This romance-inspiring tour of beautiful Bordeaux and the Douro is the ultimate 5-star luxury river cruise of the Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde in lush northwestern France, followed by a golden adventure of wonderful discovery along the unforgettable Douro River Valley in Portugal.
Your Bordeaux river cruise highlights include exclusive wine and brandy tastings in Médoc and Cognac; visits to historic sites and medieval cities, incredible castles, ancient fortresses and catacombs; and stunning natural wonders at the Terres d’Oiseaux park near Blaye, Arcachon’s Le Teich bird sanctuary, and the breakthtaking view from atop Europe’s largest sand dune.
After your included flight to wonderful Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, cruise the Douro’s golden waters from elegant Lamego to historic Regua and picturesque Vega de Terron, before returning to Porto. Visit ancient rock art World Heritage Sites; beautiful Baroque towns steeped in history; and quaint villages where people still ply traditional crafts and trades, and work the vineyards as they always have, exuding the hospitable warmth and rustic charm of yesteryear.
Day 1 | Highlights:
Kick off your holiday at tonight’s welcome reception on board after settling into your suite on the luxurious Scenic Diamond in Bordeaux.
Day 2 | Bordeaux > Saint-Émilion Highlights: Sundowners at Château Siaurac
Enjoy a relaxing morning on board as you cruise in style into the beautiful 13th century port of Libourne. Whilst cruising, perhaps drop into Scenic Culinaire for a French cooking class. You’ll spend the afternoon in the nearby town of Saint-Émilion, an absolute visual feast and the jewel of this ancient wine growing region. You’ll also get to explore the underground catacombs of the Monolithic Church – a true trip highlight.
Celebrate the two thousand-year history of wine by enjoying a glass at the exclusive estate of Château Siaurac. Boasting a glorious château and garden that has been recognised as a national heritage site in France due to the significance of the estate’s architectural and cultural heritage, the sheer tranquillity of this picturesque property is captivating. The vines glow red and gold at sunset, and with a glass of the estate’s vintage in hand whilst a local guitarist provides an acoustic soundtrack, it really is hard to imagine a more elegant way to enjoy this beautiful region.
Day 3 | Libourne > Pauillac Highlights: Foie Gras in Bergerac
Awake in charming Libourne.
Freechoice: Enjoy a guided tour of Libourne and view its quaint 16th century town-house and Gothic church. Alternatively, explore the exclusive estate of Château Franc Mayne and taste its Grand Cru Class wine, or view the eclectic city of Bergerac and enjoy foie gras tasting at a charming local farm.
After your afternoon at leisure, opt to enhance your culinary prowess in Scenic Culinaire or simply soak in the riverside panoramas while cruising to Pauillac. Enjoy an evening of fabulous local entertainment on board tonight.
Day 4 | Médoc Highlights: Enrich dinner and concert at Château Giscours
Travel the scenic Médoc wine route today and discover why this region is viewed as the world’s leading red wine producer. Afterwards, sample the region’s finest at the Château Gruaud-Larose estate, or cycle to Château Lagrange, featured on Napoleon III’s 1855 Classification, for a wine tasting.
The spectacular Médoc countryside boasts many fine aristocratic châteaux but none more opulent than Château Giscours. You’ll be escorted to the charming 18th century Farm Suzanne on the Giscours estate to enjoy unforgettable four-course dining with Grand Cru Class wines and live musicians performing classical masterpieces for your enjoyment. A truly wondrous evening.
Day 5 | Pauillac > Cadillac Highlights: Full day cruising
Soak in the Garonne River vistas as you spend a luxurious full day aboard the Scenic Diamond. Cruising the picturesque landscapes of the Garonne River into Cadillac provides some of the most beautiful scenic cruising in all of the Bordeaux region. Whilst cruising you may choose to implement your cooking skills with a lesson in Scenic Culinaire. This remarkable space comes to life when fabulous local entertainers perform live in the Panorama Lounge for your exclusive enjoyment this evening.
Day 6 | Cadillac Highlights: Roquetaillade Castle
Venture into the Sauternes region for a tasting of the prestigious Château Guiraud dessert wines. Alternatively, cycle through the rolling vineyards of Sauternes to the Grand Cru Class estate of Château Myrat for a tasting.
Freechoice: Remain on board and join a master class in French cuisine in Scenic Culinaire. Or visit Roquetaillade Castle, founded by Charlemagne it’s one of the region’s most impressive historic sites and you’ll tour it with the family that now lives within its walls. Alternatively, discover the medieval village of Saint Macaire, or perhaps enjoy a 12 kilometre roundtrip hike from Cadillac to the neighbouring village of Loupiac.
Day 7 | Bordeaux Highlights: Shop with a Chef
Freechoice: Shop with a Chef at a local food market and cook up a storm in Scenic Culinaire afterwards. Or enjoy a guided tour of Bordeaux and her many attractions. For the more energetic, cycle the historic regions of Bordeaux. Cross beautiful bridges to witness sites such as the Royal Gate and the Palais Rohan, before cycling through public gardens back to the luxury of your floating hotel.
A city that exudes atmospheric charm, you’ll enjoy a full afternoon at leisure to immerse yourself in the culture of the Bordelais. Enjoy a special dinner on board showcasing regional delicacies before an illuminations cruise on the Garonne River. A fabulous local soloist will perform live in the Panorama Lounge tonight. What a magical evening.
