Our second ever river cruise was on the splendid Duoro River in Portugal in 2014. This is a fabulous way to enjoy the magnificent hillsides bursting with grape vines, the charming towns, gardens, architecture and cuisine of this friendly nation.
Our river cruise was with AMA WATERWAYS. We had previously been on their RHINE RIVER CRUISE and expected another first-class experience. AMA has 2 itineraries for the Duoro River – we embarked at Vega de Terron and sailed into Porto. This 7 day cruise aboard the 106 passenger ship Ama Vida encompassed a great balance of site seeing, wine-tasting and just floating past the glorious scenery.
Of course, when you think of Portugal you think of Port wine and there was plenty of opportunity to sample this ambrosia! Portugal has other wines, of course, but nothing compares to the smooth, sweet essence that is true PORT WINE.
Our tour included visits to several of the wineries, often including lunch or dinner, as well as hikes in the mountains and afternoon strolls through some of the charming towns.
Of course, the food in Portugal was exquisite! So many tasty choices!
Some of the highlights of our tour included:
Visiting Castel Rodrigo – known as the “White Village” because of the almond trees. We loved strolling through it’s medieval streets and seeing the 16th century facades of some of the establishments.
Walking to the São Bento Railway Station Railway Station which boasts 25 tile panels, all in different shades of blue, that depict scenes from the Duoro region over the centuries.
Visiting the famed Monumental Sanctuary Staircase. This impressive structure took over 100 years to complete and was started in 1777. Climb the stairs to the top and marvel at the stonework, fountains, sculpture and tiles at each terrace on the way to the top. The view of the town from the top is breathtaking!
The Mateus Palace and topiary gardens. There is a manor, a church and a winery. The manor gardens are delightful with flowers, topiary and water features.
We also had a lot of fun on board. The staff of the Ama Vida made the trip memorable. Going through the locks on the river was fascinating.
The evening programs on our ship were a lot of fun! Check out some of the entertainment we enjoyed:
The town of Porto was our favourite. It is a colourful, vibrant city with some of the friendliest people anywhere!
Our trip finished in Porto and then we made our way as a group to the town of Lisbon – but that will be another blog post!