Our party of six had a delightful week of boating on the exquisite Douro river. Jose is a very gracious host, who was not at all fussed to handle various glitches (mostly missed connections and mix-ups) with ease and kindness. His boating base may be a bit rustic, but this adds to the laid-back charm of this kind of holiday. Deeply relaxing and highly recommended.
We had a great time on a motor boat on the Douro.the scenery is stunning, all hills and vineyards. The river is perfect for swimming in, which we did frequently, including my 80 year old mother ( now known as the siren of the Douro! ). All the people were very friendly and helpful, couldn't have been better.
The boat was a bit cramped for 4 people, but did not stop us having a good time!
My wife, 19 year old son and I had a fabulous 5 days / 4 nights chartering a motor yacht on the Dourou river. The scenery was stunning, the boat was small but clean, comfortable and well equipped. Sleeping on board was much more comfortable than any of us had expected and we slept well. Our time on the yacht actually turned out to be the highlight of our two weeks in Portugal. I thoroughly recommend the experience.
If you are interested in birds, as we are, then you will especially love this trip. Every day we saw Black Kites – they fish in the river here - Bee-easters and, best of all, Golden Orioles which seemed to be everywhere. During the trip we also saw hoopoe, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, Short-toed and Booted Eagles and more. Whilst breakfasting at Ferradosa one day we even saw an otter a few feet away trotting across the quay. Wonderful!
Our skipper was with us each day but not at night. She (Michelle) was delightful company and she gave us lots of useful information as well as managing the boat and our itinerary, including finding us excellent places to eat well and cheaply each lunchtime and evening. We therefore had no stress and could concentrate on enjoying the views, swimming in the clean, safe and warm river and the occasional onshore excursion.
We had three nights in paradise. Michelle, the skipper, did a great job taking us up stream to the Spanish boarder. We loved the nature, atmosphere, the silence and even with four people plus the skipper on the boat we had enough space to relax and enjoy the scenery. We will come back again and do the lower part of the river. Worth every euro.
Our 5 days on board Dourovou’s ‘Ariane’ were absolutely wonderful. The train ride up the Douro from Porto is pretty magical but only just about prepares you for the sheer beauty of the river at Ferradosa where Jose and his business partner Antonio have created Dourovou: some charming wooden chalets and pool and pontoon for their 26’ MacGregors. Jose picked us up at the station and took us up hairpinned roads to the nearest supermarket to stock up for the trip. We then spent five days on Ariane, motoring up to the Spanish border through wild national park sometimes only seeing three or four other boats all day, but lots of birds including vultures. Then back down river down to Pinhao, surrounded by port vineyards and visiting a quinta. There are just enough small pontoons next to a restaurant (with excellent wine) for overnight stops. Going through the massive locks at Pochino and Valeira Dams was pretty nerve wracking the first time round (Valeira towers 48m high over you as you approach the lock gates!) but OK after that. One of life’s great experiences.
Jose looks after the boats well and is always around to give advice and help on just about anything. Sometime he skippers the boats himself so if you don’t feel confident or have an ICC then that’s a good option. Some of the boats are motor only (which we had, and as a sailor I did soon manage to 'tune out' the noise, and others are motorsailors). The Upper Douro is surely one of the most beautiful and unspoilt rivers in the world and to see it by boat this way - sometimes almost to yourself - is incredibly special.
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