Viking Cruises, established in 1997, specializes in river cruises in Europe, Russia, Egypt, Southeast Asia, and China. In 2014 the company unveiled two new ships that were specially designed to sail the Douro River, which is narrower than many rivers in Europe and therefore requires custom vessels.
The company’s 10-day Portugal’s River of Gold trip is a great way to enjoy the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose terraced vineyards are known for their port production. Unlike many other Douro Valley tours, this one begins in Lisbon, allowing guests to explore Portugal’s historic capital. Following a bus transfer to Porto and a day to explore the port, the trip up the river begins. As well as its wine and natural beauty, the region is famous for its historic towns, cathedrals, and castles; guests have the opportunity to visit places such as Lamego, Castelo Rodrigo, and even Spain’s UNESCO-recognized Salamanca.
Sailings in 2015 run March through December and prices start at $2,256.