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Portugal-a wine lover's heaven

Any wine aficionado who has taken the trouble to explore the glorious wines of Portugal will be able to confirm that this small country, nestled up against its Iberian neighbour, Spain, can hold its own in the wine stakes with dignity and flair. Perhaps Portugal is a latecomer to internationally acclaimed wines in comparison to, say, France, but there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that their superb viniculture is well up to the mark and deserves a closer look.

Wine is produced throughout Portugal from the Minho region down to the south coast of the Algarve; each region has its own distinctive identity, although perhaps the northern and central regions are the better known and appreciated.

The Origin of Port Wine

Wine Tourism Portugal iwinetc

With a wine trade going back hundreds of years, perhaps the best known of Portugal’s wines has to be Port. Produced in the Upper Douro region of Northern Portugal (which was incidentally the very first wine region in the world to be demarcated) and taken by boat down the Douro River to the coast, this classic, fortified wine was the subject of the first European trade agreement, made between England and Portugal, and became known as Port wine from the connection with Oporto, which was the shipping harbour through which Port was exported to England and later the rest of the world. Port is still one of the most popular drinks, particularly to round off a good meal to perfection, and whether you are on board a cruise ship or tucked away in a gourmet restaurant anywhere in the world, it is a given that you will be able to enjoy a glass or two of this sweet wine.

Vinho Verde – New Vintage Wines

Vinho Verde (green wine) is the Portuguese equivalent to Beaujolais Nouveau and is equally palatable, being available anywhere in Portugal throughout the year. Casal Garcia is perhaps one of the more popular of the vinho verdes, produced by Quinta de Aveleda although Quinta de Azevedo is equally palatable. For the avoidance of any confusion, Portuguese Vinho Verde refers to wine that is less than one year old and may be red, white or rose. By far the best known is the white, but the red is perhaps superior in taste should your personal preference be for reds.

What to Choose

Wine Tourism Portugal iwinetc

With so many great wines produced throughout Portugal it would be difficult to definitely state that one region is better than another. However, if you want a good run for your money, the Lisbon region is excellent for whites and a good Bucelas is hard to beat, closely matched by Colares. For a red wine drinker who enjoys a world class wine with a sophisticated bouquet and medium to heavy tannin, Bairrada wines would have to come somewhere at the top of the wine list with Dao a close second. These are definitely wines to store as they will improve with age – if you can resist popping the cork that is.

Of course it would be impossible to sample everything on offer and there are limits to how much you can do during the course of a holiday. One way of maximizing your time in Portugal and enjoying the widest range of wines is to take a food and wine tour or cruise. There are quite a few advantages to choosing to have a gastronomic adventure, apart from the obvious plus of having the luxury of drinking without any driving. On a wine and food cruise, for example, you will be able to visit a number of different regions with an experienced and knowledgeable tour guide who will be able to give you a real insight into the local viniculture. Your tour will include visits to vineyards which you may not ordinarily be able to gain access to; pre-arranged wine tastings will enable you to sample the best of what is available and a broader range of wines than you would have the pleasure of trying on your own. Your wine and food cruise organizer will almost certainly be able to offer you advantageous memberships to wine clubs back home; and last but certainly not least, you will be able to enjoy world class cuisine which will undoubtedly complement the fine wines served with your meals. You can combine this with learning something of the culture and getting to grips with how to prepare some of the local cuisine through the cookery courses and tasting sessions which will form part of the tour. As the Portuguese would say: bom apetite e saúde!

By WINEPLEASURES | Published: APRIL 25, 2013

Last Chance to Experience the Douro with USD2000 Savings

This is a truly amazing itinerary. The scenery is breathtaking, the port visits are fabulous and it is absolutely one of the best trips I have ever taken. If you are a wine enthusiast it is a must-do. This is a fantastic offer. Don’t pass it up!


AmaWaterways - Leading The Way In River Cruising
Discover the Dramatic Douro
 Exceptional Savings on Summer Douro Cruises
Save up to $2,000 per stateroom
Cruises from $1,899 per person
AmaWaterways has two exciting river cruises debuting on Portugal’s Douro River in 2013. Experience one of Europe’s most unspoiled and undiscovered rivers on a journey filled with ancient monasteries, sleepy fishing villages, centuries-old wineries and vibrant cultural centers. With its ruggedly beautiful terrain and laboriously terraced hillsides, no wonder the locals boast, “God made the earth, but man made the Douro.”

