitlist only.

9-day adventure starting in Madrid during Pride then, sail the lush Douro River Valley with its enchanting towns and celebrated wines of Portugal.

 Indulge your passion for food, history, and music as you discover the warmth of Portugal and Spain. Experience the “sunny side” of Europe, starting in radiant Madrid, then follow the Douro River through Spain and into Portugal. Feel the warm sun on your skin as you cruise past terraced hills, quaint villages, and acres of ripe vineyards. From taking in a traditional flamenco show to memorable local food and wine tastings, this all-gay cruise and tour gives you the very best of the region.

Cruise through the UNESCO-designated Douro Valley, where grapes have been grown for 2,000 years. Visit picturesque quintas and meet the winemakers who run them. In Porto, where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean, explore architectural wonders, shop the bustling Rua de Santa Catarina and sip the city’s storied port wines at its preeminent cellars. Travel overland through the countryside and stop in Coimbra, Portugal’s third-largest city and birthplace of six of the country’s kings.

Ship Accommodations

CroisiEurope is a family-owned company that has been in operation since 1976. As Europe’s largest and most experienced river cruise line, passengers will encounter warm hospitality, gourmet cuisine, comfortable accommodations, and well-executed shore excursions.

The MS Miguel Torga is at home in the beautiful Douro Valley, Portugal’s revered wine region. A ship designed specifically for serene river cruising, the panoramic windows and spacious sun deck of the Miguel Torga provide guests with a perfect platform to discover and be immersed in this idyllic region. It is spacious and bright, with a passenger capacity of 132 with 66 cabins. Once on board, you will find all of the amenities and comforts which distinguish CroisiEurope’s fleet, and the outstanding and friendly service which is the trademark of the staff and crew.

Amenities: All cabins are equipped with air-conditioning, central heating, bathroom with shower, satellite TV, safe, hairdryers, 220 V electrical outlets — and each gives you a view of the river.

The MS Miguel Torga offers a lounge for your enjoyment and relaxation. Free Wi-Fi is available in the reception and lounge. The sun deck, with chaise lounges, offers panoramic views and a large 258 square foot pool.

Land Accommodations

The InterContinental Madrid

The InterContinental Madrid hotel is a cosmopolitan retreat that opens up the real charm and passion of this vibrant city. Salamanca’s high-end fashion boutiques are a short distance from the hotel, as are Madrid’s world-class museums.

 

Dom Pedro Palace – Lisbon

A five star luxury Lisbon hotel ideally located in Amoreiras, the heart of the city. Modern architecture and classic décor contribute to the special beauty of The Dom Pedro Palace, offering stunning uninterrupted views of the city of Lisbon including the Tagus River, the famous bridges, the castle of São Jorge and its skyline. Its location is within easy access to Lisbon’s superb transport system, tram or underground, quickly and easily enabling one to reach and visit the many tourist attractions Lisbon has to offer.

Lisbon Optional Post-Cruise Tour

July 13–15 | $749 per person double occupancy| $999 Single occupancy

Day 1 – July 13

Disembark the Miguel Tortuga and board luxury motor coaches bound for Lisbon. Enroute we stop at the Sanguinhal Wine Estate, remarkably known for its great wines and historical beauty. This visit includes an expert guided tour of the vineyards, a visit to the ancient pressing-room with its stone and wood manual wine press, the old distillery, the aging cellar of liquor wines and brandies, and finally wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, and a traditional lunch from the region. Following lunch, we proceed to Óbidos, with its well-preserved examples of medieval architecture of Roman and Moorish heritage. This delightful town of white houses adorned with bougainvilleas and honeysuckle is entirely surrounded by medieval walls and is forbidden to car traffic. Our visit to Óbidos includes a walking tour and a tasting of the local traditional cherry liquor.

We continue to Lisbon, where we check into the well-located Dom Pedro Palace. The evening is yours to relax or to explore the city.

 

Day 2 – July 14

Today we enjoy a half-day city tour of Lisbon, beginning in the Castle District. The hilltop citadel of Castelo de São Jorge (Saint George Castle) is a fascinating place to contemplate Lisbon’s long history. This national monument occupies a privileged area of the old medieval citadel and consists of the castle, ruins of the

former royal palace, and part of the neighborhood for the elite.

