Lazily snaking its way through lush, green landscapes is the iconic Douro River. These lands are home to centuries-old vineyards, towns and villages that have played an integral part in Portugal’s history. In particular, the Douro Valley is highly regarded as a wine region. Read on for what to expect when sailing on the Douro River. 

The ultimate vino voyage 

Douro Valley
Photo by Veronika Jorjobert on Unsplash

As mentioned, the Douro Valley is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world! This was declared in 1756, followed by the prestigious title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. Portugal itself has over 250 grape varieties, with 13 of these found only in the valley. This fine wine region produces reds, whites and rosés – in particular, the port wine is exceptional here! Local port is made at quintas (estates) dotted throughout the valley and was historically shipped down the river to Porto.  

A myriad of taste sensations 

Roast duck rice
Roasted duck rice topped with smoky bacon
Photo by @jackyblisson on Instagram

With a heavy focus on meat and seafood, the Douro Valley will showcase some of Portugal’s finest local specialties. Picture slow cooked goat stews, a moreish cod hash, and grilled-to-perfection octopus.  

Spectacular scenery 

Pinhao, Portugal
Photo by @larissaleibel on Instagram

Watching the everchanging scenes from the comfort of your Avalon Suite Ship is one for the books. Sailing past terraced vineyards and docking in the heart of charming villages is a sure-fire way to truly immerse yourself in all that Portugal has to offer. Take the town of Pinhão that sits right on the Douro, with vineyards stretching high above it. It is usually a quiet town which makes it perfect to explore. 

A home away from home 

Avalon Alegria
A Panorama Suite onboard the new Avalon Alegria (rendering subject to change)

Avalon are building a brand-new ship to join the award-winning Suite Ship fleet – the Avalon Alegria. Alegria means ‘happiness’ and you are sure to find this as soon you step foot onboard. Unpack once and settle into your Panorama Suite, complete with our renowned Open-Air Balcony to bring the view in. Sailing on the Douro has never looked so ‘suite’!  

Prepare to be floored 

Sao Bento Station, Porto
Photo by @giorgio.darrigo on Instagram

This Douro cruise starts and ends in Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city. The city is filled with azulejos, Portuguese painted tiles, found on the streets, shop signs and buildings. The São Bento Station is an iconic site to visit with its blue and white azulejos depicting some of the country’s storied history. You will be snapping away all over Porto to capture all of the colourful azulejos! 


Even if you have already travelled to Portugal, this river cruise along the Douro will be a different experience. Join Avalon in sailing along the Douro River in 2024 today! 

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