7-night roundtrip Porto cruise on the brand-new AmaVida
Optional 3 nights in Lisbon available for $690 per person
U.S. departure dates: August 2 and 9, 2013
Starting from $1,899 per person

U.S. departure date: July 5 and 26, 2013
Starting from $2,399 per person

7-night cruise from Vega Terrón to Porto on the brand-new AmaVida
Optional 3 nights in Lisbon & 3 nights in Madrid
available for $1,380 per person
U.S. departure dates: July 12 & 19, 2013
Starting from $2,399 per person


We are so excited that our favorite River Cruise company will FINALLY have a fabulous new ship on the magnificent Douro River. This is one of the most scenic and wonderful experiences you will ever have.  Also the new Seine itinerary in France is super wonderful! Call us now before they all sell out!

AmaWaterways - Leading The Way In River Cruising
Introducing The Seine & Douro for 2013
Special Inaugural Season Savings
Complimentary land program in Paris or Lisbon
Or save $1,000 per stateroom
Paris & NormandyCruise the Seine River on board the beautiful AmaLegro, part of AmaWaterways Sensational Six. AmaWaterways Sensational Six are custom-designed, premium vessels carrying up to 150 passengers and introduce a new standard of River Cruising on the great waterways of Europe. Your journey takes you from Paris to Paris through the heart of Normandy, exploring the beautiful countryside that inspired many famous painters, including Monet and Van Gogh. Visit Giverny, Rouen and Les Andelys, as well as the famous Normandy beaches before returning to Paris, the “City of Lights.” Book this itinerary and receive a complimentary 2-night stay in Paris.

Paris Complimentary 2-night stay in Paris
With 7-night Seine cruise on board the beautiful AmaLegro

Select Paris & Normandy cruises embarking from March 29 through Nov. 8, 2013
Starting from $2499* per person
Paris | Vernon | Giverny | Rouen | Normandy | Honfleur | Les Andelys | Conflans & 2 nights in Paris 
The Douro River ValleyDiscover the rich history of Portugal and Spain as you journey through the Douro River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, onboard the brand new AmaVida. This grand 108-passenger vessel features balconies in most of its staterooms and suites. Receive a complimentary 3-night stay in Lisbon when booking the Enticing Douro or the Port Wine & Flamenco itineraries. Highlights include visits to Porto, Salamanca, Régua and dinner at the Alpendurada Monastery.


Lisbon Complimentary 3-night stay in Lisbon
With 7-night Douro cruise on board the brand-new AmaVida

Select Enticing Douro or Port Wine & Flamenco cruises embarking from Jun. 25 through Aug. 27, 2013
Starting from $2,899* per person
Porto | Régua | Barca d’Alva | Vega Terrón | Pinhão | Régua | Bitetos & 3 nights in Lisbon

State-of-the-art ships | Spacious staterooms with French balconies or full balconies
Complimentary in-room Internet & Wi-fi access | Complimentary shore excursions
Gourmet dining with free wine, beer & soft drinks | Nightly onboard entertainment

Book Now – Limited Time Offer!


* All prices listed are in U.S. dollars. Offers are valid on new Enticing Douro and Port Wine & Flamenco cruise bookings made by June 30, 2012 or Paris & Normandy cruise bookings made by July 31, 2012. Offer is not combinable with any other promotions or discounts. Rates may vary per departure date. Offers are valid on new cruise bookings only and are not combinable with any other offers. Guests must purchase 7-night cruise to receive complimentary land program. Complimentary land program are based on double occupancy with a maximum of 2 persons per hotel room and applies to the hotels selected and contracted by AmaWaterways. $1,000 Savings is per stateroom, based on double occupancy and is not combinable with complimentary land program; single bookings receive $500 off per stateroom. Bonus commission is per double occupancy bookings, single occupancy bookings receive $250 commission per booking. Availability is limited on these cruises, capacity controlled and subject to change or discontinuation without notice. Some restrictions may apply. **Premium River Cruise Experience applies to most ships; please ask for details. AmaWaterways is registered as a seller of travel in the State of California. CST#2065452-40

