Blue Water Holidays
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
Experts in River and Small Ship Cruising Holidays since 2002
01756 706500 +44 1756 706500
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
01756 706500
+44 1756 706500
Douro River Cruises

Douro River Cruises

The Douro valley combines delightful scenery with rural, unspoilt villages and towns and an opportunity to visit the great cities of Porto and Salamanca.

The River Douro, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Europe's most untouched and beautiful rivers. The River of Gold (D'Oro) meanders through northern Portugal through gorges terraced with thousands of vineyards to the ocean and the fascinating city of Porto. Along the way, visit restored palaces, places of pilgrimage, cultural centres and vineyards.

Cruise Collection 2019 / 2020

About Douro River Cruises

Porto is Portugal's second largest city and one of the most beautiful cities of the Iberian Peninsula. Its charm stems from its dramatic position above the river, with little gabled houses closely terraced down the hill. Porto owes its wealth and fame to Port wine, first discovered and exported by the British in the early 17th century.

Birthplace of the navigator Diego Cap who discovered the mouth of the Congo, Villa Real is an attractive old Episcopal town surrounded by fruit orchards and vineyards Nearby is the little village of Maters with a beautiful Baroque country house and gardens belonging to the Counts of Villa Real, and featured on labels of Mateus Rosé wine.

Situated south of the Douro, Lamego is a major market centre, and is charmingly set amid vineyards and lush, fertile countryside. The town boasts several fine Baroque buildings including the 18th century pilgrimage church Nossa Schrum, a Gothic cathedral, and an 11th century castle where in 1143 Don Alfonso Henriques was elected first King of Portugal.

On certain itineraries you will visit Salamanca, Spain's ancient seat of learning with its grand buildings and the Plaza Mayor, the country's most magnificent square. One of the loveliest and best preserved of the old Spanish cities, Salamanca justly deserves its place as a World Heritage Site. With a tumultuous past, the city has been conquered, influenced and shaped by Hannibal, the Romans, the Moors and the French. Today it is a city of golden stone architecture, narrow cobblestone streets and beautiful plazas.

Terraced vineyards on the river DouroVineyards on the Douro Mateus PalaceMateus Palace

NEW: Read our diary of a Blue Water Holidays River Douro cruise

Douro River Highlights

Lamego (Portugal)

Overlooked by two hills, Lamego is an impressive and picturesque town lying in the fertile Upper Douro region. At the top of one hill and reached via sweeping steps is the magnificent baroque Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios, and on the other, the remains of a 12th-century castle. The town has a pretty square laid out as a garden, and many fine 17th-century buildings.



Lisbon has three ports, all with taxi services and within 3 kilometers of the city centre. Lisbon is a sprawling city which has been occupied by Visigoths, Moors, Romans and Celts. Alfama and Barrio Alto are historic districts of cobbled streets, wrought-iron balconies and Moorish buildings. Its most famous landmarks are the World Heritage Sites of Belem Tower and the impressive 16th-century Jeronimos Monastery.

Lisbon (Portugal)

Pinhao (Portugal)

Pinhao has a spectacular position at the confluence of the Douro and Pinhao rivers, surrounded by steep, rocky vineyards. It is famed for its old station, wonderfully decorated with blue painted tiles depicting the history of this port-producing region.



Oporto's sea port is located in Leixoes at the mouth of the River Douro and five miles north of the city, whilst river cruise vessels can access Oporto directly. Oporto is the hub of the port wine trade, and vineyards line the shores of the river upstream. Old Oporto is a World Heritage Site with houses dating back to the 15th-century, a grand cathedral, a train station decorated with fine examples of Portugal's blue and white tiles and the remains of Roman city walls.

Porto (Portugal)

Regua (Portugal)

Regua is backed by the Serra do Marao mountains and is at the heart of the Port wine region. It is a pretty town to stroll and is home to the Solar de Vinho do Porto which offers tastings and port-related exhibitions.


Salamanca (Spain)

The old city of Salamanca is a World Heritage Site with many Renaissance buildings of golden sandstone. The central square of Plaza Mayor is bordered by graceful arcades, and other highlights include the Romanesque Cathedral, the Augustinian Monastery and the Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum of Casa Lis. Salamanca is reached by a day long optional excursion.


Vila Real (Portugal)

This typical Portuguese town has many interesting buildings, but the chief draw of the town is the baroque Mateus Palace of the Counts of Vila Real. Featured on the famous wine label, and recognizable by its ornate façade and stairways, its gardens are considered to be amongst the most beautiful in Europe.

Vila Real

Customer Reviews

From the moment we landed at Porto Airport our trip was one of the most relaxing we have ever had. We arrived early at the ship but the Pursar made us very welcome, she arranged for our luggage to be stored until our cabins were ready and a taxi was ready and waiting to take us into Porto to do some early sightseeing. My husband and I were travelling with my 87 year old Mum and nothing was too much trouble at all. The crew were all very friendly and spoke excellent English. The food and wine were exemplary. We only went one one trip but it was excellent. The tour guide was very knowledgable. I would highly recommend cruising on the Douro with Croisi.

We had a brilliant holiday cruising the Douro, in September 2016 on the Scenic Azure. This was our first river cruise, and I would thoroughly recommend Scenic and the Douro, as well as our agents, Blue Water Holidays. Timing in mid September was ideal, just at the start of the grape harvest, with temperatures in the mid twenties. The Douro is beautiful, and the excursions from the ship were very interesting and informative. The ship carried 94 passengers, and had a very friendly and homely atmosphere. It was very well staffed, and the service was superb. All crew members were Portuguese, all making it their job to ensure everyone had an unforgettable holiday. The cruise director and guides were very knowledgable, providing some great insights into life in the Douro region. A brilliant holiday!

We booked our River Douro cruise through Blue Water Holidays without any trouble.

The cruise was wonderful, we stayed for two nights in Lisbon which we enjoyed very much , visiting The Castelo S. Jorge and touring the City.

We were then taken to Porto where we picked up our cruise. We had seven nights on board the Viking Torgil in a french balcony cabin. The cabin was compact but very well fitted out. We toured the River Douro as far as we could sail on the river and were taken to Salamanca by tour coach. Salamanca was a good fun day with a Spanish Flamenco show during lunch.

En route we visited many of the vinyards, tasting the wonderful port wines of the region. We were taken on tours either during the morning after breakfast or in the afternoon after a good lunch. The food on board was of a very good standard with excellent wines of the region we were touring on that day.

We found all of the staff on board really friendly and helpful, you only had to ask and help was at hand.

Total Reviews: 31 Read More Reviews...