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17-day luxury cruise and train journey through the heart of Portugal and Spain

PORTO - REGUA - VEGA DE TERRON - BARCA D'ALVA - SALAMANCA - BARCA D'ALVA - FERRADOSA - PINHAO – PORTO- SEVILLE- CÓRDOBA- TOLEDO- LEÓN AND ÁVILA- GALICIA- SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA- RÍAS BAIXAS- SANTIAGO

Be carried away by the charm of Portugal and Spain as you travel in luxury by cruise ship. Explore Porto, a lively and fascinating city where you can taste its famous wine, and the fascinating town of Guimarães, the beating heart of Portugal with a remarkable history that gives it today all its charm. Journey through the unique landscapes of the Douro and discover the cities of Lamego, Salamanca or Vila Real with their rich cultural heritage.

Board your luxury train and travel in style as you venture deep into the heart of Spain on one of Europe's most luxurious trains, the Al Andalús. Lose yourself in its romance, passion, and history. Spain is one of the world’s most fascinating European countries—a melting pot of cultures, where the influences of Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and many other peoples have created a unique cultural landscape. This incredible and unique train journey takes you to some of the most beautiful cities in Spain:  Seville, Córdoba, Toledo, Ávila, León, and Santiago de Compostela. This exclusive cruise and rail package will leave you with memories to last a lifetime!

Trip code : TWTPPHTR21

Duration : 17 days

Destination : Portugal & Spain

Travel Dates :2021

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Discover the picturesque scenery of vineyards and countryside along the riverside
  • Immerse yourself in the heritage, flavours, dances, and traditional songs of this fascinating region
  • Enjoy the Fado, flamenco, and traditional evenings on board
  • Unique train journey of 1,250 kilometers by rail through Spain from the South to North
  • Explore 4 Spanish regions in just one trip: Andalusia, Castile–La Mancha, Castile–León, and Galicia
  • Discover 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Aranjuez, Ávila, Córdoba, Toledo, Santiago de Compostela, and Seville
  • Culinary specialties and fine wines throughout your journey
  • Wine tasting in a bodega in the wine region Ribeira Sacra
  • Enjoy a boat ride through the Spanish fjord coast in national park Islas Atlánticas and in the Sil Canyon

On arrival in Porto you will be welcomed at the airport and transferred to the cruise ship.

Passengers are welcome to board our ship at 5:00 p.m. After comfortably settling into your cabins, we will introduce our crew at a welcome cocktail.

Tonight, we depart for a unique opportunity to admire the city of Porto by night during a panoramic tour by bus. You will love the old, preserved districts of this city of immense character, classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Porto is not only a city rich in vestiges from a glorious past, but also the young-spirited, warm capital city of a region marked by its winemaking as well as its closeness to the ocean. During the tour of the historic centre, your guide will schedule a stop at the Sao Bento railway station to look at its magnificent azulejos. Return on board by coach.

This morning we depart by coach from the Villa Nova de Gaia Quay, facing Porto from across the Douro river and the famous Dom Luis I Bridge, built between 1881 and 1886 by French engineer Theophile Seyrig, one of Gustave Eiffel's pupils.

Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, stands out from the steep banks of the Douro river with its mixture of grey facades and red tiles interspersed with unusual architectural masterpieces.

Its historical centre was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. We will discover The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Building), built in 1834 by the city's Commercial Association. It has remained their headquarters to this day. After climbing up the beautiful granite and marble stairway, we will visit the former Tribunal Room, the Golden Room, and the Arab Room, decorated in the exotic Moorish Revival style. Afterwards, we will visit the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), also known as the "Golden Church”. It was originally a modest convent founded by Franciscan monks in the 12th century, before being further altered by prominent Porto families in the 15th and 16th centuries. They were responsible for the Baroque style interior which mingles with the large, elaborate rose window in Gothic style on the main façade in a fascinating mixture of styles reflecting the various eras it went through.

We will cross the Dom Luis I Bridge again back to Villa Nova de Gaia for the visit of a wine cellar. Porto's pride notably stems from its famous wine known the world over, which you will get to taste. We will return on board by coach.

The afternoon is free to do as you please, or you can ask to be dropped off to the city centre via rabelo boat. We will return on board for dinner and an evening of Fado entertainment.

This morning we depart by coach from Porto for Guimarães. With our guide, we will begin the tour of this university town on foot to discover its historical treasures. We will get the chance to discover the Nossa Senhora de Oliveira Church (outdoors), the most important religious building in the city. The medieval heart of Guimarães is a labyrinth of lanes and picturesque plazas framed by 14th-century buildings. We will continue to the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, a medieval estate and former residence of the first Dukes of Braganza with striking architecture.

At the end of our visit, we will return on board in Porto

The afternoon will be spent cruising. Enjoy an evening of dancing or a stroll through Regua by night on your own.

