Explore the delightful Douro Valley in regal style aboard The Spirit of Chartwell - also known as the ‘Royal Barge’ - the very ship which carried Her Majesty the Queen during the Diamond Jubilee pageant on the Thames. It has now been transformed into an intimate cruise ship, chartered exclusively for small groups of Titan travellers on a leisurely seven-night journey along Portugal’s beautiful River Douro. Sailing between the coastal city of Porto and the Spanish border, you’ll enjoy included visits to picturesque towns, monasteries and palaces along the way, as well as a full-day tour to Salamanca in Spain, while your holiday experience will be enhanced by onboard wine tastings, folk shows, cooking demonstrations and informative talks by our guest lecturer. You’ll also have two nights in the nation’s vibrant capital, Lisbon, and on selected autumn departure dates we will have a special day celebrating the grape harvest with the locals. An unforgettable holiday aboard a truly unique vessel!
- River Cruise
- Small Group
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your journey to London Gatwick Airport and a direct, scheduled TAP Portugal flight to Lisbon. On arrival, we transfer to the Hotel Mundial (4T), for a two-night stay.
Lisbon entrances visitors with its wealth of grand buildings, from Baroque churches and palaces to art nouveau façades and striking contemporary architecture, and today you are free to explore the beautiful Portuguese capital at your own pace. Perhaps visit Jeronimos Monastery, the last resting place of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, and the Belém Tower, built in 1515 to protect the city’s harbour and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or learn more about Portugal’s rich maritime heritage at the Navy Museum.
This morning we leave Lisbon, driving northwards to Porto, stopping for lunch en route. On arrival, we transfer to the port to embark Spirit of Chartwell (4T) for a welcome cocktail party and dinner.
Take in the delights of Porto on a city tour. Explore the delights of the UNESCO listed Riberia district, with its cobbled streets and embellished buildings, and the iconic river scenes of the port cellars and traditional wooden barges used to transport the famous wine. Partake in a tasting of port before we return to the Spirit of Chartwell, for a relaxed afternoon as we sail up the River Douro, taking in views of steep, terraced vineyards, while our lecturer gives an informative talk about the river and its history. We dock overnight in Entre-os-Rios, and this evening we celebrate vintage port wine.
An excursion to the quaint town of Lamego and the grand rococo sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios is included this morning. If you choose to walk down the steps of this town’s elaborate shrine, don’t forget to look back to appreciate the tiled artwork. We visit the episcopal palace which now houses Museu de Lamego, a great display of art and Flemish tapestries. We also have the opportunity to sample some local specialities, which compliments today’s culinary demonstration on board our vessel. We disembark this evening for dinner at a wine-producing Quinta, before enjoying a Fado and folk music show this evening.
Departing Régua early this morning, we continue our cruise through the beautiful Douro Valley, and hear more about the history of Portugal from our guest lecturer. This afternoon we arrive in Barca d’Alva, close to the Spanish border, where we will be staying for the next two nights. A visit to the medieval hilltop town of Castelo Rodrigo, a peaceful village that still bears the scars of old battles, is included, as well as an almond tasting experience.
We cross the border into Spain for our full-day tour today, visiting the UNESCO-listed city of Salamanca, home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, outstanding examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish and Baroque architecture, two cathedrals, and an impressive main square, the arcade-lined Plaza Mayor. We experience a traditional flamenco show before returning to our ship for a Portuguese barbecue dinner.
Early this morning we sail down the River Douro, back towards Régua, where we will stay overnight. Relax, enjoy the beautiful scenes of green, vineyard-clad hills and listen as our knowledgeable guest lecturer gives a talk about life in Portugal today. This afternoon there is an included excursion to the 18th century Mateus Palace, a Baroque masterpiece that offers a glimpse of Portuguese aristocracy and is renowned for its delightful gardens, as well as the rosé wine which was first produced here.
After a relaxing morning on the Douro, we disembark in Entre-os-Rios for a leisurely lunch at the Quinta da Aveleda. Aveleda has been managed by the same family since 1870, and had already started winning international awards by 1888. The historic estate has been in the family even longer, and is the perfect place to enjoy lunch, in a delightful setting of exotic flora and endless vineyards, with an unusual addition of a goat tower. We return to Spirit of Chartwell to continue navigating the twists of the river. Tonight, we bid a fond farewell to Portugal with a sunset cruise in Porto harbour and the Captain’s dinner on board this evening.
This morning we transfer to Porto Airport for a scheduled TAP Portugal flight to London Gatwick (which may be via Lisbon). On arrival, you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle for the journey home.
Why Titan Travel?
Scooping 21 awards at the 2016 British Travel Awards, you can be sure that a touring holiday with Titan Travel will be something special. Among others, Titan received gold awards for Best Escorted Tours Holiday Company and Best Special Interest Holiday Company, so they are perfectly placed to provide that exceptionally epic tour to any corner of the globe.
A Titan holiday begins and ends at your front door with chauffeur-driven transfers, scheduled international flights and the most memorable form of touring transport. Where this is a coach, they provide the best available. Titan pride themselves in providing tours that enable you to see all the sights of the area you visit as well as giving you the option for plenty of free time, optional excursions and extra nights here and there to tailor-make your holiday and make it extra special. The choice of destinations and interests are extensive including gems such as a wildlife tour of Sri Lanka, exploring the musical history of the Deep South, grand tours of North America, China, South America, Italy, Asia and Kenya, searching for the Northern Lights in Iceland and Norway, and a cruise to discover Japan and Russia.
Escorted tours are not simply limited to coaches. Titan is also one of the UK’s leading rail specialists and a number of their holidays incorporate journeys on iconic trains that transport you not only through some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes in the world, but also back in time to a nostalgic ‘golden age’ of luxurious and stylish travel. If you are undecided between the elegance and relaxation of a cruise and the enthralling insight of an escorted tour, Titan’s Cruise & Tour holidays could be the perfect choice. You can cruise with some of the most respected names in the industry, including Fred.Olsen and Holland America, around regions of awe-inspiring beauty and then head ashore for an extra land-based touring adventure. The waterways of Europe, Egypt and China link the most spectacular cultural gems in picturesque fashion and a river cruise is an excellent way to appreciate wonderful destinations from a different and more relaxed perspective.