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Delightful Douro with Lisbon & Madrid

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River View
$8,544
Balcony
$10,415
Suite
$13,429
* Port charges, taxes and fees included
 Cruise Length
14 Days
 Cruise Starts
Lisbon
 Cruise Finishes
Madrid
14 Day Delightful Douro with Lisbon & Madrid Itinerary (Scenic)
Countries Explored: Portugal, Spain
Cruise Line
Scenic
Ship
Departures
Passengers
96
Crew
36
Launched
2016
Cruise Code
LIDM-1

Overview

From windswept seaside meanderings to the astonishing beauty of the Douro Valley, this is a journey of contemplation and elegance. In Porto, board the luxurious Scenic Azure, which will transport you through the hidden gem that is the Douro Valley. Days will be spent immersed in the proud history and culture of a unique land that still retains many of its centuries-old traditions.

Itinerary

Welcome to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal and one of the oldest cities in Western Europe. Scattered across the peaks and valleys of seven hills, alongside the Tagus river, parts of the city date back to the 8th century with winding cobblestone lanes, colourful Moorish architecture and trendy converted warehouses. Lisbon is consistently named one of Europe’s coolest capitals and you’ll soon be charmed by its sophisticated approach to design, art, food and culture.

Check in to your hotel, located in the heart of the city. Tonight, you’ll meet your Tour Director and fellow guests for a drink to toast the start of your journey.

Your first morning in Lisbon starts with a guided tour. The city has a long and fascinating history; founded in 1200BC, it was ruled by the Moors for more than 400 years, led the oceanic Age of Exploration and was almost completely rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1755. This heritage unfolds through the laneways, squares and parks of Lisbon, each telling their part of the story. Wander through the Baixa Pombalina, the city’s historic centre; climb to the medieval Castelo de Sao George, standing high above the city; and admire the ornate architecture of the 15th-century Jerónimos Monastery. Along the way, stop to taste the nation’s signature sweet – pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts).

Freechoice: Today’s Scenic Freechoice options:

  • High seas history: Visit the Maritime Museum and learn the nautical history of this once dominant seafaring nation. Set inside the Jerónimos Monastery, the museum is home to more than 23,000 pieces that chart Portugal’s maritime triumphs across seven centuries.
  • Admire the national monument: Visit the hilltop town of Sintra, around 20 minutes outside of Lisbon, and climb to the national monument, Palacio Nacional. Perched high above the town, the palace is a glorious blend of Moorish and Portuguese Gothic architecture topped with twin conical chimneys. (B)

Today is yours to enjoy. Perhaps hop aboard the number 28 tram, which winds through the city’s narrowest streets, up steep hills and incredibly close to buildings. Because of the tight turns, only the vintage yellow wooden trams can operate on this route; it’s like riding in a piece of history or for a birds’ eye view, take the 19th century Santa Justa elevator up seven storeys to the top of one of the city’s steepest hills.

Art lovers can head for the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT), spread across an historic power station and a new futuristic building on the bank of the Tagus river. Inside, you’ll find the country’s most impressive collection of Portuguese contemporary art alongside regular rotation of visiting exhibitions. There’s also a crop of interesting museums. To learn about the unique relationship Portugal has had with Asia since the 16th century, visit the sleek Museo de Oriente. The National Azujelo Museum delves into the history of the colourful glazed tiles you see all over the city.

At an exclusive farewell dinner tonight, you’ll get to experience Portuguese cuisine at its finest. Lisbon is famous for its seafood, thanks to its prominent position on the coast, and its cuisine has long been influenced by its rich history of spice trading. (B/D)

Your journey via Coimbra takes you to Porto where you'll board the luxurious Scenic Azure. (B/D)

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Crystal Dining this morning as the ship cruises towards Regua. Relax in the sunshine on the Sun Deck as you enjoy the scenery of the Douro rolling by.

Regua is the largest of the riverside towns and is an excellent base for exploring the Douro Valley. This region is famous for producing Port wine, with rolling vineyards on the terraced hillsides and wineries dating back to the 18th century. Upon arrival this afternoon you can enjoy a visit to the excellent Douro Museum.

Learn about the history, culture and traditions of the region of the Douro Valley. It is set in a fully restored 18th century building that once housed The Company, which was responsible for the demarcation of Douro wines, as well as being a place where wines and winemaking tools were stored. After the museum visit, enjoy a drink of local port or port tonic on the terrace. (B/L/D)

Awake in Regua, where the ship has remained docked overnight. Why not ask your butler to bring coffee to your suite if you would like a slower start to the day?

