Douro River Cruise – Day by Day

Join Nilla Spark each day on her APT cruise on the Douro River in Portugal.

One of the tough aspects of our job is road testing European River Cruises.

OK… It’s not so tough but hey.. Someone has to do it… right?

After all, you prefer first hand knowledge…


APT Europe River Cruising – Douro River, Portugal

Combining Radio and Internet

In keeping with using the power of technology, I’ve decided to combine the new with the old, Radio and Internet.

Our aim is to bring Nilla’s experience back to you as it happens.

Something different and we hope exciting for you!

Frankly we are not sure how it will work… You be the judge!

Nilla receiving the APT award in Lisbon

Nilla receiving her APT high achievers award in Lisbon, Portugal

Nilla was fortunate to be one of APT’s  highest river cruise producers by passenger numbers for 2015. This is now our 4th year in a row.

This year APT has chosen theDelights – Lisbon to Madrid 12 day tour as the product that the top achievers experience, first hand.

In case you are wondering… Yes I am a tad jealous!

A chance meeting while at lunch with one of the crew from Gold MX, excuse the pun, “sparked” the idea of doing live radio crosses each day from Nilla’s river cruise.

Two days later, everything was locked in and scheduled.

Our idea was to simply have Nilla share a brief insight into her experiences quite literally as they happen.

Nilla is crossing each day after the 10am News and Weather each day for 3-5 minutes to Gold MX – 1611 AM.

Plus each day Nilla is making a short video to complement the radio call. You can see the videos below.

Of course, as Nilla is quite literally on the job, it is perfect for her to answer any of your questions.

That is why ou are invited to submit any questions to Nilla via the form at the bottom of this post.

Nilla guarantees to personally respond, however it may not be immediately due to time constraints.

Steps you should take now:

  • Watch the teaser video at the top of this post if you haven’t already, to give you a taste of what the Douro Delights – Lisbon to Madrid 12 day tour can offer. (click here)
  • Read the itinerary below to get a sense of what each day entails. (Click here)
  • Watch Nilla’s daily videos, who knows what she’s going to say?  (Click here)


Douro Delights Itinerary:

Day 1. Arrive Lisbon

Day 1 - LisbonCheck into your hotel in Lisbon. Please be aware hotel check in time in Europe is at 3pm. Enjoy time at leisure beofre a Welcome Reception tonight.

Day 2. Lisbon

Day 2 - LisbonOn a Guided tour of Lisbon, ride on the city’s iconic tramcars, then visit the Old Town, the World Heritage-listed Jeronimos Monastery and much more. During a special WElcome Dinner tongiht, soak up the souldful melodies of Portugal’s famous Fado music.

Day 3. Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais

Day 3 - LisbonToday’s excursion takes you into the picturesque mountain range of Serra de Sintra. Visit the World Hertiage-listed Pena National Palace and take a guided tour of Sintra, the town below. Continue to the fishing villaige of Cascais and enjoy a walking tour, then return to Lisbon for an evening at your leisure.

Day 4. Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto, Embark Ship

Day 4 - LisbonJourney through Portugal’s countryside to the city of Fatima, renowned for its shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After a guided tour, continue to Porto. Board your river ship, and tonight, enjoy the Captain’s Gala Welcome Dinner.

Day 5. Porto

Day 5 - LisbonThis morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of Porto. Explore Porto’s Old Town and delight in its 16th-century buildings and Baroque churches, then see the iron bridge built by French engineer Gustave Eiffel. Visit one of the Nova de Gaia’s wine cellars and enjoy a glass of Port wine. You will have free time this afternoon to explore the Old City on your own.

Day 6. Porto, Guimarães, Entre-Os-Rios

Day 6 - PortoThis morning take an excursion to the World Heritgae-listed town of Guimaraes, often referred to as the ‘birthplace of the Portuguese nationality’. Visit the castle and enjoy some free time to explore beofre returning to your ship for lunch. This afternoon, enjoy some scenic cruising through the Douro valley on your way to Entre-os-Rios. Upon arrival, head to the 14th-century Alpendurada Monastery. Enjoy a glass of Port wine and take in the stunning views of the river valley before indulging in a traditional dinner.

Day 7. Caldas de Aregos, Resende, Régua

Day 7 - PortoThis morning your ship departs for Caldas de Aregos. Visit the town of Resende this morning and enjoy the local museum and Santa Maria e Carquere. Later, delight in the beauty of the Douro River Valley as you cruise to Regua. This evening, disembark in Regua and enjoy a visit to the fascinating Douro Museum.

Day 8. Régua, Lamego, Pinhão

Day 8 - PortoToday tour the ancient town of Lamego, visiting Lamego Castle and Nossa Senhora dos Remedios (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies), one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Portugal. Afterwards, cruise through the dramatic gorges of the Douro River Valley to Pinhao, where you’ll disembark for a wine-tasting and dinner at a Portuguese winery.

Day 9. Pinhão, Vila Real

Day 9 - PortoEnjoy a trip to the Palacio de Mateus, located in the beautiful region of Tras-os-Montes, just outside the city of Vila Real. Take a tour of the palace, and discover the story of Mateus Rose wine, with which the palace has long been associated. Later, enjoy some free time to explore Pinhao at your leisure, where your ship moors overnight.

Day 10. Barca d’Alva

Day 10 - PortoThis morning take in the sites along the valley as you cruise from Pinhao to Barca D’Alva. upon arrival, visit Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, a fortfied 16th century villaige perched high on a hilltop with many steep, narrow streets. Stop in the market square to admire Chafariz dos Pretos, a striking fountain decorated with black faces. Later this evening cruise to Vega Terron, where your ship moors overnight.

Day 11. Barca d’Alva, Disembark Ship, Salamanca, Madrid

Day 11 - PortoDisembark the AmaVida for the final time and travel to the ancient city of Salamanca. On a walking tour, visit the University of Salamanca, the House of Shells and more. Enjoy free time for lumch and then continue to Madrid.

Day 12. Depart Madrid

Day 12 - PortoAfter breakfast this morning, your wonderful journey through Portugal and Spain comes to an end. You will be transferred from your hotel to the Airport to meet your flight.


Nilla’s Daily Videos As It Happens Direct From The Douro Delights River Cruise:

Day 1: Nilla has arrived in Lisbon… After 31 hours, feeling shattered and is heading down to the pool to refresh.


Day 2: Nilla discovers the the huge benefits of using hop on, hop off buses and then enjoys the famous Portuguese lunch of Cod and Sangrias- absolutely delicious.



Day 3: It’s 12:30 am after a long enjoyable day of history and culture around the streets of Lisbon.



Day 4: Another great day in Portugal…visited Sintra and Cascias, saw the wildness of the Atlantic Ocean as it crashed on the rocks… This is truly a fascinating place…

Did you pick the mistake at the start of the video? Hint Nilla’s had 2 “day 3’s”.



Day 5: Super excited, have arrived in Oporto as our River Cruise is about to commence on the Douro River…



Day 6: It’s been a long day so a little tongue tied with what I was saying… Have a laugh on me, and it you have a little inkling to visit Portugal… Just do it!!!!



Day 7: Have just come through our first lock… What an incredible piece of engineering!!! There was a 13metre/43 feet change in water level…



Day 8: Just came through the deepest lock in Europe, the change in water level was 35 meters/115 feet!!!! Went to a wine & cheese tasting at Quinta de Aveleda this morning and now sailing to Regua where we will be overnighting…



Day 9: Can this experience get any better? Loving being on this magnificent Duoro River…



Day 10: Our second last night on the cruise… A wonderful journey…



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