Day 8 | Arcachon > Bourg Highlights: Arcachon Bay and surrounds
Situated on the northern tip of Europe’s longest coastal beach, Arcachon is the jewel of France’s western coastline.
Freechoice: For those fancying something sweet, why not stay on board and enjoy a fabulous Mademoiselle de Margaux chocolate and wine pairing event in Scenic Culinaire. Alternatively, explore Le Teich Bird Reserve, home to over 250 bird species. Or climb Europe’s largest sand dune and drink in the expansive panoramas. You may choose instead to join a walking tour of Arcachon including the local Baltard market.
In the afternoon, cruise leisurely into Bourg and, in the evening, enjoy a lively jazz performance on board.
Day 9 | Cognac Highlights: Tasting at Rémy-Martin property
Today explore the unique northern shores of the Gironde Estuary.
Freechoice: Discover the Carriages Museum in the enchanting Bourg Castle including a visit to the 16th century passageway to the guards rooms and immense WWII oil tanks. Alternatively, spend a full day exploring the fortified town of Cognac, renowned for its production of fine brandy. Afterwards, enjoy a tasting at the acclaimed property of Rémy Martin.
This afternoon, unwind on the Sun Deck cruising on the Gironde River into the historic port of Blaye.
Day 10 | Blaye > Bordeaux Highlights: Cycle the Captain’s Road
Discover the remarkable Blaye region, established to protect the Bordeaux region from invasion.
Freechoice: Stroll through the charming Citadel of Blaye, or join a 30 kilometre roundtrip cycle along the Captain’s Road which is so named in honour of the WWI Captain’s who chose to purchase their homes along this beautiful stretch of waterway in the early 20th century.
You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive cooking class in Scenic Culinaire or simply relax on board as we cruise past beautiful uninhabited islands bound for Bordeaux.
Dine in style at the Captain’s farewell dinner on board this evening.
Day 11 | Bordeaux > Porto Highlights:
Morning flight to Porto for your Douro Valley cruise.
Day 12 | Porto > Entre-os-Rios Highlights: Historic Porto
Today, discover the unique historic treasures of Porto, including a visit to Palacio do Bolsa. Then enjoy a relaxing afternoon of cruising as your luxury Scenic Space-Ship meanders its way to Entre-os-Rios.
Day 13 | Entre-os-Rios Highlights: Sundowners at Douro Museum
Guimarães was the seat of the first King of Portugal and is dominated by the impressive Ducal Palace, which dates back to medieval times. It’s a great tour to kickstart your interest in this fascinating region. Alternatively, you could choose a tasting at the fairytale property of Quinta Aveleda, a renowned regional sparkling wine producer. The incredible gardens alone make the excursion worthwhile.
Day 14 | Regua Highlights: Ucanha and Varosa Valley
Tour the elegant town of Lamego, with its many fine Baroque structures, or enjoy a guided visit of Mateus Palace, the historic icon depicted on the labels of Portugal’s famous Mateus rosé wine.
Day 15 | Regua > Vega de Terron Highlights: Cruising Vinhateiro
Today, enjoy a full day cruising the Douro Valley’s Vinhateiro wine growing region. Classified a World Heritage-listed Site, Vinhateiro has a history of wine production that stretches back for 2000 years. In fact, its impeccable port wines have been world-famous since at least the 18th century.
Day 16 | Salamanca Highlights: Spanish dining and Flamenco
Take your time absorbing the sheer architectural splendour of Salamanca, a city as visually striking as it is historically intriguing. You’ll get to enjoy a fabulous Spanish dining experience for lunch, accompanied by an energetic Flamenco dance performance,.
Day 17 | Pocinho > Pinhão Highlights: Côa Valley
Over breakfast, you’ll enjoy a leisurely cruise to nearby Pocinho for our Côa Valley discovery.
Day 18 | Pinhão Highlights: Scenic village experience
Today you’ll visit the remarkable village of Provesende, showcasing the Portugal of yesteryear. Wander the atmospheric streets of this quaint village with the locals as they proudly introduce you to their way of life – including their local bakery, and the bar with its wonderfully eclectic collection of regional wares. This is a specially choreographed experience only open to Scenic guests. You’ll also visit the church for a special recital, and enjoy wine tasting at the restored manor house of Morgadio da Calçada. What better way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Day 19 | Pinhão > Porto Highlights: Scenic Enrich at Taylor’s Cellars
Having spent the previous eight days discovering the treasures of the Douro, Varosa and Côa Valleys, enjoy an exclusive Douro Valley Wine Review, as well as on board activities, including a cork jewellery workshop. Otherwise, simply enjoy the beauty of the region as you cruise back into Porto.
Day 20 | Porto Highlights: Afurada fishing village
Acquaint yourself with the local fishing industry by meeting the fishermen of Afurada village as they return to port with the day’s catch. Hear their tales of the sea in a local taberna where they’ll prepare their catch over an open fire which you’ll enjoy with a chilled glass of wine. How hospitable.
Day 21 | Porto Highlights: Farewell
Your leisurely cruise of Portugal’s Douro Valley concludes after breakfast and you’ll be transferred to Porto Airport with all your wonderful memories intact.