The River Duero: Spain and Portugal
The Duero, or the Douro River, depending on which country we happen to be in, represents both a border and union of these two Iberian countries. On the shores of the river we find historical sites such as Zamora in Spain and Lamego in Portugal, where this country's independence was recognized in the 12th century. Crossing the border into Portugal, we soon recognize that this land no longer resembles Castile. From Miranda do Douro to Porto, the river provides spectacular landscapes: the bare granite walls from the Arribes give way to the terrace vineyards further inland, and finally the old neighborhoods of Porto built on slopes and held together by daring steel bridges.
Arrival in Madrid and transfer to Salamanca for overnight
Salamanca is now, and has always been, more than anything a university city. The historical university buildings that have been preserved since medieval and Renaissance times, are unique and many of them are open to tourists. The homogenous mix of students and visitors beckons us to stroll through its lively streets and to indulge in the festive atmosphere. Notable monuments include the Plaza Mayor, the two Cathedrals -from Romanesque to Baroque- the House of Shells, the San Esteban Convent, and the interesting Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum situated in the modernist Casa Lis. Overnight in Salamanca Possibility of organizing a tapas lunch in Salamanca
In the morning we will visit Toro, a fine area of red wines in the Duero region. The city offers surprising views of the river, a medieval bridge and a charming Collegiate. After sampling Toro wines at a local winery, we will head to Zamora and enjoy a peaceful stroll while visiting the medieval district and cathedral, and some of the countless Romanesque churches such as La Magdalena and San Ildefonso. Possibility of visiting a local cheese producer with tasting Return to Salamanca for overnight
Heading towards Portugal, we will arrive at Las Arribes, a border region known for a geological fault that turned the Duero River into a canyon that has become the natural border between Portugal and Spain. An environmental boat tour will reveal spectacular views and a unique microclimate. The city of Miranda do Douro, a Portuguese bastion facing Spain, maintains its fortress-like appearance, dominated by its Renaissance and Baroque Cathedral. We now turn towards Braganca, the capital of Tras-os-Montes, another fortress town dating to Portugal's independence with its outstanding castle and the Domus Municipalis, perhaps the only public Romanesque building in Portugal. Possibility of organizing a regional lunch Overnight in Braganca
We will now leave behind the beautiful, albeit severe Portuguese highlands in search of the Douro, River. The High Douro region is an area of narrow, warm valleys protected as much from the main stem river as its tributaries, thus creating ideal conditions for the cultivation of the vines that provide the grape necessary for Port wine. From Sao Joao da Pesqueira in the highlands, to Pinhao in the pit of the valley, there are views to admire the patient and arduous labor needed to cultivate these sloped hills. Possibility of visiting a winery with tasting In the afternoon we will visit Vila Real with its 15th century cathedral and the Baroque palace and gardens in nearby Mateus. Overnight in Vila Real
We will continue our visit through the Douro valley in Lamego with its Romanesque Cathedral. Most interesting, however, is the Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Sanctuary with its long Baroque stairs. Located next to the Douro river is the city of Peso da Regua, which has recently been able to look out upon the river since recently constructed dams have allowed to control the river's flow. The city is becoming the leading producer of the region of both Port and fine table wines. Possibility of visiting a winery with tasting In the afternoon we will descend to the valleys heading towards the Atlantic coast until arriving at Porto. Overnight in Porto
Day 7 - PORTO
A scenic tour through the portside city of Porto will allow us to discover its Romanesque Cathedral, the Torre dos Clerigos, the Cristal Palace, the Stock Exchange and the districts on the banks of the Douro river. The second city of Portugal has always been the most important industrial center of the country, thanks in part to the benefits obtained by the wine commerce with England. The cellars where the production of Port wines has always taken place are on the river banks opposite the Douro, in Vila Nova de Gaia. Possibility of visiting a winery with Port-wine tasting Our most indelible memory will be the magnificent views of the city of Porto, its bridges and historical district, during a panoramic cruise. Overnight in Porto Possibility of organizing a special farewell dinner
Day 8 - PORTO
Transfer to the Porto Airport.

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