The Douro River is perhaps not the most obvious destination to take a cruise holiday. Usually if you are talking to someone about going on a cruise then the usual places pop up; the Danube, Seine, cruise to the Caribbean etc… however these people are missing out on what is one of the most fascinating cruise itineraries and certainly one that receives glowing reviews time and time again.
The Douro is a river that can be found in the Iberian Peninsula and is just under 900 km in length; it starts on the coast of Portugal and flows through the country and into Spain meaning that you flow through a path rich with different cultures.
River Douro Cruises are maybe best experienced in the spring months. We all know how warm the likes of Portugal and Spain can get in the summer so if you can then it is perhaps a good idea to travel in April or May; this way you are still getting some consistently high temperatures but without the unbearable, sticky heat that can be experienced from the scorching summer months. What can you see in this part of the world, though, that makes it a worthwhile cruise route?
Many Wine tasting opportunities on a River Douro Cruise
One of the most popular themes throughout a Douro Cruise is wine. On your travels along the river you will encounter many vineyards that can be seen dotted across the banks of the Douro and your cruise operator will probably have some sort of excursion planned that will include wine-tasting or at least a tour around one of the regions many, but famous, wine making villages and towns.
Indeed, before you even get here the chances are that you will visit the city of Porto that is engulfed in rich and historic architecture and is sure to please the history and culture buffs traveling in your party.
Another popular excursion is to Lamego that is home to the church of Our Lady of Remedies and is famous for the pilgrims that used to flock to its locations every year often climbing the nearly 700 steps on their knees. It is not just all about the pilgrimage, however, as it is also home to a traditional market that sells many handmade and local goods and is surrounded by a beautiful countryside.
This is just one of the many things to see on a river Douro cruise and you also get the chance to see the likes of Salamanca which is full of grand buildings and provides a captivating account in the history of the nation.
The fact still is that a cruise along the Douro is still uncharted territory for many holidaymakers and it is surprising that its popularity has not flourished in recent years even if it does enjoy a healthy enough market; this can work to your advantage, though, and a Douro cruise can be the catalyst to having a peaceful, relaxing but ultimately inspiring break away deep in the Iberian peninsula.