Summer weather in Portugal is quite nice because it is cooler than many other areas in Europe. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean and is the most western country in Europe. They use the Euro for currency and English is limited in some parts of the country.
The main city in Portugal is Lisbon. They have several museums including a unique Coach museum. They have many monuments including The Tower of Belem and the Monument to the Discoveries. It’s a beautiful coastal city and close to neighboring little villages like Sintra.
Three hours away by train is the city of Porto this is where the Douro starts. On one side of the river is Porto and on the other side is Gaia. Porto is a beautiful city best known for port wine and the many companies that manufacture it. There are several bridges that link the two cities. It is the “City of Bridges” and reminds me of Budapest. On the Porto side J.K. Rowling wrote one of her books in the famous bookstore The Livraria Lello, ranked one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. They charge 5 Euros just to go in and people line up for hours to see it.
The Douro river is clean and one of the only rivers in Europe that I’ve seen beaches and people swimming in the river.
There are five locks on the Douro, so the ships are smaller. The AMA Douro has only 104 passengers and night travel is not allowed so the ship is docked each night. The scenery along the river is amazing and enjoyable without clutter.
The Douro is unique and different from other river cruises. Bus travel is necessary to reach the regions on the itinerary. One of my favorites was Peso Da Regua. A small village with vineyards, and local talented merchants with their homemade wares. They are best known for their wine, olive oil and almonds. Each region had their unique “stories” of their ancestors and customs.
I would recommend this river cruise to those who want to visit Portugal and have a unique experience, and those who appreciate wine and its history. The AMA experience onboard is relaxing and wonderful. The local talent onboard each evening was eventful. The staff was great and anticipated every need. The dining was delicious and they and special requests were met. This is a great and relaxing enjoyable way to visit Portugal.
If I can help plan your next cruise vacation, please contact me!
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