This morning we depart from Regua or Pinhão for Vila Real, where aristocrats built grand palaces during the 16th and 17th centuries. The architecture of the religious buildings is here extremely varied. We will take a panoramic tour of the city by coach, followed by a tasting of the local pastry, Cristas de Galo.

We will then set out to explore Mateus Palace, the most beautiful and astonishing manor in all Northern Portugal. This 18th-century beauty is set in a hilly landscape reminding us of Mexico. The subtle mixture of granite, white walls, and extravagance from the Age of Enlightenment such as ledges covered in statues and Baroque style pilasters is a striking feature. Behind the manor is a delightful garden with box hedges, more statues, and a spectacular 115-foot cedar tunnel. After our tour, we will return to our ship in Regua or Pinhão.

The afternoon will be spent cruising. Enjoy an evening of Flamenco entertainment.

This morning we depart by coach towards Salamanca where you will meet up with your guides.

Since 1988, the Old Town of Salamanca has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The classified area extends on the major part of the city as it used to be until the middle of the 20th century and is responsible for its growing popularity. We will visit the cathedral whose successive extensions created a mixture of styles going from late Gothic to Baroque, including Renaissance. Afterwards, we will visit one of the world's oldest Universities which first opened in 1218. Also known as "Escuelas Mayores”, the University building has a sumptuous gate adorned with the city's most famous design: a frog atop a skull - symbolic of the sin of lust being punished after death. Its wonderful library brims with old manuscripts dating back from prior to the 19th century. You will enjoy lunch and be free to discover the city on your own. Return on board in Vega de Teron.

Enjoy an evening of entertainment.

The morning will be spent cruising.

On arrival in Ferradosa we depart for an excursion along the Porto wine route.

We will discover this incredible vineyard extending over 100 km along the Douro river all the way to the Spanish border. We will visit San Salvador do Mundo and Sao Joao da Pesqueira, two small towns set among the vineyards in the Rio Torto valley. In Sao Joao da Pesqueira, you will have the opportunity to explore the arcaded main square, the chapel and the white houses with their balconies. You will visit a quinta (wine cellar) to taste the famous Porto. We will return on board in Pinhao or Folgosa.

Tonight's our gala dinner and evening.

This morning we depart by coach from Regua to Lamego for a guided tour of the city centre by coach and on foot. Lamego is a charming episcopal and commercial town where you will get to discover the Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Sanctuary. This 18th century church stands out with its white façade dominating a baroque staircase with 686 steps ending in a shrine built in the rocaille style and adorned with azulejos. The first stone was laid on February 14th, 1750 and gave way to the construction of a massive temple overlooking the city and providing a breathtaking view over the misty mountains of the surrounding landscape. Return on board in Regua.

The afternoon will be spent cruising. Enjoy an evening of traditional folk entertainment.

Enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board before disembarking the cruise ship 9:00 a.m. You will then be transferred to the airport for your flight to Seville.

On arrival in Seville you will be welcomed at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.

Overnight in Hotel Alfonso XIII (or similar)

 

Today is a free day to spend at your leisure.

Overnight in Hotel Alfonso XIII (or similar)

A city tour in Seville brings you close to figures like Don Juan, the Barber of Seville, and Count Almaviva from the Marriage of Figaro and Carmen. You also see the Seville Cathedral—the largest gothic cathedral in the world; the Giralda bell tower—once a minaret of the Great Mosque of Seville—and the Alcázar of Seville, both wonderful examples of Andalusian Mudéjar architecture. That evening, you enjoy an Andalusian farewell dinner in a beautiful restaurant housed in an old palace.

Overnight in Hotel Alfonso XIII (or similar)

Today you visit the city of Córdoba, where Moorish Spain had its intellectual, cultural, and economic zenith. During the caliphate of Córdoba in the 10th century, about half a million people lived here. Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived here peacefully side by side. A guided tour through the old town brings you closer to the most important architectural complex of the city—the Great Mosque of Córdoba—with its Muslim prayer halls and Christian chapels. You also visit the Alcázar of Córdoba, a palace surrounded by wonderful gardens. You stroll through the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter before getting back on your train.

Toledo is known as the “City of Three Cultures,” since Christians, Moors and Jews have all left their marks here. Toledo is a living museum that features churches, palaces, oriental-style houses, narrow streets, and a romantic atmosphere. You see the San Juan de los Reyes monastery; the Santa María la Blanca and El Tránsito synagogues, and the famous painting “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” by El Greco in the Iglesia de San Tomé.

In the afternoon, enjoy some free time before boarding your train once again. In the evening, the Al Andalús continues toward Aranjuez, one of the summer residences of the royal family since the 16th century. If you like, you can enjoy an evening walk through the city.

