Our Douro River cruises are favored by travelers who seek maximum relaxation, as well as connoisseurs of fine cuisine and wine. A native of Portugal, our wonderful Cruise Manager, Luis, provides some firsthand insight into the unparalleled experiences we offer, as well as what you can see and do during your river cruise – and beyond.
Put your feet up, savor delicious Portuguese cuisine and allow us to show you the best of the stunning Douro River Valley. Having grown up in Portugal, I can safely say that AmaWaterways’ Douro River cruises are wonderfully put together with a variety of included excursions to choose from, such as either a walking tour or a hike to medieval Castelo Rodrigo, so every guest feels accommodated with a personalized experience.
One of the first things you will do when you step aboard the finest ships on the Douro River, AmaDouro and AmaVida, is see Porto, my hometown. You will also enjoy the romantic sight of Porto illuminated at night during our very first complimentary Sip & Sail cocktail hour. I highly recommend heading up to the Sun Deck for a peek at this romantic sight.
Either the next day, if sailing our Flavors of Portugal & Spain itinerary, or the last day of your Enticing Douro cruise, you will venture into this “City of Bridges.” Whether you choose our walking tour or hike, your excursion will include a visit to a Port wine cellar for a tasting – what more could you wish for? Either way you’ll discover the colorful homes, famous street markets and amazing blue and white azulejo tiles, such as at Porto’s São Bento Station, and in many other places during your journey, including Palacio Anadia.
Another one of my favorite Portuguese ports is Pinhão. Located in the heart of the Douro River Valley, this town has the perfect conditions for producing high-quality wine. And, with its beautiful terraces and vineyards, you feel like you’re walking into a postcard. It is absolutely magical and has a very nice promenade as well as a train station with tiles depicting the story of Port wine.
Portuguese Cuisine and Port Wine
The beauty of Portuguese ports aside, one of the best reasons to visit the country is to indulge in its food. One of my personal favorites are pastéis de nata (Portuguese cream tarts), a delicious 200-year-old tradition. But you can’t come to Portugal without trying a recipe that includes codfish. It is said that we have 365 codfish recipes and it stems from the country’s centuries-old fishing history. I highly recommend bacalhau à brás, which is a dish mixed together with codfish, potatoes and onions. As for wine, the Douro River Valley is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, so you must try a few varieties of Port wine, a sweet fortified red, while sailing through the stunning heart of Port Country. Fortunately, AmaWaterways serves complimentary wines with every lunch and dinner on board, and some of our excursions include Port tastings too.
Traditional Portuguese Quintas
Not only does AmaWaterways provide you with exquisite onboard cuisine, but we also treat you to two locally-prepared meals at traditional wine estates, known as quintas, on shore. At Quinta da Avelada, you’ll stroll through the English-style gardens and hear historic stories, plus be treated to a sumptuous meal in a beautiful room overlooking the vineyards. And at Quinta da Avessada, you’ll be treated to a unique welcome with live music you won’t soon forget. There, you will also spot some cork trees, from which Portugal’s famous cork products are produced.