Explore the Douro Valley today with a choice of excursions that including visiting one of the most beautiful towns in Northern Portugal, exploring an enchanting palace or kayaking along a scenic river.

Freechoice:

  • Excursion to Lamego: Take a coach to the town of Lamego, nestled among terraced vineyards that were the first to produce world-famous port wine. The city prospered in the 18th century and it's a fascinating place to wander, with ancient buildings and monuments, including a Baroque staircase and Rococo church. You will have the option to take a self-guided tour of the museum and will be offered a tasting of bola, a donut-like pastry.
  • Kayaking along the Pinhao River: Explore this beautiful region from a different perspective as you glide past impressive landscapes of terraced vineyards, patchworked farmland and sprawling estates via kayak on the Pinhao River, a tributary of the Douro.
  • Mateus Palace: Transfer by coach to Mateus Palace, considered one of the best examples of Baroque civil architecture in Portugal. Built in the first half of the 18th century, the former family home features rooms with original furniture and ornately carved ceilings; a library that contains one of the first illustrated editions of Os Lusiadas, Portugal's most significant epic poem; and a manicured garden dotted with statues, hedges, a cypress tunnel and reflective ponds.

This afternoon your Scenic Space-Ship will sail onwards to Vega de Terron where you will dock overnight.

Wake this morning in the city of Vega de Terron, located on the border of Portugal and Spain and at the confluence of the Douro and Águeda rivers. This small town remains beautifully unspoiled, with quiet streets, lush landscapes and welcoming locals. It's a popular gateway to the university town of Salamanca, which you will have the opportunity to explore today.

Freechoice: Explore your way with one of today's Scenic Freechoice excursions:

  • Salamanca Full Day Excursion: Known as the ‘golden city' for its honey-coloured sandstone architecture, Salamanca is famous for its university, which is the third oldest in the world, founded in 1218. Salamanca is a vibrant place with a young population – around one-fifth of its residents are students. It's home to two cathedrals, one dating to the 12th century and the other to the 16th century, which you will see on today's guided tour. You will also visit a market to taste local delicacies such as olives, cheese and smoked ham, and you'll have free time to explore and enjoy lunch at your leisure.
  • Freixo de Espada à Cinta with silk museum: Visit the village of Freixo de Espada à Cinta, a town with a curious name that translates to ‘ash tree girded with sword'. Legend has it the Dinis King of Portugal founded the town in the 14th century, then tied his sword to an ash tree before having a rest, hence the unusual name. The town is also the only place in Portugal where handcrafted silk is still processed entirely by hand, and on this guided tour you will visit a silk museum before returning to the ship for lunch.

This evening, enjoy the inclusive entertainment on board as you cruise back into Portugal and towards the village of Pocinho. (B/L/D)

Wake in the village of Pocinho. There’s not much to the village, which was established as the terminus of the Douro Railway in 1887, though it’s a great location to explore more of the Douro Valley. Perhaps savour a coffee delivered to your suite by your personal butler before heading off for the day.

Freechoice: Explore your way with one of this morning’s Scenic Freechoice excursions:

  • Côa Valley Museum: Transfer by coach to the Côa Valley Museum. Opened in 2010, this museum is one of the largest in Portugal, housed in a contemporary building designed to blend into the landscape. The museum is a great introduction to the region’s paleolithic rock art sites through original artefacts and digital technology; on your visit you’ll also enjoy a pre-historic workshop.
  • Tastes of the Côa Valley: Visit Casa Painova estate for a sweet almond workshop to see how these nuts are harvested and used in desserts and pastries. Enjoy a tasting of almonds, olives and fruit products.

This afternoon, relax as you cruise towards Pinhão; perhaps enjoy a regional port wine in the Panorama Lounge & Bar or spend some time in your suite. Many have a window that converts into a Scenic Sun Lounge, allowing you uninterrupted views to watch a rolling tapestry of river life as you cruise the Douro. (B/L/D)

This morning you are docking in Pinhão, set on one of the prettiest parts of the Douro River. This small village is surrounded by terraced vineyards and produces exceptional port wine. Look out for the charming riverside train station, which is decorated with azulejos (hand-painted tiles) depicting the annual grape harvest.

This morning, you have the special opportunity to visit the charming village of Provesende, located on a plateau with spectacular views of the region's fertile rolling landscape. Wander through the village and visit the church where you'll watch a piano recital, help to bake bola (donut-like pastries) in the old bakery, learn how traditional handicraft is made, and look inside the historic manor house where you'll enjoy the bola that you made earlier.

This afternoon your luxurious Scenic Space-Ship will make its way back to Porto in time for your magnificent Scenic Enrich event.