Next we proceed to the Belém Quarter, from where many of the great Portuguese explorers embarked on their voyages of discovery. It is here that we’ll visit two of the most cherished historic buildings in the country, the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Also, here stands the impressive Discoveries Monument “Padrão dos Descobrimentos” a contemporary monument to the Golden Age of Discovery that soars over the riverfront.

Package Includes:

  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in InterContinental Madrid (or similar), with daily buffet breakfast and complimentary wireless internet
  • Half-day guided city tour of Madrid including visits of the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum
  • Transfer from Madrid to ship in Vega de Terron, with stop in picturesque Salamanca
  • Experience multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • 6 nights deluxe cruise accommodation
  • Life enriching tours and excursion
  • State-of-the-art portable audio-headset system on all excursions
  • Gourmet dining with all meals included during your cruise
  • Complimentary free-flowing beverages onboard, including wine, beer, spirits, coffee, tea, mineral water, and soft drinks
  • Bottled water in every stateroom replenished daily
  • Complimentary wireless internet in all public areas
  • Welcome Dinner and Farewell Cocktail Party & Dinner
  • Onboard special highlights including cultural performances, educational discussion forums, theme dinners and ship tour
  • Transfer from ship to Porto airport
  • Optional 2-night post cruise extension in Lisbon

Welcome to Madrid! Our guides will meet you at the airport to assist with your transfer to the Westin

Palace Hotel or similar, conveniently located in the heart of Madrid. After settling in to the hotel make the most of the remainder of your day by exploring the city on your own and taking in the many festivities of Madrid Gay Pride.

Your panoramic tour of this lively metropolis will take you to some of Madrid’s most famous sights. Then explore the massive Prado Museum, which features one of the world’s finest collections of European art. With nearly 7,600 paintings among its holdings, the Prado’s assemblage is truly stunning in both its depth and breadth. (B)

From Madrid travel overland to Salamanca, a UNESCO world Heritage city. The architectural purity of this charming town has endured through the centuries, during which time its sandstone buildings have acquired the exquisite glow that gives Salamanca its nickname, “The Golden City.” Walk under plateresque arches and past ornately decorated masonry walls as you explore the university.Then visit Salamanca’s extraordinary Old and New Cathedrals. Continue on to Barca d’Alvaon the Spanish/Portugal border and board the Miguel Torga.

Visit the 12th-century walled village of Castelo Rodrigo (one of the twelve historic villages of Portugal), with its medieval streets and stone- walled houses vantage point.

Lamego, a small, picturesque town that is rich in history, invites you to explore its streets today. Lamego houses one of the most important pilgrimage sites in all of Portugal: the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies. Sitting atop a hill, the sanctuary overlooks the town and can be reached by climbing its 686 steps. You’ll get to see it up close on today’s tour and have a chance to admire its gorgeous panels of blue and white tiles before enjoying another treat—a delicious wine tasting. In the evening, enjoy a Gala Dinner onboard your ship.

The Douro River winds through one hundred miles of granite mountains, carving out a valley whose steep slopes hold terraces that were cut by hand into the rocky soil and planted with grapes centuries ago. Visit the Douro Museum to learn about the river and its wines. See the Mateus Palace, which has one of the most beautiful gardens in the country. In the evening, you’ll tour the family-owned Quinta da Avessada, which produces premium Moscatel. After strolling the grounds and meeting the owner, you’ll partake in a rustic dinner featuring fine local wines and traditional live music.

Today you’ll venture to the charming, old-world town of Amarante, which is situated between the bends in the Tâmega River and the cliffs of the surrounding mountains. Many of its remaining historic structures are Romanesque in style, several of which you’ll see on your guided walking tour through this lovely riverside town.

Birthplace of Henry the Navigator (who launched Portugal’s voyages of exploration) and longtime hub of the Port wine trade, Porto combines well- preserved historic buildings with cutting-edge architecture and a booming cultural revival. Your tour will take you to the 19th-century Palácio da Bolsa and then on to the cathedral and the bustling shopping street, Santa Catarina. After lunch, you’ll visit one of the city’s famed Port cellars.

 

 

 

Morning disembarkation. Transfer to Porto airport(OPO) or join the 2-night post cruise extension in Lisbon

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Corey Colfer

Corey Colfer