ms Andorinha Spain, Portugal
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Purposefully-built for cruising to historic quintas and picturesque villages along Portugal’s golden Douro River, the newly constructed custom riverboat. ms Andorinha, will cruise from coastal Porto to the Spanish border with Tauck in 2020 and offers spacious accommodations for just 84 guests.
about ms Andorinha
The ship is outfitted with 12 300-sq.-ft. Tauck Suites and more 225-sq.-ft. cabins, to maximize the onboard experience in every way and features beautiful Portuguese craftsmanship from local companies, which can be found in some of the furniture and lighting fixtures. The ship's color scheme as well as patterns used in the artwork, carpets and fencing are inspired by the typical decorative tiles which can be found throughout Portugal and the various lighting fixtures on board are custom made for Andorinha and resemble vines in the many vineyards along the Douro river. Add a small swimming pool atop the Sun Deck that refreshes the body and spirit as you drink in the background of the passing UNESCO World Heritage Site scenery, onboard dining venues, and built-in amenities custom-designed to delight, and you’ll experience a riverboat truly inspired by the destination. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!
Douro Discovery: A Family River Cruise in Portugal plus Madrid
Day 1: Arrive Madrid Tour begins: 5:30 PM, The Westin Palace, Madrid. Welcome to Madrid! A transfer is included from Madrid Airport to the Westin Palace, a Parisian-style grand hotel in the heart of the city, only steps from the Parliament and the Prado; commissioned by King Alfonso XIII in 1912, the hotel has hosted royalty, heads of state, film stars and celebrities. Join us for a welcome reception and dinner.
Day 2: Madrid as you please You have a choice of sightseeing. Explore a neighborhood market where you can get a taste of tapas, artisan foods, and delicacies from all over Spain; your visit ends sweetly with churros and hot chocolate! Or go on a bicycle excursion through the city's largest park, Casa de Campo; once a royal hunting estate, the 4,000-acre park is still inhabited by deer and rabbits; it also features an amusement park and the Madrid Zoo. Take a guided tour of the Royal Palace, a stunning baroque complex with 3,400 rooms and a wealth of artwork, antiques, porcelain, silver, and historical artifacts; or peruse the masterpieces at the Museo del Prado – one of the most famous art museums on Earth – on a guided visit with a local expert. The rest of the afternoon and evening are yours to spend as you wish in Spain's storied capital city
Day 3: Salamanca & Barca d'Alva Drive to beautiful Salamanca, a center of learning since medieval times, where a walking tour through the Old City reveals opulent Baroque, Moorish, and Gothic architecture, Romanesque cathedrals steeped in glorious frescoes, and the enchanting courtyards of the University of Salamanca, chartered in 1218, where Cervantes went to school; the area is nicknamed La Dorada (Golden City) for the warm glow that seems to emanate from its sandstone buildings. Then head to the riverside village of Barca d'Alva – a quiet town on the Portuguese border surrounded by placid, reflecting waters, close to the unspoiled wilderness of Arribes del Douro Natural Park – where your riverboat awaits; the hills are rich with olive groves, vineyards, and almond orchards that bloom with white flowers in spring. Embark, settle in, and join us tonight for a welcome reception and dinner. .
Day 4: Castel Rodrigo & a rock safari Visit Castelo Rodrigo, a medieval hilltop village with a turbulent history, where battles were once fought against Moors and Spanish rule; the empty ruins of its 13th century palace still stand guard over the walled town with its churches, Manueline pillory, cistern, and panoramic vistas. Return to the ship for lunch and sail to Pocinho; from there you'll set off on a rock-art safari in Vale do Côa Archaelogical Park, to see stunning examples of rock-art from the valley's Paleolithic era, 20,000 years ago. Unlike cave art found in other parts of Europe, the thousands of petroglyphs in the Coa region were created in the open air by the valley's earliest inhabitants; the site is accessible only in 4x4 vehicles.
Day 5: Valeria Gorge & Charming Pinhão Spend the morning cruising the Douro River Valley where rugged conical mountains and shale hills carved by concentric vineyard terraces tell of a winemaking history thousands of years old. Since the 18th century, when Britain discovered that Portugal's fortified wine could travel long sea journeys without spoiling, the Douro Valley has been the premier port supplier to the world, and the oldest demarcated wine region. Sail the dramatic Valeira Gorge, where the river ran wild and treacherous before it was tamed by dams; in earlier centuries, small wooden boats called rabelos, heaped with barrels of wine, would negotiate rocks here and shoot the rapids on their way downriver. Arrive in the idyllic, tranquil village of Pinhão, nestled at a riverbend in the valley's premier Cima Corgo region, home to prestigious port-wine estates; a walking tour of Pinhão includes the enchanting railroad station, built in the 1930s and covered in azulejos, pictorial blue tiles that illustrate the region's winemaking heritage.