Enrich: Classical concert in Sao Francisco Church: From the ship, take a short walk (with some stairs) to Sao Francisco Church, which is one of the most iconic sites in Porto. Built in the 13th century, the Gothic church has gilded interiors and breathtaking altars. All guests will be seated in the church for a performance of classical music. (B/L/D)

Wake in the city of Porto, a 2,000-year-old city that lent its name to the nation of Portugal. And while it is awash in history, it has a youthful vibe. Porto is both hip yet opulent, where street art adorns ancient city walls and historical buildings are decorated with intricate colourful tiles.

Freechoice: Explore the region with one of this morning's Scenic Freechoice excursions:

  • Guided tour of Porto: Discover the rich culture, history and food of Porto on this guided tour, which includes a visit to the iconic Palacio da Bolsa. Located in the heart of the city, this 19th-century neoclassical building boasts stunning architecture and intricate detail, including the Arab Room, adorned with stunning Moorish-inspired decorations and with a ceiling made entirely of gold leaf. You will also visit Bolhão Market. This historic market has been in operation since 1914 and offers visitors a glimpse into the local food and culture. It's a great way to mingle with locals and enjoy the bustling atmosphere.
  • Excursion to Guimarães: Fondly referred to as the birthplace of Portugal, Guimarães was the seat of the first King of Portugal and home to the impressive Ducal Palace. Visit the well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage-listed city and explore the Ducal Palace, which dates to the 15th century and displays an historic collection of tapestries, furniture, ceramics, weapons and more. You will also have free time to explore the city on your own.
  • Quinta da Aveleda: Transfer by coach to this 150-year-old wine producer for a tour and tasting. Wander the enchanting gardens and enjoy free time to explore. (B/L/D)

Disembark Scenic Azure this morning and take an included flight to Madrid where you will enjoy a three night stay at your centrally located hotel allowing you to explore Madrid’s rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture and delicious cuisine. (B)

There’s so much to discover in just a short time in Madrid, so spend this morning on a guided tour of the highlights. Start in Madrid de los Austrias (the Austrian Quarter), the most historic area of the city that dates back to the reign of the Habsburgs. Discover the iconic Plaza Mayor, a 400-year-old square surrounded by neat rows of brightly coloured buildings; the impossibly picturesque Plaza de la Villa; and the bustling Plaza de la Paja, lined with restaurants and bars. Wander through the elegant Sabatini Gardens, built in front of the Royal Palace in the 1930s and admire the formal garden, fountains and statues. More classic fountains await in the leafy plaza near the famed Prado Museum, the 19th-century Cibeles and Neptuno fountains.

Freechoice: Today’s Scenic Freechoice:

  • Get arty at The Prado: The Prado Museum is renowned as one of the best in the world, with more than 1,500 artworks on display from a collection of over 7,000. See works from Spanish grand masters Goya and Velázquez as well as other prominent European artists like Rubens, Bosch, Rafael and more.
  • Explore the spectacular Royal Palace: Covering more than 135,000 square metres, Madrid’s exquisite 18th-century Royal Palace is the largest in Western Europe. Walk through the grand rooms and airy courtyards, admire the incredible artworks on the walls, and see the weapons and armour on display in the armoury.

Tonight, enjoy a special Spanish dinner with your fellow guests and toast a wonderful day of exploring. (B/D)

Today is yours to enjoy at leisure. Madrid is truly one of Europe's most inclusive, engaging and entertaining cities, meaning there is something that appeals to every type of traveller. If the sun is shining (as it usually is), head for the lake at the centre of El Retiro Park. Rent a rowboat to paddle lazily past the grand monuments, water features and leafy forest that line the shores.

There's an excellent crop of museums and galleries where you can while away the day, like the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Museo Lazaro Galdiano and the National Archaeological Museum. If you'd prefer to be able to buy the beautiful things on display, join the crowds at Gran Via, look for luxury labels in Barrio de Salamanca, or find vintage treasures in the Chueca and Malasaña districts. Foodies should make their way to the Mercado de San Miguel, a century-old cast iron covered market filled with the finest produce from all over Spain. The market draws more than 10 million visitors a year to sample meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables, ice cream and more. (B)

Madrid is famous for its nightlife, but the mornings can be just as special. Take some time on your last day for one last walk around the tranquil grounds of Sabatini Park, just a few minutes from your hotel, or sit at a pavement café for one last cup of strong Spanish coffee.

After check out, you’ll transfer to the airport where you will farewell Madrid, taking with you memories of an unforgettable journey.

This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions. (B)

Life Onboard Scenic Azure

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