Portugal and Spain
5 - 17 October 2017
Join us on a voyage of discovery.
Start in Porto, a heady mix of medieval buildings, old shops, wine cellars, baroque churches and gleaming modern buildings and the hippest restaurants and bars. Cruise along the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where every hillside is blanketed by terraced vineyards surrounding stately whitewashed villas. Visit quaint little villages and admire the increasingly rugged landscape as you travel east. And, of course, share gourmet food and fabulous regional wines for a magical week.
Thursday 5 October 2017 - Australia - Dubai
Depart Australia in the evening travelling via Dubai.
Friday 6 October 2017 - Dubai – Lisbon -- Porto
Take connecting flights, arriving in Porto in the afternoon. Stay overnight in Porto.
Saturday 7 October 2017 - Porto
Have a free day in Porto. This evening meet up with your colleagues for welcome cocktail drinks.
Sunday 8 October 2017 - Porto
Today board the gorgeous Queen Isabella for your cruise on the Duoro. This afternoon delve into the rich history of Porto. Explore its curved streets and view its blend of Moorish and Roman influences. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic city centre, magnificent Porto Cathedral and Baroque churches. Love the buildings adorned with colourful tiles. Learn how grapes travelled the Douro River to the coast where winemakers make famous Port.
Monday 9 October 2017 - Guimares
Morning conference session
This afternoon, visit the vibrant university town of Guimares, birthplace of Afonso Henriques, the first independent king of Portugal (he was born here in 1110). Wander the medieval centre through a warren of labyrinthine lanes and picturesque plazas framed by 14th-century buildings. The city is over-looked by a 1000-year-old castle and, next to it, the massive palace built by the first duke of Bragança in the 15th century.
Tuesday 10 October 2017 - Entre-os-Rios, Regua
This afternoon take an excursion to Quinta Aveleda, a family wine-making estate. Stroll around the enchanting gardens filled with flowers and follies (including a goat tower!), see the elaborately carved 15th century stone window from which Dom João IV was proclaimed King of Portugal and taste the delectable Vinho Verde.
Later visit Amarante , the hometown of São Gonçalo. Portugal’s St Valentine, a sleepy village dominated by a striking church and monastery, which sit theatrically beside a rebuilt medieval bridge. The willow-lined riverbanks lend a pastoral charm, as do the balconied houses and switchback lanes that rise quickly from the narrow valley floor.
Wednesday 11 October 2017 - Regua, Pinhao – aboard ship
Morning conference session (4 hours)
This afternoon learn more about the river and local winemaking traditions at the Douro Museum. Then visit the elegant Baroque-style town of Lamego, protected by a 12thC castle and a 13thC keep. Be reminded of Portugal’s past at the vaulted stone cistern dating back to times of Arab rule. Taste some local sparkling wine before visiting the completely over-the-top baroque Mateus Palace. Tonight enjoy dinner and the panoramic views high above the river at Quinta da Avessada.
Thursday 12 October 2017 - Pinhao & Quinta do Seixo
Morning conference session.
Travel up the steep streets of the quaint little town of Pinhao to reach Quinta do Seixo, an old estate with an architectural award-winning modern tasting room. From the massive windows admire the undulating curves of the hillsides which, hopefully, will begin to display the beautiful red, orange and yellow hues of leaves that herald autumn. Learn about, taste and enjoy some of the world’s best port wines.
Friday 13 October 2017 - Barca d’Alva, Vega de Terron – aboard ship
Morning conference session.
Travel through wonderfully scenic countryside to the walled village of Castelo Rodrigo. Take a tour of this fascinating site that dates back to the 12th century, and while here sample delicious local treats, such as honey, olive oil and cheeses. Later in the day, venture to the UNESCO-designated Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley, considered the world’s most important Paleolithic open-air rock art site.
Saturday 14 October 2017 - Cruising the Douro River, Porto (Guimarães)
Enjoy a panoramic city tour of historic Guimarães, Portugal’s first capital and the home to its first king. The wonderfully well-preserved Old Town, with its unique architecture and charming little plazas, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, you can explore Porto’s UNESCO-designated Ribeira district on foot.
Sunday 15 October 2017 - Madrid (disembark)
Disembark in Madrid to spend the last night with the group. In the evening, enjoy a Gala Dinner at a top secret location.
Monday 16 October 2017 - Madrid
Begin your homeward journey or join us for the post conference tour.
End of arrangements or Join optional post conference tour
Please note that this itinerary and costs may be subject to change.