Heading to Portugal and looking to experience the country in a unique way? If you are sick and tired of the same old bus tours, booking a river cruise for a day could be the way to go. The main rivers in Portugal are the Tagus river, the Douro river, the Guadiana, Minho, and Lima, with the most popular cruises sailing the first two. Coming from Spain, the Tagus river is the longest on the Iberian Peninsula, over 1,000 kilometers long, and flows through Abrantes, Entrocamento, Santarem, Almada, Vila Franca de Xira, and Lisbon. The Douro river is the most popular for cruises, particularly wine river cruises. Located in the North of the country, it gave its name to the region of Douro near Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. If you are overwhelmed by endless river cruise options in Portugal, here are our top 9 Portugal river cruises 2022.
One of the most popular cruises in Porto is a 9.5 hour all-inclusive Douro river cruise that allows guests to spend a full day discovering the landscapes of the Douro valley. Hop on a traditional Portuguese Rabelo boat in Porto which will take you to Peso da Regua, Pinhao, and Sabrosa. The cruise includes two spots to wine estates where you will get to taste some of the finest wines produced in the vineyards. You will also get to stop at viewpoints to enjoy the scenery and taste a typical Douro lunch which includes an olive oil tasting. The whole river cruise includes a tour guide to teach you about the area, available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. This cruise is always ready to sell out so book ahead of your trip to Porto!
Organized by Taguscruises Boat Tours, this private 12-person river cruise sails off the Tagus river and Atlantic ocean to the quaint coastal town of Cascais. From Lisbon to the Portuguese Riviera, guests enjoy a ride on a luxury yacht that is between 7 and 18 meters long, featuring toilets, a kitchenette, an audio system, and a full crew. The departure is from Belem, cruising along the coast so you get to see the Lisbon sights, and then heads east to Cascais bay. Here, the yacht is anchored for 2 to 4 hours for some swimming. Soft drinks are included, but the food is not so pack a lunch.
Located in Aveiro, known as the Venice of Portugal, this cruise allows you to sail on the freshwater of the River Vouga on the colorful boats known as moliceiros. You will get picked up by your guide in Porto, either at a meeting point or your accommodation and they will drive you to Aveiro. Throughout the drive, you will get to learn about the history and development of Portugal. In Aveiro, you will ride a Moliceiro, a traditional Aveiro boat throughout the stunning river canals, with a stop at Costa Nova do Prado beach.
Departing from Porto, this Douro and Regua cruise on a large boat allows you to discover the Port wine region. The cruise includes a large breakfast, as well as lunch while you admire the Douro valley and goes through the 14-meter Crestuma-Lever Dam and the Carrapatelo Dam. Audio guides are also included in four different languages. The cruise stops at Regua where you can enjoy the town with friends. The route back is done by train.
This river cruises upon the Rio Guadiana river allowing you to see the real Algarve and discover its cuisine and culture. On this full-day cruise, you will get to follow the river that forms the border between Portugal and Spain, as well as top at Foz de Oleite and Quinta do Rio to explore the sights. Your guide will teach you about the history and cultural heritage of the Algarve throughout the discovery. Unlike many Portugal cruises, this one features an included lunch and entertainment as you will get to enjoy regional cuisine with live music playing in the background.
If you prefer a shorter cruise, this wine cruise on the Tagus river allows you to sail the river while discovering popular sights such as the 25th of April bridge, the Monument of Discoveries, and the Belém Tower. You can choose to have the cruise at sunset to enjoy a beautiful view, featuring alcoholic drinks and snacks.
Sail on a traditional “Six Bridges” cruise in Porto along the Douro river along the route of the Rabello Boats. This panoramic cruise provides gorgeous views of Porto and allows guests to follow in the footsteps of the old wine merchants that took the wine to wine cellars. You will get to snap stunning photos of Ribeira and Vila Nova de Gaia from the river, while a guide tells you about the history of the city. The cruise arrives at the last bridge where you can see the sandy beaches of Foz do Douro where the river finally pours into the ocean.
Douro river cruises are often busy so for a more luxurious and personalized experience, book this private yacht cruise along the river from Pinhao. The boat offers guests an opportunity to enjoy the Douro valley from an indoor glassed lounge with 360-degree views while enjoying a glass of Port wine. The boat also includes an outdoor deck where guests can sit outside and enjoy the panoramic views.
For those looking to explore Lisbon in a unique way, the Tagus River yellow boat cruise cruises down the Tagus River, passing by the bridge, the Belem Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery, and other iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites. The ticket for the journey also includes access to public trams and the Santa Justa lift, as well as discounts on products and services. You can hop in the yellow boat whenever you feel like sailing through the Tagus River, as well as stop at local monuments and sights to roam on your own.