Your first stop today is León, one of the most important stops for Jacobean pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Here you visit the León Cathedral, a 13th-century Gothic church. Later your train continues toward Ávila, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ávila’s immense city walls date back to the 11th century and belong to one of the most well-preserved and most complete medieval fortifications in the world. At a height of 1,128 meters, you get a spectacular view of everything that makes Castile beautiful: gothic manors; narrow, winding streets; great Romanic churches and of course, the 88 towers of the 2.5-kilometer-long city wall.

The morning you have free time to explore Ourense on the Rio Miño. Back on board, you enjoy lunch as the Al Andalús continues southward. You reach Ribeira Sacra, a Spanish wine region close to the Portuguese border. Here you enjoy a wine tasting at a winery and a river cruise in the spectacular Sil Canyon, with gorges as deep as 500 meters.

Santiago de Compostela is the final stop for 10,000 pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, where they visit the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great. Here you enjoy a tour through the city’s historic centre.

In the late afternoon, you board the Al Andalús private train and settle into your compartment. While travelling south, you enjoy a typical Galician dinner in the restaurant car.

Rías Baixas is the name of the region where estuaries of the Atlantic Ocean reach deep inland. Beautiful beaches, wild nature and a diverse culinary scene await. This part of Galicia is not only characterized by its unique natural beauty with its fjord-like coast and numerous offshore islands but also by its deep-rooted traditions. During a boat trip to the mussel beds where the world’s best blue mussels and scallops are cultivated, you get the chance to taste freshly prepared seafood directly from the ocean. Weather permitting, you also go an excursion to the Cíes Islands, the gem of the Islas Atlánticas National Park. Afterward, you visit the historical fishing village of Combarro, whose center is a characteristic example of Galicia’s traditional architecture.

Overnight: Parador Santiago de Compostela (or similar)

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and we transfer you to the airport. End of our services.

***Important Note***

For operational reasons and passenger safety, Tweet World Travel and its suppliers reserve the right to change, vary, modify or cancel any itinerary or arrangement in relation to the tour/cruise as considered necessary.

FIRST CLASS SERVICE

  • Assistance from our onboard multi-lingual host/hostess
  • Expert services of English-speaking local guides throughout your trip
  • Airport Meet-and-Greet welcome service
  • 24/7 local assistance and travel guidance

ACCOMMODATION

  • Cruise  onboard the Premium Ship from Porto to Porto​ docked in central location , with all meals included while on boar
    • 7-night onboard the MS Amalia Rodrigues
    • Double-occupancy cabin with show in bathroom
  • 3-night stay in premium hotel in Seville
  • 1-night stay in premium hotel in Santiago De Compostela
  • 5-night luxury train journey onboard the Al Andalus, from Seville to Santiago de Compostela

SIGHTSEEING

  • Classic Shore Excursion package (Douro river cruise)
    • Headsets are included for ship excursions
    • Porto By Night (1.25 hrs)
    • Guided tour of Porto and Wine Tasting (4 hrs)
    • Guimaraes (4 hrs)
    • Vila Real and Mateus Palace (4 hrs)
    • Guided tour of Salamanca (lunch included) (10.5 hrs)
    • Wine trail of Porto (4 hrs)
    • Guided tour of Lamego (4 hrs)
  • City tours and excursions during train journey, as per itinerary
    • 4 Spanish regions: Andalusia, Castile La Mancha, Castile-Leon, and Galicia
    • 6 UNESCO WOrld Heritage Sites: Aranjuez, Ávila, Córdoba, Toledo, Santiago de Compostela, and Seville
    • Flamenco museum in Seville
    • Boat ride through the Spanish fjord coast in national park Islas Atlanticas and in the Sil Canyon
    • Wine tasting in a bodega in the wine region Ribeira Sacra

TRANSPORTATION

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers in private air-conditioned vehicles
    • Airport transfer from Porto Airport to Cruise ship
    • Airport transfer from Cruise ship to Airport
    • Airport transfer from Seville Airport to Hotel
    • Airport transfer from Santiago de Compostela to Airport
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Locally based professional drivers

FLIGHT

  • International flight from Porto to Seville
    • with Full-service airlines in Economy Class, with luggage allowance

TOUR GUIDE & TOUR LEADER

  • English-speaking local tour guides who live and breath the destination - they will bring your itinerary to life

MEALS & DRINKS

  • Onboard the cruise:
    • Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner while on cruise
    • All meals onboard while on cruise (from first evening to breakfast on the final day)
    • All drinks on board while on cruise (except for drinks from the special lists)
  • Onboard the train:
    • All meals onboard while on train, including two specialty meals
  • Daily breakfast while staying at hotels
  • Total meals: 16 breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners

ENTERTAINMENT

  • Entertainment onboard CroisiEurope Cruise ship
  • Traditional folk entertainment

OTHERS

  • Travel assistance and repatriation insurance while on cruise
  • Free wi-fi in lounge and bar onboard cruise ship
  • All port fees

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