Guided cruise on the picturesque Douro: On its way to the Atlantic, the Douro meanders through a dramatic landscape. It flows through deep gorges and passes steeply terraced slopes that bear witness to its 2,000-year-old wine culture. The mild climate not only allows vines to thrive but also olive and almond trees.
The Douro Valley has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage region. The Portuguese people and others claim it is the most beautiful wine region in the world. Walls of schist support the climbing, gravity-defying vineyards, constructed over the centuries, each stone laid by hand, creating an astonishing and unique landscape. Though the terrain is difficult, on an electric bike, you can enjoy this region with ease. Explore the land of discoverers, kings, and port wine!
*All distances are approximate. The itinerary is subject to change, at times without prior notice. Some waterways may be subject to occasional closures due to drought, storms, floods, canal or lock repairs, or other unforeseen circumstances that make navigation unsafe or impossible. The captain reserves the right to make any changes deemed necessary.
DAY 1: PORTO
Arrival in Porto where your ship awaits, moored on the banks of the Douro. The airport is approximately 18 km north of the center of Porto. You are asked to book a flight that should arrive no later than 4 pm. At 5 pm your tour guide will welcome you on board the A-ROSA ALVA, the newest ship in the A-ROSA fleet! The river cruise ships are located on the southern bank of the Douro with a wonderful view of the monumental old town and the impressive Eiffel Bridge Ponte Dom Luis I, a symbol of Porto.
Porto is ancient and was already a metropolis in Roman times which was once an important trading port due to the favorable location at the mouth of the Douro. Enjoy the picturesque view of the colorful, stacked houses climbing the steep slopes. Before dinner, a local city guide will show you Porto.
DAY 2: PORTO - PINHAO | Approx. 17 miles / 27 km
Before breakfast, the ship leaves Porto and sails upriver. Around noon you will reach Peso da Régua, which is the main town in the “Alto Douro”, the oldest protected wine-growing region in the world. The river valley is overwhelmingly beautiful with its steeply terraced slopes. After lunch on board, you will be transferred a few kilometers into the hilly hinterland, from where the first bike tour starts. The route down to the Douroufer is mainly downhill after a rolling start. In the second half of the bike stage, you have a broad view of the winding river valley. Once back on the riverbank, you will board a traditional rabelo boat. These boats were once used to transport all of the region's wine to the port city of Porto. You moor in Pinhão, a small wine-growing town, and the geographical center of the port wine region. Many big names in the port wine trade have quintas (manor houses) in the area. The ship is moored in Pinhão overnight.
DAY 3: PINHAO - DOURO NATURAL PARK | Approx. 20 miles / 32 km
Before the ship sets sail again during lunch and heads east, you will enjoy a morning bike tour north of the river valley. In the mountainous hinterland of the river, you cross the small hamlet of Sabrosa, the birthplace of Magellan. Through vineyards, you return to the ship along the river loops of the Rio Pinhão, which flows into the Douro River.
In the afternoon, when the weather is nice, you can enjoy the river landscape on the sundeck as the ship approaches the Spanish border. The Douro is the most water-rich river in the Iberian Peninsula and navigable up to 14 km into Spain, where a 60m high hydroelectric power station prevents the continuation of the journey from Vega de Terron. Barca d'Alva is the last place before the Spanish border.
From here the Douro separates the two Iberian nations in the middle of the river. The railway line that connected the remote Douro valley to the rest of the world ended in Barca until 1985. Since then, the place has sunk into a sleeping beauty and you almost feel like you are at the end of the world. A wonderfully remote location in the Douro Natural Park.
DAY 4: DOURO NATURAL PARK- BARCA D'AVILA, BETWEEN PORTUGAL AND SPAIN | Approx. 37 miles / 59 km
Today your ship is anchored in the Spanish-Portuguese border region and you can enjoy a longer distance in this lovely, remote region and visit two historic fortress towns. After breakfast, your guide will transfer you south to Almeida (44 km).
For centuries Almeida was fought after between Portugal and the Muslim Caliphate of Cordoba and was, therefore, well-fortified early on. The city walls are arranged in a star shape around the city center and are still impressive and well preserved. On the way back to the Douro, you cycle through lonely valleys and small farming communities. Lying impressively on a hill, you can already see another fortress on your route, Castello Rodrigo. On the last kilometers of cycling, you cycle downhill parallel to the Spanish-Portuguese border, formed by the Águeda river. You will enjoy magnificent distant views of the Douro Valley before you reach your ship again in Barca d'Alva. The ship moors overnight in Barca d'Alva on the border between Portugal and Spain.
