- River Cruises: Free Premium Airfare
Book by March 31, 2019 and receive free premium economy round-trip economy airfare between the U.S. and Europe on select 2019 departures.
Offer is subject to availability and valid for new bookings only, and may not be combined with other promotions. Please call for details.
- Tour some of the Douro Valley’s most prestigious vineyards, sip port at a celebrated cellar in Porto, and enjoy interpretive wine tastings on board as we sail.
- In the company of a National Geographic expert, see the fascinating engravings of Foz Côa—widely considered the world’s most important open-air Paleolithic rock art site.
- Take in a festive flamenco performance in Salamanca and a private concert in the spectacular gilded nave of Porto’s Igreja de São Francisco.
- Attend on board photo talks led by a National Geographic photographer, and practice landscape shots on the sinuous vineyards that flank the Douro.
- Madrid Extension4 days from $1,695
- Lisbon Extension4 days from $895
Madrid has much to savor, with its elegant architecture and world-class restaurants, its celebrated art museums and colorful markets. After your Douro River cruise aboard the Scenic Azure, spend a few days soaking up the energy of Spain’s captivating capital city. Venture into the historic center to retrace the footsteps of Hapsburg royals, wander through stately plazas lined with baroque buildings, and marvel at beautiful neoclassical fountains. Visit the world-renowned Prado museum, sample the local cuisine, and enjoy time to explore the city’s elegant squares and leafy boulevards at your own pace.
¡Bienvenido a Madrid! Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.
This morning, begin our exploration of Madrid in the historic center, Los Austrias, built during the reign of the Hapsburg dynasty. Explore the quarter’s highlights including the elegant Plaza Mayor, which is dominated by the Casa de la Panadería (Bakery House)—the city’s municipal center. View the impressive Almudena Cathedral and meander through the neoclassical-style Sabatini Gardens, located in front of the 18th-century Royal Palace and named after the Italian architect who contributed to the palace’s design. Then continue to the Cibeles and Neptuno Fountains, two of the most majestic fountains in the city, which were commissioned by King Charles III. In the afternoon, you may opt to visit the world-renowned Prado Museum and its superb collection by Spanish masters, including works by Goya and Velázquez. Or choose to venture inside the sprawling Royal Palace, which boasts over 3,000 rooms. This evening, enjoy fine Spanish cuisine at a local restaurant.
Spend the day at leisure exploring this marvelous city. Stroll amid the boutiques that adorn the famed Barrio de Salamanca, or relax in one of Madrid’s many beautiful parks and gardens. Venture to the “Golden Triangle of Art” to visit the city’s celebrated museums, including the Reina Sofía, home to Picasso’s Guernica, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza, which houses works by a diverse collection of masters, from Rubens to Cézanne. Savor the eclectic cuisine of this culinary capital at a local restaurant, or venture to the historic San Miguel market to browse colorful stalls selling cured meats, cheeses, and seafood. Or simply wander along the city’s lively streets, taking in a contrasting mix of baroque, neoclassical, and contemporary architecture, and soak up the vibrant energy.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.