Douro river boat tour offer
See all Douro River boat tour offer and choose wisely according to your desires and budget. Here you will find all boat cruises available in the market.
The navigable Douro River
The navigable Douro river is a waterway extension of about 200km. Throughout this route you will find dozens of tour offers, from 50 minutes to 6 days.
We usually divide the Douro River boat tour offer in short-haul, medium-haul and long haul. We will try to give you our opinion about these three kinds of proposals.
Long-haul – Tours 6 days
Operating in the long haul on the Douro River boat tour are currently three operators with identical routes and is expected the arrival of a new company.
The offer is similar and involves the ascent of the river for three days and his descent also in 3 days.
This is a very targeted type of product, for seniors with low mobility.
It is an excellent product for them, since it guarantees to them a stay in a safe place, air-conditioned, a place where they have their meals on time and where basically the crew will take care of everything.
The overnight stay is made on board, not having the customer to carry the bags up and down during the stay.
Navigation is always done during the day since the Douro night navigation is prohibited to all vessels.
So every night the boat will dock in the path of the pier for customers to have dinner and sleep.
This simple ascent and descent of the river can become boring, especially in the route between Porto and Régua. This situation is solved by the companies providing short excursions to many existing attractions along the way.
This is not an exclusive tour, you are always in a group of about 100 people. If you feel comfortable to travel in the crowd, it’s a good product.
These tours are obligatorily carried out in huge locals, capable of harboring such a number of customers.
They tend to be impersonal places, very commercial and professionalized, basically a very artificial offer.
The prices of these long-haul trips tend to be high.
The medium-haul does not presuppose the overnight stay on board.
They normally travel one day between Porto and Régua, Porto and Pinhão or Régua and Barca de Alva or Pocinho.
Let me be clear, you should avoid traveling between Porto and Régua. This route have little interest and you will do the least beautiful river section.
Between Régua and Barca de Alva you will find the most interesting route of all.
In these tours you will have the opportunity to make a locking process to raise or lower the dams.
Usually you will have meals and drinks included.
The price is generally low but be ready to the mess.
Boats are full of people who, later in the day, with the heat and the drinks are very effusive. It is a popular booze cruise.
Typically, these shorter tours will show you the local landscapes, as in Porto, in Régua or in Pinhão.
During the tour, depending on the operator, you could have an offer of a glass of wine.
Increasing the length of the tour you could get more or less complex services such as lunches, snacks, picnic’s, dips in the river, among others.
They are interesting tours and we recommend.
In Porto it’s worth making the route of the bridges and see the city from the river.
The Régua boat tour is not the most interesting and given the proximity it will be better to go to Pinhão or for a more exclusive boat tour Foz do Távora.
In Pinhão the offer is, at present, enormous.
You could find tours in the traditional Rabelo boats (1 or 2 hours) in sailboats or classic boats.
Unfortunately sailing without the noise of the engine is almost impossible. The absence of wind in the majority of days and the configuration of Douro river, curvy and narrow, don’t allow you to sail in the wind almost never.
Prices vary according to exclusivity and the services provided. Some of these companies tailor made services.
So what to choose?
It will depend on your time, your interest in learning about Douro and your wallet.
If we had to choose, we would opt for a trip to Senhora da Ribeira or Foz do Sabor. It is a full day tour in the area I consider to be the most beautiful.
Alternatively a picnic on board with the engine off.
In any case choose a ride on a smaller boat where the flexibility to change the program is an order.