Douro

Iberia's third-longest river flows 557 miles west from the high sierras of northern Spain to the coast of Portugal. It's the home of port wine and the perfect cruise for aficionados, with wine-tasting in quintas and caves along the banks of the river valley. The biggest cities on the river are Valladolid and Zamora in Spain, and Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal.

  • Porto

    Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal known for its stately bridges and port wine production. The city was built along the hills overlooking the Douro river estuary, and its historical center was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. In the medieval Ribeira (riverside) district, narrow cobbled streets wind past merchants’ houses and cafes. São Francisco Church is known for its lavish baroque interior with ornate gilded carvings. The palatial 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa, formerly a stock market, was built to impress potential European investors.

  • Salamanca

    The city lies by the Tormes river on a plateau and is considered to be one of the most spectacular Renaissance cities in Europe. The buildings are constructed of sandstone mined from the nearby Villamayor quarry, and, as the sun begins to set, they glow gold, orange and pink. It is this radiant quality of the stones that has given Salamanca the nickname La Dorada, 'the golden city'.

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