Cruise Managers Iúri and Cesário share their favorite experiences in Portugal and their love of the Douro River

Portugal natives, our wonderful Cruise Managers Iúri and Cesário, provide insider knowledge on the exceptional experiences we offer on our Enticing Douro and Flavors of Portugal & Spain sailings on the Douro River. 

What makes our Douro River cruises special? 

Iúri: Going upstream on this river is like a trip going back in time: very picturesque with areas surrounded by terraced hills with beautiful vineyards. The Douro Valley has been carved by the Douro River and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for producing some of the very best wines in the world. This includes Port, a fortified sweet wine unique to Portugal. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful of all rivers if you are in for the views while sailing! 

Can you share an interesting fact about the region for our guests? 

Cesário: The famous navigator Ferdinand Magellan, well known for circumnavigating the earth, was in fact Portuguese and was born in a little town on the Douro called Sabrosa. After King Manuel I of Portugal repeatedly refused to support his plan to reach the Maluku Islands (the "Spice Islands") by sailing westwards around the American continent, Magellan left Portugal and proposed the expedition to King Charles I of Spain. When King Charles I approved the voyage in 1518, Magellan renounced his Portuguese nationality and became a Spaniard. This is when he changed his original name from Fernão de Magalhães to Ferdinand Magellan.  

What is your favorite excursion or experience on the Douro River? 

Iúri: Running the risk of sounding biased since I am from Porto, I would say the Porto City Tour for its history, unique little streets and alleys full of charm, terraced cafés and specialty shops. Porto holds one of the oldest libraries in the world, and wonderful buildings like the Saint Benedict Train Station. The walls of the station are decorated with impressive panels composed of typical Portuguese tiles (azulejos) depicting scenes of our history and landscape. There is so much to be said about this city and the best way to get it all is by traveling with AmaWaterways. 

Cesário: The Quinta da Aveleda Winery just outside of Porto is beautiful with its gardens, vineyards and courtyard. During your evening at the winery, you will get to taste a variety of Portuguese wines paired with local cheeses and dinner – all included in the price of your cruise. 

Tell us about a hidden hotspot our guests should not miss. 

Cesário: The Livraria Lello is considered to be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Inaugurated in 1906, the unique building features wood carvings, sliding ladders, twisting staircases and a stained-glass ceiling. This bookstore is a gem of Porto and is truly worth a visit.  

Iúri: If I had to surrender one of my secrets from Porto, it would be the small fishermen’s restaurants in Gaia City, close to the Marina of Afurada. Walking distance from the pier where we dock, this area is not promoted to tourists and it’s where the locals go for the freshest fish, prepared with love by fishermen families. 

What traditional Portuguese dish do you recommend guests try on shore? 

Iúri: In Lisbon, try the Chicken Piri-Piri, a Portuguese-style barbecued/grilled chicken that is consumed with Piri-Piri sauce which is very typical in Portugal. This sauce is made from one of the many spices that Portugal brought from trading with India during the age of discoveries throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. 

Cesário: The main Portuguese specialty is Codfish. We have 365 different recipes - one for each day of the year! 

Are there any Portuguese phrases or words you recommend our guests learn before they sail? 

Cesário: You will find that Portuguese is very similar to Spanish. Some key expressions are: 

  • Obrigado/a (Thank you) For men, say "Obrigado”; for women, say “Obrigada” 
  • Por favor (Please)  
  • Adeus (Goodbye)  

Experience the breathtaking natural beauties, delicious cuisine, and charm of Portugal as you sail along the Douro River on our Enticing Douro and Flavors of Portugal & Spain itineraries. Plus, you can be among the first guests to cruise on our stunning AmaSintra, coming in 2025! Contact your travel advisor to reserve your stateroom today!

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