RIVER OF GOLD CRUISE
10 Days and 8 Guided Tours in Portugal and Spain Aboard the Viking Hemming
March 29 - April 7, 2025
Experience the renaissance of Lisbon, one of Europe’s historic capital cities newly invigorated with trending galleries and restaurants. Explore two of the Iberian Peninsula’s oldest university towns—Coimbra, Portugal, and Salamanca, Spain. Roam the famous wine warehouses of Porto. Enjoy traditional cuisine, wines and fado singing. Cruise the Douro River Valley, the world’s oldest demarcated wine region and a UNESCO Site. Our 10-day cruise includes a hotel stay in Lisbon and the added bonus of a visit to Spain. Average temperatures for this time of year are upper 60s and lower 70s.
$25 deposit expires August 31st, 2023.
Airfares currently starting at $999.
DAY 1, March 29
Welcome to Lisbon! We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to our hotel in the heart of Lisbon. Relax this afternoon and evening or explore the city a bit on your own. Tonight we’ll have our traditional Mind’s Eye get-acquainted dinner.
DAY 2, March 30
After breakfast, we’ll embark on a half-day tour of Lisbon followed by a visit to the Jerónimos Monastery, one of the most prominent examples of Portuguese late Gothic Manueline-style architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will tour the Maritime Museum in the monastery’s West Wing. This afternoon you may join an optional tour to explore more of Lisbon or get a taste of its cuisine.Today we’re on our own for lunch and dinner.
Day 3, march 31
After breakfast we’ll check out of our hotel and take a scenic ride to Porto. We’ll stop for lunch in Coimbra, birthplace of six Portuguese kings and home to one of Europe’s oldest universities. Upon arrival in Porto, we will board, the Viking Hemming, docked on the Douro River at Vila Nova de Gaia. Then we can settle in our staterooms and relax. This evening offers an optional tour to experience the culinary delights of Porto’s famed Graham’s 1890 Lodge and sample a selection of their award-winning ports.
(Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.)
Day 4, April 1
Régua & Pinhão, Portugal
This morning we sail along the Douro, the “River of Gold,” arriving at Régua in early afternoon. Disembark for an excursion to Vila Real, site of the extraordinary Mateus Palace (the building on the Mateus Rosé wine labels). This stunning baroque palace was the home of the last Count of Vila Real; its pinnacled facade, grand stairway, rich interiors and priceless objects will astonish us, as will the enchanting formal gardens with cedar-lined walkways, exquisite sculpted hedges and statuary, and serene pools. We will also tour one of the iconic port-wine vineyards and learn how these unique Portuguese products are crafted, then enjoy a libation in the tasting room. We will rejoin our ship in Pinhão for dinner.
(Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
day 5, April 2
On the Douro to Barca d’Alva, Portugal
This morning we sail east along the Douro. Along the way we’ll see dramatic rock formations, picturesque terraced vineyards and graceful bridges and trestles; we also pass through two of the river’s locks at the Valeira and Pocinho dams. In mid-afternoon we’ll arrive at Barca d’Alva, not far from the Spanish border. This afternoon we visit Castelo Rodrigo, some 2,200 feet above sea level and surrounded by almond trees. Castelo Rodrigo is one of Portugal’s 12 historic parishes; its streets are narrow and steep, and its houses have 16th Century facades. We’ll walk Sinagoga Street in remembrance of the Jewish community established by refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, and we can visit the church as well. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
day 6, April 3
A full-day excursion to Salamanca, in Spain. This ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a living museum that takes us back to the Middle Ages; yet it is also a cosmopolitan and multicultural city with a large population of international students. After our drive through the Iberian countryside, we’ll explore the shops and cafés of Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor, the main square, on our own. At the market we’ll sample regional cuisine. Then our guided city tour will include the Gothic House of Shells, 13th Century Salamanca University and the New Cathedral, built from 1513 through 1733. In our free time we can also visit the Old Cathedral. Finally, we’ll rejoin the ship in Vega de Terrón.
(Today breakfast and dinner included.)
day 7, April 4
This morning we sail west along the Douro, passing some of the region’s quintas (vineyards), where we may catch glimpses of people tending the vines. After breakfast we disembark for a scenic drive up to the little village of Favaios and one of the last traditional bakeries in the Douro River Valley. Discover how bread was made in the old days—and how it tastes, with a sample fresh from the oven. We explore a Portuguese village not yet discovered by the masses, then continue on to lunch at Quinta da Avessada, a rustic, centuries-old winery in the heart of the Douro Wine District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we’ll sample fortified wines such as muscatel. This evening we sail on to Régua, where we dock overnight. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
day 8, April 5
After breakfast we will drive to Lamego, a small town known for its baroque Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, dating back to the 14th Century and still visited by pilgrims today. We will see the shrine, decorated with exquisite tilework in the Moorish manner, and descend the grand baroque staircase. We will also see the town’s Gothic cathedral and the ruins of 12th Century Lamego Castle with its unusual vaulted cistern. We return to the ship for lunch and this afternoon enjoy a scenic cruise back to Porto.
(Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
day 9, April 6
After breakfast we tour Porto, a charming riverside community whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire its graceful bridges, grand cathedral and romantic 16th-through-19th Century buildings nestled together on narrow cobblestone streets.
This afternoon there will be time to explore Porto on our own or take an optional excursion to Guimarães and its medieval quarter, where we can sample wines that have been in the making for generations at the historic Quinta da Aveleda estate or soar over the historic “City of Bridges” on a thrilling helicopter tour. This evening will be our farewell dinner aboard ship.
(Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
day 10, April 7
After breakfast we will disembark and proceed to the airport for our return flights.
(Today only breakfast is included.)
Standard stateroom, lower level $7,490 per person, double occupancy
Veranda stateroom $9,990 per person, double occupancy.
These prices include one Mind’s Eye sighted guide per two passengers. If you prefer to bring your own sighted guide, please call for discounts.
Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.
For a limited time, only a $25 deposit per person is required to hold space; the balance will be due March 31, 2024, after which fees will no longer be refundable.
There is a $100 change or cancellation fee up to 120 days prior to the trip, after which the penalty fee starts at 20%.
Prices are for double occupancy and do not include airfare, alcoholic beverages, personal items or any gratuities.
Mind’s Eye Travel recommends trip insurance.
Our trips are non-smoking and not combinable with any other offer.
Features of Viking Hemming
53 outside staterooms with river view (16 Standard Staterooms, 2 French Balcony Staterooms, 24 Veranda Staterooms, 11 Veranda Suites)
All upper & middle deck staterooms feature a full-size veranda or a French balcony
Sun Deck with shaded sitting area; swimming pool; organic herb garden; solar panels; putting green
Aquavit Terrace, an outdoor viewing area at the bow of the ship for al fresco dining
Lounge & Bar with floor-to-ceiling glass doors
Restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views
Library & onboard shop
Free Wi-Fi (connection speed may vary)
Flat-screen TV with infotainment system featuring a selection of live TV channels, complimentary movies on demand and in-house programming