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A Portugal holiday to remember
Discovering Portugal on a river cruise is a unique way to fully appreciate the beauty of the Douro Valley. Portugal is a small country with a strong identity that differs from its neighbour, Spain. Portugal is where the Atlantic meets Europe: a welcoming country with a mild and oceanic climate. It is ideal for family holidays or holidaying with friends.
CroisiEurope has 6 to 8 day cruises on the Douro on triple-deck ships fitted with all the necessary comforts. Four ships already sail the Douro in Portugal: the MS Fernao de Magalhaes, MS Infante don Henrique, MS Vasco de Gama and MS Gil Eanes. The Gil Eanes is a 5 anchor ship inaugurated in 2015. The MS Miguel Torga will join the other ships in April 2017. Fitted with a swimming pool and 66 very comfortable cabins, it will sail the Douro for 8-day cruises from Porto.
Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, sits at the top of the river banks of the Douro. The famous Dom Luis bridge, built by Theophile Seyrig and inspired by Gustave Eiffel, gives a wonderful view of the city's red rooftops and fascinating neighborhoods.
Ribeira, the city's historic centre which was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996, is the cradle of the city and its most characteristic feature, containing somptuous monuments such as the cathedral, the Sao Benito station, and the Torre dos Clerigos. The Palacio da Bolsa is a magnificient building with granite and marble steps leading down to the former commercial court and the famous ballroom, decorated with stained glass windows and sculpted wood features in the Arab stucco style. During a guided tour of the city you will discover the Stock Exchange Building and the Sao Francisco Church. Visit of a wine cellar with a Porto wine tasting in the Vila Nova de Gaia, a town situated on the left bank of the Douro.
Vila Real is a pleasant little town set among the vineyards. Mateus is a small town famous for the manor of the Counts of Vila Real than for the rosé wine produced on the property. The Manor Solar of Mateus is also worth a visit, including a walk in its gardens.
Braga is nicknamed the "Portuguese Roma" with its Plaça da Republica situated in the city centre surrounded by gardens. Visit of the magnificient cathedral from the 12th century is a must, as well as a walk through the streets with their diversified architectural styles, and discover the Arco de Porta Nova (arch), the Palacio Biscainho (palace) and the Paços do Conselho (town hall).
Guimaraes is known as the "cradle of Portugal". Its cathedral, the old castle and the Palais des Ducs are major sites not to be missed during a visit in this little known, yet beautiful town. The historic centre invites visitors for a stroll around the streets while admiring the patrician houses that have been well preserved.
Last but not least, one must not leave Portugal without discoverting the Nossa Senhora dos Remedios sanctuary and the cathedral of Lamego.
Find out more about CroisiEurope Douro River Cruises.