DAY 5: BARCA D'ALVA - PINHAO, THROUGH THE ALTA DOURO | Approx. 16 mi. (25 km)
During breakfast, the ship leaves the Spanish-Portuguese border and heads westward downstream. Shortly before noon, disembarking in Pocinho you will be transferred to the heart of the Alta Douro wine region (approx. 42 km by minibus/taxi). South of the Douro, you bike to Pinhão, through the hinterland mostly on two-lane roads. The tiny town of Pinhão at the mouth of the Rio Pinhão is lovely.
The train station here is a must-see. Inside and out, it is almost completely adorned with blue-tiles (“azulejos”) depicting folk scenes, women at the grape harvest, men with headband-held boxes, wine barrel-loaded ox carts and sailing barges, whose glamorous times have long passed. Overnight in Pinhão.
Day 6: PINHAO - BITETOS, PANORAMIC RIDE FROM THE LAMEGO WALL POINT TO THE DOURO | Approx. 18 mi. (22 km)
In the morning you will leave Pinhão and the ship will return to Régua after breakfast. From here you will be driven with our minibus to the famous pilgrimage site Lamego south of the Douro Valley (18 km). Lamego became a bishop's seat as early as the 7th century and flourished in the 18th century when the wine trade flourished.
On a hill on the outskirts of the city, a monumental, baroque double staircase leads up to the “Nossa Senhora dos Remédios” church, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and attracts many pilgrims. The view is unbelievable. From here you start cycling through the old town of Lamego and back to the river bank on a wonderful panoramic route to Peso da Régua, where the ship awaits. During lunch, the ship continues the journey to Porto. The ship lies overnight in the small river port of Bitetos.
Day 7: BITETOS - PORTO, ON THE ATLANTIC SHORE | Approx. 27 mi. (43 km)
By bus transfer (45 minutes) you arrive to the endless sandy beaches of Furadouro on the Atlantic by bus (43 km). After a coffee break on the beautiful beach of the seaside resort, your bike route leads through pine forests and dune landscapes, always parallel to the sea, back to Porto, and to the pier in Vila Nova de Gaia (southern Douroufer).
The route leads along the sea. Many seaside resorts line the way to the outskirts of Porto. On the last few kilometers back to the jetty you have to be careful as you will encounter a bit more traffic. If you prefer not to bike, you can opt to ride with the support vehicle.
You have the rest of the afternoon to stroll through Porto's old town on your own or to stroll along the banks of the Douro.
In the evening, your guide will walk with you to a renowned port wine cellar in the Vila Nova de Gaia district. The traditional wine producers' bodegas are true “cathedrals of wine”. Here in the district of the wine barons, you stop at a winery to taste “Port” and to finish your journey there in the evening with a stylish ambiance. Overnight in Porto.
Day 8: DEPARTURE OR EXTENSION IN PORTO
After enjoying the lavish breakfast buffet, you are offered a free transfer to the airport. The bus transfer takes place once in the morning at approximately 9:00 a.m. The distance is 20 km and it takes 25 minutes.
Of course, it is advisable to extend another night (or two) in Porto in order to experience this lively and fascinating city even more extensively.
We reserve the right to make changes to the timetable and program!
Due to high and low tide, maintenance work and waiting times at locks and bridges, there may be changes to the timetable at short notice. In rare cases of high or low tide or force majeure, parts of the route may have to be covered by bus or train and, in individual cases, hotel accommodation may be necessary.
EBIKE TRIP - ROUTE ASSESSMENT: The total distance by e-bike is approx. 130 miles (208 km). Although the north of Portugal is very mountainous, our routes are not particularly strenuous, as we often cycle above the river valleys and cycle much more downhill than uphill. Most of the time you drive on small, low-traffic country roads. On the 6th day, at the beginning of the stage, we drive through the village of Lamego, where there is of course more traffic. On the 5th day there can also be a little more traffic than usual. All gradients are easy to ride with e-bikes!
What’s Not Included
Your A-ROSA River Cruise ship
The "ALVA" is a state-of-the-art cruise ship and the newest of the A-ROSA fleet (built in 2018). At 80 m in length with only 63 cabins, the ship offers a generous design of the public areas: a spacious sun deck, a swimming pool, among others on the upper deck; plus restaurants, bar, café, lounge, sauna and fitness area. The 12 m² cabins of category A on deck 1 have a large window and are modern and comfortably furnished, equipped with individually adjustable air conditioning, bath / toilet, TV and hairdryer. The C-category cabins on deck 2 with the same equipment are 14.5 m² in size and have a large panoramic window.
Ship details of the A-ROSA ALVA
Further information on the ship's equipment and the many services included can be found in the detailed travel information, which you can request without obligation.
A-ROSA HYGIENE CONCEPT
You have any Questions?
CONTACT US: 069 - 69 30 54
terranova Zimmermann Touristik KG
60594 Frankfurt a. M.
Tel.: +49 18.104.22.168