Day 6: Pinhão to Régua Explore the picturesque area around Pinhao by kayaking along the slow, easy river, or drive to a nearby hilltop village for spectacular views over the valley, and hike back down; on the way, you'll be able to appreciate up close the workmanship of the steep terraced vineyards. Lunch aboard ship and sail to historic Peso da Régua in the Baixo Corgo region of the valley, where you'll dock overnight and dine aboard ship
Day 7: The Douro Museum and More Before there was a railroad, Peso da Régua was an important shipping hub where rabelos took on cargoes of port from the local wine estates. Roads from here reach in many directions, offering you a choice of sightseeing possibilities. Take a bicycle tour through Vinho Verde country. Light and effervescent Vinho Verde is not actually green wine; depending on whom you ask, the name refers to its youth or the region it's from: a fertile, temperate land of vineyard-clad mountains and lush green valleys rich with scenic bicycle trails. Or drive to the medieval town of Guimaraes for a walking tour; known as the Cradle City, the kingdom of Portugal was born here after a momentous battle in 1128. The city center is a panorama of architectural treasures, including the ruined Castle of Guimaraes, with its tempestuous history and sweeping views, the opulent Dukes of Braganza Palace, and the 13thcentury Sao Miguel do Castelo Church. Return to the ship for lunch, then visit the Museu do Douro in Régua. Housed in a renovated 18th-century building, the museum features multimedia exhibits that tell the history of viniculture in the Douro River Valley; also on exhibit is a restored rabelo, one of the slender wooden vessels that used to ply the river in great numbers, carrying wine to Porto and the sea.
Day 8: Cruising to Porto Wind through the Baixo Corgo region of the Douro Valley, where quintas and terraced vineyards rise on both sides of the river, showing their age; the oldest terraces are buttressed by stone walls, others have dirt walls; the valley's heritage is written in the stone walls, centuries old, but as they crumble they are too expensive to replace. Arrive in Porto by the sea in late afternoon, and dine aboard ship; after dinner, enjoy a performance by a local "Tuna" ensemble – a youthful academic string band that plays festive traditional music.
Day 9: Porto Sights Rising on staggered hills along the river, colorful Porto beckons you to its labyrinthine streets and stairways, medieval alleys, baroque churches, fountains, and bell-towers, beaux-arts buildings, and bohemian neighborhoods. It's hard to take a bad picture in Porto, where houses are clad in painted tiles, street art is everywhere, and beguiling, eclectic architecture is around every corner. Ride a three wheeled taxi on a tour of iconic sights, including the Clerigos Belltower, a soaring baroque landmark, and 12th-century Porto Cathedral standing fortress-like on a hilltop overlooking the city; walk across the scenic Dom Luis I Bridge that spans the river and soak up the fabulous views; the bridge links Porto to the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, and you'll ride a cable car down to the Gaia waterfront. Or take a cycling tour along Porto's colorful riverfront, starting in the picturesque and lively Ribeira neighborhood, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and ending where the river meets the Atlantic. Lunch on the riverboat, then enjoy free time to explore on your own. Join us this evening back aboard ship for a farewell dinner.
Day 10: Journey home Tour ends: Porto. Fly home anytime. Transfers are included from the riverboat to Porto Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport or Porto train station. Allow at least three hours for flight checkin.
9 Nights/ 10 Days
Prices from £3,150 per person.
Dates 2021- 1 July 2021 and 15 July 2021.
Villages and Vintages:
Cruising the Douro River
Day 1: Arrive Porto Tour begins 5:00 PM. A transfer is included from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto Airport) to your riverboat, ms Andorinha, on the Douro River. Settle in, then join us for a welcome reception followed by dinner and onboard entertainment.
Day 2: Porto and The Douro Valley Rising on staggered hills along the river, colorful Porto beckons you to its labyrinthine streets and stairways, medieval alleys, Baroque churches, fountains, and bell towers, Beaux-Arts buildings, and bohemian neighborhoods. Choose a walking tour of the town's historic center or a guided stroll through Ribeira, the riverfront district. It's hard to take a bad picture in Porto, where houses are clad in painted tiles and beguiling, eclectic architecture is around every corner. Return to your riverboat and sail to the Douro River Valley and its astonishing landscapes. All along the winding river, rugged conical mountains and shale hills carved by concentric vineyard terraces tell of a winemaking history thousands of years old. Inhospitable to most kinds of farming, the terroir is perfect for Portugal's indigenous wine grapes, whose hardy roots can go down 30 feet or more in search of water. And since the 18th century, when Portuguese vintners created a sweet fortified wine – now famous as Port – that could make the long sea voyage to Britain without spoiling, the Douro Valley has been the only supplier of Port to the world, and the oldest demarcated wine region.
