Cruise the waters of Portugal

In association with: Visit Portugal

Set sail for world-famous wines, charming towns and stunning scenery

From the rolling hills of Funchal and the cobbled streets of Lisbon to the Azores’ dramatic landscapes and the Algarve’s unspoiled beaches, Portugal offers plenty to explore and enjoy. And there’s no better way to soak up this country’s charm than on a cruise.

While its coastal towns and cities make for some memorable ports of call on an ocean cruise, sailing along the 124 navigable miles of the Douro on a river cruise is a serene way to explore the beautiful Portuguese countryside.

Shorter sailings

Passengers can sit back and soak up views of the verdant scenery that flanks the Douro as they sail towards Pocinho, Pinhãoor Régua.

These are the most popular spots for a one-day cruise, each offering experiences to satisfy culture-hungry visitors – think vineyard tours, wine tastings or simply exploring the local area.

The small village of Pocinho is part of the Unesco-listed Douro Valley famed for its winemaking traditions and rich cultural heritage.

Pinhão sits at the meeting point of the Douro and Pinhão rivers, right in the heart of Portugal’s famous port-making region, making it a great stop for wine lovers.

The same can be said about Régua, where vines grow on terraced slopes carved into the rolling hills above the river.

Many of these one-day sailings include a tasty lunch served on board and, after exploring, passengers can make their way back to their starting point by train or bus.

Villages and vineyards

For clients who’d like to spend more time on the Douro, recommend a seven‑day sailing that not only ticks off the picturesque villages previously mentioned, but also the stunning town of Barca d’Alva  located near the Spanish border.

Steeped in medieval heritage and peppered with terraced vineyards, Barca d’Alva is a treat for those looking for some history to pair with their wine.

Visitors can head to one of the vineyards for a tour and tasting or wander the streets to marvel at the traditional architecture. Olives and almonds grow in the surrounding hills, and visitors can purchase the  harvested goods in the local villages.

As well as stopping off in Barca d’Alva, passengers who opt for a longer cruise along the Douro will also have the opportunity to explore the smaller villages along the way, which also boast local wineries and plenty of stunning scenery.

Explore more

A cruise on the Douro, whether a one-day sailing or a little longer, can be combined well with an extended stay in Portugal.

Recommend your clients spend some time – either before or after their sailing – exploring the villages local to where they embark or disembark to discover some of the country’s hidden gems.

Less than an hour from Porto, Amarante’s Old Town is worth visiting to see the imposing São Gonçalo church, while travellers after some literary inspiration will find it in the medieval walled city of Óbidos, just an hour from Lisbon, known for its bookshops.

Paradise islands

The nine islands of the Azores showcase some of Portugal’s most breathtaking, unbridled natural landscapes. The archipelago’s remote location makes cruising an ideal way to explore, and there are plenty of different sailings on offer for clients keen to visit these stunning volcanic islands.

Some of the most popular options also include a stop in Madeira, giving passengers the chance to enjoy this island’s crystal‑clear waters and laurisilva forests.

Close to port

You don’t have to venture too far from Portugal’s popular ports of call for a fun‑packed day out. The port of Leixões is the biggest in northern Portugal and has stunning beaches and fascinating monuments within easy reach, as well as a vibrant waterfront.

Lisbon’s cruise port is less than a mile from the city centre, meaning the famous colourful streets and captivating monuments are just a short walk away.

The port of Funchal is the capital and the gateway to the beautiful Madeira archipelago. Its city centre is within walking distance.

Portimão is perfectly located for visitors keen to soak up the sun on one of the many beaches of the Algarve. The colourful city has shops, markets and historic sites to explore.

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