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3 days in Lisbon and an 8 day boutique river cruise along Portugal's Douro aboard Uniworld's luxurious new Queen Isabel.
The River Douro, rising in Spain and reaching the Atlantic Ocean in Porto, has created a valley of spectacular beauty with hills falling steeply down to the water's edge, and stone terraces made by generations of men and women to give the vines a sheltered hold on the steep rocks.
This is Port country, the first and oldest wine region in the world, established in 1756. Enjoy the privilege of seeing this pristine and remote river valley the best possible way, on a Douro Valley River Cruise.
Before embarking on your cruise, enjoy Lisbon, a colourful entrée to what lies ahead as you sail the river valley with steeped-terraced vineyards and picture-postcard landscapes. Stop in Coimbra, Birthplace of Kings, and Porto, the City of Bridges. Taste new wines from old village vineyards - Régua and Pinhão. Stroll the UNESCO World Heritage City, Salamanca, Spain, and uncover a land of unspoiled beauty and charm along the way.
Begin with a VIP Home Departure Service® to London Heathrow or Gatwick Airport for your scheduled Air Portugal or another leading airline flight to Lisbon. Meet your Uniworld representative on arrival and transfer to your hotel for the next three nights.
Included Excursion: Lisbon City Tour
Your guided exploration of the city takes you to one of the most historical districts of the city, Belem, where you will see the Belem Tower, a fortress that kept careful watch over the great navigators who left Portugal to seek their fortunes elsewhere. You will relive the opulence of the former times with a visit to the 16th-century ornate Jerónimos Church.
Included Excursion: Coimbra Tour with Lunch
En route to embark Queen Isabel, you will learn about Portugal's third largest city on a tour of Coimbra, known as the birthplace to six of Portugal's kings and home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. Enjoy lunch in a local Pousada, a family-run restaurant, before continuing on to Porto to embark the Queen Isabel, the finest vessel on the Douro.
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Included Excursions: Porto City Tour
Alternate Excursion: Walking Tour of Riberia District with Visit to Wine Cellars in Cais de Gaia
Porto, also known as the City of Bridges is Portugal's second largest city. Its charm stems from its dramatic position above the river, with gabled houses nestled closely together on the hill. You'll be guided through the medieval city centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then on to see the Romanesque cathedral. Alternatively enjoy a walking tour of the picturesque Ribeira district followed by a visit to the port wine cellars in Cais de Gaia before sailing for Bitetos.
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Included Excursion: Douro Museum, Mateus Palace & Gardens and Dinner at Quinta da Avessada
A stop at the newly opened Douro Museum in Régua will introduce you to the oldest wine growing region in the world. You will also be enchanted by a visit to the Mateus Palace and Gardens, a perfect example of baroque architecture, with an impressive facade. The gardens are among the most beautiful in Europe, with a tunnel of cypress trees shading the path. Later enjoy dinner at the family owned winery Quinta da Avessada in the heart of the Douro region.
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Included Excursion: Port wine tasting at a local Quinta
The small town of Pinhão is the epicentre of the Port wine making area, and a place where the soil and climatic conditions are considered to be at their very best. Visit a local Quinta and learn more about the history of Port which goes back to the 17th century. Find out about the unique climate conditions of the region and the Port wine making process, and of course, get to indulge in some of this country's most celebrated beverage. Afternoon sailing. Captain's Dinner this evening.
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Included Excursion: Full-day Salamanca city tour with typical Spanish lunch and Flamenco show
The Queen Isabel will dock in Vega de Terrón this morning and from here, you will travel overland to the Spanish city of Salamanca, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Spain. Visit the historic university founded in 1218 by Alfonso IX of León and stroll through one of Spain's largest and grandest squares-Plaza Mayor with its warm, gold-coloured sandstone. After a typical Spanish lunch, with with a flamenco dance, enjoy some free time before returning to the ship.
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Included Excursions: Tour of Castelo Rodrigo
Included Excursion: Guimarães City Tour
Alternate Excursion: Hidden Treasures of Porto Walking Tour
Leisurely cruise to Porto, where this afternoon you enjoy an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed medieval town of Guimarães dominated by the castle of Portugal's first king Don Alfonso Henriques' grand castle. Guimarães was the first capital of Portugal in the 12th Century and more recently 2012 European Cultural Capital. Your city tour will guide you through the narrow streets of the medieval quarter and show you the main highlights of this extremely well preserved gem. Or opt to discover some of Porto's hidden treasures visiting highlights such as the Church of São Francisco, with its amazing gilded woodwork and the beautiful art nouveau bookstore Lello - with a coffee break at a traditional pasteleria.
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Disembark the ship and transfer to Porto Airport for your Air Portugal or another leading airline flight home. Arrive at London Heathrow or Gatwick where our staff will meet you and our transport will transfer you to your own front door.
A brand new, state of the art river cruise ship for the Douro for the 2013 season. Catering for 118 guests the Queen Isabel will be one of the newest and best ships to sail the Douro.
With a design scheme and interiors that are more representative of the region than Uniworld's other ships, the new ship offers a mix of classic and traditional luxury
* Payable locally.
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Single Occupancy Supplements: Cat 3, 2 & 1 £1000
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Prices are per person based on two sharing and are subject to availability at time of booking. Operators reserve the right to amend published prices prior to a confirmed booking being made.
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Porto•Regua•Guimarães•Pinhão•Vega de Terrón•Salamanca
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