Day 3: Peso da Régua and Pinhão. Dock in the historic town of Peso da Régua, once a busy hub where wooden boats called rabelos, laden with barrels of Port, sailed downriver to Vila Nova de Gaia. At the Museo do Douro, housed in a renovated 18th-century mansion, multimedia exhibits offer a history of viniculture in the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site; you also have the choice of a port cocktail-making workshop. This afternoon, sail to the idyllic, tranquil village of Pinhão, nestled at a dramatic bend in the river; Pinhão is known as the gateway to the valley's quintas (vineyards) and large wine estates. From here it's a short drive to Quinta do Portal, a family-run estate in the Cima Corgo region where renowned Port and nonfortified wines are made. Your visit includes an introduction to the vineyards and a private dinner with wine pairings
Day 4: Along the Douro to Vega de Terron The Douro River Valley and its unique landscapes of terraced mountains, villages, and wine estates unfolds today on a full day's sail to the small Spanish port town of Vega de Terron, where the Douro forms the border between Spain and Portugal. The landscape, at a confluence of rivers, is tranquil, beautiful and unspoiled, at the edge of Douro International Natural Park
Day 5: Castle ruins and Paleolithic art At the town of Pocinho you have a choice of shore excursions. Visit Castelo Rodrigo, a medieval hilltop village with a turbulent history, where battles were once fought against Moors and Spanish rule; the empty ruins of its 13th-century palace still stand guard over the walled town with its churches, Manueline pillory, cistern, and panoramic vistas. Alternatively, travel to the Museu do Côa in the Vale do coa Archaeological Park, for stunning exhibits of rock art from the valley's Paleolithic era, discovered in the 1990s when excavations began for a Côa River dam; unlike cave art found in other parts of Europe, the thousands of petroglyphs in the Côa region were created in the open air by the valley's earliest inhabitants, and the museum explores their mystery through state-of-the-art multimedia exhibits. Return to the riverboat for lunch and sail back to Pinhão, arriving this evening.
Day 6: Pinhão and Mateus Palace Your choice of excursions this morning includes a walking tour of Pinhão and its early-20th century train station, adorned with blue-painted tiles (azulejos); or a vigorous hike in the hilltop vineyards with striking views of the town and river. Sail to Régua, and drive to Vila Real for a visit to 18th-century Mateus Palace, a lavish Baroque residence designed by Nicolau Nasoni, now a museum with period furnishings and artwork, a heraldic hall, formal gardens, a winery, and a chapel with tombs and reliquaries. Begin the return trip to Porto, and dock overnight in this verdant wine country, where some traditional farms grow vines on pergolas and fences so high the grapes must be harvested with ladders.
Day 7: Guimarães or Amarante to Gaia Today, you have a choice of full day excursions; one option offers you a chance to explore the medieval town of Guimarães, known as the “Cradle City; the kingdom of Portugal was born here after a famous battle in 1128. The city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a wealth of architectural treasures, including the ruined Castle of Guimãraes, with its tempestuous history and sweeping views, the opulent Palace of the Dukes of Braganza and the 13th-century Church of São Miguel do Castelo. The other is a bike ride through the Vinho Verde region. Arrive late afternoon in Porto and cross the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, the destination of wines shipped from the vineyards, and home to many Port wine warehouses and cellars; visit one of its "caves" for a tour and tasting, and toast the end of your Douro River journey. Join us this evening for a farewell reception and dinner aboard ship.
Day 8: Homeward bound Tour ends 8:00 AM. Disembark and fly home anytime. A transfer is included from your riverboat to Porto Airport. Allow at least 3 hours for flight check-in.
7 Nights/ 8 Days
Prices from £3,080 per person.
Dates 2021- 17 April 2021. 8 and 29 May 2021. 19 June 2021. 24 July 2021. 4 and 25 September 2021. 16 October 2021.
BOOKING & RESERVATIONS
All prices are at publicly-quoted rates. We will be happy to answer any questions and make the booking for you - contact us in the UK: +44 ()) 1249 890205 or email@example.com
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