Marvelous Portugal

A sight from Alentejo, one of our favorite hidden gems…
Alentejo is the widest region of Portugal. Here the landscape is “gentle” composed by rolling hills covered by cork oak trees, vineyards and wheat fields. The lifestyle is serene in the small villages with white washed houses where the time slowly passes by… The gastronomy is robust and creative with wines to match it, in contrast with the calmness of the local people of the region. Évora is a beautiful small town and the most important of the Alentejo region. Still surrounded by the old walls it is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and will attract you for its medieval appearance, the narrow streets, the historic centre and the kindness of the locals. Amongst several interesting monuments, you shall not miss the Roman Temple from the 1st century, unique of this kind in Portugal. This is also the perfect place for a great gastronomic and wine experience, as this is one of the regions in Portugal with more traditional and quality at this level. You shall not miss the opportunity of having a meal in one of the city’s restaurants.
Alentejo is just one of the amazing places to visit in Marvelous Portugal. Let us craft your perfect itinerary……

Portugal's Douro Valley

Portugal's Douro Vally _ Europe's Hidden Gem

Sail the Douro River with Uniworld and discover why National Geographic Traveler ranks Portugal’s Douro Valley #7 in their “World’s Great Place: 133 Destinations” survey, and why it is listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a spectacular journey and one of our very favorites!!!

River Cruise:  Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley | Lisbon to Porto | 11 Days

Highlights:  Lisbon city tour | Coimbra tour with family-style lunch | Porto city tour and dinner at the Alpendurada Monastery | Mateus Palace and Gardens | Wine tasting at a local quinta | Full-day Salamanca tour with traditional Spanish lunch and flamenco show | Castelo Rodrigo tour and dinner at Vintage House hotel | Guimarães city tour

Destinations:  Lisbon | Coimbra | Porto | Bitetos | Régua | Pinhão | Vega de Terrón (Salamanca, Spain) | Barca d’Alva (Castelo Rodrigo) | Guimarães

Cruise & Air Savings: SAVE $1,000 per couple on Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley Boutique River Cruises on November 3 and November 10, 2011 departure dates. Book your Douro River Valley cruise/tour and air package now—Offer expires April 30, 2011.

Portugal-Europe's West Coast

PORTUGALis a cultural delight that shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain. As a PORTUGAL SPECIALIST, Trisha has traveled extensively throughout Portugal and is very familiar with each area.

In the midst of medieval castles and modern shops, Roman, Gothic and Manueline monuments, beaches with deep blue seas and rolling green plains disappearing into the distance, historic villages and luxury resorts, the sophisticated cuisine of great chefs and the  simple delights that the sea can offer, contemporary art museums and prehistoric rock drawings, golf courses and busy, vibrant avenues, there lives a people who are creative, open and welcoming, who wish to share with you the best of everything that they have and know about, appealing to your senses and celebrating life.

Portugal always surprises visitors with its beauty and extensive preservation. From the popular beaches and world-class golf resorts of the Algarve in the south to its beautifully preserved towns and palaces and scenic beauty in central and northern Portugal, there are a countless wonderful things to see and do.   A cruise along the ubelievably scenic Douro River is nothing short of awesome! The fabulous wines and port wines produced in this and other areas of Portugal should not be missed.

The “Jewel in The Crown” for Portugal is the stunning island of Madeira set in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco. Portugal is guaranteed to enthrall the visitor at every turn.

International Wine Tourism Conference


Blue sunny skies and lovely warm weather greeted me when I arrived in Porto on the first of February and stayed with us throughout our stay in Portugal for the International Wine Tourism Conference. Here along with tour operators and journalists from around the world, I met with wine tourism representatives from all over Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Croatia, South Africa and South America giving us information on their amazing accommodations, wine tours and tasting opportunities.

Following the conference and workshop, I set off on a tour of the Dao and Douro Valley wine regions where we visited several beautiful properties along with quite a few “quintas” (Portuguese wineries). While Portugal is well known for its fabulous Port Wine, it is not as well known for the several areas producing excellent red and white table wines. Portugal has emerged from the shadows to become one of the monst interesting and exciting red wine producing regions in the world. The producers and hoteliers have come together to offer a wide range of exciting food and wine programs for visitors to their country.

I finished my visit to Portugal with a few days revisiting Lisbon where I met with my local representative and looked at several beautiful properties in and around the city including some new and exciting hotels I know that our clients will love.

Portugal is a fabulous destination year round and should be high on everyone’s must see list…..